Best of the West: CDS in Seattle and San Francisco, July 2022

August 8th, 2022

Topics: Culture Future of Work Global Operations Organizational Structure Products / Services Talent & Workforce

In mid-July, Patrick and I traveled to Seattle and San Francisco to connect with (and in my case, meet!) several incredible Tuck alumni. It was our first work trip together, let alone our first work trip since the beginning of the pandemic. Needless to say, we both enjoyed our days discussing tech trends in the west coast sunshine.

Nothing but blue skies for Patrick and me in Seattle!

Our trip served as a deep dive into the careers of recent alumni as well as into the trends driving the industry. A few themes emerged from our time in Seattle and San Francisco.

Several alumni realized career goals and personal dreams with their most recent transitions. There continues to be strong hiring in the tech industry. No fewer than five alumni had recently changed roles, including several who had found a dream role within reach. We love to celebrate our fantastic network of alumni and were thrilled to find so many reasons to say ‘congratulations’ during our trip. who recently navigated into roles that satisfy personal dreams. Thank you for modeling the importance of following your own north star and proving that it’s possible to align professional aspirations with personal interests.

The tension between working from home versus in-person continues to dominate the conversations about post-pandemic work. Policies between companies are largely inconsistent, leading alumni to remark on the differences of their day-to-day lives. The vast majority of alumni we spoke with were working on a hybrid schedule, traveling to the office for intentional, collaborative group meetings, though some found themselves pulled -willingly or otherwise- back into the office full time.

Catch up on CDS content you missed this spring: a panel discussion on the future of leadership and managing in a remote-first world.

Large technology firms appear to be in healthy shape as the larger economic turmoil grows. A key question we had for alumni was, in general, do you feel the negative economic headwinds many are talking about? We were careful not to ask probing questions that would cross any ethical/legal lines, but generally speaking, how is the energy around tech in Seattle and San Francisco? As quarterly results from large companies supported this week, many felt like layoffs were hitting startups more than large tech firms, due in large part to the free flow of private capital funding rapid expansion, even when the business needs did not require hiring and spending at such high levels. Basically, all the excess capital finding its way to startups fueled unsustainable growth that is now being pulled back by the leadership of startups and/or the VCs who fund those startups startups. Strong quarterly growth from Google, Amazon, Apple and especially Microsoft seem to support these views.

Exploring the Autodesk Gallery in San Francisco.

The metaverse is passé, but NFTs still have a bit of juice. So much attention has been placed on the metaverse across the last two to three years, including Facebook changing its name to Meta to reflect its focus on building virtual worlds. But what we heard from alumni was that energy and expectations for the metaverse were in decline. Instead, we heard from several alumni that NFTs are still very much a focus inside tech and creator communities. We’ll see how these trends play out over time.

Lastly, we’d like to thank all of the alumni who met with us, either one-on-one or at the local happy hour. Thank you for your time, your insights, and for exemplifying all that we stand for at the CDS! 

Seattle-based students and alumni:

Jodine Gordon, T’18

Justin Holzwarth T’16

Kathy Liao T’20

Mandakini Saroop, T’14

Rahul Polu T’23

Sergey Krasovski T’22

Sheldon Menezes T’09

San Francisco-based students and alumni:

Dan Foran T’22

Emily (Bartlet) Scherbenski T’15

Sandy Fedor T’15

Hugo Naulot T’21

Jessica Jiang T’23

Jocelyn Teece T’21

Kakeru Tsubota T’23

Nadeem Almoayyed T’20

Will Maness T’21



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