My User Manual

Introduction

About me

I’m 34 years old, born and raised in Lima, Perú 🇵🇪 and I’d say my life is characterized by a constant search for knowledge, inspiration and purpose.

Recently I was able to put together a personal mission, I think of it as simple and broad but most importantly it connects the dots in my past but also reflects where I want to go in the future:

💭
“Help people unlock their potential and live a meaningful life”

This is my guiding principle on everything I do personally and professionally. Some examples:

  • I love to make meaningful connections between hiring managers and people looking for a job. That’s why I try to be as helpful as I can, but also take my referrals really seriously.
  • The companies I’ve enjoyed the most lived by this principle, and not all of them were tech companies.
  • Some companies I’ve worked for
    • Belcorp: Being a door to door business model it helped housewives to earn extra income to support their families.
    • Merlin Jobs: Helping blue collar workers to find relevant and close-to-home jobs to improve their quality of life and employers (mainly SMBs) to find the most suitable replacement as quick as possible.
    • On Deck: The company focus has shifted since I left, but at the time they wanted to help people to build companies and careers by finding their people. I’ve experienced the power of the community first hand by being a former fellow and wanted to help the company to bring more people in so they can unlock their potential too.
  • I also offer a couple of hours of free coaching and mentoring in ADP list. Here’s my mentor profile feel free to book some time with me using the platform or sharing the link to whoever might need it I usually help other PMs and adjacent roles (e.g designers) on career planning, resume review and general advice.

Values

  • Adaptability
  • Autonomy
  • Growth
  • Work Ethic
  • Balance

Hobbies

  • 🎵 Listening to music and playing the electric guitar
  • Details
    • 🎸 I love playing the guitar, started when I was around 10 years and it taught me how being resilient and persistent can help us to achieve great things. Genres I enjoy playing: Blues, Metal and my goal is to learn how to play Jazz and Bossa Nova.
    • Also I love listening to music at all, I tend to get obsessed with certain artists and albums for periods of time but Spotify’s algorithm is helping me to hear new music every once in a while. Here’s a small playlist with some personal favorites.
  • 🎮 Play video games
  • Details
    • My all-time favorite games are:
      • Starcraft: I think of it as the modern chess and used to watch the Korean pro-league at 1am when I was still at the university.
      • Zelda: The last releases are works of art; the story, ambiance, soundtrack and gameplay makes them a delight to play.
      • Currently playing Diablo Immortal on mobile and some casual games (e.g Crash team racing, Mario Kart 8).
  • ⚽ Play football / soccer
  • 📖 Read: I enjoy reading about business, management, personal growth and product management articles and books. For the latter you can take a look at my.
  • 🍕 Food: go to new restaurants and experiences. If you are ever in Lima I can give some good recommendations.

At work

Even though some people are bearish towards it, I’ve found the Myers-briggs personality type indicator to be the most helpful to understand my strengths, weaknesses and motivations at work.

According to the test I’m identified as an INTJ, here are a couple of resources that can help you understand more about this personality type and also find yours:

Quistic: Good overall summary. I usually share this one with external readers to have a quick glance of my personality type.

16 personalities: The most comprehensive one, I recommend this one for self exploration.

📝
Here’s one excerpt from 16 personalities that I think represents a good summary of my personality type and work style.

Architects (INTJs) question everything. Many personality types trust the status quo, relying on conventional wisdom and other people’s expertise to guide their lives. But ever-skeptical Architects prefer to make their own discoveries. In their quest to find better ways of doing things, they aren’t afraid to break the rules or risk disapproval – in fact, they rather enjoy it.

But as anyone with this personality type would tell you, a new idea isn’t worth anything unless it actually works.

What energizes me

  • Intellectual challenges, hard problems to solve.
  • Autonomy, from strategy to execution.
  • Structure: don’t get me wrong, I love working at startups and I’ve learned to thrive in chaos but I’ll be the one pushing for focus and a clear and joint understanding on where we are going and why we are doing stuff.

What drains me

  • Ego-driven teammates: I think it’s impossible to be 100% detached from ego, but in my opinion if we want to build a company and solve a real problem we shouldn’t let ego get in the way.
  • Process overload: I think of processes and methodologies as tools rather than ends by themselves. I do think that some structure is needed when an organization scales but the outcome comes first, then the process. Here’s an article from Marty Cagan that elaborates more on the subject. More concretely: If your company is running scrum as a religion rather than a tool it’s definitely not the right fit for me.

What drives me nuts

  • Unstructured meetings: Meetings can go to unexpected paths and I’m fine with it, and sometimes you need to put a lot of people in (e.g an all-hands) but I firmly believe that a meeting host should have clarity on the goals, what is the agenda and who should be there to be mindful of other people’s time. Phrased differently, I like when people are mindful of other people’s time and also that they are aware that having people sit on meetings actually costs money.
  • Lack of follow-through:I expect to work with highly skilled professionals who take ownership of their work and can execute flawlessly. It is important that whoever proposes an idea or project ensures that it is implemented, or decides to discard or deprioritize it. Otherwise, we waste time brainstorming when execution is what ultimately matters.

Things people might misunderstand about me

  • Sometimes I’m silent on meetings, it’s not because of lack of interest is either I’m thinking and processing what is being shared, I don’t have anything to share that adds a lot of value or a meeting where I’m not the one leading is too big (+5 people) and I don’t feel comfortable.

Communication preferences

Channels / style

  • Messages > Loom > Voice-notes > Calls.
    • I think that writing forces people to think through what they really want to say and I always can go back to whatever was written if I need to.
    • Looms are helpful to explain more complex topics and as I’ve learned at On Deck is a really effective tool for async work.
    • If using a voice-note please be as concise as possible 🙏🏻.
    • In my opinion calls are important when a back and forth discussion is needed or it’s an urgent / important matter that needs to be communicated in person. Its my least favorite communication channel but definitely not against them, and don’t worry I’ll always take calls with a smile.
  • Async vs real-time: at On Deck it was the first time I worked with team mates in such different timezones, things moved fast and information was flowing thanks to the async culture. Here’s a thread from the CEO where he explains how the async communication worked in slack. I must say I prefer async communication, as it’s better for focus and to really manage my time so I try to be async by default unless the company culture states otherwise. If you need / expect me to answer in real-time or ASAP just be explicit about it and tag me and I’ll have no issue.
  • Narratives > Slides: My thoughts on this are.
    • Slides are great and I like them as I’ve worked with McKinsey consultants starting my career and received training on how to use them effectively; but by design slides need a speaker, information that can be included per slide is pretty limited and are tailored for meetings / pitches.
    • Writing forces you to articulate your thoughts in a structured and simple way, so I prefer to work on companies that have a strong writing culture.
    • Also you can include an appendix with supporting data that can be reviewed by the reader if needed. Something that is not easily achieved by slides.

Feedback

  • Always, and the sooner the better.
  • I like to get feedback on:
    • Things to improve.
    • Suggestions.
    • What I’m doing right so I can amplify it.
  • Be constructive, not destructive.
  • No need to sugarcoat it, I don’t take feedback personally but be respectful always.

As a Manager

  • Clarity and focus is something I expect from my managers and I’ll do my best to provide it for my teams, if focus is not clear because of a complex situation in the company I’ll do my best to be transparent and clear about it.
  • I like to think of a team as the product, so I try to be an enabler and a coach rather than the one making all of the decisions.
  • Regarding the last point, I work with the vision of not being needed for the team to operate so I can focus on unlocking organizational barriers, thinking about strategy and the future of the product instead of the day to day work.
  • I believe we need to be the best versions of ourselves to do amazing work so I’ll check how things are going regularly and asking for feedback. I don’t want people burning out on my teams but I do think there are times where heavy work needs to be done. It’s all about maintaining balance.
  • I take personal and professional development really seriously, and I’ll help you develop your career not only inside of our current company but thinking about the future. I’m all about unlocking people’s potential and I understand that sometimes that can happen outside of my team.

Want to write one yourself? - I used this as an inspiration

Back to home