📖 My story
First-generation born and raised in the US, my parents emigrated from India and landed in Michigan. I consider my Uncle Louis to be the founder of the family, as he was the first to leave India in 1966. Like many other immigrant families, we had a modest upbringing. My parents worked hard across multiple jobs and day/night shifts to ensure my brother and I were fed, clothed, sheltered, and educated. Those experiences growing up in the midwest shaped my values today. We didn't buy anything unless it was on sale (and we had a coupon). We lived the virtue that it's better to want the things you have, than to have the things you want.
I didn't really appreciate how much that childhood influenced me until my wife and I had our first child ourselves, and I came to appreciate the often invisible sacrifices parents make for their kids. For me, being a parent is the most selfless experience in the world, and it’s also the most gratifying.
I applied to a single college, and I was fortunate (lucky?) to be admitted to the University of Michigan. I earned my master's of science and bachelor's of science in engineering from U-M and had five wonderful years in Ann Arbor. I had such a great time, I wrote a book about the experience in an effort to help others.
During my college years, I had three internships at General Motors. My first, when I finished high school, was on the 100-degree factory floor in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Between heat treat and the stamping press, it probably took a few years off of my life. Not to mention some disagreements with the union, which wasn’t very happy with my putting tape on the floor (apparently, it’s a painter’s job). During my third summer at GM in 2007, I had a mentor who told me: “Brian, try to get out of the auto industry. Get out of Michigan. Have some new experiences.” I took that advice and am fortunate I made it out before the 2008 great recession and auto bailouts.
My full-time career began as a consultant at McKinsey & Company, based in Los Angeles but mostly living out of a suitcase (300K miles in two years!). I had fantastic experiences working in health care, pharmaceuticals, aerospace & defense, public sector, transport and trucking, and more.
I joined LinkedIn in 2012 on the Business Operations team, focused on product strategy and growth. Joining a fast-paced, mission-driven tech company was the best thing I could have done for my career. But I almost didn't get hired. I wore a full suit and tie to the interview. "He's probably not a culture fit", the VP of the group recounted years later. But fortunately they gave me an opportunity and I didn't let them down.
After being admitted to the Stanford Graduate School of Business MBA class of 2016 (and paying my deposit to secure enrollment), I received an offer to become chief of staff to the CEO of LinkedIn. I realized that's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I thought about Jeff Bezos's regret minimization framework, and figured I could always get an MBA later. I took the role and the rest is history.
Previously, I was VP and Chief of Staff at LinkedIn, was proud to serve on the Board of Directors of the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula, was a Fellow of On Deck (ODA3 and ODLB1), and was a Fellow of the Aspen Institute First Movers. I live in the SF Bay Area with my wife, daughter, son, and our perennially-hungry dog.
My mission is to compound wisdom, trust, and love.
- Compound: Try to be 1% better every day.
- Wisdom: What I've learned about myself and the world, and what I share with others.
- Trust: Long-term games with long-term people. Consistency over time.
- Love: To love and to be worthy of love.
I believe the value of wisdom, trust, and love can compound over time.
The more wisdom, trust, and love I give to others, the more I receive in return. That they return is not the reason I give in the first place, but it is highly positive reinforcement. There is a deeply virtuous cycle to all three of these elements, because they are all rooted in service to others. And serving others is what I enjoy and do well, so for me it all efficiently coheres.
- Awareness: Both a fundamental pre-requisite to enlightenment and an ongoing journey in time and space to discover and appreciate one's self, and subsequently, the world around us.
- Growth: Infinite learner across a wide array of topics. Embrace curiosity and learn from mistakes through the Next Play mentality.
- Connection: Building meaningful relationships, assuming good intentions, and being vulnerable to break down walls.
- Responsibility: We are responsible for our actions. We are always choosing, whether we realize it or not. Eliminated "I have to" from my vocab and replaced with “I get to".
- Gratitude: Einstein said it well: "There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." I appreciate those everyday miracles and try to take nothing for granted.
- Mindfulness: Taking deep breaths. Paying attention to things big and small. To notice is to know.
- Karma: If you want to know what you did in the past, look at what is happening to you now. If you want to know what will happen to you in the future, look at what you are doing now.
- Impermanence: Everything is changing (including this list). We are all in permanent beta.