Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

Wait, we’re doing this forever?

The second wave of COVID-19 infections has dashed all illusions of going back to the way things were before. Permanent, radical shifts in corporate policy are becoming more mainstream every day. Whether you call it indefinite WFH, hybrid offices, remote-first, digital by default, or a flipped workplace, there is no question the future of work is here. In Silicon Valley, we are constantly looking for technology that can power these shifts, but technology alone is not the answer. It is critical to first determine your business objectives, needs, and constraints, and then build a framework for achieving these goals. …

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When I wrote my thesis around the future of work, I outlined the ways in which technology was transforming work into a digital, distributed, and data-driven reality. I never imagined that a global pandemic would catapult us toward that new reality infinitely faster than planned. Companies have reluctantly been shifting their strategies for decades, but leaders are now being forced to rethink their traditional mindsets and accelerate their plans, whether they like it or not.

In his book AntiFragile: Things That Gain From Disorder, Nassim Nicholas Taleb outlines the difference between being fragile, resilient and antifragile. Fragile systems break under…

Originally published at on January 27, 2020.

5 Reasons Why Micro-Businesses Will Define the Future of Work

Silicon Valley is obsessed with billion-dollar businesses. We are constantly hyping our unicorns-there are now more than 200 of them. As a result, it is easy to forget that 99.9% of US businesses are, in fact, very small. The US alone has more than 20 million XSMBs (extra small businesses). Firms with fewer than 20 employees are growing faster than any other category of small business, which together employ nearly 50% of the private workforce, and the ranks of the gainfully self-employed are swelling. …

Many entrepreneurs view the venture capital industry as shrouded in mystery. It can be hard for them — and especially for first-time founders, or those from outside the Bay Area— to separate fundraising myths from reality. Unfortunately, these mistakes often close doors that otherwise should have been opened. In the hopes of changing that, I’m going to outline a few key misconceptions that I see derailing pitches day after day. After all, raising funds should be accessible to any great entrepreneur — not just to those lucky enough to befriend insiders.

Myth #1: You can expect to raise on a first meeting

One of the most confusing things about Silicon Valley…

There is something incredibly humbling about Washington DC. Yes, the monuments and Capitol Hill are awe-inspiring, but it’s more than that. It’s the energy. It’s the way that people hustle from building to building in their awkward suits, clutching their piles of documents to their chests. It’s the hushed conversations that seem to be happening on every corner, in every restaurant, in every room. It’s the eager, young interns who shadow every meeting, quietly opening doors and taking notes for their superiors. It’s the simultaneous accessibility and inaccessibility of it all. It’s the sense that the world is changing right…

The What, Why, and How of Technology’s Transformation of the Workplace

My mother’s home office, circa 1984

I grew up watching my parents’ jobs slowly get replaced by technology. This had a huge impact on me and my family — financially and emotionally. As my parents now approach retirement age, it is still a critical topic. When I started working on Wall Street during the Financial Crisis, I saw the pattern repeat, this time for me and my colleagues, as once-lucrative trading jobs were easily replaced by algorithms to save on the bottom line. It was alarming to see the career I had only just started suddenly cease to exist.

Since that time, every step in my…

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The future is flipped

Originally published at

I am sitting in my office struggling to stay focused, wondering why I need to be here right now. The feeling reminds me of grade school, where I spent most of my class time staring out the window, yearning for the bell to ring so the real learning could begin. As a student who actually read the textbook at home, in class I typically found I could tune out my teachers and dial up the daydreams. When considering the construct of the educational and professional worlds, I have always wondered, “Does it really have to be…

Originally published at

Whenever I run, I select a playlist to match my mood, the weather, and my level of training. Each soundtrack immerses me in my exercise, forcing me to feel where I am in that minute while also surfacing romantic memories of moments past. Today, I tried a “fast pop run,” which at 180 bpm I’ve always considered to be too fast for my natural pace. The result: I ran my fastest time in years. It’s funny — I always thought I controlled the music. Could it be, perhaps, that the music controls me?

One bad song — or coworker — can ruin your rhythm

Over my career…

Like millions of other Americans this weekend, I went to see Bohemian Rhapsody, the recently released biopic about Queen. The movie was so bad, I melted into uncontrollable giggles at its most serious moments. After two and a half long hours, I was fed up by overdramatic montages, a meandering plotline, and undisciplined editing, so I walked out before the completion of the film. As it turns out, so did the Director — which explains a lot about why it was so terrible.

What it does not explain is why I have been nonstop, obsessively thinking about Queen ever since…

Badass NASA scientists Dr. Mary H. Johnston, Ann F. Whitaker and Carolyn S. Griner, and crew chief, Doris Chandler at Marshall Space Flight Centers General Purpose Laboratory in 1974.

Today, I ate my breakfast at General Assembly San Francisco, listening to Claire L. Evans talk about the untold history of badass women in technology as featured in her book Broadband.

Her key point was that, in spite of the fact it is indeed a male dominated industry, technology is not an inherently masculine endeavor. There was a time when it was actually dominated by women, probably because the core mission of technology has fundamentally female qualities. Since their origin, computers and the internet have been about building unexpected connections, democratizing access to information, and creating unprecedented opportunities. Isn’t that…

Allison Baum Gates

Venture investor in the future of work

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