9 Insights & 17 Books Suggested by Uber’s Chief Product Officer

Silicon Valley is the mothership that nurtured countless disruptive tech enterprises. One thing I’ve felt grateful about here would be the plethora of learning opportunities available, in the forms of talks, hackathons, conferences, etc.

This summer through the KPCB Fellows Program, I was fortunate to attend various talks by tech leaders, VCs and startup founders in the area. One particularly compelling talk that I attended was by Jeff Holden, Uber’s Chief Product Officer. It centered on macro trends in tech, and how Uber acclimatizes to the (constantly) evolving market .

To benefit more folks and share lessons, I’m recounting here the key insights I garnered from his presentation.

Prior to Uber, Jeff helped create Prime at Amazon, and led Product Management at Groupon. Now, without further ado:

1.Surround yourself with people who would make you feel stupid
2.Obsess over customers, not competitors
3.Culture matters
4.Get traction fast
5.Take risks. Long term bets. Worry less about short term wins.
6.Optimize for the long term
7.The press is in the *entertainment business*
8.Stop whining. Seriously, stop whining.
9.Seek Truth
Here’s a selection of books Jeff recommended:
Life-Hacking / Longevity
How Not To Die (Greger)
The Opposite of Spoiled (Lieber)
The Talent Code (Coyle)
How Children Succeed (Tough)
Born to Run (McDougall)
High Output Management and Only the Paranoid Survive (Grove)
The Hard Thing About Hard Things (Horowitz)
Superforecasting (Tetlock, Gardner)
Creativity, Inc (Pixar story) by Catmull
Elon Musk (Vance)
Jony Ive (Kahney)
Steve Jobs (Isaacson)
Predictably Irrational (Ariely)
Superintelligence (Bostrom)
The Singularity is Near, How to Create a Mind
The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect (Williams)
Glasshouse (Stross)
PS: Jeff said he was able to read all these all on audiobooks with 2x speed- another cool hack to try out (:
Predictably Irrational — one of the books suggested

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