A bi-weekly newsletter on leadership, company culture, employee engagement and employee feedback by Claire Lew.

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Issue 12 Interview with Ben Congleton, CEO and founder of Olark


Every few weeks, I ask one question to a founder, CEO, manager, or business owner I respect…

A chat with Ben Congleton

Ben Congleton is the CEO and Co-founder of Olark, a live chat platform with 12,000+ customers worldwide. Most recently, Ben was in the news for his incredible email he wrote to an employee regarding mental health. From his initial start at Y Combinator back in 2009, Ben shares the biggest lesson he learned along the way in this interview.

Transcript of the interview is here.


Latest reads

Do You Manage Like a Gatekeeper or a Gardener?
“To manage, new leaders often adopt the role of a gatekeeper early on and have a hard time letting go.” Written by Jared Williams, Director of Engineering at Hubspot

Emailing While You’re on Vacation Is a Quick Way to Ruin Company Culture
“Every email sent by a vacationing employee is a tiny cultural erosion: a signal to other employees that time off isn’t really time off. In aggregate, these tiny erosions matter.” Written by Katie Denis

How To Improve Emotional Intelligence
“In a very real sense we have two minds, one that thinks and one that feels.” Written by Darius Foroux

Processing My Struggle With Depression And Imposter Syndrome in Silicon Valley
“I didn’t have that skill in 2011; I wasn’t processing my emotions, how I was feeling and even worse, how I was making others feel around me.” Written by Wayne Sutton, Cofounder of Change Catalysts & The Tech Inclusion Conference

Rebuilding Your Authority When Your Leadership Is Overstepped
“If the scope of your role is not clearly defined, the chances for overstepping your leadership is heightened.” Written by Jenn Lofgren, Forbes


Favorite reads

Watch a young Steve Jobs explain why most professional managers are “bozos”
“We went out and hired a bunch of professional management. It didn’t work at all. Most of them were bozos.” Published in Quartz

Strategic decisions: When can you trust your gut?
“You need to take your gut feeling as an important data point, but then you have to consciously and deliberately evaluate it, to see if it makes sense in this context.” McKinsey Quarterly interview with Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman and psychologist Gary Klein

Addressing executive swoop-ins
“Don’t tell your team ‘The boss wants us to do this, so I guess we have to do it’.” Written by Julie Zhuo, VP Product Design at Facebook

10 Principles of Strategic Leadership
“Most companies have leaders with the strong operational skills needed to maintain the status quo. But they face a critical deficit: They lack people in positions of power with the know-how, experience, and confidence required to tackle what management scientists call ‘wicked problems’.” Written by Jessica Leitch, David Lancefield, and Mark Dawson


Just for fun

The power of believing you can improve
A TED talk by Carol Dweck on growth mindset – something that Ben Congleton, our Heartbeat guest, mentioned. Carol’s talk has been watched almost 7 million times.


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