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· 2 min read
Yiyang Hibner

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Guest Post Author: Jim Dudley

I actually panicked a little, when I realized that my 30-year career in law enforcement was coming to an end. What was I going to do? How would I spend my free time? How much golf could I actually play? Did I have enough money saved to actually stop working altogether?

I had more questions than answers. Still, I knew a few things:

I didn’t want another job that required me to carry a firearm; I wanted to do something I wanted to do rather than what I had to do; and I wanted to give back to public safety.

I fought the urge to join everything that looked interesting but still committed to being a Park and Recreation Commissioner in my town. I belong to 2 fly fishing clubs, but haven’t been to a meeting in years. I did, however, attend enough meetings early on to learn to tie a decent Wooley Bugger!

I hit the sweet spot after I was invited to host a crime podcast called Policing Matters. A few years later I became the sole host, and was paid for my weekly efforts. We recently have begun to promote them as YouTube videos This, despite the fact that I have been told I have “a face for radio.”

My one criminal justice class I agreed to teach each semester grew to a full load of four and a half classes every Tuesday and Thursday at my alma mater, San Francisco State University. Still, it is so rewarding to talk with young people and explain how things work in the real world, rather than in the 30-minute television episode. Their energy is amazing and their interest in careers in public safety is encouraging.

I still consult with public safety agencies and on civil and criminal cases. I can pick and choose which ones suit my expertise. Both give me the satisfaction of being able to use my experience and expertise to do some problem-solving and help an agency or an aggrieved party.

I’m so enjoying my retirement, doing things that engage me and make me happy. I even manage to get in a round of golf every so often.

· 6 min read
Yiyang Hibner

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Co-author: Reagan Fry

2022 has been quite a year for a lot of us, and December was always supposed to be the most comforting, rewarding holiday time with the family to recharge before the New Year. However, if you tried to travel by air through Southwest, then there was a high chance you would have had a last minute cancellation, adding uncertainty and anxiety to an already stressful year. Originally we wrote this article about what kind of technical and PR disaster it was for Southwest, but Southwest handled it with genuine customer-care follow-ups and we are truly impressed. For example, they reimbursed everything when we rented a truck to drive back from Fresno back to the Bay Area, as well as gave us 75,000 rewards points. Now we are loyal customers again.

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A family of 3 driving in the heavy rain from Fresno back to Bay Area on New Year's Eve

Lesson 1: Handle PR disaster with grace

Trust is hard to earn and easy to lose. Attempting to prevaricate about what actually happened, shift blame, or minimize an issue are easily detected by customers and are great ways to permanently lose trust.

  1. Don’t wait too long to communicate with your customers. Keep it clear, concise, and simple. Sometimes negative updates are better than no updates at all.
  2. Acknowledge the issues or mistakes as well as the impact it has had on customers.
  3. Let customers know when you have a plan to address issues and keep them updated on your progress. Go above and beyond what customers might expect to make things right.

It’s almost impossible to put the genie back in the bottle when disaster strikes, as painful as it may be. Southwest generally followed the right steps - they acknowledged responsibility, communicated with customers and delivered a remediation plan. However, given the nature and scale of the disaster, the refunds offered didn’t go above and beyond to make things right with customers. Ruining the holiday dinner means there’s a good chance you won’t get invited back next year.

Lesson 2: Have a good postmortem reflection to avoid similar issues in the future

Postmortems are a critical part of improving your product processes. They help you and the org prevent the same issue from happening twice and improve how you respond to other incidents in the future. This should not be a pinger-pointing exercise, but an objective discussion of the factors leading to the issue and alignment on recommended next steps.

A good postmortem typically consists of the following:

  1. What was the timeline of events? This should outline what happened and how the team responded.
  2. Who did it affect and what was the impact?
  3. What was the root cause of the issue?
  4. What worked well? What didn’t work well?
  5. How can we prevent from happening in the future or improve how we respond to other issues in the future?

Southwest’s meltdown was so comprehensive and high profile that they hired an outside consulting firm to perform what essentially amounts to a plus-sized postmortem to address the systemic failures that led to it.

Lesson 3: Develop a response plan for worst case scenarios

People tend to form impressions of past experience through intense positive or negative moments and the end of their experience (known as the peak-end rule. The peak–end rule,weighted in our mental calculus.) in psychology). This means that when a crisis inevitably happens, how you respond is critical if you want to influence future perception and retain loyal customers.

Identifying risks and how you are addressing them should be standard whenever introducing changes to the product that impact a significant amount of users. Additionally, not all issues result from planned changes, so you should identify key failure points that would result in significant consequences for the business and/or users to know how to respond. This will help you and your team reduce churn, respond faster, and mitigate frustration for your customers.

There are three general categories of questions that any response plan should seek to cover:

  • Is there an SOP (standard operating procedure) defined? Is it easily accessible by individuals throughout the organization? Does this SOP outline different courses of action depending on the scenario?
  • Who are the key POCs and teams that need to be involved? Do we know how to contact them? What if they are not reachable?
  • When the response is defined, do we have the capability to deliver on the response plan? Do we need to scale up (ex. Have more agents working to process refunds) in a worst case scenario and if so, how?

Lesson 4 Prioritize long-term benefits over short-term gain

It can be difficult to prioritize tech debt reduction projects and communicate their tangible impact. Leaders have goals and want results now. All too often, investment to address tech debt comes after long periods of slow execution, de-prioritizing projects that would otherwise be innovative or impactful but for the inflated cost, consistent difficulty in scaling, or, as in the case of Southwest, critical system failure.

*“Southwest has acknowledged putting updates to its crew scheduling system behind other improvements, despite long-standing complaints from pilots and flight attendants…calling the system its “Achilles’ heel” in the December breakdown.”

by Fortune

Waiting for things to break is a failure of communication and prioritization. As a PM, it’s your job to translate the impact of addressing tech debt to the business and finding space on your roadmap to accommodate such projects. This is not solely an engineering responsibility.

  • What is the impact of the things you could launch if this project increased execution speed by X%? What is the impact of projects that are now possible due to reduced investment cost?
  • What is the likelihood of system failure or the opportunity cost of reduced capacity? For Southwest, it was 9% of Q4 2022 revenue, or $700M in cost impact and a double digit stock price decline in just a few days, not to mention the frustration of millions of customers and the downstream impact this will cause when customers switch airlines due to the horrible experience.

What do you think and how were your recent travel experiences? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments!

· 4 min read
Yiyang Hibner

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Author: Qi Liu

During the pandemic, like many families, my partner and I were confined at home with two out-of-school preschoolers. Camping became an easy choice of our ideal social distancing activity. After a 6-month wait, we took an iconic airstream travel trailer and embarked on a 33-day trip from Seattle to San Diego in May 2021. We then did another 35-day trip to Oshkosh, Wisconsin for the EAA air show in 2022. Most recently, we wrapped up our first winter trip to Death Valley near Las Vegas for 15 days. I’m awed by the legendary RV lifestyle every single day. I hope my experience can spark some inspiration in you too.

Memories are priceless

I started camping and hiking with my kids ever since they were babies. It was one of the most challenging project types I have ever managed, counting in my professional life. Even though I have almost packed up the entire house, my babies (a.k.a. “stakeholders”) could still be grumpy about missing their naps or favorite snack, and that led to missing critical “deadlines”, overspending, or even early termination. With RV, we are living in our home on the wheel. Those beautiful parks and forests become more accessible and affordable to us.

On our trip to Death Valley, we lived on the empty Stovepipe Wells Campground inside the park for only $14 per night, whereas the hotels nearby cost over $400 during the holiday season. The kids took a morning hike to the Mosaic Canyon without waking up too early. When it got dark, they stepped outside the trailer and gazed at the densely packed stars for the first time in their lives.

Planning, and Expect the Unexpected

While RV-ing may be perceived as a form of glamping (glamorous camping), there is another “dark” side of the story which involves a lot of resource management, error handling, and difficult decision-making.

When living in an RV, you need to constantly plan your life around water, sewer, battery and propane usage. You may end up running late for your reserved campground and have to settle on a random Walmart parking lot (the old standby overnight parking option). All to say – situations are unpredictable and require flexibility.During our summer trip to the Crate of the Moon national monument, we had to boondock with no connections to water, electricity, or sewage unlike what you’d find in a developed campground. It was 90°+F outside till 7pm and only cooled down to 70°+F at night. We had to use air cooling and preserve electricity for 2 hours AC time. It was extremely difficult to fall asleep, but the scenic sunset hike made the trade-off worthwhile.

Another lesson I learned is that you can never plan enough. During our trip, we experienced a flat tire, our rear bumper falling off, and an avatory exhaust fan breaking. We could equate the cause of accidents to the Swiss cheese model. Although many layers of defense lie between the accidents, there are flaws in each layer. Once they align, the accident would inevitably happen (wiki). We could run behind schedule, miss a highway exit, forget to lock the bathroom door, or take a chance and pick a tight space at a gas station. We could also be negatively impacted by external events such as an unexpected thunderstorm, grumpy kids throwing tantrums, or late Amazon delivery for tools/parts. Proper risk assessment and management can provide a safety cushion when you need it the most, and can sometimes even save your life (especially for backcountry camping).

We Are Better Together

Once we started the RV life, it feels like we joined a new community full of like-minded people. People step out of their way to strike up a conversation in the campground or on the road. When we had difficulty backing in a narrow campsite or fixing the hookup, our “neighbors” usually dropped what they were doing to provide help. Along the way, the kids made friends who were on route to the same national parks. People shared their life stories with us, invited us for marshmallow roasting parties, and one person even showed us their 41 feet monster-size trailer with a full size kitchen. A bonus point for airstreamers was when another airstream passed by on the road, the driver would usually wave or salute with their light, expecting you to wave back.

I’d like to use the famous quote from the movie Nomadland to illustrate my sentiment for the RV community. “The thing I love the most about traveling life is that there's no final goodbye, we just say I will see you down the road."

Are you attempting the RV life or are you already a proud nomad? Share your experiences in the comments!

· 2 min read
Yiyang Hibner

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Hi I’m Manjusha. I’m a product manager 9-5, a real estate investor 5-9 and an international traveler. I’m single and live in Seattle in a townhome I househack.

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Hi I’m Zhe. I’m a product manager 10/10/5 (JK). I’ve picked up many random hobbies during the pandemic, but have been pretty interested in Keto cooking/baking since 2020.

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Hi! I’m Joyce and a newly-wed. I live in Burlingame, but work at a company in Toronto which means WFH every day and EST hours. I enjoy doing pilates, fishing, cooking, eating, and watching reality TV shows.

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I am Yiyang - a mom to a 19-month energetic boy and reside with my husband in the Bay Area. I love watching TV shows like “Succession” and other dramas on HBO and consider myself a lifelong learner on random but interesting things.

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Hi, I’m Alex. I am a product manager 24/7, crypto enthusiast and K-Drama lover as well as very much into politics and sports. Married with 2 active kids living in San Mateo.

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A random weekday

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A random weekend

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Any trends that stood out to you? Would love to hear your thoughts and your routines in the comments too!

· 3 min read
Yiyang Hibner

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Author: Tanvi Shah

In the past few years of mentoring junior product managers and reviewing their resumes, I have realized that writing a resume is hard and requires multiple edits and eyes before making the cut. After multiple iterations, I have landed on a framework that seems to work well.

See below a shell of my resume. Feel free to use it to create your own and tweak it as needed.

First and foremost, your resume needs to pass two tests

  1. The ATS scanner test (machine scanner) which looks for specific words and skills
  2. The human scanner test, where the recruiter and hiring manager only spend around 5-10 to make a decision to move forward

To ensure that your resume passes both these tests, I have 5 tips for you.

What should be the information hierarchy?

The information hierarchy of a resume is important to help find different sections of information quickly and easily. Below is an example of the hierarchy that has worked for me.

  • Name, email address, phone number
  • Work experience
  • Education & Skills
  • Volunteer work (if any)

I am sure there are other frameworks and hierarchies that may work. Let me know in the comments what has worked for you.

What kind of details are needed in a resume ?

After the ATS scan test, the hiring manager needs to understand the work that you have done and if it aligns with his/her needs.

Below is a list of things that are needed on the resume which involve minimal bandwidth for scanning.

  • Job title, Name of company, period of work
  • 3-5 bullets under each job title
  • Each bullet should roughly follow the framework.
  • Did X to achieve Y metric.
  • X being the feature or product
  • Y being the metric that measures the success of the product. Metrics could include business metrics (revenue, ) or user metrics (customer care tickets, etc.)
  • Use verbs that showcase PM skills like collaboration, leadership, execution.
  • Words like “Created, collaborated, Worked with, Led the team”

What to surface and what to not surface?

Ensure you add only the relevant experiences and have a “Other work experiences” section if the resume starts to get too long. This helps to highlight the extensive work experiences you have while keeping it short and simple.

How long should the resume be?

  • Associate, Junior PMs - 1 page
  • Senior and above - 2 pages

Technologies used to create resumes

  • Google docs/ MS word to pdf
  • Canva

Don’t forget to product manage your own resume, put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager and recruiters, and give them what they need in terms of words, verbs and business impact. And good luck in your job search!

Feel free to comment with other tips that I may have missed

· 4 min read
Yiyang Hibner

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Author: Parul Goel

As a product leader with two decades of experience, I have led several large teams, and helped resolve numerous tricky situations. So when I became a first-time mom last year, I felt ready for this new role. I was wrong. My baby has been the most challenging stakeholder I have encountered - demanding, temperamental and with an overload of cuteness that makes being rational impossible. Taking care of her has stretched me in ways I didn’t think would be possible. Here are the top three leadership lessons I have learned by taking care of her, and I will apply them to my job as well now that I am back.

Read the cues and take proactive actions

My daughter gave me plenty of hunger cues before she would start crying. The times I was successful at reading them, we created insta-worthy moments together. However, if I missed them, I had to deal with a frantic baby howling at the top of her lungs. Her heart piercing cries fueled my panic to a point where I needed to be swaddled and rocked!

At work as well, there are usually cues that signal trouble before the situation escalates, for example, a casual remark revealing brewing tension between two team members. As a leader, learning to catch and blow out these little fires will save you time. You can turn your attention to those high value, strategic tasks that usually lose out to such urgent firefighting.

Take the time to listen

As a new mom, anxiety has been my constant companion. Is she being fed enough? Is she too cold? Is that rash on her neck “normal”? During this time, an excellent team of healthcare workers came to my rescue. However, some were more successful in reassuring me and helping me learn how to take care of my baby than others. Even though my worries were run of the mill for them, something they had probably heard about countless times, they still let me empty my glass of anxiety by letting me talk about my experience. While others cut me off to get into solutions for the sake of efficiency. At times, it made me feel like they were rushing through the appointment, like my worries were not important enough for their time.

At work, when we are part of an emotionally charged conversation, it might be tempting to jump in to share our solutions. Let’s cut to the chase and talk about what needs to be done. But do resist that temptation and instead create the space for others to tell their story. They will hear you better once they feel heard. If you haven’t already, check out Matt Mochary’s great guide on how to make someone feel heard.

Grow and evolve constantly

Just as I would think I was getting the hang of parenting, my baby would change the game. Any strategies I devised to put her to sleep at night were only effective for a night or two. I had to update my repertoire of parenting tools on a daily basis. It was exhausting, but it made me a more confident parent. This experience also helped me grow as a person by making me more tolerant to change and unpredictability.

To be able to succeed in different conditions, cultures and contexts, we also need to constantly expand our leadership skills. Deb Liu, the CEO of, has used new year resolutions to build new skills and habits. The best leaders are constantly learning. So go ahead and put in the work to develop new skills. It will make you a more confident and well rounded leader.

Both motherhood and leadership skills need hands-on experience. So try out these leadership lessons and share your experience with me in the comments!

· 4 min read
Yiyang Hibner

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Co-authors: Joyce Kim and Rohan Shah

If you are a product manager, you will definitely receive feedback to “improve your communication skills” at some point in your career. You’re probably thinking: what could that possibly mean? How can I get any product features shipped at all, without having strong written/verbal communication skills already?

I was accustomed to that mindset until I got some surprising feedback from my peers at Pinterest. I was told that I really needed to improve my communication skills, but I wasn’t sure how. I thought I was doing a fairly good job - preparing meeting agendas, checking progress over Slack, and following up when something was falling behind. What more was I supposed to do? It turns out that I could have done a lot more in both my professional and personal life. While I am still in the process of improving my communication skills, here are 3 things that have worked well for me:

1. Send out a quick meeting summary

My former skip manager Marco Matos told me an incredible tip during a 1-on-1: always send out a quick meeting summary after major stakeholder meetings. He has seen extraordinary communicators follow this habit for years. It doesn’t have to be an extensive summary (and almost certainly shouldn’t be a wall of text!); a high level overview with key points and action items is sufficient. This strategy is both straightforward and effective. By doing this, you will demonstrate your skills of getting things organized, having communication clarity, and also a solid documented record for everyone involved. As a bonus, you now have a shareable artifact that helps your extended team feel more involved in the communication and establishes trust.

2. Seek to understand then to be understood

“Seek to understand then to be understood” is part of Stephen Covey’s best-selling book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and has always struck a chord with me. As depicted in the picture below, people can often feel frustrated communicating when it appears that the other side doesn’t understand what is being said – for PMs, this can often happen with your cross-functional partners, especially in deep engineering, design, or marketing conversations. There is also a Chinese saying “Play Strings to the Cow” 对牛弹琴 (English equivalent is “Cast pearls before the swine”). In my opinion, if your audience doesn’t understand you very well, it is likely due to the fact you don’t understand them from their perspective either. To effectively communicate with a “win” in mind, consider what winning means for others and how you can work together to achieve a common goal. Listening and interpreting are crucial parts of communication as well.

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Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash

3. Reiterate and confirm alignments

My toddler has frequently gotten frustrated with me to the point of tears whenever he has wanted to go out to play – even if I tell him “let’s go.” In the past few months, I’ve come to realize that it’s a small matter of misaligned communication. He thinks that my confirmation means that we will leave “right at this moment,” but I often have to finish up some small task like changing clothes or wrapping up a quick work message. To improve this, I’ve recently started saying “we will go out in XXX minutes after we finish YYY things. Here, let’s put your snacks and water bottle in the backpack first. Now let’s put on your shoes …. etc.” To my surprise, he has been able to grasp this concept quickly and has become a lot more patient.

Applying the same methodology at work, when we have major interactions with cross-functional teams, we need to ensure everyone is on the same page as mental models can easily differ. A great way to achieve this is to summarize meeting progress periodically (e.g. take a pause and conclude what’s been agreed on) and confirm alignment towards the end of the meeting, with an email to close any gaps or continue further discussions (see what I did there? Reiterating point 1!).

Communication is an extremely valuable and transferable skill. Being an effective communicator can also help you become a better partner/parent. I always have room to improve my communication skills and would love to learn from you in the comments too!

· 5 min read
Yiyang Hibner

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Recently a timeline graph has gone viral on a few social media platforms: it illustrated the amount of time we spent with ourselves and people around us. Three trends stood out to me:

  • The time spent with family and friends remains relatively steady after the age of 30.
  • We spend a lot more time alone after 30.
  • We spend the most time with our children between 30-45.

Looking at my own experiences this past year (recovery from depression twice), I should definitely give a lot of credit to my family as well as my awesome friends. They are the ones who took me out to hot pot and listened to me vent and cry. They are the ones who told me that the Blind app is too toxic and bad for my mental health (so I uninstalled it immediately), and they are the ones who sent me memes and funny news to cheer me up when I needed them the most. I cherish my friends like they are family. Our bonds have only gotten stronger over time as we have known each other for years.

However, as we grow older, making friends has become almost exponentially harder. Our lives get busier and are filled with errands and endless to-do lists. Meanwhile, we are a lot pickier about whom we spend time with because time is the most precious gift we can ever give. In her book “Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond”, Lydia Denworth notes that the 30s is the decade where “friendship goes to die”. But what if we are looking to expand our social circle? I wanted to share three recommendations having tried them myself.

1.Try out something new to meet others

We live in a world full of social media platforms but many still feel disconnected.There are great offline methods like weddings, hiking/running group activities, Improv classes, or even play dates to meet other people. I went to my son’s daycare friend’s birthday party and became acquaintances with her parents. Then I started texting the mom for playdate arrangements and fun toddler activities and eventually sent them our family holiday card.

It usually starts with something mutual: you both know the bride/groom from school, or both have been running marathon for years, or both suck at stand-up jokes but want to get better, then you can get the other person’s contact information like phone number or Instagram account (if you think there’s something interesting about them and you want to be in touch), and the rest will be making efforts to follow up and get to know them better.

If you are a technology-obsessed person and have just moved to a new city without too many contacts, try Bumble BFF app! My coach recommended this to me and mentioned it’s Tinder for best friends. You can browse the nearby people’s interest and message them for coffee dates. Similarly, there are different MeetUp groups in local areas based on your personal interests.

2. Set realistic expectations because everyone is busy

I had a “friend” who unfortunately had a fallout with me because I couldn’t spend a lot of time with her after we became moms. We both had some postpartum depression/anxiety issues so we understood each other’s struggles well. In reality, we had 4 playdates within 5 months (which is the most I had with anybody). She didn’t understand my priorities during those times: my mom and 83-year old grandma were helping take care of my newborn on a time-constraint Visa, and I wanted to ensure spending time with them first. As a result, I didn’t have any social life for the longest time, which was quite hard for an extrovert like me.

So the moral of this story is that please understand everyone is busy with something (weekend kiddo activities, birthday parties, family visits or an overwhelming work schedule) or could be going through a hard time and not ready to socialize yet. If you want to be a good friend, please be patient and there will be plenty of time to hang out and catch up later.

3. Embrace solitude from time to time (self-care is equally important!)

Humans are social animals but it could be beneficial in the long term to also carve out alone time for self-care. Sometimes it’s hard to make new friends due to different circumstances so please don’t be so hard on yourself either. I do really enjoy a cup of coffee and watching Youtube videos with headphones on while my son plays with toys by himself on a cozy Sunday morning. I also value my own workout time and drawing at night when my son is asleep and husband is busy doing something else. We should embrace solitude and simply enjoy time hanging out by ourselves. At the end of day/life, we are our own best friends.

Did you find these tips helpful? How do you make friends after 30/40/50? We would love to learn more in the comments! Please consider subscribing to our newsletter “Product Manager Thought Collectives” if you want to hear more about PM and our life (parenthood, hobbies, side hustles etc.)

· 2 min read
Liz Yang

It is with great enthusiasm that we unveil the transformative rebranding of as the definitive nexus for the elite investors, groundbreaking innovators, and the vanguards of technology leadership.

Originating from March 15th, 2019, has emerged from another blog that has empowered millions to enhance their technical acumen. Our core group of ardent thinkers continues to expand, delving into riveting subjects and spearheading events within our vibrant Telegram and Discord communities.

Our collective intellectual journey, alongside the brightest minds and emergent technologies, has led us to an epiphany: technology achieves its zenith only when applied to its noblest purpose—serving humanity. This realization heralds our pivot from an exclusive focus on technology to a harmonious blend of innovation with investment.

Are you a visionary bold enough to stake your claim on the future?

Are you a technological leader ready to rise to the market's challenges with audacious innovation?

Surpassing the market is a formidable aspiration—one few have contemplated, with many resigning to mediocrity. Yet, our resolve remains unshaken. We stand firm in our conviction in the power of science, technology, intellectual clarity, and our collective potential to ascend, to accomplish, and to triumph.

Join us in this reimagined venture where we don't just dream of excellence—we dare to achieve it.