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Becoming a more strategic contributor, becoming resilient against AI, & enduring economic downturns

with Han Yuan

June 6, 2023

ABOUT HAN YUAN

Han Yuan is the founder of Post-PC Labs, LLC.  Post-PC Labs is wholly-owned and funded by Han, powered by a global team of freelancers. The group's focus is building cash-flow breakeven projects with product-market fit.  Early investment themes include wellness and corporate productivity.

Before Post-PC Labs, Han was SVP of Engineering at Upwork, where he led one of the world's most distributed engineering teams:  350+ engineers in 40 countries around the world.  In this role, Han was responsible for any function that had anything to do with a computer, including Information Security, IT, QA, Application Engineering, Cloud Engineering, Data Science, Infrastructure Engineering, and Program Management.  During his tenure at Upwork, Upwork's revenue doubled, and the company went public in 2018.

In a previous life, Han was an influential mobile engineering leader, having incubated world-class teams for eBay and Netflix.  Han's early work in mobile proved that it was possible to sell billions of dollars of goods and entertain hundreds of millions of people globally using just a mobile phone.  Together with his teams, Han helped launch and scale the eBay and Netflix programs from small incubation teams.  At eBay, he was the first engineer on his team. When Apple announced its one billionth download in the app store and celebrated the top 25 apps in the store of all time, eBay and Netflix were both on the list.

Han started his career in enterprise software specializing in the finance and human resources domains and was a co-founder of Buddystumbler.com.  Han has a B.S and M.S in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from U.C. Berkeley with a minor degree in Computer Science and a Management of Technology Certificate from the Haas School of Business.

"That's the language that you need to communicate with your colleagues, your peers. That's what everybody else understands. They're not going to understand, 'Oh, we need to migrate the data center to the cloud.' They're not going to understand that, 'Hey, these are all the technical reasons why a forklift could be very complicated.' You have to put it in terms that the business is going to understand. That is going to be the art, and along the way, I think if you use that framework, it helps your own teams understand why their work is relevant to the business.”

- Han Yuan   


Join us at ELC Annual 2023!

ELC Annual is our flagship conference for engineering leaders. You’ll learn from experts in engineering and leadership, gain mentorship and support from like-minded professionals, expand your perspectives, build relationships across the tech industry, and leave with practical prove strategies.

Join us this August 30-31 at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco

For tickets, head to https://sfelc.com/annual2023


SHOW NOTES:

  • Converging industry trends that eng leaders should be aware of (2:45)
  • The impact of these trends on tech leaders (6:54)
  • “Opaque” technology & how it can drive innovation in eng leaders (9:48)
  • Emerging opportunities that may intimidate, such as LLMs (11:34)
  • Han’s litmus test to determine your risk of irrelevance as an eng leader (12:55)
  • Framework for eng leaders to increase their value-add to business / product strategy (15:31)
  • Evaluating the business’s needs & aligning your values toward those goals (18:02)
  • How eng leaders can make strategic impact on the business (19:37)
  • Key questions to help eng leaders identify strategic solutions (22:30)
  • Tips for establishing (or reestablishing) your role as a strategic partner (24:00)
  • How Han built credibility during his time @ Upwork (27:40)
  • Using newfound credibility to implement strategic changes (29:54)
  • Rapid fire questions (32:28)

LINKS AND RESOURCES

  • Sapiens – A Brief History of Humankind - Sapiens, the book, takes us on a breath-taking ride through our entire human history, from its evolutionary roots to the age of capitalism and genetic engineering, to uncover why we are the way we are. Sapiens focuses on key processes that shaped humankind and the world around it, such as the advent of agriculture, the creation of money, the spread of religion and the rise of the nation-state. Unlike other books of its kind, Sapiens takes a multi-disciplinary approach that bridges the gaps between history, biology, philosophy and economics in a way never done before. Furthermore, taking both the macro and the micro view, Sapiens conveys not only what happened and why, but also how it felt for individuals.

This episode wouldn’t have been possible without the help of our incredible production team:

Patrick Gallagher - Producer & Co-Host

Jerry Li - Co-Host

Noah Olberding - Associate Producer, Audio & Video Editor https://www.linkedin.com/in/noah-olberding/

Dan Overheim - Audio Engineer, Dan’s also an avid 3D printer - https://www.bnd3d.com/

Ellie Coggins Angus - Copywriter, Check out her other work at https://elliecoggins.com/about/

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