Welcome to my Tech Leaders Interview Series, where I interview impactful leaders and ask them to share tips and techniques that have benefited them, both in their personal and professional lives.
This interview is with Michael Matias, Partner, J-Ventures.
Michael Matias, Forbes 30 Under 30, is the author of Age is Only an Int: Lessons I Learned as a Young Entrepreneur. He studies Artificial Intelligence at Stanford University, is a Venture Partner at J-Ventures, and was an engineer at Hippo Insurance. Matias previously served as an officer in the 8200 unit. He also hosts a show called 20 Minute Leaders, a tech entrepreneurship interview series featuring one-on-one interviews with fascinating founders, innovators, and thought leaders sharing their journeys and experiences.
What are your main productivity tips?
Any task that takes less than 2 minutes: do it immediately. I was shocked to discover how many of these “small tasks” pile on throughout the day, creating cognitive stress that takes away from the really important tasks. By getting these tasks out of the way, we allow ourselves to focus on the longer and more complicated tasks with less distractions.
What is your favorite drink?
Coconut water! Plain water is also great!
I initially used coconut water to urge myself to drink more (it is quite hydrating) and slowly began diluting it with water. At this point, I simply enjoy cold natural water.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
I’m lucky to be surrounded by many close friends and family. I see them on a daily basis (sometimes a few times a day), and we are extremely open about the things we’re going through.
My other go-to place is my pets. I grew up with animals from a very young age, with dogs and rabbits and parrots and a chinchilla! Today my dog Benny is one of my best friends, and he’s always there for a good talk and a hug.
Your tips for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Find those that you look up to (personally and professionally), and work closely with them. It is much more important to gain inspiration and shorten the feedback loop rather than work on the highest paying or most impressive job. By maximizing on learning, you increase your personal stock and will be able to take ownership of increasingly complicated projects.
Who in the Tech industry would you like to meet for lunch?
Alan Turing: he’s my dad’s ultimate hero.
If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
Tel Aviv was and always will be my favorite place in the world. The beach, the food, the people, the language – it’s simply the best. Palo Alto comes at a close second (I know most of my friends would prefer to live in San Francisco, but I have an old soul.
What is your favorite book recommendation?
Freakonomics: The Hidden Side of Everything. It’s incredible how little we understand about the world we live in (or better yet, we think we understand it but often fail to appreciate all the moving parts that make it much more complex than it really is). Freakonomics is a fun page-turner that shows these misunderstandings.
Why are you in Tech?
I happened to grow up in a house where Tech was always a part of our lives, and I grew to love the complexity of deep technology and the way that, if done right, it can make an incredible impact on many people. I choose to continue dedicating myself to the tech industry as it is a place where I can continue working on large-scale projects that impact many people at a time. Tech is just a way to reach many people and hopefully make a positive impact.
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