Life after LinkedIn: First 2 Months

Jimmy Wong outdoors

This post was adapted from my email “Life After LinkedIn: First 2 Months” sent out to people on July 1, 2023. You can sign up for future updates.

Life After LinkedIn: First 2 Months

It has been 2 months since I left my data science job at LinkedIn in order to start new ventures to create economic opportunities for individuals and small businesses to grow in the new world of AI so that they can be successful and joyful. For those who had signed up for periodic updates from me, I’m grateful that you have chosen to join me in this journey together.

Jimmy’s Update for July 1, 2023

Here’s a quick summary of my first 2 months of life after LinkedIn.

  • AI and Technologies: Attended AI developers conferences from Microsoft, Google, and Snorkel, as well as a hands-on workshop on fine-tuning an open-source LLM. Accepted to give a keynote speech for an upcoming internal AI conference at a large enterprise in Seattle.
  • Creators and Entrepreneurs: Advised 3 startups and another in the planning stage. Ramped up on my new personal tech stack and also learned the Zettelkasten method of note-taking. I finished a creator class for writing and marketing, and onboarded onto various creator/entrepreneur communities.
  • People and Careers: Celebrated LinkedIn’s 20th anniversary and then commiserated on the following layoff. Met with countless other people with their life stories including recent college graduations and job losses and marriages and new babies and divorce and cancer. Continued my 11th year as a leader of a career coaching team at a non-profit group. Launched a new mastermind group for data science managers and continued ongoing mentoring of a number of other people too. I even returned to LinkedIn to speak at an event on careers.
  • Personal Life: Got much more sleep and exercise resulting in better health with less stress. Finished 2 months of weekly tennis and pickleball classes. Celebrated one son’s college graduation and helped another son go to a summer internship in Tokyo. Escorted my parents to 8 medical appointments in the last 2 months too.

AI and Technologies

I have a more refined strategy now of how to incorporate AI to help people in their careers, which I will share later in the future. In the meantime, I attended the various developer conferences below in the last 2 months, where the large AI vendors shared their visions and demos of where AI is headed in the near future. My next step is to settle on the AI tech stack platform to build upon, and seeing for myself what’s beyond the hype.

  • Microsoft Build developers conference – all about AI
  • Google I/O developers conference – all about AI
  • Snorkel AI conference – all about AI
  • Multiple meet-ups, both virtual and in-person, including a workshop in Mountain View on fine-tuning open-source H2O LLM

AI will change careers

AI and Careers: I also checked out some groups with events like “How to avoid losing your job to AI” which address people’s career concerns with AI. With companies and industries openly declaring using AI to boost productivity to reduce the workforce, we in society have a big responsibility to decide how to shape the future to have AI benefit all people.

Keynote Speech: Since leaving LinkedIn, I’ve also been invited to be a keynote speaker at an internal AI conference at a large enterprise in Seattle, scheduled for September. A properly prepared keynote speech is expected to take 30 hours of research, 30 hours of building the presentation, and then 30 hours of rehearsal. I’m glad I now have the flexibility to hunker down to focus on building my craft in this area. I’ll share my content about personal branding for data science and AI careers with you over the next several months, which will also help me refine my points.

Creators and Entrepreneurs

One of the paths to a more meaningful career utilizing AI is to become a creator or an entrepreneur. Avoid any “get rich quick” schemes though. Anything worthwhile in life will still take time and effort to do well. Just focus on your unique strengths and interests to solve a real problem for people, along with getting proper training and guidance, for a more direct path to success.

I’ve had previous entrepreneurial experiences and training before, but haven’t listed them on my LinkedIn profile. I remember the aspirations I had while in high school and college, but it wasn’t until now that the timing was right to go full-time into building my own business.

In the past 2 months, I’ve advised the founders of 3 startups, and another that’s in the planning stage. This is not necessarily an easy path nor a path for everyone. For me, I have generalist skills (technical plus business) that I’m able to apply to a startup, with which I also plan to help other founders.

My onboarding

Creator tools: Since leaving LinkedIn, I’ve needed to onboard myself with a newly expanded personal tech stack: Notion, Trello, Calendly, ConvertKit, Substack, Medium, Stripe, Carrd, WordPress, Cloudflare, Slack, Canva, OBS, YouTube, and ChatGPT. I’m not ready to go deep into YouTube yet, but I did create and upload 3 videos into YouTube in the last 2 months.

Creator class: I finished a creator class for writing and marketing. The online class was my biggest investment in this venture so far. I believe learning is generally a wise investment that compounds itself. I’m following my own advice about optimizing for learning.

Creator community: I’ve also onboarded into various new communities of entrepreneurs and creators. After leaving the corporate world with unceasing Slack usage, I’m now in 8 different Slack communities, including one I created for a non-profit organization. In these ecosystems, I’ve met some really helpful people who have gone out of their way to welcome me and support me in my transition. It’s like a federation of different people and collaborative alliances, including experienced pros as well as those just starting out like me. In a sense, these are like my new coworkers and business partners out in the internet, each with a slightly different domain and purpose, but all sharing similar idealism.

Personal Knowledge Management: The last part of my onboarding as a creator has been to learn the Zettelkasten method of note-taking. Although “learner” is one of my CliftonStrengths talents, I haven’t been able to organize all my consumed information into an easy way to quickly produce new content. With this new method, I’m already seeing benefits in the way I can synthesize different data sources to find new patterns to create new content and frameworks. I’ve implemented this method like a digital “second brain” into Notion.

People and Careers

Company layoffs

Layoffs continue in the news, including at the LinkedIn company that I had been working at. I had joined LinkedIn’s current and former employees across the internet to happily celebrate the company’s 20th anniversary on Friday, May 5th, 2023, pleased with how the business world has been transformed by the professional social network. Then on the very next business day, the company itself announced mass layoffs of over 700 people including an entire business organization. I took time to console with those who lost their jobs, as well as with the remaining employees, as it was shocking news to all, even if not totally unexpected.

Layoffs are traumatic and challenging for everyone affected, whether they lost their job, or remained to take on new workloads.

In less than 2 months after the May 8th layoff announcement, the Microsoft parent company stock price had risen 10% as of June 30th. In fact, even with all the other layoffs from big tech companies recently, the composite QQQ stock price jumped 14% in this same time frame and still paid a significant dividend. These companies remain profitable for shareholders.

People’s Life Stories

I met a wide variety of people in the last 2 months, both in-person and by Zoom. I heard their stories. Job loss. Potential job loss. Relocation. Wedding. New baby. Divorce. Remarriage. New startup. Abandoned startup. Car crash. Injuries. Illness. Cancer. These are my friends.

Reminds me of the book Life is in the Transitions by author Bruce Feiler. Each of us has a story. Our lives don’t always go as planned. And it’s okay. We carry on.

I’m learning from these people’s experiences. These experiences are valuable. I hope to be better prepared for whatever transition is in my own future. I also hope to learn ways to help people in at least some of these transitions, with whatever ability I have.

People’s Careers

Career Coaching: I continued my 11th year as a leader of a career coaching team at a non-profit group. We celebrated the end of the fiscal year last week by recognizing the volunteer career coaches and listening to the testimonials from the participants whom we had helped to navigate successfully through career transitions. In the last two months, I’ve hosted two events with this group, both times with inspirational guest speakers who left the corporate world to go to non-profit causes. These volunteers and special speakers inspire me by what they are doing, and finding their big “Why.”

Other Events: Along with a partner, I also launched a new mastermind group to support data science managers in their challenges. I also returned to LinkedIn in April to speak at an event on careers.

Your Strengths: I’ve found myself recommending CliftonStrengths strength finder assessments frequently in the last 2 months for people seeking to build a better life. Your God-given strengths and talents form your competitive edge. You distinguish yourself in making more impact in the world with the least amount of energy and personal resistance by utilizing your unique strengths. Whenever you can, design your own career and life around your unique strengths, rather than fitting yourself into someone else’s job description. You can take the CliftonStrengths assessment too if you haven’t done so before, and I’d be happy to review it with you. I’ll also share my own results with everyone in a future email.

Upcoming Quarters

Helpful content for you: I’ll start prioritizing and writing in-depth articles and tutorials and essays on various topics based on your feedback, which could be on AI, Careers, Entrepreneurship, Personal Growth, or Equipping Future Generations. You can partner with me in this journey via your feedback on what would be most helpful for you. Simply submit this feedback form.

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