The way to think differently is to act differently and get comfortable with being uncomfortable. For business leaders, entrepreneurs, managers and anyone who wants to improve how they work and live: Welcome to the Unlearn Podcast. Host Barry O’Reilly, author of Unlearn and Lean Enterprise seeks to synthesize the superpowers of extraordinary individuals into actionable strategies you can use—to Think BIG, start small and learn fast, and find your edge with excellence.
United States
14 episodes
since April 17, 2019


This week’s guest is Thaniya Keereepart, Head of Product, International at Patreon. Thaniya joined Patreon after working with Major League Baseball (MLB) and TED, moving into the digital space.Raising Your HandSome people gravitate towards structure, but people like Thaniya thrive on unstructured paths. She says, “The through-line of all of my turning points has been that I have a habit of raising my hand to volunteer to do things I don't really know how to do.” She credits her bravery to learning through doing: she understands how to iterate so she puts guardrails in place to learn what works and be flexible and adaptive when unintended consequences occur.She relates how her Game Day program crashed in the opening MLB game, with four million users online. That scary moment taught her how to handle live events. Something admirable about that environment, however, is that when anything broke, everyone came together to fix it. Barry notes that high-performance cultures focus on solving the problem and improving the system, rather than blaming an individual. This allows everyone to feel comfortable and give their best.Building an Inclusive TeamWhen you’re building products for the masses, you want your team to reflect the diversity of your consumers. The best performing teams are usually the most diverse. Both Barry and Thaniya had to unlearn a great deal when they started working in diverse environments. Thaniya was used to working largely with males in college and at MLB, so there was a culture shock when she started at TED, but it opened her eyes to what it’s like to work in an environment with people of various backgrounds, cultures and genders. Barry says that he never saw the problem of a lack of diversity and inclusion until he started to work in San Francisco. He was in a bubble of sorts at Thought Works, his previous workplace since it was the norm to have a diverse workforce. He felt a call to action to share the values he learned at Thought Works in his new, male-dominated workplace.Sharing a Beautiful Vision of the FutureIt’s important to share a vision of the future. Thaniya believes in creating big change in small chunks, creating value that can be seen and felt immediately. She involves the teams that will benefit from the change in the product development phase. These teams then become champions of the new product. When you start small, Barry adds, you create evidence of the future you’re trying to build; you build trust and confidence that your big vision can come to life. It’s also important to anchor the big change with a beautiful narrative, says Thaniya.Engaging CustomersPart of re-platforming includes building a change management system to set customer expectations. It’s unwise to have big changes foisted on your customers suddenly. Thaniya’s strategy at TED was to create excitement around the coming changes by inviting customers to be part of a beta program. They felt that they were helping to build TED’s new platform, which engaged them and made them champions of the coming change.ResourcesThaniya Keereepart on LinkedInWhy Diverse Teams are Smarter - Harvard Business ReviewDiversity + Inclusion = Better Decision Making at Work 
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