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Sarah Friar, CEO of Nextdoor

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34K views|7 months ago
💫 Short Summary

The speaker reflects on her upbringing in Northern Ireland during turbulent times, emphasizing the importance of seizing opportunities. Taking risks has been a consistent theme in her life, leading to various experiences and growth. She discusses career decisions, the value of mentors, and transitioning between companies. The speaker highlights the challenges and successes during Square's IPO, emphasizing perseverance and belief in the team. Nextdoor's mission to strengthen communities through AI and ML is discussed, focusing on promoting kindness and constructive dialogue. The platform's role in disaster response and community engagement is emphasized, highlighting the power of human connection.

✨ Highlights
📊 Transcript
Speaker's background in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.
01:22
Community heavily impacted by bombings and crisis, but remained strong and close-knit.
Emphasizes seizing opportunities that come from preparation meeting opportunity.
Reflects on upbringing and resilience of community shaping perspective.
Discusses how experiences shaped approach to life.
The speaker's upbringing in a Quaker-founded village emphasized investing back in the community and taking risks.
03:09
The speaker's parents were pillars of the community, providing help and support to all residents.
Taking risks has led the speaker to opportunities like studying material science at Oxford and working on industrial processes like biox.
Embracing challenges has been a key factor in the speaker's personal growth and journey.
Speaker discusses taking risks in various environments, from working in a Ghanaian mine to post-apartheid South Africa.
05:56
Transitioning to McKinsey and pursuing an MBA at Stanford led to uncertainties and risks.
Choosing Stanford was fortunate, as the speaker describes the campus and surroundings as a dreamlike experience.
The speaker humorously compares the new environment to 'The Truman Show,' emphasizing the drastic change in scenery and climate.
Importance of taking risks and embracing uncertainty in career decisions.
08:04
Speaker shares a pivotal moment during the financial crisis at Goldman Sachs.
Discussion on the Ikigai framework of finding purpose in work and aligning personal values with professional choices.
Decision to leave Goldman Sachs for Square driven by desire for greater purpose and fulfillment.
Emphasis on pursuing passion and aligning values with career decisions.
Speaker reflects on career change journey with mentorship support.
10:42
Mark Benioff guided her transition from Goldman to Salesforce.
Importance of learning from diverse experiences and people.
Creating a patchwork quilt of advice and inspiration.
Pivotal moment of realizing passion and making significant career decision after facing failure.
Rediscovering passion and strengths in career setbacks.
12:33
The speaker's setback led to a moment of freedom and reflection.
She found a new passion for developing and working with people.
Pursuing a career aligned with passions and strengths is crucial for fulfillment.
Temporary setbacks can lead to higher levels of impact in the long run.
Importance of mentorship and positive work culture in leadership.
14:34
Empowering employees with autonomy, encouragement, and tough love leads to success.
Investing in people leads to them going above and beyond for you.
Personal experience transitioning between companies of varying sizes.
The impact of connection on success.
Challenges faced during Square's IPO.
16:59
The roadshow period was stressful and the pricing of the deal was underwhelming.
Emphasis on perseverance and belief in the team's abilities to overcome setbacks.
Strategic decision to sell only 7% of the company during the IPO to maintain control and confidence in the company's future.
Strong emotions and determination required in navigating the complexities of taking a company public.
Importance of raising 280 million, stock fluctuations, and building a strong team with a personal connection.
18:35
Emphasis on mission-driven, trustworthy team members willing to go above and beyond.
Market success after investments in people and personal relationships.
Approach of personally welcoming new team members to foster a sense of approachability and humanity.
Building relationships one person at a time is key to success.
Sarah emphasizes the importance of approachability and diverse perspectives in a company.
21:52
Creating a culture where employees can speak up about risks and concerns without fear of consequences is crucial.
Transitioning from Square to Nextdoor, Sarah finds fulfillment in leading a company dedicated to building and strengthening communities.
The profound impact of Nextdoor's mission played a significant role in her decision to join the company.
Nextdoor platform connects 310,000 communities across 11 countries, emphasizing the importance of neighbors helping each other during crises like Hurricane Harvey.
22:59
The platform addresses themes of loneliness, cost of living, and crisis response.
Nextdoor played a crucial role during emergencies, with the mayor of Houston urging people to download the app to assist neighbors in need.
The platform's purpose resonated with the speaker, highlighting the power of human connection and community support in times of need.
Incorporating AI into Nextdoor platform and unique local knowledge graph.
25:24
Nextdoor's data is dynamic and pre-labeled, providing added color and texture compared to Google Local Search and Yelp.
User interactions like recommendations, lost posts, and moderation flags make labeling data on Nextdoor easy.
Nextdoor has a significant advantage in data labeling compared to other platforms.
Major tech players like Google, Meta, and Microsoft are also present in the AI space, creating a competitive landscape.
Use of AI and ML in Nextdoor to promote kindness in online interactions.
28:20
Nextdoor deployed a 'Kindness Reminder' feature in 2017 to prompt users to consider their words before posting.
35 to 37% of people edit their posts after seeing the reminder, indicating a significant success rate.
The strategy aims to reduce conflict and bias by fostering a more positive online community.
The Potential of Generative AI in Facilitating Tough Conversations and Creating Healthier Communities.
29:11
Generative AI can promote open listening and constructive dialogue to facilitate tough conversations and create healthier communities.
Nextdoor is bridging private company services with public sector interests to address major societal issues.
The platform's role in disaster response and COVID-19 initiatives showcases its potential to enhance community engagement and problem-solving.
Technology has the potential to significantly impact community engagement and problem-solving efforts.
Nextdoor platform enhances community engagement by bringing together various organizations like public agencies, schools, churches, and businesses.
31:50
The platform has nearly 6,000 public agencies involved, including local libraries and government offices.
Community involvement during climate-related disasters is crucial, emphasizing the need for residents to support each other.
Nextdoor introduced weather alerts to provide essential information during natural disasters, promoting collaboration between neighbors, private sectors, and public agencies for an effective response.
Despite limitations in the private sector, the public sector plays a crucial role in stepping in when needed.
Reflections on Governor Newsom's COVID response.
33:59
Emphasis on the involvement of diverse groups and challenges in decision-making.
Impact on small businesses and difficulties in passing necessary measures due to competing interests.
Importance of taking action and potential for significant change with state support.
Need to incorporate speed and competitiveness from the private sector into the public sector while maintaining a thriving public sector.
Importance of Knowing Six Neighbors for Community Well-Being.
36:37
Research indicates that knowing at least six neighbors can combat loneliness and improve health outcomes.
Rebuilding social capital through strong community connections leads to longer lives, higher house prices, and better child outcomes.
A sense of community fosters care and support among neighbors, benefiting individuals of all ages.
Connecting with neighbors can make a significant difference in someone's life, providing a quiet place for homework or additional supervision for children.
Vision for a reconnected society at a grassroots level.
40:07
Discussion on housing shortage in the US and community dynamics.
Nextdoor's approach to neighborhood boundaries, product market fit, and content relevance.
Challenges in rural and urban areas with noise and signal balance.
Rethinking product to move away from hardwired boundaries and algorithm-based content selection based on individual concepts of local.
Discussion on neighborhood boundaries and community interactions.
41:13
Emphasis on focusing on content rather than artificial boundaries.
Introduction of 'Project Sun' promoting personal connections.
Concern raised about transient populations and lack of community investment.
Addressing homelessness as a solvable issue through breaking it down into manageable components.
Challenges of the CEO Role
44:28
CEOs face loneliness due to the need to balance relationships with employees and the board, resulting in a lack of confidants.
Consistency in messaging to the board is crucial, and creating personal space is necessary for CEOs.
Limited communication with the board highlights the importance of strategic messaging during quarterly meetings.
CEOs must wear a mask for employees while managing external relationships with the board, leading to isolation and unique challenges.
The speaker discusses evolving opinions and the challenge of being perceived as flip-flopping.
45:22
She emphasizes the importance of empathizing with others' evolving perspectives.
The speaker highlights the value of personal connections with other CEOs to break down barriers.
She shares her approach to quickly learning about different industries in senior leadership roles.
It is important to stay informed and avoid ignorance for too long in leadership positions.
Importance of Reading for Personal Growth and Leadership Development.
48:38
The speaker aims to read 52 books a year but usually reaches the 40s.
Range is recommended as a book that emphasizes the value of diverse skills for leadership.
Leonardo da Vinci's diverse interests contributed to his success.
Importance of listening, learning in new roles before taking action, and dangers of overconfidence are highlighted.
Importance of strategic planning before taking action.
50:13
Outline long-term goals before focusing on tactics.
Need for a framework that remains relevant over time.
Lightning round of fill-in-the-blank questions with guests sharing cultural differences and memorable experiences at GSB.
Key advice inspired by Irish poet Seamus Heaney is shared, emphasizing taking risks and following intuition over logic.
52:57
The segment concludes with a poetic note expressing gratitude and well wishes for future success.
The interviewee expresses honor and pleasure in the interview, thanking the interviewer for the opportunity.
The audience responds with applause and music, symbolizing a positive and uplifting conclusion to the segment.