Let’s meet Max

Max joined the Wonolo team in 2016 working on community operations, specifically Wonoloer onboarding and screening. Since then, he has worked on BizOps building out a new function to improve Customer’s quality of service and scaling Wonolo’s business analytics capabilities. Today, he’s a member of the Strategy and Planning team, leading and supporting cross-functional initiatives. 

What are you grateful for today?

I am very grateful for the opportunity and support Wonolo has given me. As a young startup, the team took a chance on me – a recent grad with a lot of heart, but not a lot of experience. Through the ups and downs of a startup’s journey, I have learned so much wisdom from Wonolo’s exceptional leadership, and have befriended passionate peers. 

I am also grateful for our incredible community of Wonoloers and the opportunity to connect with them. In a world where forces are often dividing and antagonizing us, it is a blessing to be part of a company that encourages strong bonds with the people we serve. It’s not often in tech that your work keeps you grounded, and in that regard Wonolo is special.

When you were in high school, what did you dream of becoming?

Since I was young, I’ve had a strong sense of adventure and eagerness to learn. This led me down many different and interesting paths, some more rewarding than others. One idea that I became fixated on for a time in high school and college was space exploration. The idea of being a pioneer and a scientist fascinated me in both a romantic and practical way. I went so far as to study astronomy and research near-earth economies before the reality of finding an entry-level job settled in.

What events in your life have led you to your current role/job today?

Looking back, there are a few major events that led me to Wonolo. First, my family moved to the Bay Area from England when I was 8. If we had stayed in England, I almost certainly would not be working here! In all seriousness, the transition taught me how it can be difficult to be an outsider in a new environment, how important inclusion and fair treatment is for personal growth, and an appreciation for what makes each culture unique. When I learned about Wonolo’s mission to provide a safe, unbiased, and empowering work experience for its users, I felt an immediate connection. I could also sense that the people promoting it had a little something special as well and I wasn’t wrong!

Fast-forward a few years and I’m about to graduate college trying to figure out what to do with my life. Having left the Bay Area for school, most of my friends and classmates weren’t pursuing a career in the constant entrepreneurial state of Silicon Valley, but something was drawing me back. It probably had something to do with the stories of epic tech booms or the desire to create something of greatness that I could call my own. When I came across an ad in my school’s career site for a young startup based in San Francisco, my heart jumped. An opportunity to do something interesting and cool and in The City no less (that’s San Francisco, not New York City). I applied, then interviewed at their coworking space in the Tenderloin, and then…didn’t get the job. Classic story, but the twist is that the company was Wonolo and I was given a second chance to join 10 months later after they raised a round of funding. Persistence, willingness to try again, and a group of people willing to give me a second chance opened up a door that I will be forever grateful for.

When things do not turn out the way you planned, what is the first thing you do?

No matter how much effort we put into planning, the end result is never quite what we think it will be. That shouldn’t surprise us, and yet it does most of the time. My first reaction is sometimes frustration – that I had the wrong idea or made an error, but I’ve learned to embrace the result not for being right or wrong, but for being a necessary step towards improvement. 

In a professional setting, especially at a startup, relying on the principles of the scientific method (try, learn, try again, etc.) is crucial. You’re doing something maybe no one has tried before. Are you going to get it right the first time? No. The fifth time? Maybe. But each time you get better, and that might be enough to win.

When you have to make a difficult decision, what do you lean on?

Making a difficult decision can be excruciating. I’m the kind of person that will mull over it for some time and can grow anxious. Ultimately, I consider the impact that decision will have on everyone involved. I try to make the choice that is the fairest for all. I also rely on the advice and actions of mentors, which I have been fortunate to meet both in my professional and personal life.

What is one life advice you can give to anyone?

Try something new! Life is the act of experiencing things. It doesn’t have to be crazy or expensive. You just need to be vulnerable and open-minded!

Please finish this sentence: If you really knew me, you would know that ______. 

I can take a while to warm up to new people. I love being outdoors in the sun; swimming, biking, hiking, you name it. I am a huge nerd for video games and sci-fi fantasy books.