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Indexing on Action (wsg Tom Chi) – EP 83

In this episode, host Gregg Garrett discusses thinking big and how this skill enables leaders to compete in this ever-changing environment. He then speaks to Tom Chi, at One Ventures. Tom is the former head of experience at Google X where he was responsible for creating the first Google car and Google glass. Tom speaks about zooming your perspective out as far as you can before making any decisions. Of course, you have to hear about his top three, which even includes people he doesn’t get along with, and you have to hear what he has to say about understanding the world through verbs over nouns.

About Tom Chi

Tom Chi has worked in a wide range of roles from astrophysical researcher to Fortune 500 consultant to corporate executive developing new hardware/software products and services. He’s play’s a significant role in established projects with global reach (Microsoft Outlook, Yahoo Search), and scaled new projects from conception to significance (Yahoo Answers from 0 to 90 million users).

Tom has pioneered and practiced a unique approach to rapid prototyping, visioning, and leadership that can jumpstart innovative new ideas as well as move large organizations at unprecedented speeds. These approaches have benefitted over a dozen industry-leading companies. He most recently served as head of product experience at Google X developing technology such as Google Glass and Google’s self-driving cars.

His current focus is working with social and environmental entrepreneurs around the globe, rebooting the fundamental frameworks of entrepreneurship itself, and coaching/teaching a limited number of values-aligned organizations & leaders.

Show Highlights

Segment 1: Overview & Introductions

00:59   Seeing perspectives: the power of using systems

3:00      Taking a step back: always look for the bigger picture

4:00      Introducing Tom Chi

5:08      Tom’s Background

Segment 2: The Top Three

09:54   Tom’s ‘Top Three’ begins with Buckminster Fuller

11:24   Looking at the bigger picture in Architecture

12:04   Tom’s ‘Top Three’ continues by expanding to anyone that inspires him

16:07   Studying the context is just as important as studying the topic

18:58   Modern thought process and the struggles to peel that away

21:22   Tom Concludes his ‘Top Three’ with anyone he disagrees with.

Segment 3: Teaching Verbs not Nouns

23:34   Creating a world that fosters healthy relationships

24:33   People are obsessed with nouns and states. This needs to be the opposite.

25:31   Using verbs to compress key info on something

28:07   Survival of the fittest and how this embodies the usage of verbs vs nouns

30:21   Understanding the why and not the what

32:59   Static leaders vs active, involved ones

36:59   Using verbs instead of nouns to develop action statements

40:45   Leadership cannot be a bottleneck for decisions

42:40   Using the free market as an agent for change

44:23   Getting financial incentives aligned with environmental goals

Section 4: Wrapping Up

48:05   Closing thoughts: change a system by pushing its current state to obsoletion

52:13   Stay in touch with Tom via LinkedIn and his website!

Additional Information


Tom’s LinkedIn

Tom Chi’s Website

Contact Gregg Garrett:

Contact CGS Advisors:


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