An emerging priority for Schmidt Futures is the development and placement of technical talent on projects that can drive significant social good. This is for a few reasons:
- For those working on a range of challenges – from famine to criminal justice to climate – recruiting top technical talent can be a choke point;
- Students and recent graduates are showing growing interest in career paths that allow them to tackle society’s toughest challenges.
- Nevertheless, the market for connecting this surging talent to the world’s hardest problems remains broken.
The Associate Product Manager (APM) program is directly filling that gap and allowing us to better understand how to solve this market failure. The program recruits talented young leaders with technical training in computer science, product management, and machine learning to work on high value social impact projects with grantee organizations. Over the course of a two-year rotation, APMs work with Schmidt Futures grantees on topics ranging from data-driven criminal justice reform to learning science.
The Manager of the APM program will oversee all aspects of the APM program including:
- Support the growth and development of 20 talented young technologists who are using their skills to build products that make the world better.
- Decide what societal challenges APMs will work on and what specific organizations and products they support.
- Serve as a key operational partner to founders, CEOs, top academics and others who are leaders of organizations where APMs are placed.
- Own the strategy and implementation of sustaining and scaling the APM program.
Project vetting, selection, and scoping
- Set priorities for how to best leverage APM talent towards the highest societal good
- Work with Schmidt Futures investment team to identify social impact organizations that would be a good fit for an APM placement based on potential for impact and technical/product needs
- Scope APM projects that are mission critical for social impact organizations that APMs will have real ownership over and gain core skills
Operational support for social impact organizations
- Provide coaching and operational support for founders, CEOs, tenured professors, and other leaders of grantee organizations on product management; organizational goal setting and prioritization including objectives and key results; identification of talent needs and hiring
- Conduct outreach to leading organizations and thinkers to inform APM project strategies and products.
- Maintain trusted relationships with key institutional partners and structure partnerships to support APM projects.
Coaching and professional development for APMs
- Meet regularly with each APM to understand what’s needed to advance their projects and support them in execution of product management and operational functions.
- Drive APM performance evaluation process through collecting feedback on APM performance from partner organizations where they are placed and Schmidt Futures staff
- Engage APMs to stay up to date on their personal and professional goals and interests
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
Some of the desired capabilities include:
- Proven ability to get things done in startup and highly ambiguous environments.
- Ability to blend strong people management and project management abilities to effectively set team goals, and coach individuals for continued growth and development.
- Natural inclination and ability to take risks, test, learn and modify on the move.
- Demonstrated commitment to helping people and to advancing solutions that are multidisciplinary and promote inclusion.
- Proven track record for managing pilots to successful outcomes and building for scale.
- Entrepreneurial leader who is oriented towards action, learning by doing, and iterative approaches
- Experience managing 3+ direct reports
Manager, APM Program will:
- Have at least 5 years of experience in an operational or product management function
- Have the highest levels of personal ethics and professional integrity
- Be based at the Schmidt Futures offices in New York and be able to travel within the U.S. and internationally on a regular basis as needed.