Omidyar Network

Associate, Tech and Society Solutions Lab

 

Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, and his wife, Pam, established Omidyar Network (ON) based on the belief that every person has the potential to make a difference. We take calculated risks in the earliest stages of innovation, helping to transform promising ideas into successful ventures that can increase opportunity for individuals around the world. Headquartered in Redwood City, California, ON also has offices in Washington, DC; London, UK; Mumbai, India; and Johannesburg, South Africa. We have invested more than $1.1 billion into some of the most promising change-makers – both for- and non-profit – globally.

The Tech and Society Solutions Lab is a new effort that draws from Pierre’s and ON’s long-standing beliefs both in the promise of technology to create opportunity, empowerment and social good; as well as our increasing concern about unintended societal consequences arising from rapid technological innovation. The lab will test and scale interventions meant to help tech companies and civil society better anticipate, prevent, and correct issues arising from current and potential future societal downsides of technology – and maximize societal upside. For example:

  • We are supporting a number of field-leading change agents tackling important goals from Time Well Spent, which is raising awareness about the harms arising from the addictive nature of social media, to Doteveryone, which is fomenting a movement for ethical technology in the UK.
  • We are exploring efforts to reinvent training for technologists in prominent universities so as to include deep practical work on planning for societal impact in engineering, data science and product design.
  • We are working with a consortium of data scientists to support a ‘data oath’ that lays out principles for responsible data usage.
  • We are forming partnerships with individual tech companies who want to test specific interventions to build more ethical cultures and product design practices, including tools and resources for employees to more effectively identify and prevent social harms arising from technology.
  • We are planning a major convening of different actors to build shared identity and connective tissue so as to increase access to resources for promising efforts – and to build the foundation for a more formal umbrella effort and impact at scale.

While we believe that the wind is in our sails in terms of the change we seek to create, these are still early days. It is difficult to know which the best interventions will be, or even the most effective points of entry. We are a passionate and entrepreneurial team, taking an experimental approach: starting with small bets on various promising points of entry, and scaling up what works so as to change the system.

 

POSITION SUMMARY:

This is a great opportunity for a mid-career individual to play a formative role in building and shaping a groundbreaking effort. You will be essential to the success of all of the efforts that the Lab takes on and will help us build the effort from the ground up. The position will report to our Vice President and Global Lead for Tech and Society and will be based in Redwood City, California.

Key Responsibilities will include:

 

  • Project diligence: In coordination with the team, you will screen and assess inbound project proposals. You will prepare internal diligence memos, outlining the opportunity, key risks and mitigants, and recommended structure for investment or collaboration. You will help to shepherd any investments/grants through internal processes for approval.
  • Project management: You will be the glue for any of the major efforts we take on. You will keep track of all moving parts, make sure things are progressing to plan, alert necessary stakeholders to any bumps in the road, and propose solutions to thorny operations problems as they arise.
  • Network management: A key element to the success of this work is building relationships and connective tissue with diverse high profile external stakeholders who are all working on a different angle of the problem. You will help us build systems and suggest individual efforts to make sure that we are tracking these different network nodes and building the strongest relationships possible, both individually and collectively.
  • Team representation: Work with colleagues and consultants to develop measures of impact for major programs and projects. As our work progresses, you will play an essential role in helping us learn from our failures and successes and ensuring our strategy focuses resources on our most impactful activities. You will also play a key role in drafting materials on our progress for our board and internal stakeholders.
  • Work with colleagues and consultants to develop measures of impact for major programs and projects.

 

 

EDUCATION, EXPERIENCE AND SKILLS REQUIREMENTS:

  • 8+ years of industry experience.
  • You pride yourself on your excellent project management skills. You have a keen attention to detail and are highly organized. You are able to keep track of large amounts of information across a variety of projects. You quickly identify which details of a project are essential for success and which are less important. You know how to manage laterally so as to ensure that all team members meet essential milestones in any project.
  • You are a keen strategic thinker. You can easily take a complex goal, break down the pros and cons of different approaches, implement a direction, and iterate from learnings along the way. You are easily able to communicate the pros and cons of different approaches, as well as a strong action recommendation, to key stakeholders.
  • You have experience within the tech industry. You have at least a couple of years under your belt with a major tech firm, a start-up or a VC. You understand the pressures and incentives that tech companies face as they scale.
  • You have expertise and track record in the mechanics of influence: building coalitions, cultivating strong partnerships, agenda setting, thought leadership, communications/marketing, and advocacy. You know how to frame an idea for maximum uptake by an intended audience, and how to convince influential partners to come along for the ride.
  • You are passionate about the mission of the team and full of ideas about how the technology industry can become the best version of itself. But you are also a utility player – you are not attached to any one particular idea or vision, and have the ability to pivot and experiment to figure out what works best.
  • You have excellent written and oral communication skills. You are a strong public speaker and prose writer, with evidence of past publications, media coverage and/or speaking roles.
  • You have a high tolerance for ambiguity. You are willing to constantly test ideas, learn from failure with a systematic approach, and start again.
  • You possess a great sense of humor, and care about team culture and harmony.
  • You have a high sense of personal responsibility and integrity, proven ability to exercise discretion and good judgement.
  • Background or experience in computer science, data science, or engineering preferred.
  • BA/BS required, MBA or other graduate degree a plus. 
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