We had the good fortune of connecting with Mikey Krieger and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Mikey, how do you think about risk?
Risk. My second favorite four-letter word. It often has a scary connotation with it but there is something beautiful in the unexpected, and relinquishing the idea that I can control the outcome of every situation.

As a Product Manager I can confidently say most of the risk-taking I’ve done has proven to be valuable, whether it leads to a successful business shift or even failure. In both scenarios, I take that data and try to make a more informed decision for the next time. Risk is like an unlocked door that eventually leads to good or great things.

One of the people I met while studying at the Apple Developer Academy was Economist & Author of “Burn the Business Plan”, Carl Schramm. A piece of advice he shared with our class was to embrace the collisions with new people that come into your life, and he couldn’t be more spot-on. Meeting new people doesn’t inherently feel “risky” but the risk of doing nothing with these moments can add up.

My favorite collision happened about 10 years ago. During the daytime I worked at a fashion PR firm as a Logistics Assistant. At night, I was bartending to pay off student loans. One of the former VP’s at the PR firm had messaged me, asking if I’d be interested in working with a Creative Director / CEO as her assistant. Meanwhile, one of the regulars at the bar was chatting with me about an opportunity to work as an Executive Assistant at their ad agency and how I’d be a great fit.

Come to find out, both of these people were referring me to the same founder, Sara Rotman. Two different worlds collided. At any point I could’ve said no, not interested, I’m holding out for my dream tech job or wait for an account executive position to open, and hope they’d give me a chance fresh out of school. Instead, I was hired and it opened up a whole new world of possibilities. This CEO turned out to be one of the most influential people I know, both in business and personally.

I’m a great example that there is no linear path to whatever career you’re seeking if you take a little risk. By working as an EA I had a front & center view of running a business, from the C-Suite perspective, and the pressures + wins that come with it. Today, I’m able to use that knowledge to empathize with stakeholders, be more thoughtful about the business impacts and have a much more diverse perspective. Personally, I’d much rather have a zig-zag career and always stay curious, than regret not trying.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I think the most exciting thing about my career is that it deviated from the expected path, yet still led me to where I am today (and still to continue to evolve). I’ve found that asking questions and continued education helped make me a better leader and colleague. I’ve tried to constantly learn new technical skills so that when my teams or partners run into an issue, I can think critically about it with them and offer more meaningful advice / insight. When you can solve a problem as a team, no one person is the gatekeeper, it’s a multiplier.

Was it easy? Absolutely not. I’ve had some really challenging situations and decisions to overcome that in that moment felt insurmountable. Trying to wade through unfamiliar territory can be terrifying…at the end of the day, it’s business, and there’s always a solution. I think defining what your “non-negotiables” in work are early on can help you avoid some of those challenges later on, a few of mine are below:

– Work with leaders who have integrity
– Set your boundaries, early
– Know your worth

The tech space is also constantly changing. When I first started as a producer, new website builds would regularly cost $350k+. These have now been democratized by the Shopify, Squarespace and Webflow’s of the world. It has reduced costs and templatized parts of the internet that previously felt more unique. It’s an unfortunate side effect but access > limits in my opinion, and will eventually lead to some new reimagined spaces. My hope would be that it’s not a race to the bottom of cost to build the cheapest website or app, but that people can value great design and a thoughtful product overall.

Albeit feels trendy right now, I’d love to see the NFT space continue to thrive because there is a lot of excitement, new ideas and capital flowing through it. The right use case(s) in combination with hardware can make it the next major step for the web.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oh this is a good one.

Top 3 Destinations
Zuma Beach – Always a chill beach day here

Getaway House in Big Bear – The best glamping-style escape and gives you a new appreciation for all the scenery that LA / California has to offer.

Malibu Creek State Park – If you’re looking to “rough it”…in Malibu… this park is beautiful with great hiking, and Blue Bottle is only 15 min away on the PCH.

Top 3 Places to Eat:

L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele – This is the same pizza spot I’d frequent in Italy, albeit with LA prices + upscale decor – their pizza is unbelievably delicious and authentic Neapolitan style.

Gracias Madre or Tacos Tu Madre – If Mother is in the name, it’s delicious. Vegan / Veggie options at both, and the atmosphere is solid.

Jon & Vinnys – Italian, delicious and fan-favorite

Top 3 Spots to Stop By:

Tansy – Plant shop in Burbank, perfect spot for doing workshops or finding gifts and has a great selection of plants + planters + home goods.

Top of Runyon – So cliché but this is also near my house, you can’t beat golden hour at the top of the West trail.

LA Central Library – Shoutout to LAPL and the Octavia Lab. There is some incredible (and free) tech that you can play with by signing up for a Library Card. I don’t care if people think I’m crazy to go to the Library in 2021, it’s one of the best resources the city has in my opinion.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The unsung heroes are always colleagues. I’ve made some incredible friends over the years and while not everyone will stay in your life forever after you leave a position – so many people have had a lasting impact.

I also have a really incredible support group with friends & family but one specific person that sticks out is my husband, Andrew. We are both so career driven and have a mutual respect and understanding for that separation between work / life.

We have our own internal goals and dreams that we are striving for which helps us stay motivated individually, yet also are future-looking as a couple. We’ve relocated more times than I can count for work which is always exciting, and that’s ultimately what brought us out to LA in the first place. Couldn’t be more grateful to have him by my side.

Website: https://www.helikes.it

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/helikes.it/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mtkrieger/

Image Credits

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