The People That Make Mojo Magic
HR director Susan Anderson talks about shaping the company's hybrid medical/tech workforce and what kind of candidate makes a good fit for Mojo.Aug 09, 2020
Managing HR for a diverse team like Mojo’s must be a unique experience. How has your background prepared you for Mojo Vision?
I started out my career in a biotech company that was motivated by discovering cures and really embraced the “we want to make a cure” mentality. After that, I began working in the high tech world where the goal was to create the next big thing and change the world. Now Mojo is this really interesting, full-circle moment for me that melds the biotech with the high-tech, which are two very different fields.
Building the Mojo team must be like blending two families—the tech people and the medical people.
It’s certainly an interesting mix of people and personalities! The people on our team are all amazingly talented, and they all come from different backgrounds. The tech people are driven by the tremendous challenges of making this contact lens a reality from the engineering and design perspective. The medical folks—another very eclectic group of people—are focused on how this can change the world. They’re motivated by the promise of what this could bring for people with vision impairment. Because of that mixture we definitely have a uniquely hybrid people culture, but we’re unified by the challenge of making a smart contact lens reality and it's great.
So Mojo people have a wide range of backgrounds. What’s the common thread?
What they all have in common is two things. One, they’re all dedicated to the mission. Two, they’re all really, really smart, because what we're doing is so highly technical. We have some of the smartest people in the world working for us, seriously. We don’t have any B-players at Mojo. In my mind, these are all A-players who have been in demanding situations in previous roles and have succeeded. That’s what we need, because in startups, you can't have B-players. You need to have A-players, because you don't have the luxury of ramping people slowly into a role. They've got to know their role very well already and hit the ground running. It’s hard building a team like that, but it’s also very freeing for our team leaders: they can give employees the freedom to just do their job, because everyone already knows what they’re doing.
It seems like smart people in medical/healthcare and tech sectors would have a lot of job opportunities. Why do they come to Mojo?
The folks that come here are inspired and driven by what we're doing. In future years, they want to be able to say they were part of this. Silicon Valley has some amazing and legendary companies, but candidates that come to Mojo have less interest in being at those companies. They want to be part of something here where their contribution is tangible, where they are lead engineer on something that’s never been done before. There’s no playbook for doing that. At a larger company it's different—you're one of hundreds of engineers. You're not going to be the person who's solely responsible for creating something new.
As Mojo continues to build and fundraise, your team keeps growing. We know who you are looking to hire, but who are you not?
I would say if you are looking for instant gratification, Mojo isn’t for you. We are creating a very unique and complicated product. It takes a tremendous amount of patience and perseverance to create what we are creating. The people who join our team are fervent and focused on the endgame to determine the steps it takes to get there. You have to have this big, clear vision of all the cool things that this contact lens could do. If you see yourself as audacious, Mojo is definitely for you—it takes audacious people to create something new in the world. The product we're producing is frankly a bold and daring concept. It takes people with far-out thoughts to create what we're inventing. Even so, it’s not just about the candidate, it’s also about the fit. When you interview for a job, the fit of the group is as important as the work you’ll be doing. We’ve done a very good job in making sure we have the right people with the right fit culturally.
One more question: with so many people in tech working remotely, are you interested in talking to candidates who don’t live in the Bay Area?
Well, when you’re building a physical product with medical applications, most of the work is still very hands-on. But we are also building out some teams that could work virtually. Let’s just say we’re not ruling anything out!