Profile: Angela Milash

Hello, I’m Angela. They call me the linchpin for getting products built. I rally cross-functional teams around the "why" of what we're building, and deliver world-class products to startups and Fortune 500 companies.

Angela Milash, Product Management Lead & Chief Mountaineer

angela@kun.ai



What I do

I rally cross-functional teams around the "why" of what we're building, and deliver world-class products to startups and Fortune 500 companies. 

delivery  | product and project management  | thought leadership | process


Recent Projects

1. When a Big 4 tax firm wanted to preempt security improvements before a data breach, I unified efforts to deliver a secure and automated global data platform — and helped save them $30 million by delivering it in the cloud.

How it got done >>

2. With a top 4 payment network trying to do more for its merchants, I led a team in the creation of a prototype that showcased ultrasonic data-over-sound technology and proximity alerts for mobile retail checkout applications.

How I Work

I work remotely, from Tahoe, CA. I often work from home at a home office space, or in a coffee shop, or in my truck next to big amazing mountains.

I keep good boundaries between when/where I’m working and living. Working remotely enables me to have a very integrated life pursuing what I am passionate about. By optimizing for myself how I live and work, I’m able to perform and deliver my best work.


My Product Stack


Slack

Even though I don't ‘see’ my team in person every day, we are always very connected. It’s easy to get a hold of everyone. It allows our team to work in close collaboration especially as a remote first global team working partially asynchronously. 

Emojis are underrated! You can’t read the tone of voice when written, but emojis help. In all seriousness, Slack has so many features that enable remote teams and individuals to collaborate really effectively, and also set good working boundaries (notifications and alert settings in channels, etc..) 


All hail the daily standup!

We check in on progress every single day and quickly remove any impediments. My teams don't stay stuck on anything for long. It takes less than 15 minutes. 


Atlassian’s Jira + Confluence - Collaboration, Documentation 

Atlassian’s products work well for collaboration with my internal teams and client teams. All project docs are in one place. There is one source of truth. Great features for managing the work, reporting and product delivery.


Google Suite/Team Drives

Organize all the things! Schedule all the things! Make documents! Put them in places everyone has access to! 


Invision

Hooray for clickable prototypes! People are visual. Invision and other clickable prototyping tools allow teams to visualize a product, test and iterate early without a lot of up front investment.


Zeplin

It turns designs into dev-ready specs, almost automagically. :sparkle:



When I’m not working

I’m often in the mountains… you'll probably find me rock climbing, skiing, trail running, biking, scrambling my way over the next peak. 

When I’m not in the mountains, I spend a lot of time training. Training is crucial to these activities from a physical and mental perspective. Showing up to train requires that one grow and maintain discipline. 


I recently did my first 34km XC Ski race, the 2020 Boulder Mountain Tour. Training for enduro sports is a whole new ballgame. It’s an amazing pursuit when it comes to seeing gains manifested over time from continually showing up to train. You see these gains when you beat your last years’ 15km race time in a casual afternoon training session. Or when “X” used to feel like you were going to die, and now “X” is not so hard any more. It's a beautiful process.


I like rock climbing. Constantly challenging myself and also having fun. I like the technical challenges of the gear and the places climbing takes you. I like being up high and in the incredible views, the sense of accomplishment for bringing yourself there. I like pulling hard and refining my technique. I like applying myself to interesting problems. How to get up that rock face or mountain, seems like a worthy one. There are lifetime's worth of mountains to climb. 

There are SO MANY benefits physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, in having practices to show up continually for yourself, your growth, your work. Training for these activities is a huge part of how I show up for this process in my life. The learning and gains contribute enormously to my ability to show up as an evolving human in the world, for my family, people and creatures that I love, as well directly impact how I am able to show up in my profession for my Clients and my Team.


What’s in Angela’s backpack? 

I have a backpack and a remote 'desk bag'. The backpack is for the sport adventure of the day, the ‘work bag’ is the remote desk and contains:

  • Charger
  • USB dongle
  • Laptop
  • 2 Pens and 1 highlighter
  • Paper notepad
  • ½ Crushed sticky note pack
  • Water with electrolytes
  • Snack Bar + a fruit
  • Dental Floss
  • Spoon
  • Wireless headphones (and probably a half broken pair of corded headphones)
  • Passport - Just in case, and it beats carrying multiple documents.
  • Vitamins - for staying alive and going strong.
Angela Summiting


Books that have mattered to me:

  • The Rock Warrior's Way, Arno Ilgner - All things rock climbing process, and greatly mirrors interpersonal development process. 
  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, by Mark Manson - The title says it all. He’s a writer I have followed for years while living in SF. No nonsense approach to life and not deluding oneself. 
  • Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, by GReg McKeown - A great book on focus and how to clear away the extraneous to make room for what’s important.
  • Heart Talk, by Cleo Wade- Coffee table book of poetic wisdom on our inevitable humanness and our hearts.
  • Inward, by Yung Pueblo - The back jacket says “true power is living the realization that you are your own healer, here, leader”. The book is filled with such wisdom and poems on multiple subjects.
  • Let my people go surfing, by Yvon Choinard - Yvon Choinard (CEO of Patagonia) is one of the great explorers, he is also a great businessman who has built a business around sustainability, environmental advocacy and protection. We all need to be more like this. I want to learn how. 


Podcasts I’m listening to:

  • The Energy Gang - Follows the leading edge conversation in the transition to renewable energy technology, policy, current events, predictions.
  • Oprah Super Soul Sunday - Inspiration on personal growth and spiritual teachers, writers, ideas, approaches to bettering oneself. I mean it’s Oprah, interviewing spiritual leaders and teachers, what more do I need to say.
  • Joe Rogan Podcast - No B.S. conversations on interesting topics.


Tom

Sandeep

Sandeep: Tell me a bit about the early part of your career.

Tom: I spent a decade helping to build start-ups focused on application and database software. This was where I learned how to sell and do business development. I was fortunate to be part of one company going public and another being sold to IBM.

Sandeep: What is something you learned during this time that helped you with consulting?

Tom: I began to appreciate how different customers achieved varying levels of success with the same foundational technology. This made me understand just how critical getting your team and process right can be.

Sandeep: This is something I only came to appreciate years into consulting, especially after the sale of my first consultancy to Capital One.I saw teams in different parts of the company trying to solve challenges like real-time messaging. Same corporate culture, same technology, same internal support mechanisms. Night and day outcomes.

Tom: We saw a lot of the same thing after selling our practice to EMC (sold to Dell in 2015). This is probably the thing I'm most proud of when it comes to the teams I've helped to build: the ability to perform well in a variety of contexts, sometimes in ways that inspires the client team to up their game as well.

Sandeep: Yes. It's particularly cool to see your team succeed in individual ways after an acquisition...consulting skills definitely translate into the corporate environment.

Tom: Totally. We have people who've stayed on at Dell and risen up the ranks, while others took the opportunity to become successful executives at other Fortune 100 companies....or to start their own agencies and startups.

Sandeep: We've both been around a while. My first consulting project was a Y2K thing for Cisco back in 1998. You've been around a little longer than that :). How do you think consulting has changed most during the past five years?

Tom: I think because there is so much infrastructure available now, consulting has become more delivery and outcome-oriented. A better blend of strategic and tactical. Public Cloud has also enabled velocity to increase at a pace unfathomable 5 years ago.

Sandeep: What has stayed the same?

Tom: It's still mostly about people. People who thrive on change and are focused on their personal and professional development. I love that this has not and will not change...it's what I love about consulting.

Sandeep: I know you're adjusting your work style to COVID. You're still a dude who clearly prefers to drive an hour for a socially-distanced hike or outdoor meeting over Zoom any day of the week :) But personal styles aside, what is specifically compelling about a remote agency during the era of COVID?

Tom: Kunai has been remote for years, which gives them an inherent advantage. There is something about the communication and management styles that just works in a way that other organizations are still figuring out.

Sandeep: Yeah, I think what a lot of people fail to realize is that remote work isn't just office work over Zoom. it's an entirely new paradigm. There needs to be an understanding for asynchronous efficiency...and this just takes time and effort to develop. How do you approach remote work and family? What are you learning about separating work and personal time?

Tom: No matter what the form of interaction, Focus. Be present. Quality over quantity. The best weeks are the weeks where I proactively schedule work and personal time. Neil (Kunai's Head of Delivery) shared a great quote with me "With discipline comes freedom." When I am proactively addressing the majority of my professional and personal commitments, I find I earn a little flexibility. A little freedom.

Sandeep: Tell us about a business hero of yours that I may not have heard of before.

Tom: Paul O'Neill is someone you may not know. His work in both the public and the private sector created a profound impact

Sandeep: We are both over forty years old :). How have you learned how to work smarter during the past decade or so? What do you wish you knew about consulting when you were 25 that you know now?

Tom: Consultants want to make lasting change. Lasting change is often not the act of a single person. Today I work much harder bringing others along on the journey.

Sandeep: Last question. What are you doing here? :) Why join a small consulting company this late in your career when you could have a cushy job somewhere else?

Tom: I love a good challenge personally and professionally. When I turned 40, I decided I would run a 10K every Thanksgiving weekend and try to have my finishing time be less than my age. With the exception of one year where I did not run due to a health issue, I have met the goal. I also recently completed the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike race. So, I guess I'm here because I'm a glutton for punishment :) Jokes aside, our customers have a job to do and I intend to put Kunai in a position to execute flawlessly on their behalf. I love committing jointly to audacious goals for our customers and our business.

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