Episode 18

Defining Ethical Use & Dealing with Law Enforcement: Mark Kahn, Partner and Head of Legal/Tech at Protégé Search

Episode summary

Introduction 00:05

  • Introducing Mark Kahn, Partner and Head of Consumer at Protégé Search, and a GC-turned-Exec Recruiter.

Starting your career in product with your dream organization: 1:22 

  • Taking your first job working with a baseball team, the Oakland A’s.
  • Getting close enough to the business that you are asked to weigh in on signing Jose Conseco.
  • Returning to school and marrying your tech degree with your law degree.
  • Dealing with job search during the 2000 dot-com-bubble burst.
  • Diverting plans to work in tech and becoming a litigator.

Working your way up the corporate food chain to WhatsApp: 6:22

  • Dealing with imposter syndrome and finding disappointment in your work.
  • Reeling what aspects of your work you don’t like and gravitating towards your strengths.
  • Identifying the right-sized company regardless of role and realizing you work best in start-ups.
  • Reconsidering an opportunity at WhatsApp after the Facebook acquisition announcement.

How WhatsApp differed from his expectations: 12:39

  • Taking on an international role.
  • Repositioning your organization to engage with governments and corporations.
  • Protecting user privacy alongside concerns from law enforcement.

Knowing when to step back from a stressful role and leave: 18:27

  • Surviving a stressful and high-profile position.
  • Recognizing when you aren’t being an effective team leader.
  • Prioritizing your health and mental state when your performance suffers.

Taking time off and negotiating a role at Segment: 24:13

  • Finding time to evaluate whether you still want to work in legal.
  • Using time between jobs to better yourself and try new things.
  • Approaching a new opportunity at Segment with your strengths in mind.
  • Meeting with recruiters who understand your concerns.

Working with an executive coach: 29:13

  • Finding useful advice even if you can’t build rapport.

The Segment/Twilio acquisition and carving out a new role for “VP of Ethical Use”: 30:13

  • Defining the idea of “ethical use” for product users.
  • Twilio’s questioning of the Parlor app following its role in the January 6th riots.
  • Developing an ethical framework for acceptable use.
  • Heading a committee to evaluate hypothetical examples of acceptable use.

Stepping away from law into executive recruiter role: 38:15

  • Choosing to leave a role that is interesting but not essential.
  • Shifting your focus to help others build their careers.

Demystifying the job-seeking experience: 40:29

  • Offering tips to those looking for new executive roles.

“Designing Your Life” and advice to his younger self: 43:23

  • Recommending a book to help readers understand their working goals.
  • Wishing you had been better prepared for unanticipated challenges.
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Tyler Finn
Head of Community & Growth, SpotDraft
Mark Kahn
Partner and Head of Legal/Tech, Protégé Search

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