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Ownership Leaders are owners.

They think long term and don’t sacrifice long-term value for short-
term results. They act on behalf of the entire company, beyond just their own team. They never say
“that’s not my job”.

Leading a project – you can’t leave the outcomes for the things done by juniors- you take
responsibility, you take care for everything coming out of the project – take the ownership, be
responsible for the work you do, you are answerable. If that has to do with helping your juniors
lagging behind, redoing some things do it by yourself. 1st project- Moji (50%) + Sushi (25%) + Me
(25%)  Moji gone, Sushi not fully contributing Moji (15%) + Sushi (15%) + Me (70%)  first
author in publication, next project leadership

Learn and Be Curious + Think Big Leaders are never done learning and always seek to improve
themselves. They are curious about new possibilities and act to explore them.

Fabi’s total synthesis project – new direction  extension possibility, learnt, improvised new
publication, novel project started  instead of a single target  a bunch of natural products/drugs
could be synthesized now  Pacifichem presentation

Invent and Simplify Leaders expect and require innovation and invention from their teams and
always find ways to simplify. They are externally aware, look for new ideas from everywhere, and
are not limited by “not invented here.” As we do new things, we accept that we may be
misunderstood for long periods of time.

Boron enolate project-started from the scratch – as started from an unexpected observation – no
previous written project – invented an alternative and easier method, post 40 years of complex
chemistry

Are Right, A Lot Leaders are right a lot. They have strong judgment and good instincts. They seek
diverse perspectives and work to challenge their prejudices/assumptions.

Judgements and instincts helped to take calculative risks that Leon was afraid to take – succeeded to
perform the key step with improving the yield and selectivity and improved from 25% to 80%

Choose the right undergrad research assistant, how to improve lab environment- could figure out
that everyone was thinking about own interest, someone had to help them to get the overview that
everyone’s work is dependent on others. Giving inputs to everyone help you to build trust, you learn
and help others to learn. Share knowledge helps to gain knowledge. 2 seniors-switched substrates.
Everyone as a team. I, myself, took suggestions from my labmates, no matter how junior they were.
Earn Trust

Insist on the Highest Standards Leaders have relentlessly high standards - many people may think
these standards are unreasonably high. Leaders are continually raising the bar and driving their
teams to deliver high quality products, services and processes. Leaders ensure that defects do not
get sent down the line and that problems are fixed so they stay fixed

Expectation high from Brady-the undergrad research assistant- keep motivating unless success
comes, did not stop helping because I had to get back to India and I would not need to care any
more. Questioning your own work, challenging yourself help to grow. Brady grew to the level where
he could mentor new students. I believe, that depends on sticking to the high standards and
transcending the knowledge throughout the organization, however big or small helps to grow as a
whole.
Bias for Action Speed matters in business. Many decisions and actions are reversible and do not
need extensive study. We value calculated risk taking.

Initial expectation was single reaction in the weekend – however plans changed during the
observation-needed to set up multiple similar reactions with various determining factors- compared
to the benchmark – exciting discovery. Could find something out of the line of hypothesis, helped to
have an extension of the expected project.

Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit Leaders are obligated to respectfully challenge decisions
when they disagree, even when doing so is uncomfortable or exhausting. Leaders have conviction
and are tenacious. They do not compromise for the sake of social cohesion. Once a decision is
determined, they commit wholly.

Moji’s mistake – disagreement- started with the unusual result – something came out new.

Dive Deep Leaders operate at all levels, stay connected to the details, audit frequently, and are
sceptical when metrics and anecdote differ. No task is beneath them

Leon’s inability to take the project forward and missing on the key step – pursuing with that with
perseverance.

Earn Trust Leaders listen attentively, speak candidly, and treat others respectfully. They are vocally
self-critical, even when doing so is awkward or embarrassing. Leaders do not believe their or their
team’s body odour smells of perfume. They benchmark themselves and their teams against the best.

Switching substrates for the 2 seniors – based on their previous experience – helped with previous
literature precedents

Deliver Results Leaders focus on the key inputs for their business and deliver them with the right
quality and in a timely fashion. Despite setbacks, they rise to the occasion and never settle.

The huge project – 5 manpower driven project – was able to drive the project forward to finish after
1.5 years of work

Frugality Accomplish more with less. Constraints breed resourcefulness, self-sufficiency and
invention. There are no extra points for growing headcount, budget size or fixed expense.

Looked up for a much cheaper reagent to reduce the cost for making a whole reagent from easily
available cheaper SM – Cy2BCl preparation in the lab – got a patent on it – sold to Merck

To buy 50 g bottle from Merck, costs $1250 – which could be prepared in lab, definitely would need
some effort and patience, and air sensitive material -

Customer Obsession Leaders start with the customer and work backwards. They work vigorously to
earn and keep customer trust. Although leaders pay attention to competitors, they obsess over
customers.

Hire and Develop the Best Leaders raise the performance bar with every hire and promotion. They
recognize exceptional talent, and willingly move them throughout the organization. Leaders develop
leaders and take seriously their role in coaching others. We work on behalf of our people to invent
mechanisms for development like Career Choice.

Situation: Myself as a graduate teaching assistant

Task: To choose one for undergrad research assistant for the lab
Action: I believed that who learns fast through failures, and who wants to take risks to implement
innovative ideas would be the best suited person the hard-working, brainstorming environment of
our lab. Hence, I always used to avoid to help them with everything, asked when someone did a
mistake – why do you think this went wrong? Whether they could come up with some hypothesis? If
yes, and they were fast, then I would suggest them to focus on others when they were working. And
what could else they do better if there were no instructions?

Brady: Never gave him a direct answer to why? I would ask him to try his best to find the reason.
Find literature. Find using your own brain. I would let him do mistakes when I knew it was not a huge
one, because I felt that would help him build his decision-making skills. For any reaction, I would
always suggest to come up with a hypothesis, find a reason for it, how could he support that reason.
If not, why did his plan fail? I mentored him for 1.5 years.

Results: I learned that I could be a good mentor too. Brady indeed excelled and later joined the
group as a Masters student and I was proud to see him mentoring others when I was leaving.

Developing and helping Brady to get trained over time to be an excellent researcher.

Post interview Q: Amazon go – shop lifting?

Amazon in health care?

Rheinburg Amazon fulfilment center visit – why very less automation, no pods!?

How is amazon’s reaction to use automation yet securing jobs – what would be the point to
balancing both? As amazon is aggressively moving towards automation, what challenges would be
facing to replace people with machine? How would you handle the emotions/HR?

Why so few FCs in Europe? How many new FCs to be opened?

What is Amazon’s plan regarding China and Alibaba?

Amazon’s growth is scaring others in US – some politicians are thinking about bifurcating Amazon
into 2 companies, how true is it?

How soon can we expect the patents for Amazon flying FC or underwater FCs being confirmed into a
true application?

In Rheinburg facility, any pallet is used for storing any item, chosen randomly. Is it because of lack of
automation or is it intentionally done in even other warehouses? What is the motto behind it?
How is the space optimization managed in FCs in terms of heights?

Gregory Bryan: So many new FCs at the same time in EU? Is it really FCs (600-800 million, 10-12) or is
it because there will be a possible future utilization for some of those as factories or production
facilities or minimize the time of delivery and increase customer experience?

FLP – enrolled every year promoted, performance measurement parameters? How is the
promotions decided?

Why Amazon?

According to me, Supply chain management is the most attractive part in managing a business. And
Amazon kills it, with its data driven nature and use of innovation. Six-sigma style processing,
depending on Kaizen techniques to pursue a lean management and data driven decision making
makes Amazon the most attractive option to me. this is the best place to learn during this period of
disruption and learn from the best people.

Open to new ideas. Customer focused. Opportunity to learn and grow, being part of it. Gives time to
reflect and learn. opportunities to move, grow and take on new challenges are abundant. interesting
problems to solve or opportunities to build. Great compassion and warmth from co-workers-gives
you the feel of the family.

Keep it Lean

The Lean approach complements the perspective of Six Sigma, and Amazon has similarly tied its
central focus on streamlining operations into its everyday practices. The company, for instance,
devotes more manpower to its fulfillment and customer service centers than its engineering end to
keep its level of service high. Moreover, the transportation method for a particular package is based
on the promised delivery date, and each job function is thoughtfully designed to achieve maximum
efficiency. Considering that this approach allows you to make the most of available resources and
trim costs, it’s a smart way to guard your business against premature growth.

Building off of Kaizen

Since the goal for your business is undoubtedly better and better results, it stands to reason that
your operations should be consistently improving. At Amazon, Kaizen — the philosophy that focuses
on maximizing efficiency to match or exceed customer needs — governs the way the company runs,
especially in the fulfillment center. Its warehouses process more than 35 orders every second,
marking a near-unprecedented service level in the retail space. Every distribution center even has a
manager assigned to ensure continuous improvement as far as workflow is concerned.

The Basics-six sigma driven

Despite the fact that Six Sigma is not typically featured in Amazon’s publicity materials, the mindset
has long been an integral part of its cultural identity. Dating all the way back to 1999, both Six Sigma
and related Lean Manufacturing principles have factored prominently into the company’s
Operational Excellence program. For example, Amazon has adopted a number of Six Sigma concepts,
including a deliberate effort to recruit the finest thought leaders from an exclusive selection top
schools like MIT and Carnegie-Mellon. Since your business is only as good as the people you bring
into it

Why Supply Chain?


Supply chain management is data driven and innovation plays a big part of it to smoothen it

One of the common threads found throughout all supply chain management careers is that it’s
largely focused on quantifiable figures.

Presence in every industry, manufacturing, retail etc.

fast-paced, demanding and competitive industry – which makes it always challenging and never
boring

variety of career opportunities

Globalisation has led from procurement of raw material to final consumer delivery – faster
processing, with lowering cost and improving consumer experience – a competitive nature has
followed. Technological influence and AI, machine learning, ioT influencing SCM. We see more data
driven forecasting, (purchase history based product suggestions on Amazon) and innovation
involved – efficient inventory management, less working capital. What would be the best example
other than AWS to lead consistent operations - highly optimized through outsourcing, when low
demand. Market leader to Azur (Microsoft) way behind than cloud services in AWS. Best resource
utilization. Best customer experience.

Lots of analytics, tech use made me more interested in SCM – as aligned with my research interest.
Learning new stuffs makes me interested, SCM is one of those where the AI and adopting the most
cutting-edge tech in Amazon. Lots of opportunities to experiment, fast learning, faster than
competitors. What can be the best example than Amazon Go that disrupted the shopping
experience?

High cash flow, faster from consumer – slower to suppliers – hold on to the cash for longer – can
invest in tech. only company in the world with highest market value, share price fastest growth- with
negative profit.

Culture

Open to new ideas. Customer focused. Opportunity to learn and grow, being part of it. Gives time to
reflect and learn. opportunities to move, grow and take on new challenges are abundant. interesting
problems to solve or opportunities to build. Great compassion and warmth from co-workers-gives
you the feel of the family.
Invent and Simplify + Think big:

Situation: One of my juniors-working on a key experiment-had a certain outcome, got back to home
country – came back after 5 weeks – needed to reproduce the reaction – couldn’t- apparently did
not do anything different-Prof. asked me to look into it –

Task: What was he doing differently? Was it so hard to reproduce? Or something else was going on?

Action: I performed it-identical result each time – observed him doing reaction thoroughly for 4/5
days – what I found was he used to add a key reagent over 30 seconds – he was recently recognized
with a neurotic problem – and he had a shaking problem- hence, to avoid any spill, he was adding
the reagent too fast- within 10 seconds-that was destroying the main product – I looked into his
reaction, analyzed to find that the fast addition was generating something new. I wondered if such a
minute variation of the time is so important, how would the reaction respond if the time is varied in
a more extensive manner and if there is more into it that I could extract - pursued it with the
variation of time as a factor of reagent addition – and based on that, could able to manipulate the
major products formed in the reaction –

Result: earlier the 8 major products had to be obtained from 8 different reactions, using different
reagents- which would cost around 40 hours of human resource and reagents worth of approx..
$350. Now with discovery of the time factor and its extreme importance, same conditions parallel
reactions could be set and performed with one single reagent in a much simplified manner – costing
$30-35, saving about 90% cost and also just 5 hours of total time, i.e. saving 87.5% time. From a
large scale industry use perspective, you could imagine how much manpower and working hours
could be saved – increasing productivity and efficiency.

Dig deep + Bias for Action:+ Customer obsession/deliver results Leon’s case -fail & bounce back?

Situation: One key step during the synthesis of a drug molecule – a senior grad researcher, Leon,
was not able to optimize it, produced with only 15% yield and rest was unwanted materials. In turn,
the final 2 drug molecules could not be synthesized. He used to work just beside me, so I had seen
him working, his desperation, his commitment. I was not in doubt of that, but was in doubt whether
with the hypothesis he was progressing was right or not. He was almost losing his patience. In a
group meeting, I spoke to the supervisor, told him my thoughts. He asked Leon to participate. Leon
clearly was not agreeing that his hypothesis was wrong. I asked my supervisor to let me work on the
project, to figure out what wrong was going on, whether it was Leon’s hypothesis or his working
method or anything else. –disagreed and committed myself to the project. Also, the research group
had a collaboration going on with Gilead Sciences, and they had given us a deadline of 2 months to
finish the project.

Task: Had to optimize the step, improve yield and selectivity and go forward to finish the drug
molecule, within the timeline. It was important to keep the trust of Gilead, as they were dependent
on us and I was ready to try my level best to get the process done within the deadline.

Action: Initial 3 weeks were complete failure. I could not deduce why the reaction was giving such a
low amount of desired product. I was trying to scale up the reaction and somehow get the material.
It did not work either satisfactorily. And some expensive reagent was also wasted. It felt like a dead-
end and sounded reasonable for Leon to have actually leaving the project unfinished.
I was about to give up. But, I guess, I decided to try one last time and that was the key moment. Leon
already had spent 6 months on the key step – hence I felt that it was better to understand and
analyze his results, hypothesis and why did he fail. I did come up with a hypothesis and the
remaining factors that I could use to modify the reaction, and eliminate the multiple reactions
happening in parallel competitively.

Since then, repeating the same step with varying factors and searching for insights. Through the
vicious cycle of ‘hypothesize-plan-implement-analyze-evaluate-hypothesize, (dig deep)' I found
proofs and reasonings for all the hypotheses, leading to ‘failed’ reactions. That, in turn, motivated
me to try alternative routes and take some creative risks. Finally, I deconvoluted some classic
problems in organic chemistry after 40 odd days – deadline met, Gilead invited us to join another
project.

Results: 15% yield got improved to 90%, because I was able to find the optimized way to avoid side
reactions and also increase the yield of the desired reaction. Overall increase in output: 500%! And
cost effectiveness ($450 instead of $1300 for 1 g material, 65% more cost efficient)

Ownership: Leaders are owners. They think long term and don’t sacrifice long-term value for short-
term results. They act on behalf of the entire company, beyond just their own team. They never say
“it is not my work”

Situation: And not only I synthesized the 2 target drugs but also, the failed hypothesis led me to
produce to more drug molecules, that 2 other researchers in my group were working on.

Task: Whether to leave those work to the other 2 assigned people, or lead them to finish.

Action: I just did not leave the process to them, rather it made me realize that since I was the more
experienced grad researcher at that point and I was already familiar with the behaviour of the
substrates and conditions of the reactions, it would be smoother for them if I help them along. I felt
the idea of the ownership for the first time, as if it was my responsibility to guide them along and I
was not hesitant to do their work as well in parallel if needed.

Results: With my guidance and experience sharing, I was able to help them finish the project with
my built-on hypothesis with 2 more drug molecules which would need otherwise $2500 worth
starting material and unknown methods, so unpredictable amount of time.

Now, the cost got reduced to $500 to produce same amount through 2 novel steps. Cost efficiency
80%, My supervisor was happy to let me present the project because of my ‘ownership’ contribution
in World’s largest chemistry conference in Hawaii in 2015 (10,000 participating chem researchers).

Are right, a lot + Frugality Accomplish more with less. Constraints breed resourcefulness, self-
sufficiency and invention. There are no extra points for growing headcount, budget size or fixed
expense.

Situation: We used to have a reagent in the lab, which we needed for one of the key steps in couple
of projects. To buy 25 mL bottle from Merck, costs $1500. Supervisor said better to do the reaction
differently, was not interested to spend that much money.

Task: Either to indeed spend a whole lot of time to use a cheaper reagent, but then would need to
do 4 reaction steps instead of 1, would reduce yield of the final material. Reagent was highly air
sensitive and toxic. But I believed in the possibility of preparing the reagent in-house.
Action: In parallel started doing the 4-reaction path, but also started trying to make the key 1-step
reagent in the lab. Days of research, study of literature precedents and finally a way to secure the
key reagent if prepared in the lab in a under without oxygen atmosphere – all combined together
found a way to prepare the reagent, in bulk scale of 500 mL.

Results: Materials to start with to prepare that reagent cost 500$ max to get 500 mL which would
have cost about $30,000. Savings of 98% cost for the reagent.

No need to perform 4 steps alternately to obtain at best 60% of the final product, rather the in-
house production of the key reagent led to 95% yield, about 58% increase in yield.

4 steps would have needed 7 days for 2 people to obtain the final pdt, here half day to prepare the
reagent in bulk scale (no need to prepare in another 6 months) and another day to do a single step
for 1 person– 1.5 days instead of 7*2 days of work – productivity increased by 89%

Moreover, novel method to produce the reagent in-house. Never again to pay external supplier, be
concerned about its quality. I was right, as many other times I was.

Hire and Develop the Best + Insist on highest standards Leaders raise the performance bar with
every hire and promotion. They recognize exceptional talent, and willingly move them throughout
the organization. Leaders develop leaders and take seriously their role in coaching others. We work
on behalf of our people to invent mechanisms for development like Career Choice.

Situation: Myself as a graduate teaching assistant

Task: To choose one for undergrad research assistant for the lab, develop him as a future grad
researcher and engrain in him to learn the best

Action: I believed that who learns fast through failures, and who wants to take risks to implement
innovative ideas would be the best suited person the hard-working, brainstorming environment of
our lab. Hence, I always used to avoid to help them with everything, asked when someone did a
mistake – why do you think this went wrong? Whether they could come up with some hypothesis? If
yes, and they were fast, then I would suggest them to focus on others when they were working. And
what could else they do better if there were no instructions?

Brady: Never gave him a direct answer to why? I would ask him to try his best to find the reason.
Find literature. Find using your own brain. I would let him do mistakes when I knew it was not a huge
one, because I felt that would help him build his decision-making skills. For any reaction, I would
always suggest to come up with a hypothesis, find a reason for it, how could he support that reason.
If not, why did his plan fail? I mentored him for 1.5 years, with the same goal – insisted on the best
practices and kept eye on minute details.

Results: I learned that I could be a good mentor too. Brady indeed excelled and later joined the
group as a Masters student. Indeed I was proud to see that he could find a key mistake that I made
in a later project that we were working on together, he made a judgement call on how the reaction
was to be done and I was able to overcome that with his hypothesis.

There was a novel method published to access an antibiotic drug with a cost efficiency of 60% than
the earlier process and I could hand him over a new project.

I was proud to see him mentoring others when I was leaving.


Earn Trust

Situation: I was asked to lead a project with 2/3 seniors in the project, one of them previously
leading, but seemed too much for him. There was an ambience of jealousy, distrust.

Task: Had to bring them together, earn their trust and respect.

Action: 2 seniors-switched substrates – requested after they were having severe problems.

how to improve lab environment- could figure out that everyone was thinking about own interest,
someone had to help them to get the overview that everyone’s work is dependent on others. Giving
inputs to everyone help you to build trust, you learn and help others to learn. Share knowledge
helps to gain knowledge.. Everyone as a team. I, myself, took suggestions from my labmates, no
matter how junior they were.

Results: A project that we were working on for past 1.5 years with 50% complete, was done in next
4-5 months. I helped to finish one other group project, 5 steps in a 15 step synthesis (33%) done in a
2 months period, when the earlier 10 steps took 1 year. Also, I could finish one of my own project,
with the input of a senior, in 4 months which were supposed to take about 12 months. Productivity
increased all over by sharing and learning from each other and bonding.

Have backbone, disagree & commit

Situation: During an ongoing project, my supervisor asked me to continue in his proposed pathway.
According to me, the proposed route was not going to produce the desired product. Hence, I spoke
to my supervisor and respectfully disagreed to his idea. But, he felt it would be useful anyhow to
follow the route.

Task: It seemed difficult to follow the route and spend time on something which would apparently
lead to failure.

Action: As it was difficult to convince my supervisor, I decided to commit to the path he suggested
and learn whatever comes on my way, even if it did not ultimately lead to success.

Results: I spent 2 months working on the same couple of steps/reactions with the proposed route.
But it did not lead to the desired product. Ultimately, I had another conversation with the supervisor
and we agreed to change the pathway to follow. But what helped me during the process was with
different varied factors and analysis of the outcomes I figured out that an unexpected product
formation in minor amounts, which would otherwise be extremely difficult to achieve. Later I
pursued that as a full-fledged project and led that to prepare a new anti-viral drug, which had a
better outcome (85% yield compared to nearest competitor’s 57% (49% better outcome), a full cost
of $550 instead of $1000 to prepare 1 g of that material (45% cost efficient).