TheBridge profile: Mark Ranneberger
San Francisco, CA
Current job: Northern California Organizing Director at FWD.us
Past job: Sr. Product Operations Specialist at Uber, co-Founder at RBB Holdings LLC, Consultant at Deloitte
Q. Job advice in three words?
Don’t be bashful.
Q. Morning routine?
As soon as I wake up around 6:30, I perform a quick scan of my email for any urgent issues that popped up and then I queue up The New York Times, Vox, TheBridge, Techcrunch and the San Francisco Chronicle for my daily download. I like to allow 45 minutes so that I can read at least one article from each publication, with a bias toward a few more from NYT. My evenings are usually fairly active, so I hit the gym in the mornings around 7:45 for an hour and then roll into the office around 9:30. Once I’m there, it’s a tough choice between braving the office coffee maker or spending the money for a delicious cup from Blue Bottle around the corner. Black. No cream. No sugar.
Q. How many hours of sleep do you get?
I really try for 7. Anything less than 5 is suicidal.
Q. Favorite app?
Uber. I know that might be controversial right now, but having worked there for almost three years in roles that saw me right in the middle of some of the biggest product initiatives at the company, I can tell you that the technology behind ‘tap a button, get a ride’ is incredible. You’ve only seen just the beginning of how Uber will transform transportation and logistics.
That being said, every company goes through growing pains and Uber certainly has a lot of growing up to do. I’m not aware of any successful company in history that hasn’t gone through its fair share of ups and downs. Uber is no different. I expect them to get through this, fix what went wrong, learn from their mistakes, and come out on the other side stronger than ever.
Q. What can Silicon Valley teach DC?
Now that I’ve spent a fair amount of time working, studying, and living in both DC and San Francisco, it seems to me that there is a marked difference in how the tech community and the inside the beltway crowd in DC approach problems. In DC, I often found that problems were framed in the context of how they can be addressed with maximum expediency or to satisfy a very narrowly defined short-term need. Out here, problems are viewed more as opportunities that can open up new avenues of exploration; those avenues won’t always be productive and they will inevitably lead to failure in many cases - that’s ok. The lessons learned in those failures are valuable and may in fact open up entirely new areas investigation that have the potential to radically change the course of a product or even a company.
If our republican experiment is to continue being successful in the 21st century, it’s imperative that lawmakers take a page out of Silicon Valley’s book by embracing a willingness to explore the less traveled path in search of the best solutions to our many pressing challenges.