Get to know staff member Laurence Favrot, a product manager at Minerva.
Learn about where he came from and how arrived at Minerva. In addition, find out about the parts of his life he is proud of, and some of his crazy adventures.
Q: Who are you?
A: My name is Laurence Favrot. I graduated from Harvard in 2007 with a degree in Computer Science. I’ve worked in all sorts of jobs – everything from parking cars as a valet to working at Microsoft, as a Product Manager on Yammer.
Q: What is your role at Minerva?
A: I’m a Product Manager for the Schools’ [product] team. I make sure we are prioritizing and working on the right thing. Essentially, it’s my job to make decisions under extreme uncertainty. Every day I have to answer the question: “are we working on the right thing right now?”
My primary responsibilities are to plan and spec what we work on next, support our engineers and designers, and fill in the cracks by doing whatever isn’t being done by someone else.
Q: Where are you from? Where do you currently live?
A: I was born and raised in San Diego, CA but now I live in Hayes Valley in San Francisco.
Q: When did you start working at the Minerva project?
A: I started at the end of July, 2015. I’m a newbie.
Q: How did you find out about Minerva and what drew you to it?
A: I’d known about Minerva since soon after its inception. I was extremely dissatisfied with my educational experience and had spent several years trying to find the biggest lever to improve the system. As a result, I kept up with the news from the edtech world. From its earliest descriptions, Minerva sounded like my dream. However, I never believed I’d have the chance to work there so I didn’t even apply. Instead I ended up working at a few (now failed) startups and almost giving up on ever pursuing my ideas around education.
As for how I actually got to Minerva…
I had known Gene (an engineer at Minerva) for about a year thanks to working out at the same CrossFit gym (CrossFit Alinea). At my birthday party, he casually mentioned that he worked at Minerva. I think I might have freaked him out by rattling off everything I knew about the organization. He said something like “you know more about Minerva than I do!” A few days later, he invited me over to Minerva for lunch and the rest is history.
Q: How do you find your job? (are you liking it?) and if so, what is your favorite part about your job?
A: I’m extremely lucky to work here. The best part of working at Minerva is the opportunity to solve hard problems with smart, genuine people. I love learning, as well, and I can’t imagine a better place for that.
Q: What are your goals/aspirations for Minerva Schools?
A: My goal is to help build an enduring institution that is dedicated to cutting edge pedagogy. Ideas like a curriculum based around core concepts (i.e. the HCs) are precious. They don’t thrive unless tended to with care. It’s our responsibility to tend to those ideas.
Q: What is the most embarrassing moment of your life? (preferably college moments)
A: You realize I work here right…?
Q: What is the happiest moment of your life?
A: I particularly enjoy calm mornings. Any morning that holds the promise of whatever I wish to pursue is the happiest moment of my life – especially when I get to share it with my fiancée and cat.
Q: What countries have you been to? What was the weirdest thing that you encountered in one of these countries?
A: I’ve been to 20-ish countries. The two strangest moments I’ve had traveling are:
- Crashing a wedding in Al Ain, UAE
- Roping and branding cattle outside of Austin, Texas.
Q: What is the strangest thing you’ve eaten?
A: This may be a tie between fried mealworms, cow stomachs (there are several, remember), and American cheese (what the heck *IS* it?)
Q: What is one habit you’re really proud of?
A: I cook a full breakfast for myself every day.