Proust Goes Tech With Max Yoder, Founder and CEO of Lessonly

Max Yoder, founder and CEO of Lessonly, empowers sales and customer support teams to document best practices and react to changes in their industry. Though the majority of Lessonly’s clients are on the coasts, it also partners with international companies, including firms with teams based in China.

With technology constantly renewing the workforce, Max’s ultimate goal is to help more people get jobs that give them purpose.

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The Proust questions brought out Max’s passion and prompted him to speak on issues he cares about the most.

What would you otherwise be doing right now?

I would probably be writing fiction or essays for a living.

Your main fault?

I’m a natural worrier. There are positives to worrying but they hit a limit pretty fast. Too much worrying can be a big drain on resources.

The quality you most desire in a tweet?

I follow people that I think keep really good reading lists. They will share an article that I otherwise wouldn’t have read and understood.

Your idea of misery?

Letting somebody think that I’ve betrayed them, or let them down. People put a lot of trust in me, and I want them to be rewarded for that.

What do you appreciate the most in your friends?

Candor. People who don’t just tell me what I want to hear because they think it’s nice.

Your chief characteristic?

Charisma. Just an excitement and zest for living. There was a time in my life when i would have been embarrassed to say that. I grew up in Indiana, and we have a huge aversion toward arrogance. Instead of staying right in the middle between arrogance and self-doubt, we cut ourselves down a lot. I think it’s important that people recognize their own gifts.

What skill do you wish you possessed?

Patience. A lot of my life is built around the fact that I’m impatient. I would love to turn on my patience in situations where it would mean a lot to other people.

Your most impactful book?

Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely. Ariely digs into explaining blind spots in our brain or unconscious ways that we examine the world, and that if we are aware of them, we can do a better job at avoiding the pitfalls of those approaches. It made me aware of how little I know about myself and other people.

What defines success?

Freedom of choice. An ability to work on things that I find naturally interesting. I’m sure it’s more nuanced than that because I largely have that autonomy right now, and I still find ways to be dissatisfied.

When is confidence lost?

When I’ve made something a part of my identity and somebody does a good job of calling into question.

What’s the biggest problem tech is failing to solve?

People don’t feel like they can make a living in the modern world. We just left behind so many people. We’ve failed to make sure that the manufacturing group of folks can learn how to be skilled enough to work in the tech-driven world today.

Editorial note: Answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.

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