My name is Tanya Maslach. Like a good product, I’ve had some pivotal moments in my development.
I’m, in essence, a scientist by training and an entrepreneur in operation.
My super powers sit in the realm of systems-based thinking. It may feel big, (by its very nature, systems are sort of big), but I have found that using that approach tends to help people see the small, highly leverage-able points for making an impact.
I think treating people like humans and organizing our systems around that philosophy is hard, tricky and trips us up. And it’s getting harder.
Since knowing how to build products is fun (easy, cool, “innovative”, etc), but knowing what customers want AND then delivering it to them is harder, we take the path of least resistance. (I use “we” in the over-generalized, over-simplified sense. There are, of course, outliers – ahem, Amazon).
We use our intellect, creativity and imagination to build and deploy cool technologies, but stop short when designing systems, processes and discipline around asking the hard “why” questions for who and why we build them.
This site is born from that thinking.
Need to reach me? Email tgmaslach at gmail dot com. LinkedIn here.
“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” – James Clear
And now, the personal stuff.
I was an older sibling. My sister and I grew up very close, albeit fighting most of our first 13 years together. She was an incredibly, wicked smart human, powerful athlete, tiny in stature but huge in courage, heart and fortitude. She served the USA as a Naval officer and later in the FBI. She died of cancer when she was only 38, and left her son (7 y.o.), husband, mother, father and me with the gift of her strength, spirit and love.
I grew up in an Italian and German family. There are no two cultures quite more opposite. One is deeply and openly expressive, passionate, provocative. One not. In one I experienced frequent and open expressions of love, family, togetherness, anger, frustration and joy; the other, I learned stoicism, rationalism, intellectualism and patience. In both, my DNA was simply : family first, serve others in need, and support those you love under any and all conditions.
I grew up as a scientist before I ever was a practicing one. My insatiable curiosity frustrated me (and many others) and excited me all at once. It took me on paths not frequently traveled and journeys others would never go. It was the start to my flywheel. I was a practicing marine biologist, a fisheries biologist and I studied marine mammal population biology, which took me to places you might only see on a National Geographic documentary. I studied industrial and organization psychology, which basically meant I studied a new animal (Homo sapiens) and learned what motivates them, how they make decisions and how they interact in groups.
I started a company once and learned more than I ever did in years of being a professional working for others.
My former careers in science and psychology prepared me ridiculously well for building software products for consumers and business people, and for working with teams of engineers, designers, user-researchers and data analysts and scientists.
I have published work on leadership and using technology for virtual learning environments and I still can’t believe I was asked to write a chapter in a book that I use to study in grad school.
The word “influencers” may conjure up thoughts of celebrities showing off the latest new shoes or cosmetics on your favorite social network, but the list below are the REAL influencers who made a meaningful and out-sized impact on how I think, how I act, and even how I talk. They continue to do so today. (*A list of the ones who do this, just without them knowing it, are listed on the “Start Here” page)
Why: My mother is an immigrant from Italy who arrived here when she was 16, without speaking a word of English. She has self-taught herself more subjects and grown her career in more ways than I can mention here — and keeps learning every day. My father is a USNA ’67 graduate, Vietnam war Purple Heart medal awardee, retired Lt Col in the Marines and retired corporate executive who, in all his attempts to peacefully tutor me in calculus, never gave up on my ineptitude. His discipline, focus and love are endearing as they are fierce.
Dr. Phillip Brownell, Professor Emeritus, Oregon State University, Dept of Integrative Biology
Why: Was a gifted teacher who made complex subjects come to life with story-telling, relevance and passion; ignited a deeper sense of wonder and awe; taught me how to think about and apply first principles that I carried with me well beyond research, through my careers in organization psychology and software product management; friendly, approachable, direct and fair.
Dr Jean Greaves – CEO, TalentSmart
Why: Quiet strength, and always being underestimated; brilliant professional and personal coach in all matters of business, mentorship and developing others; adaptable, willing and eager to make things work no matter the obstacles.
Lesley Paterson – Screenwriter, Professional Triathlete, Coach
Why: Confidence in herself, without needing formal credentials to prove worth; results to prove her bad-assery (in service to others and her own athletic and non-athletic pursuits); embodies generosity, kindness and deep empathy; and a girl whose got the envious ability to drop F* bombs that make nuns smile.
Chrissie Wellington, OBE, Former 4x World Ironman Champion (triathlon), World Record Holder, and Global Lead for Health & Wellbeing for parkrun, UK, Author (A life without limits)
Why: A multi-variate thinker; disciplined and focused to the nth degree; global and local in her acts and her gifts; truth-seeker and teller; unconditional in friendship and love; only friend who can eat faster than me.
Why: Crazy and laugh-out-loud humor. Patience. Fortitude. Unconditional love.