Johan Land has a life that stands out even among Silicon Valley’s tech elite: He’s the lead product manager at Waymo (formerly known as Google’s self-driving car project), a job that keeps him glued to computer screens and fixated on the future.
Excelling at his work, Land said, requires an obsessive focus on it. But maintaining that passion – especially with his fourth child on the way – means knowing when to detach. Land’s secret to success: relaxing with a glass of wine in the backyard alongside his wife, kids and the family’s 13 chickens and three sheep. It’s mindless, he said, but far from banal. “It’s a fascinating thing to sit and watch the animals because instead of looking at a screen, you’re looking at the life cycle,” Land said. “It’s very different from the abstract work that I do.” Read more