Uncertainty And Experimentation Pave An Unexpected Path To Success

This week’s Out Of Office takes a look at how Google Shopping Express’s Doris Tang spends her time.

Uncertainty And Experimentation Pave An Unexpected Path To Success
[Photo: Flickr user Rodolphe Breard]

Before heading out for the weekend, we chat with industry leaders for a glimpse of their lives outside of the office–and what got them where they are today.


Doris Tang always admired the kinds of people with early assuredness about their careers–who knew exactly what they wanted to be when they grew up, and what it would take to get there.

Tang is not, she says, one of those people.

“All I know is I’d like to leave the world a better place than the way I found it,” she says. “So after spending the first part of my career in clean tech and B2B businesses, I really wanted to learn about consumer products and the widespread impact they can have.” Doris joined Google Shopping Express in 2012, and started working in the transportation operations department in 2013.

From learning to conquer fears to keeping vacations sacred, Doris shared a few insights with Fast Company about her life at work and play.

When you’re stuck in a rut, what shakes you out of it?

Not sure if I’ve found a consistent way to get out of a rut, but usually it involves doing things that makes me feel better for awhile. For me, that means a lot of running, eating very healthy . . . and indulging in some pie–a la mode, of course!


What’s your policy for working on the weekends or vacation?

Sometimes weekends turn out to be the best times to get stuff done, for me, and that productivity win is well worth it. That being said, it’s important to recharge so I always time-box weekend work and try to be completely offline for at least one full day. Vacations, on the other hand, I think are sacred and should be left untouched!

One piece of advice for those starting out in your industry:

We’re doing stuff that no one has done before, so you have to be okay with at least some uncertainty and be willing to try and try again until you’ve got it right. You have to have grit. Experiment. Fail forward. Learn fast. Succeed. Repeat!

Actually, I think that’s true no matter what you do or what your industry is. There’s a great Ted Talk about grit by Angela Lee Duckworth.

What’s your wackiest habit?


I tend to like sitting cross-legged in the chair at my desk . . . and sometimes need to consciously remember not to do that when attending meetings with my colleagues!

Tell us about a time you felt afraid, and pushed through that fear.

Probably getting back on my bike after a massive fall from being thrown over the handlebars. It definitely took awhile to rebuild the confidence to ride again.

What are three things you love?

Hiking. Traveling. Full-fat Greek yogurt.


About the author

Freelance tech, science and culture writer. Find Sam on the Internet: @samleecole.