Blair is really interested in what it takes to build highly effective organizations. For a few years, he thought he wanted to study them full time as an academic, so he left his job at Google to work on a PhD in Management and Organizations at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. Realizing how difficult it was to sit on the sidelines and merely observe and think about people doing work without participating himself, he left his program with a master’s degree and rejoined Google.
He’s currently happily getting his hands dirty again, managing a small data team in Google AdSense’s sales and marketing group. Nonetheless, Blair still appreciates the theory-building and empirical methods he learned while training to be a researcher, which is probably why Lean Startup is so appealing to him.