Mario Olivio Flores

Learn how I get things done or check out my resume.

A Guide to Working with Mario

Our time on this planet is short, so let’s collaborate effectively and achieve the greatest positive impact we can.

As a human..

  • Key Life Goals: Raise great kids, be a net positive, ideally through high-leverage activities, and cultivate diverse experiences for myself.
  • Temperament: Energetic, calm under pressure, reflective, decisive, sentimental

As a leader…

Current professional goal: I want to build and participate in effective and humane organizational cultures, refining strategies to be more effective.

Modus Operandi

  • Context is King: Different organizations, different people, different customers require different considerations. Consider context before most other considerations.
  • Servant leadership: I work to empower others to be effective. I strive to provide “Silver Platter Service” to others and want that reciprocated. Collaborators should have everything needed at their fingertips, i.e on a silver platter.
  • Continuous improvement: I actively work to improve, take feedback well, and immensely enjoy optimizing where it makes sense (xkcd: Is it worth the time?).
  • Short Cycles with Fast Feedback: Across the board, I try to optimize by creating short cycle times and fast feedback - in systems and relationships.
  • Flexibly Applied Structure: I find well structured content and communications help me and my teams be effective, but find rigidly applied structure insufferable.
  • Less process is better: Process as guard rails is great, but don’t over optimize for edge cases or put too many layers between decision makers and the work.
  • Psychological safety: I foster environments where teams can productively fail, show vulnerability, receive productive feedback, and share ideas without fear.
  • Self Regulation is foundational to being an effective, happy human and collaborator - extending into all aspects of life -from accepting feedback to prioritizing boring but necessary tasks.

How I like to make decisions…

  • Who: Push decisions to the most relevant party, often delegating down the hierarchy.
  • Consider Context: Do we need to decide quickly? Is this a one way door? What are the opportunity costs?
  • Reasonably Deferred: Defer complex decisions as long as reasonably possible, allowing time for the best context and learnings to emerge.
  • Framework based for complex decisions. I like to create a shared decision making framework to keep focused on what’s important.
  • Data: Decide based on data and reason.
  • Flexibly: Embrace new information that can lead to better decisions.

Preferred communication style

  • Don’t wait if something is on your mind.
  • Be explicit and clear rather than diplomatic or polite.
  • Async when possible, but synchronously for hashing through complex topics.
  • If we need a meeting, set an agenda in advance. This will allow me to prepare.
  • I love a well-reasoned debate but view screaming matches as a poor tool.
  • Try to be succinct but ready to dive into details.
  • I have a lot of respect for people who are well-prepared.

I love…

  • …receiving constructive feedback - even uncomfortable feedback
  • …challenging systems problems
  • …coding and technical challenges
  • …nurturing team member growth

Pet Peeves

  • Penny wise, pound foolish: Be thoughtful on where you go cheap. For example, don’t cheap out on your internet provider to save a few hundred in cost only to lose 10s of thousands in productivity. In another example, in one office, we had a single whiteboard that was wheeled around between conference rooms. Every time the executive team needed it and lost six minutes fetching that whiteboard, we lost more in labor than the cost of buying a second whiteboard.
  • Abuse of information asymmetry: It’s convenient to tell a non-practitioner that something is too expensive or impossible rather than explaining technical details. Instead of manipulating information to get a desired outcome, make the effort to provide the best information. Use reason and data to collaborate on good outcomes - not manipulated data.
  • Going Rouge: After a team aligns on a goal and how to get there, deliberately going rogue can jeopardize team success. Collaborate to share new information or resolve disagreements. Don’t go rogue.
  • Deflection: Take ownership of mistakes. Don’t constantly blame others or circumstances.
  • Stealing Credit: Give credit where it is due. Don’t take credit from others.


  • During crunch times, I stay calm and get hyper-focused on our mission. I occasionally forget that others need more support. I sometimes need to be reminded to observe interpersonal pleasantries.
  • In slow-paced environments, I get bored quickly.
  • I like jokes that are so bad they become hilarious. I’m sorry.


  • I am good at ensuring others feel welcome and that even shyer individuals contribute their best ideas.
  • I am creative. I usually bring my own often good, creative ideas, and I excel at bringing out the creativity in others.
  • I take a keen interest in my team, pay close attention to their needs, and can often give very good feedback as a result.
  • I am usually the most prepared person in most meetings.

Things I try to make better…

  • Encouraging Deliberate Choices: Most humans are cognitive misers and loathe making big decisions. Most of us just go with the flow rather than venture out with specific life goals. I’ve found deliberate people are more likely to achieve their goals and to be happy. I encourage others to be deliberate and, when in doubt, to just try something.
  • Encouraging Personal Growth: Most people hold themselves back because of what they think is impossible. Don’t self-limit. One of my favorite films, Gattaca, deals with this as one of its themes.
  • Improving Culture: It pains me so much that human organizational culture often deteriorates into inefficient bureaucracies. Imagine how much more our species could accomplish if our organizations/institutions had effective cultures.