Mario Olivio Flores

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

A Guide to Working with Mario

As a human..

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

As a leader…

Current professional goal: I want to experience more diverse organizational cultures, and observe and refine strategies to improve and maintain effective cultures.

Modus Operandi

  • Context is King: Different organizations, different people, different customers require different considerations.
  • Self Regulation is foundational to being an effective, happy human and collaborator. I don’t think most people realize how far this extends into all aspects of life. I prefer not to collaborate with people totally lacking the capacity to self-regulate.
  • Psychological safety: I work hard to create environments where teams can productively fail, show vulnerability, and share ideas without fear.
  • Servant leadership: I work to empower others to be effective. I strive to provide “Silver Platter Service” to others. I want collaborators to have everything they need to do their jobs at their fingertips, i.e on a silver platter, and I want to give them appropriate levels of autonomy.
  • Continuous improvement: I’m always eager to make things better and enjoy optimizing things when it makes sense (xkcd: Is it worth the time?). I take feedback well and do my best to deliver it well.
  • Flexibly Applied Structure: I strongly prefer well structured content and communications.
  • Less process is better: Don’t over optimize for edge cases.

How I like to make decisions…

  • Who: Push decisions to the most relevant party, often delegating down the hierarchy.
  • Reasonably late: Defer decisions as long as reasonably possible, allowing us to make decisions with the best context and information possible.
  • Consider Context, for example: Do we need to decide quickly? Is this a one way door? What are the opportunity costs?
  • Framework based: When it isn’t obvious, I like to create a shared decision making framework to keep focused on what’s important.
  • Data: Decide based on data and reason.
  • Flexibly: New info may change a decision.

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 respond to stress differently. I sometimes need to be reminded to observe interpersonal pleasantries.
  • In slow-paced environments, I get bored quickly.
  • At night, I have bad near-vision. If I absolutely must reply, I literally struggle to see my mobile screen. Expect typos.
  • 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.