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Silicon Valley firms are increasingly hiring chiefs of staff (washingtonpost.com)
10 points by e15ctr0n on June 27, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 4 comments

> Myhrvold is chief executive of a company called Intellectual Ventures, which sells patents

'Sells patents' is the most polite possible way to describe their racket.

Today I learned that a Chief of Staff is basically a secretary with fewer responsibilities.

i don't think that's quite right. when i was at intel the chief of staff role was the "technical assistant" or TA (as opposed to the administrative assistant or AA/EA); some TAs were business types but many had advanced engineering degrees, even PhDs. a well-aligned TA seems like a massive multiplier for execs. the main peril with a chief of staff who is less technical than the exec is that they are gatekeeping (filtering meetings and proposals) based on a pattern-matching level of understanding about technology, as opposed to actual understanding, and that's sort of asking for leadership to drift off in their own filter bubbles.

I have very similar things to say about skilled secretaries and more. Good secretaries are master organizers and information gatherers. And yes, they're incredibly effective gatekeepers too.

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