10 questions for LinkedIn's Deep Nishar

September 11, 2013: 12:43 PM ET

LinkedIn's head of product tells Fortune about his biggest failure, his greatest achievement and why he's so fascinated with genomics.

By Chanelle Bessette

LinkedIn's Dipchand

LinkedIn's Dipchand "Deep" Nishar

FORTUNE -- Fortune's annual Brainstorm Tech conference brings together the best and brightest minds in tech innovation. Fortune periodically turns the spotlight on a different conference attendee to offer his or her own personal insight into business, tech, and entrepreneurship. We asked Deep Nishar, LinkedIn's (LNKD) senior vice president of products and user experience, 10 questions about his life, from the most important thing he learned in school to his biggest missed opportunity.

What is the best advice you ever received?

What has made you successful to date might not make you successful in the future. Keep learning and growing every day.

What was the last book you read?

Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman, a collection of short stories examining what life is like after you die. The first one imagines afterlife as another version of your actual life -- only repeated in contiguous segments. It's a reminder that we don't always spend enough time on the things that are most important to us. If you only get one life, why wouldn't you maximize the things you love and enjoy?

What would you say to a group of young people looking to enter the tough job market?

Focus on maximizing your learning, not your income. Careers are like surfing -- find the right beach, and sooner or later you will catch the enormous wave.

What would you do if you weren't working at your current job?

Help entrepreneurs and young startups become successful. Mentoring is my way of paying forward. I attribute my professional success to great mentors who helped me along the way.

What was your biggest missed opportunity?

For every missed opportunity, there was one that I seized. Opportunities are not big or small when they present themselves. It's what you make of them.

What was the most important thing you learned in school?

Learning is a lifelong process, it does not stop at graduation.

What do you do for fun?

Read and enjoy the great California outdoors.

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?

I'm right where I'd like to be.

What is your greatest achievement?

My two beautiful daughters.

What has been your biggest failure?

Technically it was the failed startup I founded in 1999, Patkai Networks. It was also my biggest learning experience. It informed me of critical gaps in my learning, which I then sought to fill in my next set of opportunities.

What technology sector excites you most?

Genomics -- it's an amazing confluence of computer science and biology -- a testament to what interdisciplinary work can accomplish.

What do you do to live a balanced life?

I try to stay disciplined about my personal and professional time. When I am at work, I give it my all. When I am with my family, I give them my all. I disconnect from electronic devices when we are on vacation. I don't do email every waking moment. I leave my phone on the kitchen counter when I go to bed.

What is one characteristic that every leader should possess?

Compassion.

Is business school necessary for entrepreneurs?

No. Your startup is the best school you'll ever go to -- if you keep an open mind and are intellectually curious through the journey.

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