Thinking in Quarters is about “strategy and operations” at scaling companies, and what happens when best practices meet reality.

It's as much for me to figure out my own thinking as it is for you: the first-time CEO who needs to establish some stronger operating practices, the new COO who walked into who-knows-what, or the ops person brought in to "organize everything" (good luck).

Vision is certainly where everything starts — but then, you need to start "thinking in quarters" to start meaningfully executing over time.

My goal is to go a few clicks below the surface and not only talk about the 'best practices' that we COO-types all use, but also talk a bit about what makes them really hard. And, importantly, what you can try in order to avoid many of the mistakes I've already made.

I'll also pull in some friends along the way to articulate multiple points of view on the same set of problems that we all tend to share, like: how do we stack talent, to move faster, on the right things, while getting smarter over time, across a distributed team, in a market that is shifting like crazy?

Ya know, that type of fun stuff.

So, if that hasn't scared you away — you're in the right place! Subscribe now, and share with any friends who:

  • Joined a startup and are attempting to "fix all the things" with tools/process/unicorn hires

  • Have cracked a code with their product, but now have a company to build!

  • Want to go down the treacherous road of being a startup COO and want a friend along the way <3 

Hi, I’m Amanda Schwartz Ramirez!

When I first started my career in tech, I had no idea how to articulate my skillset.

I was the person who wanted to draw out the massive assumptions we were making, make sure we had the right skillsets on the team, get the right people talking about the hard things, and create concrete, actionable plans. 

Looking back, I clearly gravitated towards my complement – the brilliant technologist, the visionary leader, and at the very start of my career, the artist/rapper. I lit up then (and still do) when attempting to do something that had never been done before, especially if it helped line people up with opportunities to use their superpowers. All clear in hindsight, but what the hell was I doing? 

With lots of mentorship, and luck, I found my way into over a dozen roles at PayPal focused on defining, building and scaling new products, functions and business units — and later joined a hyper-scaling startup to do the same.

Along the way, I co-founded a c-suite coaching practice for venture-backed founders with my long-time boss, mentor and friend, the late Bill Scott. I also became active as an angel investor, investing in over 30 pre-seed and seed-stage startups.

Lately, I’ve been building Garden Labs – a boutique advisory firm that serves c-suite execs at emerging tech startups. Through Garden Labs, I advise, coach and consult on all matters of scaling and operations, with a special emphasis on startups building in emerging spaces (web3 / crypto, AI and more).

I’m based in Southern California and started working remotely many years before it was cool. When not on video calls, you can find me tag-teaming with my husband as we attempt to raise three children. 

I’m thrilled you’re here.

If you get any value from anything I’ve shared, or would like to see if we’re a fit for working together — it would make my day to hear from you: reach out anytime at

Want to collaborate on a piece?

Reach out! I’m hoping to make this a team sport.

And one last thing…

For all tactics you’ll find here, your mileage may vary. If you don't like what I'm saying, head on over to ChatGPT and get a much more balanced perspective 🙂

Thanks for reading Thinking in Quarters! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.

Subscribe to Thinking in Quarters

A newsletter about the practical reality of strategy and ops at startups. Full of tactics, a dose of humor, and lots of stories.


Writing about Strategy & Ops at startups