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I’m Garen Checkley

Hi, welcome to my most-minimal website! You can reach me at or @garencheckley on Twitter.

My Work: Emerging Markets, Tech, and Culture

I work in Google's Next Billion Users initiative. I currently product manage the Files by Google app. Previously I worked on UX design, research, ux engineering, and operations teams.

Some neat gender work I helped with:

Toward Gender Equity Online: Research with the Next Billion Users (Google 2019)

“Privacy is not for me, it’s for those rich women”: Performative Privacy Practices on Mobile Phones by Women in South Asia (SOUPS 2018)

I’ve also worked on a general framework:

• A framework for technology design for emerging markets | ACM Interactions which was shared in this recorded Google i/O talk 

Hindi & India

I'm *trying* to learn Hindi -- so feel free to talk to me in Hindi. I also lived in Bangalore until COVID brought me back to the USA.

Readings I like, with some notes

I read random stuff, and sometimes take notes. Here are some good books & articles I find inspiration in.

• Design Driven Innovation by Roberto Verganti (garenNotes)

• Poor Economics by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo (garenNotes)

Range by David Epstein (garenNotes)

• Factfullness by Anna Rosling Ronnlund, Hans Rosling, and Ola Rosling  (garenNotes)

• Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson (garenNotes)

Portfolios of the Poor by Daryl Collins, Jonathan Morduch, Stuart Rutherford, Orlanda Ruthven (garenNotes)

• White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo (garenNotes)

• The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt (garenNotes)

• Mismatch by Kat Holmes (garenNotes)

• Made to Stick by by Chip and Dan Heath (garenNotes)

• Systems Thinking for Social Change by David Stroh (garenNotes)

• Traffic by Tom Vanderbilt (garenNotes)

• Geography of Thought by Richard Nisbett (garenNotes)

Don’t Think Like an Elephant by George Lakoff (garenNotes)

• Orientalism by Edward Said (garenNotes)

• Scarcity by Mullainathan and Shafir (garenNotes)

• The Next Billion Users by Payal Arora (garenNotes)

• The Drunkard's Walk by Leonard Mlodinow (garenNotes)

• The Prosperity Paradox by Christensen, Ojomo, Dillon (garenNotes)

• Execution by Lawrence Bossidy, Ram Charan (garenNotes)

Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore (garenNotes)

• A Never Before World by Rama Bijapurkar

• The Evolution of Everything by Matt Ridley

• Measure What Matters by John Doerr

• A Village Goes Mobile by Sirpa Tenhunen


• Planet Money 1000 by NPR (garenNotes)

• The End of Average by Todd Rose (garenNotes)

• Curb Cuts (and the Curb Cut Effect) by 99 Percent Invisible

• On Average by 99 Percent Invisible

• Incremental and Radical Innovation by Don Norman and Roberto Verganti

• Why Books Don’t Work by Andy Matuschak


• What’s up with the homeless situation in San Francisco in 10 slides