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I’m Garen Checkley

Hi, welcome to my basic website. You can reach me at:

• Email:

• LinkedIn: 

• Twitter: @garencheckley

My Interests include Climate, Software, Emerging Markets, Reading, Learning Hindi


The past year I’ve been learning more about climate change. I’ve gone deep on

• Home electrification & consumer behavior change

• The grid

• Urban density & housing

And I’ve written

• Even replacing your old windows is subject to stifling red tape in San Francisco (The San Francisco Chronicle Opinion)

• There’s a Crucial Climate Case to Make for 82,000 New Homes in San Francisco (The Frisc)

• Orchestrating the Electric Home (Climate Capital Insights) 

• What Cities Can Learn from Forests (Sierra Club Yodeler)

• 7 brief thoughts on Carbon Dioxide Removal 

Here’s a document with the running list of resources I’m using to learn about climate change solutions.

I’m also a member-elected Executive Committee member of the San Francisco Sierra Club Board.


I’ve worked for >10 years at Google building new products and working on a few large-scale incremental products. Roles include:

• Lead PM/Manager: leading new products & managing PMs (current)

• Product Manager: leading 300M+ user product (Files by Google)

• Product design strategy: intersection of product design x biz strategy

• Design lead: leading 7+ UX team making YouTube Go (500M users)

• UX Engineer: on YouTube recommendations & music

• Operations: creating search quality tools & processes

I formally and informally mentor a few folks, so please email if you’d like to chat, especially if you’re interested in product or software from an “untraditional background”.

Emerging Markets

My focus the past 8 years has been in Google’s “Next Billion” initiative, which means:

1. Making new apps / products

2. For emerging markets like India and Nigeria

As part of this, I:

• lived in India for 1.5 years

• enjoyed on-the-ground research / fieldwork in India, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Brazil, Mexico, Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand

• PM’d Files by Google, a “Next Billion Users” focused Android app with 300M+ users

• Lead an unannounced 0→1 new product

• Co-authored a whitepaper: Toward Gender Equity Online: Research with the Next Billion Users (Google 2019)

• Co-authored a peer reviewed publication (winner best paper): “Privacy is not for me, it’s for those rich women”: Performative Privacy Practices on Mobile Phones by Women in South Asia (SOUPS 2018)

Hindi & India

I'm *trying* to learn Hindi.


I love reading, both fiction and non-fiction. I also love talking about books!

Non-fiction books I appreciate include:

• How to Avoid a Climate Disaster by Bill Gates

• Design Driven Innovation by Roberto Verganti (garenNotes)

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

Range by David Epstein (garenNotes)

Good Strategy Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt (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)

• Diffusion of Innovations by Everett M. Rogers (garenNotes)

• India after Gandhi by Ramachandra Guha

• 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

• The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf

• How to do Nothing by Jenny Odell

• High Output Management by Andrew Grove

• The Wright Brothers by David McCullough

• The Cold Start Problem by Andrew Chen

• Making of a Manager by Julie Zhuo

• Zero to One by Peter Thiel & Blake Masters

 Overcrowded by Roberto Verganti

• Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

Articles, for good measure!

• 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