SCale Talk with Sarah Harden of Otter Media

SCale Talk with Sarah Harden of Otter Media

Founders/Startups

Last month was USC’s inaugural SCale conference (read more here).  I had the honor of interviewing  Sarah Harden, President of Otter Media, the digital video joint venture of The Chernin Group and AT&T. We had a great conversation about Otter’s vision and its various business units, which include Fullscreen, Crunchyroll, and the recently announced Reese Witherspoon partnership called HelloSunshine, among others.  In addition, we discussed cord-cutting, the growing number of OTT players, and the future of ever-changing media landscape.

Sarah is a #BOSS. You can listen to the entirety of our conversation here:

VC Discussion on Diversity & Walking the Talk (SXSW 2017)

VC Discussion on Diversity & Walking the Talk (SXSW 2017)

Diversity/Equality Founders/Startups

Last month, I had the honor of curating and moderating a VC panel at the TFQ Girls’ Lounge at SXSW.  If you take a look at the video thumbnail below, you will see that this was not your typical investor panel. It was a truly diverse group, made up of:

Christine Herron, Co-lead – Intel Capital Diversity Fund
Sean Jacobsohn, Partner – Norwest Venture Capital
Suzy Ryoo, Venture Partner – Atom Factory and Cross Culture Ventures
Aditi Maliwal, Corporate Development – Google (formerly w /Crosslink Captial)

Much of our conversation was focused on fundraising but, as we were in the TFQ Girls Lounge, we also spent time discussing diversity, or the lack thereof, in the tech industry. I purposefully opted not to recite the dismal statistics of how many women VCs there are or how little money goes to female founders. Constantly regurgitating the numbers is not a way to encourage up and coming entrepreneurs or investors.

It is clear we need more diverse folks at every level of our ecosystem – LPs, VCs, Angels, Founders, Board Members, etc. It will take some time to see significant change but I, for one, am very optimistic. There are a handful of amazing organizations and groups focused on tackling these issues, like Project Include, Pipeline Fellowship, and The Boardlist. Over the past 18 months, just about every major tech company has published diversity numbers, and has committed to finding best practices for attracting and retaining women and people of color. In addition, many notable VCs have been focused on bringing more diversity into their partnerships. There are also more women than ever out raising funds of their own. Again, none of this is easy or happening overnight. As Christine Herron points out, funds have a 10 year life cycle so our industry doesn’t lend itself to quick change. At the end of the day, this is an industry that is driven by returns, and research has proven that women-led companies and companies with women (and other minorities) on their senior teams perform better. The numbers are driving the change and the numbers cannot be ignored.

In our panel discussion, we also talked about diversity and inclusion on a micro level. In other words, what are the steps that each of us can take on an individual basis to impact change in our ecosystem. Suzy Ryoo offered up some specifics, which she had recently shared via a thoughtful blogpost entitled, “The Only Woman in the Room”.

Special thanks to Sean Jacobsohn for joining us on the panel.  As we say at TFQ, if we could have done it alone, we would have by now. It takes men and women working together to impact change.

You can listen to the entirety of the conversation in the video below.

 

 

 

Focusing on Your “Inner-net”: Life-changing Insights from an Inspiring Googler Named Gopi

Focusing on Your “Inner-net”: Life-changing Insights from an Inspiring Googler Named Gopi

Founders/Startups Personal Development

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Last week I shared a New Year’s post that suggested 5 books to read asap to prepare yourself for acing your goals and living your best life in 2017. One of those books was, “The Internet to the Inner-Net,” by Gopi Kallayil. Gopi is the Chief Evangelist for Brand Marketing at Google and, like many of us in the tech industry, lives a very fast-paced and high-tech existence. In the book, which is a collection of short essays, Gopi shares his adventures in, and lessons for, conscious, mindful living.

In a world in which the Internet is “always on” and clamoring for our attention, Gopi reminds us that, “ …the most important technology is right here, inside us. It is our inner-net, our brain, our body, our mind, our breath, our consciousness – the set of personal technologies that we carry with us everywhere.” His essays are inspirational tales chock-full of actionable ideas for “living consciously, living with full engagement and working with well-developed sciences, such as yoga and meditation…so that we can live in harmony and balance with the outer.”

The book covers topics from optimizing your time (and the myth of multi-tasking) to finding one’s meaning and purpose to the benefits of sleep, gratitude, yoga, and more. Two exercises to try immediately (I am only sharing two – buy the book here!):

1) 5 Essentials: These are the 5 organizing principles for your life. Figuring these out helps you best allocate your time and makes it easy to quickly say “no” to doing things that are nonessential.
2) 10 Things to Do with the Next Hour: If you had one extra hour each day, what would be the next one thing (up to 10 things) you would choose to do with it to maximize your quality of joy, presence and life?

Small Sacrifice for Big Impact

One of the essays in the book is called, “Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact.”  In it, Gopi shares that one year he stopped enjoying expensive Frappuccinos and, instead, used the money to provide monthly loans via Kiva.org. I fell in love with the idea and adapted my own spin to it. As my purpose is to empower entrepreneurs and be a champion of diversity and equality in the tech/business worlds and beyond, I will be making one loan a month to a female entrepreneur chosen via Kiva. I plan to support female entrepreneurs in different countries across the globe, and my intention is to visit these women during my travels. Perhaps one day I will write a book telling their stories of courage, determination and hustle.

For my first loan, I chose to start here at home with Shawna, a mother of four, living in Cape Coral, Florida.  Shawna, who is a serial entrepreneur, is starting a new business that is very near and dear to my heart – it is called Furbabies Rescue and Doggie Daycare.

Go get em’ Shawna!

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#dobetterbebetter
#manifestthebest
#crushyourgoals

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Year of the Woman at Milken Institutes Global Summit

The Year of the Woman at Milken Institutes Global Summit

Diversity/Equality Founders/Startups

Kudos to the Milken Institute for putting on an amazing Global Summit this year.  Yes, they do a great job every year, but this year was special.  They chose to place an emphasis on girls and women, both in their programming and in their attendance.  30% of the attendees were women this year, a significant increase from prior years.  Day 2 of the conference was particularly impactful as the lunch program (which everyone attends) was a 2 hour program that featured Patricia Arquette speaking about pay equality, Frida Pinto discussing how to help advance young women in India, and Willow Bay moderating a panel called “What Would You Do to Make the World Better for Women and Girls? A Conversation and Call to Action”.

I was honored to be on a panel alongside a handful of powerhouse women called “Women Challenging the Status Quo.”  Check out the video below:

Team Marissa

Team Marissa

Diversity/Equality Founders/Startups

In case you have been living under a rock (or perhaps you’re on vacation? which likely means you do not work for a startup;), I wanted to update you on one of the week’s most infuriating trending stories. Marissa Mayer is featured in this month’s Vogue, which I (and most women) thought was terrific. Unfortunately, despite it being her first lengthy interview since taking the helm of Yahoo!, one in which she talks about her successes in a male-dominated tech world, the accompanying photo (shown below) was all most folks were talking about.

This photo generated tons of negative commentary. Really? Because a female CEO can’t like fashion – or be fashionable? Or is it because she is a tech CEO, so posing in Vogue is not appropriate? Or is it because a woman leader should always look serious so she can be taken seriously? RIDICULOUS. I could go on a long rant here, but instead I’ll provide a photo of a brilliant, wildly successful male CEO. I am quite sure this photo did not get half the negative air coverage that Marissa’s did.

This month Yahoo! surpassed Google with regards to monthly uniques for the first time in years! For those of you cheering on Marissa as much as I am, here is an article about her childhood, her years at Stanford, her time at Google, and her recruitment to become the CEO of Yahoo! http://www.businessinsider.com/marissa-mayer-biography-2013-8#!