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In Case You Missed Out: Overheard at Women 2.0′s SXSW Interactive Events

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Founders discussed how design is manifested into their physical office spaces, a few things they did right or would have done differently with regards to design in the early stages of their company, how design is integrated into their company cultures, and what their general design philosophies are.

By Lauren Jisoo Kim (Events Coordinator, Women 2.0)

In case you missed out, here’s a recap of all three of Women 2.0’s events at SXSW Interactive this year, complete with some juicy snippets of talks and conversations we overheard!

Friday, March 9, 2013

“The Design Revolution” Panel featured female founders from around the globe, and took place at the Startup America LIVE studio, in partnership with the Kauffman Foundation and Startup America.

Panelists:

  • Alice Taylor (Founder & CEO, Makie Lab)
  • Aye Moah (Co-Founder & Chief of Product, Baydin)
  • Elaine Wherry (Co-Founder, Meebo – acquired by Google)
  • Hetal Pandya (Co-Founder, Easilydo)
  • Ping Fu (Founder & CEO, Geomagic)
  • Shaherose Charania (Co-Founder & CEO, Women 2.0) – moderator

These founders discussed how design is manifested into their physical office spaces, a few things they did right or would have done differently with regards to design in the early stages of their company, how design is integrated into their company cultures, and what their general design philosophies are. Each founder brought in a photo of their office space and interestingly, many of them had green walls as focal points! Read on for more highlights:

  • Hetal Pandya, on how design should be integrated into product: “Design is an interesting skill for any product. It should not get in the way for users to get to their goals and at the same time it should delight your users.”
  • Hetal Pandya, on Easilydo’s Design Philosophy: “Our philosophy was to keep everything close to 3 clicks or less and to show value to our users within seconds of downloading and playing with [Easilydo]”
  • Elaine Wherry, on one thing that Meebo did right in its early stages: “To keep the team nimble and open to new ideas, we frequently changed the floorplan…by doing it more frequently, folks began to expect change, were open to conversations with different teams, and it helped combat tribalism.”
  • Elaine Wherry, on her design philosophy: “First, travel. You force yourself to be uncomfortable and to interact with bizarre hotel shower heads, to eat sushi without violating two dozen cultural rules, and to generally interact with the world as a new user again… Second, don’t chase numbers. Define what’s awesome.”

For more, look out for our upcoming, more detailed post on the panel, itself, next week.

Founder Friday – Austin (SXSW edition) was co-hosted by Shruti Challa (Founder, Pinchd) and Hetal Pandya (Founder, Easilydo) who both gave compelling talks about entrepreneurship in honor of International Women’s Day. Founder Friday took place at the Startup America LIVE lounge, in partnership with the Kauffman Foundation and Startup America.

Shruti aimed to be controversial, and spark discussion with her mythbusting talk about some common misconceptions about being an entrepreneur. Main takeaway: “Question everything in entrepreneurship.” Here are some of the myths she addressed:

  • Myth #1 – You have to be an engineer to be a successful founder.
  • Myth #2 – Passion matters more than money.
  • Myth #3 – Being a woman, you’re at a disadvantage.

Shruti was gracious enough to write a blog post for us outlining her informative talk at Founder Friday, which we posted here.

In honor of International Women’s Day, Hetal spoke about an Indian woman born in the 1950s who hurdled many barriers to become an entrepreneur.

  • “Her name was Shobha Shah and she was one of 6 children. Born in 1950′s Mumbai and brought up in a traditional Indian home, she applied to become an engineer almost by chance!”
  • “With two kids in tow, she started her own business in supply chain management. Her company, Symbol Systems of India built very innovative solutions for companies in Automobile, Yarn manufacturing and Mumbai Stock Exchange and many other interesting industries.”
  • “After a couple decades, the government of India, awarded her with bringing technologies to India that no one had done so before. She continues to think of new barriers to break even today after she has retired.”

At the end of her inspiring talk about Shobha Shah, Hetal concluded: “I am proud to call this person – Mom! Here’s to all women in technology who are working hard to be entrepreneurs!”

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Women in Tech Meetup featured mentoring from investors, and was co-hosted by Intel Capital on March 11 at the Tech Zulu Lounge. Women founders of companies in all stages participated in informal round table discussions with the following mentors and topics:

  • Funding: Mike Buckley, Intel Capital
  • Funding: Marlon Nichols, Intel Capital
  • Marketing/ Social Media: Maria Cubeta, Intel Capital
  • Storytelling: Sam Barber, Rebel Unit Media
  • Funding: Christine Herron, Intel Capital
  • Funding: Sumeet Jain, intel Capital

Storytelling mentor Sam Barber (Rebel Unit Media) gave us a peek into his mentorship session at the Women in Tech Meetup:

  • “Startups in early stages were looking for guidance on a better pitch to potential investors while mid-stage startups were looking for a message that broadened their customer base in video as well as other web campaigns.”
  • “We examined their current pitch and used the round table format to give honest and constructive feedback as to what resonated with the group. We also covered basic marketing principles as well as some guidelines for how to find the most compelling angles in their product’s “story”.”

Sam also told us that he found the Women in Tech Meetup to be “the single best example of the spirit of SXSWi. Entrepreneurs from around the world were sharing ideas and insight to help each other find success. It was a fun and inspiring look into the future of this industry.” Thanks Sam!

We also caught up with one of the participants, Sophia Yuan, who is the founder of Platsy, a marketplace for residential rentals focused on creating structure and transparency to the process of renting. Sophia sat at Christine Herron’s (Intel Capital) table, and shares:

  • “We spoke about raising capital, strategies to successfully fundraise, and specific tips and tricks for early-stage companies like mine”
  • “Since [Platsy is] on track to go into Beta next month in San Francisco, my questions included understanding the metrics and results investors are interested in seeing prior to investing, timeline of when to pitch to investors, and general questions regarding successful business models.”
  • “[Christine] iterated that showing compelling results that indicated a potential in a service were more important to investors during a seed round than revenue outcomes.”
  • “This particular meetup was incredibly helpful to continuing Platsy’s momentum forward and I’m certain Christine’s advice will be integral in Platsy’s progress this year.”

Women 2.0 readers: If you attended one of our events at SXSW Interactive, we’d love to hear from you. Please comment below and share your story!

About the guest blogger: Lauren Jisoo Kim is an Events Coordinator at Women 2.0. She holds a BA in Development Studies with concentrations in East Asia and Anthropology from UC Berkeley. She is passionate about social entrepreneurship and women’s issues. In her spare time, she attends hackathons. Follow her on Twitter at @LaurenJisoo.