Women 2.0 Conference 2014: Minute by Minute
- by Aaron Adiego
- Tell us your thoughts on this article
Peace out from all the PITCH Finalists.
Thanks from all of us here at Women 2.0 to all of you! We had a fabulous time and hope you did too.
Off we all go now to the cocktail hour graciously paid for by Google for Entrepreneurs. Come up and say hi (and enjoy your wine!)
But we’re going to draw out the suspense by listing the awesome prizes…
And now the winner of PITCH is….
And it’s Pretty Padded Room!
Thanks to Clear and Rackspace, who provided the prizes for the winner.
Sense.ly is the People’s Choice semifinalist for today! Now we get to vote for the winner: wtwo.co/vote
(You can probably guess that I like this bit.)
WINNER ANNOUNCEMENTS! WINNER ANNOUNCEMENTS!
And now… a startuper who sings opera. Wasn’t expecting that. But loving it.
How do you keep the terror from paralyzing you?
Find other people to lean on, says Holly. The biggest battle you’ll have is against your own psychology (Ben Horowitz agrees: http://women2.com/whats-difficult-ceo-skill-managing-psychology/)
Holly Liu shows us the truth about the early days of Kabam (hint: it involved plenty of janitorial work and Cup O’ Noodles)
Finding the right team is 15% skill set and 85% fit, fit, fit, according to Holly Liu.
The secret to going big: the commitment to going big.
It’s simple but not easy, says Holly Liu.
$0-360M in 4 years!?!? Holly Liu is about to tell us how Kabam managed such a feat.
In the MBA schools the number of people that want to talk about social entrepreneurship is growing, says Julie Hann, who sees a generation-based course correction from the Gordon Gekko model of success.
“It takes time to find the right marketing messages,” says Priya Haji. “You have to keep trying lots of things.”
There are two kinds of companies: mission-driven and mercenary. A mission-driven culture is about belonging to something that is bigger than yourself, says Julie Hanna. Technology should be a means to an end.
“Technology is the most democratizing force that humankind has ever known,” says Julie Hanna, Chair of the Board, Kiva. Add in entrepreneurialism and the impossible becomes possible.
“You have to decide if you’re here to please the world or change the world.” – Ellen Leanse
What is high-impact leadership? For Priya Haji of SaveUp “it’s leading from your truth.”
Shaherose’s panel on high-impact leadership is now underway!
“It’s not a bubble, the market is just frothy,” Constine concludes.
What’s your conclusion? We want your feedback after every session at wtwo.co/rate
If you’re a founder, shield your team from M&A conversations for as long as possible, advises Mullins.
Don’t even think about it most of the time, counters Morrill – it’s a distraction.
Start by engaging with your neighborhood, says Danielle Morrill. Be a good citizen.
Do you know any promising solutions to the problems of tech-driven gentrification? The panel is discussing. Tweet us your thoughts #w2sf14.
I didn’t appreciate what a personal, emotional transaction M&A is, says Mullins.
Do talent acquisitions work out?
The number one risk is everybody leaving, says Jacob Mullins of Exitround. When things work out “the buyer actually spends a lot of time with the founders” to figure out “how can we really fall in love with each other.” (How appropriate for Valentine’s Day.)
“The era of dumb money is over… and it can’t come to a close soon enough,” says TC’s Josh Constine.
“It’s springtime for fundraising,” says Josh Constine, but the weather could change quickly.
Now is a great time to raise as money is cheap, the rest of the panel agrees.
Which is true for the whole economy, Danielle Morrill points out. “If Pinterest files for an IPO, I’ll say it’s a bubble. Absolutely,” she adds.
“BIG TECH: LE BUBBLE HAS ARRIVED!”
The next panel is off and running: “There are more companies getting seed funding then ever before,” says Danielle Morrill of Mattermark, and these seed rounds are as large as many A rounds would have been in the past.
More on 500 Startups commitment to diversity: http://women2.com/commitment-diversity/
Vote vote vote vote vote!
Last up: SupportPay.
Everyone please vote for their favorite finalist so Shaherose will stop asking you to in that strange accent! wtwo.co/vote
Kim Taylor answering the judges’ questions…
Next up @GoRanku.
The judges are asking ZAOZAO about customer acquisition and inventory.
@shopzaozao is now pitching on stage.
@Sense_ly now fielding questions from the judges.
Pitching is starting now. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite finalist once all five have presented: http://sf.women2.com/vote/
TED talk mentioned by Obi at the end there: http://www.ted.com/talks/nilofer_merchant_got_a_meeting_take_a_walk.html
If you’re in startups, you’re probably in the tech optimist camp, but you need to acknowledge the other view and engage with them, Obi says, discussing Google’s troubles rolling out Street View in Germany.
“Think about the story at the beginning, because the story can inspire the engineers.” – Obi Felten
Two thirds of the world today has no internet access. So what’s the problem?
1) Can’t afford cell phones
2} No electricity
3) No connectivity in the area
By looking at adjacent problems like this, you learn more about the problem space. In Google[x]‘s thinking, problem spaces are like ladders. Hard to climb, but once you’re at the top you have a better view.
“A problem well put is a problem half solved.” – John Dewey
Many people run away from problems towards the first solution they can see. Obi suggests you spend some time with a problem.
According to Google, a good moonshot has 3 elements:
A big problem
A radical solution
A breakthrough technology
Google[x]‘s Obi Felten is on stage talking about picking the right problem and telling a great story.
“In the current environment you will be most successful if you can figure out how to be really great working with men.” – April Underwood
“Be fearless. Stare ‘em down!” – Allison Johnson
“In Silicon Valley, more so than in New York, credibility starts with having technical chops,” says Bill Beer, who calls for more women to study engineering.
4 out of 51 product exec searches at his company were women, Bill Beer reports. That’s 8%. But “it’s not a matter of lack of trying”
Allison Johnson on choosing when to have kids and how to arrange family life: “I was pretty absent…. from soccer games and that stuff. There was guilt associated with that but I’m pretty comfortable now.” Kim Jabal admits to being a little more uncertain. “I did a little bit of the leave before you leave thing,” she says, which she regrets a bit.
The women on the panel describe their career paths:
Kim Jabal, CFO, Path, had a winding career path: “The thing I’ve learned about myself is I like learning new things.”
Allison Johnson, Founder, West: “My career has been built on… storytelling.” Having a stay-at-home husband was also incredibly helpful.
April Underwood, Director of Product at Twitter: She studied Information Systems and enjoyed coding. “You know if you got the answer right.” She made some tough choices about leaving great companies, but it all makes sense looking back, she says.
Meet Bill Beer, one of “the best recruiters in the universe,” according to Aileen Lee: http://women2.com/meet-panelist-bill-beer-daversa-partners/
He’s one stage right now.
Sorry, here’s the direct link to the complete article: http://techcrunch.com/2013/11/02/welcome-to-the-unicorn-club/
Here’s that article about ‘unicorn companies’ panel moderator Aileen Lee wrote that Shaherose just mentioned on stage: http://women2.com/gets-join-unicorn-club/
As a side note, Xochi Birch will participate in the panel “BIG TECH: LE BUBBLE HAS ARRIVED!” here at #w2sf14 this afternoon.
Michael and Xochi Birch’s advice to Julia Hartz on starting up with your spouse: divide and conquer.
You have to choose your own route, but for us our whole world is linked, she says.
In 2009 Eventbrite raised money to go from 30-100 employees. “That scared the s**t out of me,” Julia Hartz admits but she decided, “I may as well die trying.”
Julia Hartz on scaling the business: “Events are inherently social… and so through event invitations people would become aware of Eventbrite.” Some investors thought this thinking was a pipedream at first, but now 37% of the platform’s new organizers were attendees first.
Julia Hartz on the Eventbrite launch: No beta and no regrets! “I feel like we crowdsourced the development of our site.”
Tech yoga time again. I was sensible today and didn’t wear a pencil skirt.
Dave Kashen’s ‘the awesome culture blog’ recommended by Indiegogo’s Danae Ringelmann: http://awesomeculture.com
“If you focus on culture, on understanding the values that will set your company up to thrive, you’ll do more than hire the right people. You’ll actually start affecting more people than you ever could have thought… even the industry.”
“The last thing we wanted to do was become the man… become another gatekeeper.” – Danae Ringelmann. Our values have influenced who our customers are.
The values of Indiegogo: Fearlessness, Authenticity, Collaboration, Empowerment.
How do you test for values in the hiring process? Tweet at us #w2sf14.
“You don’t have to go outside and find your values in the world… the values you need to succeed are the ones you hold yourself,” says Danae. Your goals are your company’s goals, so it’s not about finding but uncovering.
“There’s no such thing as a good culture and a bad culture,” but their are cultures that are more or less aligned with the values the company needs to thrive, says Danae.
“Culture is the opposite of soft,” says Danae Ringelmann of Indiegogo. It’s actually really hard.
The icebreakers are working a little too well. Listen to Shaherose, people!
Coursera turns education into a data science, which could be an amazing opportunity to advance and innovate. We’re still at the beginning of the process though.
“If you asked me two years ago, how many university partners would we have? I would have said, oh, 15-20.” Coursera now has 108. Traditional universities, especially good ones, aren’t threatened by the Coursera model.
Lectures “are a really poor way of teaching people,” says Daphne Koller, who endorses ‘the flipped classroom.’
Coursera isn’t just students alone with their computers: “I think one of the things that distinguishes this generation of online learning… is this is a social experience.” Students interact with others through discussion forums and hangouts, etc. Also, there is the peer grading process, which is not just scalable, but also helps students learn more. Students also form in-person study groups.
More on Coursera Learning Hubs, physical spaces where students can access the internet to take courses: http://blog.coursera.org/post/65596539008/introducing-coursera-learning-hubs-global
Education doesn’t just affect the student, but also his or her family and community, Daphne Koller points out.
It’s not the West is teaching everyone else, says Koller. “Education is the gateway to not just economic but societal change…. it’s a moral imperative to provide education to everyone who wants it.”
Daphne Koller delves deep into Coursera’s approach to emerging markets.
Coursera co-founder Daphne talking about how to build an online education business that keeps the content free to those with the fewest resources. The short answer: a freemium model that charges for a formal credential at the end of a course.
Shaherose welcoming the crowd and thanking our sponsors Bing, Google and PayPal. Thank you!
The action in the Innovation Hall continues on Day 2 with doors opening at 10am. If you haven’t checked it out yet, please do. Plus, have a look at the agenda (wtwo.co) for info on the EDU Sessions going on there.
— Colabo (@Colaboinc) February 14, 2014
And we’re off! Coursera’s Daphne Koller is on deck next to the stage and Women 2.0′s Shaherose is warming up the crowd.
For people joining us today, this post explains everything you need to know about accessing the agenda, voting for PITCH finalists, etc.
Good morning, one and all! Are you rested and ready for more insights and networking?
To scale, be flexible and prepared to “eat your words,” says Sarah Friar. She changed her mind on hiring sales folks, for example.
4 pieces of career advice from Sarah Friar:
- Get an adrenaline rush. Life is too short. You should feel alive every day.
- Do what you love. What is it that matters to you? Weave that into your job.
- Pay it back.
- Develop a personal ‘board of directors.’ People you work with and give you a good critique, role models to aspire too, even friends.
Square’s philosophy: Start small, have a big vision.
“I’ve never met a number I didn’t like,” says Square’s CFO, Sarah Friar.
… Pretty Padded Room.
Congrats to the founders!
And today’s PITCH People’s Choice winner is…. *drum roll*
If you’re an engineer who wants to get into healthcare, Surbhi Sarna recommends a book titled “Biodesign” out of Stanford. This one, maybe: http://biodesign.stanford.edu/bdn/biodesigntextbook.jsp
Halle Tecco plugs Rock Health’s web site: http://rockhealth.com
How do we balance transparency and privacy? That’s one of the most difficult problems we face, according to Ted Driscoll.
“We’ve been way too paternalistic about patients… we should trust them to make more decisions,” says Camille Samuels.
Are most tech investors too impatient to invest in healthcare? The panel weighs in.
“The great thing about healthcare is every person on earth is a customer,” says Ted Driscoll. Also people get sick regardless of the economy.
Ted Driscoll on the FDA and 23andMe: “I’m personally offended… that my government is telling me I can’t look at my own genome.” No one else on the panel seems to disagree.
Healthcare is not going to be solved in DC but in the home. Do you agree?
Camille Samuels: “I completely agree.”
Halle Tecco: “I absolutely agree. So far we’ve seen a lot of ways that DC can hamper innovation. But as long as the entrepreneurs are moving faster than the regulators, we’ll be OK.”
Ted Driscoll: Not every healthcare decision will involve looking at an iPhone app.
When we founded YC, “we tried to do the opposite of what traditional investors had done… because we thought it was so broken,” says Jessica Livingston. Pro-founder, quick decisions, simplified paperwork…
“Surprisingly, we did see a spike in applications for Y Combinator after The Social Network came out.”
Want to learn more about Medisas? I interviewed the super smart founder: http://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/how-being-a-doctor-made-me-a-better-founder.html
Jessica Livingston is talking about non-profits funded by Y Combinator like https://watsi.org
YC is funding non-profits “to help the world.”
What gets YC excited about applicants:
- Close-knit teams like childhood friends
- An idea that has grown organically out of a problem the founders have had
- Having built cool stuff in the past
Jessica Livingston: “We’re funding more and more non-programmers.”
Our next speaker is YC’s Jessica Livingtson. She’s also written a book: http://www.amazon.com/Founders-Work-Stories-Startups-Early/dp/1590597141
Get ready to vote for People’s Choice: wtwo.co/vote
Next up: RenterResume. “Renting sucks.” Can’t argue with that.
@Agorique is just finishing their pitch now.
@workzeit just finished their pitch.
If you want to learn more about all our PITCH Finalists, here is a basic backgrounder:
There are blog posts with more background on each finalist on the Women 2.0 site.
Farmstr’s Janelle Maiocco on the stage:
Read more about her here: http://women2.com/announcing-tenth-pitch-finalist-farmstr/
It’s raining surprise judges!
And now Farmstr is taking the stage.
Let the pitching commence!
The judges will be making their choices, but we also have a People’s Choice award. Vote at wtwo.co/vote.
“What value can you bring to the community?” asks Porter Gale. What’s your answer?
“6 degrees of Kevin Bacon is down to 3 degree now,” says Porter Gale. Why? Tech.
The first PITCH finalist goes on in less than 10 minutes, so rejoin us in the main ballroom if you’re still mixing and mingling over lunch.
What was the best part of lunch mentorship? Tweet us @women2 with #w2sf14 and let us know.
We’re looking to do a few short interviews with female founders here at the conference. If your interested, talk to Jess Schimm or our editorial intern extraordinaire Ayesha (@arizvii).
— Jessica Schimm (@JessicaSchimm) February 13, 2014
If you were using Firefox to follow the liveblog this morning, you may have noticed that some of the posts were cut off on the right hand side. We did too. It’s fixed now.
When it comes to coding, your timeline is your own. “You don’t have to be Mark Zuckerberg to win,” says Bing’s Betsy Aoki (who got a grad degree in poetry before teaching herself to code).
Meet your live blogger. Shaherose took a pic I’m sitting up front by the stage near the audio-visual guys. Come say hi (especially if you want to contribute to the Women 2.0 blog).
— shaherose (@shaherose) February 13, 2014
Ego does not help you code.
“Silent Technical Privilege” by Philip Guo, recommended by Betsy Aoki (@BAoki). Worth a read: http://www.pgbovine.net/tech-privilege.htm
Just a reminder, please help us better tailor future events to help you. Tell us what you think of each session: http://sf.women2.com/rate/
“As women we have to become aware of our own self bias,” says Sarah Tavel. “I joke I needed a bracelet ‘what would a white man do?’”
What percentage of your decision is gut feeling?
The majority, says Hunter Walk, because he invests so early, but it’s grounded in data.
Eurie Kim: “If you know your space, your gut feeling is actually founded in as much data as exists.”
One startup Ana Diaz-Hernandez is excited about: http://pigeon.ly Kapor looks for the oddball companies, she says.
And a better visual from Women 2.0 social media maven, Jess Schimm (@JessicaSchimm)
“One of the hardest things is getting rid of your own biases… it’s really easy to make assumptions about candidates from a different background.” – Ana Diaz-Hernandez, Investment Analyst, Kapor Capital
Sarah Tavel: “I was a philosophy major in college, and the reason I could get by [in VC] was because I could ask the right questions.”
What’s good preparation for life as a VC? “What amazes me every day is how much of our job is about networking,” says Eurie Kim. “Every time you meet someone is an opportunity that could come around another way.”
Hunter Walk: “I’m a tall white guy with a Stanford degree and 9 years at Google. How can I not go into venture capital?”
Eurie Kim, Principal, Forerunner Ventures: “Very serendipitously a friend from business school… was starting this fund.” She joined.
Sarah Tavel, Pinterest (previously a VC): “My path into VC is pretty atypical… I joined Bessemer a year out of college.”
Charles Hudson: “This is the first panel I’ve moderated where I am actually scared of my panelists.”
Next up a panel on getting into VC, curated and moderated by Charles Hudson (check out his blog here: http://www.charleshudson.net)
Putting the liveblog on hold a few minutes to participate in tech yoga. Can’t type and stretch at the same time.
3 pieces of advice from Gwynne:
You will have detractors, don’t pay any attention to them… even if they get personal.
You can’t control whether you’re the smartest person in the room, but you can certainly control whether you’re the most prepared.
If every year you’re not getting better, you’re probably getting worse.
What’s next for SpaceX? The company expects to fly 10 times this year, 20 next. They’re working on upgrading the Dragon to carry crew and developing the big Falcon Heavy rocket, as well as full and rapid reuse of space transportation systems, starting with Grasshopper.
SpaceX got to the space station twice in 2012, proving the company’s technical chops.
SpaceX’s keys to success, according to Gwynne Shotwell:
- Not targeting just one market: DOD, NASA, etc.
- Maintaining that startup feel: flat hierarchy, the best idea wins (interns have contributed to the design)
- No strategic partnership with any suppliers: “we bid everything.” Don’t be dependent on a supplier
- Vertical integration: “we do it all… keeps the employees really happy too”
Want to see rockets being built? Gwynne Shotwell offers to give audience members a tour.
Argh, upside down. Apologies.
Brave audience members share their own Funnel Test (the bad photography is mine — tweet me better pics!)
Use the Funnel Test to define your brand (or company positioning). What is it? Porter Gale explained it on the Women 2.0 blog: http://women2.com/4-tips-connecting-women-2-0-conference/
“Networking isn’t about who you know it’s about who you’re becoming as a person.”
A shout out to the men attending and supporting women in entrepreneurship from Porter Gale. Yes, men are welcome at all Women 2.0 events.
“Travel with your headphones off” – Porter Gale, author of Your Network Is Your Net Worth.
We love our sponsors (and our goodie bag sponsors and our media partners). THANK YOU.
After each session go to wtwo.com/rate to tell us what you thought. We want your feedback!
Want feedback on your company? Microsoft Ventures is holding office hours from 10:30 just outside the main conference ballroom.
So that’s the quick and dirty history of Women 2.0 below, but why build this business? According to Shaherose:
Women dominate as users of social media and we spend more on tech and online than men, but few of the folks who built the iconic companies in these spaces are women. Less than 10% of founders (and VCs) are female. That’s even though companies with a female founder have a 66% higher return on capital, according to studies — women build better businesses!
Shaherose is on stage welcoming everyone… and apologizing for the fog.
We’re expecting 800 people over the next few days, including 30+ speakers and 50+ mentors. So how did Women 2.0 get to this point? In 2006 before Twitter and iPhones and Facebook, Shaherose and her co-founders got sick of being the only woman in the room and decided to do something about it. They started off hosting 1 networking event or workshop a month as a side project while they were all also working full-time at startups. This year Women 2.0 became a full time business and we’re expanding with more Founder Friday cities — if you want to bring an event to your town, let us know!
How else can you get involved? Contribute to the website ([email protected]), post your gigs on our job board and come to our events.
And we’re off! Serena Malkani is kicking things off with a song.
And while we’re giving thanks, another huge shout out to Kapor Capital, who sponsored 5 scholarship tickets to today’s event: http://women2.com/sponsored-kapor-capital-sponsoring-5-scholarship-tickets-women-2-0-conference/
— Nneji Akunne (@NnejiAkunne) February 13, 2014
Things are humming at registration thanks to our awesome volunteers – thanks to all the amazing folks who dedicate their time to make this event a reality.
Don’t forget to check out the Innovation Hall on the ground floor where innovative startups are demoing their services and products, including Women Who Code. Doors open at 10am.
— Sowju (@Sowjumn) February 13, 2014
Welcome! Information on where to find the agenda, PITCH voting and other logistics is here: http://women2.com/and-were-on/
The hashtag for the event is #w2sf14.