Tune in to Listen to Tech Stories from Hacker Noon 2-3 times a week!
It’s a man’s man’s world but (lol James Brown knows) it would be nothing without women! Sophie Wyne (Co-Founder and CEO of ariglad), Luna Ito-Fisher, and Ambika Miglani (Co-founders of Decrypted By Us) join Amy on the podcast this week to chat about their entrepreneurship journey 😱
Listen to The HackerNoon Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your podcasts.
On this episode of The HackerNoon Podcast:
- How do you know it’s time to quit your full-time job to pursue your side hustle? 🥺 (05:00)
- Why did Luna and Ambika start Decrypted by Us? 👯♀️ (07:58)
- Why is it important for people who are part of a minority group to learn from other underrepresented communities? 🙇🏽♀️ (11:22)
- Why did Sophie become a CEO? 💁♀️ (13:42)
- What did Ambika and Luna wish they knew before they started? (17:38) and Sophie? 🧠 (21:23)
- How do you balance the perception of being a “non-assertive” female CEO while also getting shit done? 🧚♀️ (23:55)
- What makes a good mentor, how can I get one, and how do I maximize the value of the relationship? 🙏🏻 (25:53)
- Why is self-advocacy so important? 👊🏻 (31:10)
- Do people truly believe that young females can’t be CEOs? 🤭 (37:56)
🐝 Vote for ariglad for Startup Of The Year in Vancouver: startups.hackernoon.com/north-and-central-america/vancouver
🥳 Deposit your funds easily and securely with Brex – https://bit.ly/37doqiH
🦋 Vote for Decrypted By Us for Startup Of The Year in Providence: startups.hackernoon.com/us/providence
Connect with Sophie, Luna, and Ambika:
Learn more about HackerNoon and Startups of The Year:
For more information visit startups.hackernoon.com
[00:00:00] Amy: Okay. So by the time this episode gets air, this is probably going to be like older news, but I was watching the Olympics recently and I saw that apparently they just introduced skateboarding as an Olympic sport. And the girl that won skateboarding was a Japanese girl and she was 13 years old. And I was like, wow, that girl is boss. That’s so cool. Can you imagine winning a Olympic gold medal at 13 years old? And I didn’t know, also that Japanese people were good at skateboarding, so that’s a fun thing that I’ve learned also. But anyways, I wanted to bring on some more strong, independent women to the podcast. And of course this is the hacker noon podcast and my name is Amy, Tom.
And today I am John. By Luna, ITO Fisher, and Ambika Malani who are the co-founders of decrypted by us and also by Sophie wine, who is the co-founder and CEO of Aira glad, thank you guys for joining the podcast. I’m very excited to have you first. Can we start off with Sophie? Can you tell me who you are and what you do?
[00:01:11] Sophie: Yeah. Respect someone for having us. Yeah, so I’m based in Vancouver, Canada. We run a HR tech company, basically helping organizations empower employees by giving them a voice so they can have communication anonymously. And yeah, super excited to chat a little bit more about it today.
[00:01:30] Amy: Cool. When did Eric Gladd become Eric lad? When was it?
[00:01:35] Sophie: So the idea started the idea started probably a few years before we actually began anything. But officially I went full time in April of 2020. I actually gave my notice to my job end of December in 2019. So definitely a lot happened in between those, that period.
So I did not know I would be starting this during a global pandemic, but yeah, it ended up working out really well. Yeah, it definitely started the kind of formulating a few years before then.
[00:02:04] Amy: Cool. And can I hear from Luna? Can you tell me who you are and what you do?
[00:02:10] Luna: Yeah. Thank you also for having us.
We’re really excited. Yeah, I’m gonna, I am in California right now. I’m actually a recent graduate from brown university. And. Me and non-book are co-founders of decrypted bias, which is a technical content platform specifically for creators and learners from underrepresented groups in computer science.
So the idea is really about focusing on making content that represents these underrepresented learners who really have a hard time finding content online that represents them. Like you mentioned, like before maybe tech is. Very white and male often. And it’s really hard to find content online, to learn from people you actually connect with.
If you’re not that you don’t have that identity. Yeah,
[00:03:00] Amy: exactly. And what exactly do you do?
[00:03:04] Luna: Yeah, so I’m a guy. So do you come to buy us is still very Very early on it’s in the early stages. So we’re still iterating on exactly what our solution is. We’ve been pushing this forward, bringing on content creators wearing a lot of different hats as you do in startups.
So yeah, we don’t have like our official positions yet, I’d say, but we’re doing everything right now.
[00:03:27] Amy: Okay. And Becca, would you mirror exactly what Luna said or do you have anything else to add?
[00:03:34] Ambika: Yeah, I also just want to say thank you for having us as well. I’m also based in Providence and I also just graduated from brown with Luna.
That’s how we met and got started on decrypted by us. Yeah. I think we’re definitely still in pretty early stages. Decrypted by us started as like a side project when Luna and I were still in school and it’s going to probably continue in that way and Luna is going to do a full-time job and I’m also working as a full-time developer.
But yeah, I guess Luna covered kind of all the bases as to what we do and what stage we’re at. But. Yeah, there were definitely, it’s a definitely an iterative process trying to figure out how to keep it going and expand while were still
[00:04:17] Amy: doing other jobs as well. Yeah. That’s exciting. Soviet, do you feel like you started working Eric glad when you were working a full-time job?
I mean that, in that idea stage, or did you only really start after you got.
[00:04:32] Sophie: Let’s do the question. I think I started when I was working, but the idea was so different from where we landed after we went full time. Cause I think, like everyone knows who has started a startup, you are iterating constantly.
And so I think the more time you spend on iterating, the faster that iteration happens. But I do think it’s really important to have that time, maybe part-time while you’re formulating it. So you know what direction you’re going in. Ultimately. And yeah, I think when we started, the idea for our guide started when I was working at a different tech company right out of college.
And seeing the worst possible culture in a tech startup company situation. I am then when I was working for cybersecurity with Amy actually, I was seeing what that industry was really good at, which is giving it managers an overview of where their devices are, which are at risk, how to mitigate that risk.
And I wondered why there really wasn’t anything for HR in that capacity as well. Data is tends to be very siloed and like surveys over here, one-on-one data over here. And so that’s what we wanted to improve on. And so I think being able to iterate with both of those experiences alongside working there was really helpful for before we went full.
[00:05:42] Amy: Yeah. I think I’ve heard from a lot of different founders that they have worked a little bit on it and that while they’ve cooked the idea and then gone full-time that’s really cool. And okay, so I want to get to the money. The nitty gritty, the elephant in the room, which is of course what we have briefly touched upon the fact that tech is very heavily dominated in a white male kind of sense.
And we can think like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, like all of these people who are tech leaders who don’t look like us. And that’s why I really love what you said, Luna about how. It’s the representation. It’s the fact that I, as a Asian female, can’t look at people who are CTOs CEOs who look like me, who are doing the same kind of thing, especially at the level that Jeff Bezos does, or these kinds of people who have this kind of money.
It’s just not right. Not that it’s not possible, even look at me, I’m even like saying this to myself. Not that it’s not possible, but it just seems so much more farfetched. And so this representation of younger female entrepreneurs or people who are underrepresented in computer science is so important.
I think so kudos to you for your messaging and for helping everybody to understand that. Cause it, I think it’s hard to. Yourself in other people’s shoes sometimes. Yeah. Cool. And also I wanted to ask you more than, about why you started and how you started. So Luna, can you touch upon, more of the why of decrypted by us?
[00:07:28] Luna: I think, I think in a lot of ways, me and Ambika were designing for ourselves, as to kind of Asian women studying computer science. It was really hard to have to learn content online. And I guess for some background too, for people who aren’t familiar with, like computer science and like studying computer science in college, you really learn like the theory and fundamentals in classes.
But so much of your practical learning is like outside of class on your own on YouTube. Like this past summer, I spent a bunch of time interviewing like 30 different CS students. And almost all of them are like, I use YouTube by like most of the stuff I actually use in internships and like jobs I learned on my own, even though school set me up to learn those things.
So I think what we noticed and having to go through that process on our own, was it. Like we could find support communities of like people that look like us and peers that looked like us. But then we would have to go to these platforms online to just keep doing our learning and not see anyone represent us there and not see content all the time that like resonated with us.
Yeah, I think both, we had separate experiences and like going through that process and when we talked about it, we were like, oh, this seems like a real problem. And why isn’t anyone solving this? So yeah, I think that’s definitely
[00:08:54] Amy: the, why can you describe some of the experiences that you went through that led you to that point?
[00:09:00] Ambika: Yeah, a hundred percent. So actually last summer, I was just trying to build a website for myself, like a personal website that everyone, has been told to make. And I was just realizing that. People who see me as like a CS person or see anyone as a CS person, they expect you to be able to do these like kind of basic practical things, like building a website or hosting a website and doing all these things, which like Luna said, we’re not actually taught in class.
So yeah, in the process of trying to build this website last summer, I just found myself spending hours everyday. Just looking at not super charismatic, like male content creators online. Oh, And just thought that there must be like a more fun way of doing this or a way that I could find content creators or content online that could help me actually believe that I could do exactly the same things as those people were doing.
And Luna and I actually met through a different like CS diversity org earlier in the year. And so when I. Was going through this issue, I thought of Luna is like the first print that came to mind. And as soon as we had the conversation, we agree that this was a really big issue and that I don’t know, it was worth pursuing in a certain way.
Yeah. So that’s how I started thinking about the like why it would be important to me
[00:10:17] Amy: right now. Why is it important for people who are in underrepresented communities to learn from people who are also in underrepresented communities, as in, why can’t you just learn from the white men that are already doing the content creation?
Luna, what do you think about that? Yeah, no, that’s a
[00:10:39] Luna: really good question. And I think one that comes up a lot when we’re like talking about what we do. And I do want to start by saying I think that content is what comes first. It’s you need to be learning from like high quality creators.
And a lot of the students we talk to where like the most important thing for me is like getting through my coursework or like figuring out how to do what I need to do. But I
[00:11:02] Amy: think.
[00:11:04] Luna: As a whole, like not having representation and just like continuing to see this face dominated by people that don’t look like you adds into those feelings of imposter syndrome that almost every underrepresented student has.
I think all the students we talked to would just, yeah. Talk about these experiences where they didn’t feel like they fully belonged, or I don’t think it’s necessarily. I was conscious that oh, I’m like, want to learn from people who look like me. I think it’s more the continuous, like just being bombarded by people that don’t look like you not feeling like.
People that you like people that you are could become or be in that place, like being a kind of creator cause like teaching other people or even just going in to see us in the first place. So I think it is more about that like bigger picture representation and yeah, creating content that like has more diversity
[00:12:03] Amy: overall.
Yeah. I agree with you. And I think I’ve shared this on the podcast recently, but I think that for me, as a young Asian female growing up, it was never presented to me as an option that I could be a CEO. I didn’t know that it was a possibility for me. I thought I was always just going to work for someone else.
And it was never an option for me as a young female Asian person. So for you, when did you realize that you wanted to slash where we’re going to become a CEO?
[00:12:35] Sophie: I think it was when I realized that there wasn’t a tool out there that was solving the problem that I was had experienced. And I think, to give a bit more background the, I guess culturally challenged work environment that I was in was pretty intense and it actually resulted in about 30% of the staff quitting.
I’m almost at the same time and it really targeted. Like minorities are get in women women of color. And it just enraged me. It just made me really mad that those people got away with it and the more I was looking into it that this was just really common. Yeah.
And some of the people that had left me included, we didn’t even want to bring up why we had laughed because we didn’t want to, it’s like a problem in the industry. But this woman would be difficult to work with because she’s probably gonna make things up. And so again, that kind of made me even more like annoyed about the situation.
And so I think when it came down to, yeah, formulating that idea over the next like few years, I think the breaking point came when I started to look into what it would be like to be a founder and that even added more fuel to the fire. Cause I think I found some like Ted talks that were talking about how women only get like less than 2% of all VC money, which is insane, like 2%.
And again, just very much why is it that women are not succeeding in these spaces? And so we think, I just yeah, it was a combination of, there’s nothing out there that’s doing what I need. Like they’re not, there’s no solution out there that’s protecting these employees or there’s nothing out there that’s checking these boxes.
And so I felt like I needed to do it. Like I, if there was something out there that was doing already, I probably maybe could have talked myself out of it, but there really wasn’t. So he just knew that I needed to. And then on the other side, Yeah, I think it was just I dunno, there’s this word that really came up a lot too in my own brain at the beginning, which was audacity.
There was like the audacity of women trying to do things in a male dominated space or in whatever capacity I think that was just really wanted to explore what that would be like to try and navigate this space. And I ended up just meeting so many amazing people that were supporting that cause.
And I helped me out.
[00:14:50] Amy: Yeah, there’s a thing that Mindy calling says that I love. And she talks about how she has the, she was raised with the audacity of a white man, but in an Indian woman’s body. And I’m like, yes, I feel that a hundred percent. Yeah. And I totally agree with you, the idea of women.
Not just women, but anyone not being able to speak up in an organization and being, having to be silenced. I remember, I’ve worked in a lot of different tech organizations that have been very like BR tech broey and that culture is fine and it suits a lot of people. But for me, I remember. I was young and in it, I didn’t have the words to describe that it was a problem.
And even if I did say something, I felt like people were always going to be like, oh, that’s a joke. Like you’re not taking it the right way. You’re being foolish or, just relax. And that kind of culture is not okay. Yeah. So I also appreciate the things that you’re working on and giving the voice to underrepresented communities that maybe are not necessarily going to speak up.
Yeah. Cool. Is there something that you wish that you knew before you started Becca?
[00:16:05] Ambika: There are lots of things we’re not on a journey. I think one thing that we both. Realized this summer was trying to figure out whether or not the problem that you’re trying to solve for the people who you’re trying to help are actually benefiting from what you’re making.
So to put in different words Luna will speak more to this, but when we started, we just started building immediately. We had an idea, we. Road mapped it. We found people to do what we needed to do, and we started building immediately. And then this summer we participated or Luna primarily participated in a program at brown, just an accelerator.
And like she said, she did 30 different customer interviews. And we actually realized that maybe a bet, like there could be a better solution out there for the people who we want to help and we could be helping them. Yeah. And a more effective way. So that actually turned out to be like a huge, really important thing.
Kind of a S like a step that we skipped in the process of building super fast. So I think a huge thing that would have been good to know in the beginning is just getting to know who you’re trying to help as much as possible and what they actually need and also being okay with having a different solution than what you initially thought you wanted to build.
I think that’s probably like one of the biggest things that Luna and I have come to realize in the past couple of months and I’m Luna can speak a lot more to that.
[00:17:32] Luna: Yeah. Yeah, no, I totally agree. I think yeah, I think so going through this program at brown accelerator, I think coming out of it. So I just finished a few days ago actually.
Congratulations. Thank you. I think the biggest thing is honestly, just like knowing the process of how to build a company like that might seem. I feel like some people are like, oh, you just build, but there’s actually a lot that goes into having to do research and like figuring out who your customer is.
And this is like stuff as to CS students, like we didn’t know at all. And I think I was really lucky to get this crash course and like entrepreneurship and how to like, validate all your assumptions and really figure out like come to a solution. Is actually going to work and that people need, like Avoca was saying I think there are so many steps that goes behind that and it’s yeah, I think we just jumped to building, like I said, and skipped a few
[00:18:29] Amy: steps back to learn more about the people that you’re trying to serve.
How would you have done that?
[00:18:34] Luna: Yeah, I think just doing a lot of customer interviews, honestly, that’s been one of the most helpful things, also mentors. We’ve been really lucky to like, get connected with experts who are like brown alumni who almost help you skip a few of those steps of they really know a certain space.
So they can shed light on. Ways like roadblocks, you might face in the future. Because they’ve been through it before. So I think just yeah, that like networking aspect that well, so learning as much as you can before you go into building. I think that’s what I would’ve done it.
[00:19:08] Amy: has that been your experience with Eric? . Yeah. What about your audience?
[00:19:14] Sophie: Definitely would agree with everything. Yeah. With everything that you guys just said. I think there’s this notion, especially in like the valley, the Silicon valley of fail fast and just break things.
And I think I agree with that to a certain extent, but I think if you are too. Who all in with that, just feeling fast, you just end up failing in general. And so I think having systems in place where you are, taking in data, you’re assessing it, you’re building based off of that.
You’re, measuring the success based on data and then going from there is a much more successful approach long-term and I think that’s. Complicated. And so I also really second, the need for mentors is key. And I think access to mentors is actually a huge aspect of this. If you look at successful leaders in business and in tech, they have had access to those types of mentors.
Yeah. And so I think, yeah, I think it’s all Bo and not only accessing people that know the industry that you’re in really well, but also they can connect you to more people is really important.
[00:20:16] Amy: How important do you think it is to have a mentor that resembles who you are
[00:20:22] Sophie: super important?
I think it just adds to. Belief, belief that you belong in the space and that you’re taking up space and you deserve to take up that space. I think they also just, sometimes when I feel like I speak with male mentors, the advice that I get, isn’t really applicable to certain situations.
Like I have this one great guy, great mentor, but he’s very much be super assertive, just go in there and just take what you want. And. I’m like, I can’t do that. If I walk into a meeting and I’m like just taking what I want and being really assertive there, I’m just going to come across as really difficult and mean, and I just can’t act the same way that you would in those situations.
So I feel like when I speak to my female mentors, I get advice that is more applicable to, how people would perceive me. So I definitely think it’s helpful both for my mental state of knowing that you are in a space where people like you can thrive, but also getting advice that is applicable to your unique situation.
[00:21:20] Amy: Okay. Yeah. Let’s pause on that for a second because I love what you just said. With that. How do you navigate this feeling of having to balance between being a female entrepreneur who is not assertive, but also gets what you need done?
[00:21:37] Sophie: It’s super hard. It’s yeah. I think it’s difficult in any situation though yeah, I think, I know Amy, like you were in sales before and I’m so bad at sales because I think I’m so bad at asking the hard questions and like pushing my product forward and saying, yep, this is the product that you need.
Because I’ve always just been yeah. Very much supporting others and maybe not advocating for myself in that way. So I think it’s been a challenge to train myself and how to do that in a way that isn’t coming across as overbearing. But it’s still assertive enough to get across what I need.
Yeah, it’s difficult. It’s I’m not gonna lie. I think it’s something that all women in leadership positions still struggle.
[00:22:17] Amy: Do you run into instances where people don’t take you serious?
[00:22:20] Sophie: Yeah, definitely. Definitely. I had one I was doing customer interview with one guy who was running like a billion dollar company.
And he was like, oh, I have enough HR managers to deal with women problems. Like crazy things like that. And I was like, oh man, that’s a lot to unpack there. But yeah definitely situations where I know that I’m, there’s conversations going a direction that might not necessarily have gone if I was.
[00:22:42] Amy: Yeah, I agree. I used to call myself an aggressive salesperson, but I’ve recently realized that I was not doing anything differently than the men were doing, and they were not labeled as aggressive. It’s just being assertive, but you’re a woman instead. Oops. Okay. Cool. So what is something that you would tell young, aspiring female entrepreneurs who are just about to embark on their entrepreneurship journey?
[00:23:14] Luna: Yeah, actually wanted, this was something I wanted to add to what Sophia was saying about the mentors too. I think mentorship is a huge thing. Just like networking, talking to people, learning. Okay. I’m just using the whole process is like a learning experience, I think is one thing that’s really helped, make this a more sustainable journey for me, especially I think there is a big difference between just like being motivated about building and the outcomes and putting time into doing this more sustainably and just learning as much as you can.
I think. Especially since me and on the car in such early stages. That’s definitely something that’s helped a lot. And I think as, since we’re so young too, and like just graduated I think just like soaking in as much as you can is really great. So I think that’s one reason. Mentors are great talking to a lot of people.
I also wanted to add that Yes. People, mentors who look like you are crucial. I think it’s also important to have mentors who are like male or who are like dominant in the industry you’re in, because they might be able to open doors for you that other people might not be able to. So I think whenever I talk to people, Men in the industry who do have that privilege and are like, who, how can I help?
That’s always what I’m like, mentor people that don’t look like you who are underrepresented. Like even if you can’t connect with them super well, you can like you have a network that someone else who’s underrepresented might not have. I think just like finding a really diverse range of mentors is.
[00:24:53] Amy: Yeah, I agree with you. And let’s touch on the flip side of this coin, which is to say that like, when we talk about building up women and young women, it’s not to say that we think that white men and men are not smart or not good or not successful. It’s that there are other people too that need this kind of representation that white men are already getting.
So we’re building up. Underrepresented community is because they are underrepresented and they deserve a voice as well. So not to say that white men are not as smart or as powerful or whatever, but we are trying to build up a different community for more diversity and more diversity of power and wealth.
I think it’s absolutely cool. Umbraco what would you tell a young female aspiring entrepre.
[00:25:50] Ambika: Yeah, I think my response would be along the same lines as what’s already been said. I think something that’s really important in general, as you’re like leaving college or like trying to start your own thing or just entering any job really is just learning how to speak to a variety of different people, which I guess is what Luna said.
But yeah, just trying to really understand. What drives them and like how to be empathetic to lots of different people because you will end up having to work with a huge range of people with different needs. And it is important to be able to talk to them and listen to them and have productive conversations.
So even though it may be stepping outside of your comfort zone for maybe specific types of people or conversations, I think it’s really important. Still try and meet those people, still try and push through those conversations and just try and yeah. Just practice talking to
[00:26:44] Amy: lots of people.
[00:26:45] Ambika: And yeah, I think that’s just something that is super helpful for whatever you’re doing and translates really well.
When you’re trying to build something for yourself or create a team or like managed, I know issues that may come up in a team. I think it’s just a really important thing to correct. Which
[00:27:03] Amy: so practicing, when you talk to a variety of people, you get a variety of answers, you get more diversity of your understanding of the way the world works and what other people need.
I agree. Cool. Sophie, what would you tell a young aspiring female entrepreneur?
[00:27:21] Sophie: I would definitely just harp on the mentorship. I think the mentorship is really where it all starts like. Or creating something in a vacuum. You’re going to create something that potentially no one needs because you haven’t gotten enough advice and you haven’t gotten insights from other people.
And. Yeah, I think it’s just really key to also, second that need to not only have only mentors that look like you, but get mentors that really represent the industry that you’re trying to get into that have also the skillsets that represents the industry that you’re trying to get into.
And I think that self advocacy is super key. Like I think one of the best things that I did was, so when I started, are you glad I literally began the beginning of walk-on. And I had planned on all these conventions. I almost booked a flight to San Francisco to meet all these people. And so I find.
At this table, just realizing that none of that was going to happen. So I basically created this like message and then I would go on slack to all of these slack kind of focused industry groups and would find people looked up on LinkedIn. And if they were somebody who would want to connect with it, I would create like a custom message and then just send it to them.
And I would send dozens every day. And that really allowed me to connect with people in that space. But it required a lot of self-advocacy and I had to harp on the things that made me unique, which was that I was female, but I was young. And those are things that, maybe some would say you should not focus on, but I would definitely take the opposite.
And yeah, because people want to help. The mentors that you want to connect with recognize that people like that need the extra boost. And so I would definitely be not afraid to play every card that you have, and if you’re not a straightaway male that has money and, went to an Ivy league school, then if you don’t have any of those characteristics, just to make sure that you’re leveraging that to get into the rooms that you may not necessarily have gone into other.
[00:29:16] Amy: definitely. And when you’re selecting, what kind of mentors you’re looking at, what kind of job titles do that?
[00:29:23] Sophie: I think leaders, I think it’s very general in terms of leadership. Like I’m an HR tax, so chief people, officers are great. People that are leaders in HR leaders of organizations is great, but I think, yeah, it’s basically depends on your industry.
And I would also just ask your existing mentor, if you get one or two saying, Hey, who do you think I need now that you know my situation? Who do you think I need to speak to? Do I need more technical insight or do I need more Relationship insight. And yeah, basically making sure that you’re coming up with a roster of mentors and advisors that are balanced to do succeed.
[00:29:58] Amy: Okay. Now, after you get your roster of mentors, how do you derive value from.
[00:30:02] Sophie: Yeah, that’s a really good question as well. I think being really specific as well, so I would like to create a cadence. So I like to say, Hey, let’s meet like once a month or whatever. And really just drive home what I want from you.
Do I want a design advice? Do I want connection advice? I have also, as you get further, you’re going to have mentors and you’re going to have advisors and advisors are going to be much more official. There might have equity in your company. They might be investors. And for them, you need to be much more specific of, I want this many connections per quarter, or I want, this amount of help per quarter.
And making sure that you’re really driving and extracting that value because you’re also giving something in return. And so I think. Yeah. And I think those are, that kind of evolution happens naturally as you, the mentors and you realize, okay, if you really believe in me and we really connect and you’re giving this much value, I would like to take that to the next level.
And I think that’s where the magic really happens.
[00:30:59] Amy: Okay. Last question. What are you offering them?
[00:31:02] Sophie: I think and, sorry, I’ll let you guys, I feel like I’m taking up the staple of these questions. I think, you’re offering them a couple of things. So I think number one is the opportunity to get into a start up really early.
That’s obviously not a common multi-billion dollar company later on. Obviously also, obviously, and the other thing is, title, that this is something that I often will add into their LinkedIn, that they are an advisor for X company, and that does add some cachet. And to be Frank again, you’re, you’re a female led company.
You’re, this is a unique aspect of this industry. And to be honest, a lot of people and prestigious people want that as well. They don’t only want to be advisors for that typical white male experience. They do. They want to be able to say, Hey, I’m also. This the demographic. And so all, you need to make sure that they actually are supporting it.
And it’s not just lip service, because there are some advisors that are just interested in flopping onto their LinkedIn, but definitely you’re offering a lot in return just in terms of yeah. That everything that comes with the title of advisor, as well as the multi-billion dollar company in the future.
[00:32:06] Amy: Because have you had any different experiences with how you derive value from your mentors?
[00:32:11] Ambika: Yeah, I think. Everyone has their own perspective on what we’re doing and what will work, what they think will work best for us. So I think it’s really about picking and choosing what advice you take from each person.
So for example, one of our mentors has experienced in the. In the tech publishing media space. So we know that they have a lot of connections to do with that. And a lot of insights about what kind of material works like how to acquire customers and that sort of thing. Someone else we talked to was just more in like the media space, not so much about tech, not so much about diversity inclusion, but they made a couple really good points about how we need to like, be more specific about our value proposition.
So they all really have lots of. Different perspectives. And I think it just requires talking to them and figuring out what you want from them, from that first meeting. And then yeah, just figuring out for yourself how they can help you the most. Just because they come in so many different shapes and forms and not everyone can not a hundred percent of every single mentor advice can or should be applicable to what you’re doing.
And I think an important thing. Definitely acknowledging, that these people have so much experience and they’re going to give you a lot of valuable insight, but also just being strong or certain about what you also want to achieve and not getting lost in that advice. And I think that’s yeah, something that we’re continually working through and is definitely like a long-term kind of
[00:33:43] Amy: journey of just figuring
[00:33:44] Ambika: out what kind
[00:33:44] Amy: of advice you want to take.
Yeah. It was a great point because. Females tend to seek advice from other people and validation from other people, instead of just knowing themselves what’s right or wrong. So at a certain point, you got to make the decision. Yeah, I like that. Cool. Okay. So the last question that I have is. Because I think a lot of our audience is white millennial and male.
And so what would you say to the people who those people who maybe don’t believe that you can be a female CEO? Lumina? That’s a hard question.
I don’t know, I don’t honestly be
[00:34:21] Luna: surprised or people like really thought female. Like we couldn’t be female CEOs. Really? Yeah.
[00:34:28] Amy: I don’t know. I guess
[00:34:29] Luna: maybe I’m in a bubble, but
[00:34:32] Amy: I don’t know. I think.
[00:34:33] Luna: That’s what we are. It’s not, I feel like it’s
[00:34:35] Amy: not that we can’t be CEOs it’s that you can’t be a successful CEO or yeah. Soviet, what would you say?
[00:34:45] Sophie: Yeah, that’s definitely a pretty low bar. I’m like at first, starting with you not believing that there’s any way that there can be a successful CEO, that’s all, that’s, again, a lot to unpack there.
I think what I’ve seen more often actually is the belief that the discrimination that female founders experience isn’t real or it’s valuable. That’s what I guess. Okay.
[00:35:06] Amy: That’s what I’m trying to say. Yeah.
[00:35:08] Sophie: I, I think I mentioned to someone that, that 2% only gets females get the venture capital funding and they were like, oh that’s probably, basically they were like, oh males are so much better at math and computer science.
So it’s probably that like that’s, that’s how it is. And I was just, That’s what I do. Yeah. That’s what I hear him. Okay. Rather than there’s no way that this can happen. It’s more. Oh, the, the barriers that exist are probably there for a reason. Okay. And what do you say to that?
Again, that’s so much to unpack. I could me down a series of podcasts to
[00:35:38] Amy: just do another 45 minute episode right now. It back
[00:35:43] Sophie: down to education. If I’m speaking with someone and they’re not interested in learning about that problem and understanding why those barriers exist, then that’s just, it’s going to take too much and to be wanting to learn.
But I think to anyone that is listening and is thinking, I don’t really believe that these no barriers exist. I feel like it’s a very equal playing field. I would just say, if you were really going to stand your ground right. Make sure you do the research and make sure that you’re reading the reports and you’re learning these different perspectives and educating yourself before you come to a conclusion based on only your own experience.
[00:36:18] Amy: Ambika what would you say?
[00:36:20] Ambika: We’re really
[00:36:21] Amy: talking about like a systemic issue here. Like it’s
[00:36:24] Ambika: really at the core of what all of us are trying to do is trying to break that perception down. And I think. Like it, it really comes down to like when you’re in school, honestly, like boys first, think that girls can’t do the same things is that it comes down to so many different things and so many different facets of life that it’s just It’s very difficult to just say to a male friend who was doubting you or like a male colleague or counterpart that you can do exactly what they’re doing, because it’s just like years of buildup of this perception that we can’t.
[00:36:59] Amy: And so I think
[00:37:01] Ambika: I would just honestly tell them to go to like their best. Female identifying friend and tell them that they can’t succeed in life and then see how they feel about that. Cause that’s essentially what you’re doing. And I think it, it’s just all about putting it into perspective.
Like a lot of, I don’t know, maybe male identifying people who are close to their moms. Like they see him. Work their moms do. And they see how like they, maybe if they like have a good relationship with them, they like perceive them as really like strong women. But then they look at their female colleagues and don’t see the same thing.
I think it’s like very
[00:37:33] Amy: diff it’s just about putting
[00:37:35] Ambika: that interaction into context. And I don’t know. It’s very difficult. The teach someone to like, believe in you or teach someone to believe in female founders in general. I think it’s just a. Like showing rather than telling. And like Sophie said, like there’s a lot of research and as long as we’re informed about that research and can have those conversations or have like examples of strong female founders to, talk to them about
[00:38:00] Amy: I feel like that’s the best
[00:38:02] Ambika: thing that we can do in that immediate context.
But obviously in the grander scheme of things, that’s what we’re trying to do. Do every single day is just break down that barrier. Yeah. Various
[00:38:13] Amy: phase. Yeah. Yep. Exactly. All right. Great. Thank you guys so much for coming to the podcast. I really appreciate your time. Let’s go break some glass ceilings, Sophie, if we want to find you and your work, where can we look online?
[00:38:30] Sophie: Yeah. You can just find are you [email protected]? So Ari GLA D and then yeah, if you want to unmute on LinkedIn, just Sophie wine, there’ll be wine.
[00:38:40] Amy: Great. Becca, where can we find you and what you’re working on online?
[00:38:44] Ambika: Yeah, sure. So my LinkedIn is just my name I’m and then the crypto diet by us has a YouTube channel as well as an Instagram page, as an LinkedIn and Facebook.
If you look up the crypted by us and any one of those platforms will find us
[00:38:59] Amy: and Luna, where can we find you online?
[00:39:02] Luna: Yes, you can find me on LinkedIn also. It’s just Luna. E-tail dash fi.
[00:39:07] Amy: Okay, great. And you can find hacker noon online at hacker noon, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. We’re all there. If you like this episode of the podcast, don’t forget to like share and subscribe to it.
And also don’t forget that you guys are nominated for a startup of the year. So go to the startup of the year in Vancouver and start up in the year in Providence, Rhode Island to vote for these guys, I will put the link in the description of this episode. Thank you very much for watching slash listening.
Stay weird and I’ll see you on the internet. Bye-bye.
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