“If you’re really passionate about a business idea and you want to do it, just start. Instead of thinking about why you shouldn’t be doing it, go ahead and try. You only live once.”
Years in industry? 4
Who or what inspired your career in tech?
When I started my first company, Locket, I had come out of an investment banking job right out of college, nothing related to tech. I had an iPhone and changed over to an Android device. The Android lock screen was so ugly. Research shows that people check their cell phones 150 times per day. I wondered if we could make lock screens better? I thought– Even if I fail, I will have built the first lock screen company so it’s worth it. I brought my best friend from high school on to help with tech stuff. Going from investment banking where I was eating sushi all the time to living on $2 meals was a big change. We raised money from Turner Broadcasting and Tyra Banks and moved to San Francisco. I was so stressed at Locket that I started meditating. This is what inspired me to create a meditation app specifically for busy people like me to reduce stress.
What has been your greatest career challenge?
At Locket, I put myself under so much lot of pressure to perform that I worked 24/7 and didn’t take care of myself. That led me to a period of burnout, and getting through that was the biggest challenge I’ve faced. Like some of our meditation teachers say, most of our biggest challenges are self-created!
What is your biggest career success to date?
I’ve had so many struggles in my journey leading this company. Everything was my first time. Instead of running away from the problem, I am feisty. I would fight against it. That tenacity is what I am proud of.
Who are your role models?
I don’t have one person. My parents are both professors. My dad teaches engineering. My mom teaches English. Their work ethics are crazy. I grew up in an environment of tackling problems and enjoying it.
What’s your advice for women in tech?
If you’re really passionate about a business idea and you want to do it, just start. Instead of thinking about why you shouldn’t be doing it, go ahead and try. You only live once. I’ve met so many people that are like, “I had the same idea as Uber and Instagram and I was just sitting there while they were doing the business.”
What do you do when you’re not kicking butt at work?
Not a lot of time outside of work. I spend what time I have eating. I recently starting exercising and going to the gym. I like walking around on the streets, looking at people who are not in tech. I used to play cello, paint, yoga.
Flats, heels or kicks?
Flats. My favorite brand is Cole Haan. They are the most comfortable flats. Tory Burch and Steve Madden are nice, too.