Imagine a room with 800 smart, ambitious women in the middle of San Francisco. I’m not talking about an utopian society here. I had the opportunity to engage in conversation with some of the best female entrepreneurs in the world at the YC Female Founders conference this past weekend.
For anyone who’s looking to do their own thing, whether that is starting your own tech company, blog or fashion line, I think what I learned during Female Founders can resonate with anyone.
1. “Early on, companies are people.” Jessica Livingston, Y Combinator
Company culture is copied from founders, and the best companies are the ones who cared about company culture during the very early days. Setting the example from the get-go vs. retroactively changing bad culture, the former is much easier.
2. “Take care of the ones you love.” Tracy Young, PlanGrid
When you immerse yourself in the work you love, sometimes you forget the outside world. However like Young said, life is short and most entrepreneurs are throwing their crest of youth into their companies. Your job changes constantly, your family does not.
3. “Be a honey badger.” Tracy Young, PlanGrid
Survive, stand up for yourself and be brave, no matter how small you are.
4. “If you tell me I can’t do something, I want to prove you wrong.” Kimberly Bryant
This has been my life philosophy, and couldn’t agree more. Being a founder is a lonely road, and that sometimes means people telling you, you’re wrong. But it’s up to you to change that.
5. “If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.” Olga Vidisheva, Shoptiques
Shoptiques single founder’s story is truly inspiring. She talked about how had she known that YC’s acceptance rate for single founders is so low, she probably wouldn’t have applied. She also mentioned that she emailed Warren Buffet recently, hope he gets back to her! 🙂
6. “Be honest with yourself.” Olga Vidisheva, Shoptiques
You are the one who knows what type of business you want to build, whether that’s a lifestyle or billion dollar business.
7. “Stick to your principles.” Ruchi Sanghvi, Cove
When Sanghvi first introduced Facebook Newsfeed, there was a whole lot of user outrage. But in the end, engagement doubled.
8. “No matter how perfect it looks [from the outside], it’s messy, and that’s okay.” – Danielle Morrill, Mattermark
Lots of startup founders don’t know what they’re doing in the beginning. This truly resonated with me as a lot of founders around me has given me similar advice: “fake it till you make it.”
9. “Assume every day, 2 good and 2 bad things will happen. Create your own support system.” Adora Cheung, Homejoy
Startups are a roller coaster and you must amplify your stress intake and still make sound decisions. Learn to deal with stress, find a good support group who gets you.
10. “Find something you’re excited to wake up to everyday.” Grace Garey, Watsi
Nuff said. If you haven’t done so, check out Watsi, they’re doing amazing things!
If you enjoyed the quotes, you can learn more from these awesome ladies by watching all the videos. I for one am feeling more inspired and motivated than ever. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or you can’t do.
Thanks to Jessica Livingston and the Y Combinator team, your energy is contagious!
Lastly, my OOTD for FFC:
Thanks for reading as always. Also, if you’re passionate about Fashion Tech, let’s talk!
Special thanks to Abel for reading my drafts.