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146     Trae Vassallo:  Defying Gravity in Silicon Valley

Something Ventured -- Silicon Valley Podcast

Release Date: 09/18/2020

156:  Is “Working Backwards” the Most Important Business Book Ever?  Lessons from Amazon show art 156: Is “Working Backwards” the Most Important Business Book Ever? Lessons from Amazon

Something Ventured -- Silicon Valley Podcast

In their new book “WORKING BACKWARDS: Insights, Stories, and Secrets from Inside Amazon” (St. Martin’s Press, February 9, 2021.) Bill Carr and Colin Bryar share Amazon’s secrets.   They had a front row seat for most of Amazon's history, and they are sharing what they learned in their new book. Not only is Amazon one of the most valuable companies in the world, it has succeeded across a stunning array of categories from web services to movies.  So it’s hyperbolic, but possible to make the case that this is the most important business book….ever. “Like being in the...

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155 Amy Nauiokas: The CEO of Anthemis Group’s Journey from the Peace Corps to Managing Nearly $1 Billion show art 155 Amy Nauiokas: The CEO of Anthemis Group’s Journey from the Peace Corps to Managing Nearly $1 Billion

Something Ventured -- Silicon Valley Podcast

Amy Nauiokas is Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Anthemis, a leading digital financial services investment firm.  Anthemis manages nearly $1 billion.  Amy is also Founder and Chair of Archer Gray, a media production and content company. Straightforward for a venture capitalist, right?  Except maybe for the TV/Movie company she also runs.  But wait – she’s also a liberal arts major who joined the Peace Corps out of college.  In this episode we discuss how she made her way from the Peace Corps to leading one of the biggest fintech venture capital firms. We...

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154 Vern Howard:  Hallo's CEO is NOT Your Deliveryman show art 154 Vern Howard: Hallo's CEO is NOT Your Deliveryman

Something Ventured -- Silicon Valley Podcast

Vern Howard’s story is remarkable.  Vern was a math prodigy who left high school early, when he tested into Virginia Commonwealth University to study Computer Science and Math.  He paid his way through school by teaching math and serving as a janitor on campus. He went on to sell men’s suits, which taught him the art of selling.  After joining Capital One – whose signing bonus he used to rebuild an Alpha Romeo – he built Capital One’s first mobile banking application.  He also built out the Application Security Team at Capital One before, naturally, becoming a...

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153 -- 2020 Thank You-cast Extravaganza! show art 153 -- 2020 Thank You-cast Extravaganza!

Something Ventured -- Silicon Valley Podcast

An episode in which I thank each of the 2020 guests.  A podcast first (probably).  I briefly recall – fondly – a bit of each of the 2020 episodes. Is it interesting?  I think so.  Can I do it in one take?  Turns out, yes.  Enjoy, and thank you for listening. Marco Zappacosta, Thumbtack Founder Keller Fitzsimmons, “Lost in Startuplandia” Author Jeff Macpherson, Tiki Bar TV Creator Brianne Kimmel, worklife Founder Paul-Henri Ferrand, Brex COO Matt Hulett, Rosetta Stone CEO Mike Stutz, Television Producer Joe Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle Senior...

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152 Stacey Bishop of Scale Venture Partners On Ascending the Venture Ladder and the Rise of 152 Stacey Bishop of Scale Venture Partners On Ascending the Venture Ladder and the Rise of "All Raise"

Something Ventured -- Silicon Valley Podcast

Stacey Bishop is a partner at Scale Venture Partners where she invests in “business applications driving the Intelligent Connected World”. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of companies like Abstract, Airspace, Demandbase, Extole, Lever, and Textio. Stacey is a founding member of All Raise – an organization frequently mentioned on Something Ventured. She is also an advisor to The University Growth Fund Stacey got her MBA from Columbia Business School and a BA from The University of Michigan. In this episode we discuss her path to becoming a partner at a prominent Silicon...

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151 Fortune’s Jeff John Roberts on “Kings of Crypto” and the Rise of Coinbase show art 151 Fortune’s Jeff John Roberts on “Kings of Crypto” and the Rise of Coinbase

Something Ventured -- Silicon Valley Podcast

In 2013, Fortune’s Jeff Roberts visited "Satoshi Square" in New York.  It was the name of the location where a group of crypto anarchists and Wall Street traders bought and sold Bitcoin in the open air. Since that day, Jeff became fascinated with Bitcoin and new forms of money. That fascination led him to write the new book “Kings of Crypto:  One Startup's Quest to Take Cryptocurrency Out of Silicon Valley and Onto Wall Street”. Said Fortune Senior Writer Robert Hackett: "'Kings of Crypto' tells the story of a ragtag band of rebels who saw the future of finance before anyone...

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150 Hooman Radfar:  The Rise of the ‘Business-of-One’ show art 150 Hooman Radfar: The Rise of the ‘Business-of-One’

Something Ventured -- Silicon Valley Podcast

Hooman Radfar is co-founder and CEO of Collective, an online back-office platform designed for freelancers, consultants and other ‘businesses-of-one’. He is also a Venture Partner at Expa, a San Francisco-based start-up venture firm and studio where he was a founding partner (along with Uber Co-Founder Garrett Camp). Previously, he was co-founder and CEO of AddThis.  AddThis was acquired by Oracle in 2016. Recently, Hooman took the somewhat rare step of leaving a perfectly good venture capital job to start a company. In this episode, he describes why the idea he is pursuing felt so...

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149 Fabrice Grinda:  4 Incredible Stories from the OLX and FJ Labs Co-Founder show art 149 Fabrice Grinda: 4 Incredible Stories from the OLX and FJ Labs Co-Founder

Something Ventured -- Silicon Valley Podcast

Fabrice Grinda is a wildly successful entrepreneur and investor.  In this episode he recounts in detail 4 stories that any entrepreneur – any person, really – will find fascinating. The first is the story of building one of Europe’s first marketplaces before eBay got there – and what happens when you turn down $100 million for your company. The second is the story of Zingy, and what it’s like to grind without capital and miss payroll 27 times, before ultimately succeeding. Third, Fabrice talks about building OLX, the global trading platform, after Craig Newmark refused his offer...

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148  Jaclyn Hester:  Foundry Group’s New Partner!  show art 148 Jaclyn Hester: Foundry Group’s New Partner!

Something Ventured -- Silicon Valley Podcast

Jaclyn Hester has just become a Partner at Foundry Group.  So first, “Congratulations, Jaclyn”. Jaclyn joined Foundry Group – the Boulder-based tech company and venture fund investor -- after a few years at big law firms.  As a lawyer, she worked on everything from startup formation and financing to large M&A processes. During graduate school at CU Boulder, she caught the entrepreneurship bug and immersed herself in the local startup community, serving as the Executive Director of Startup Colorado. She has also built a startup with her husband, Anders.   Their...

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147 Sarah Leary: Nextdoor’s Co-founder Becomes a VC show art 147 Sarah Leary: Nextdoor’s Co-founder Becomes a VC

Something Ventured -- Silicon Valley Podcast

There are only so many iconic social networks in the world – and Nextdoor is one of them.  While perhaps not as fast-growing as Facebook or even LinkedIn, Nextdoor has steadily become the hub for neighborhoods around the world. Sarah Leary founded Nextdoor, along with Nirav Tolia, Prakash Janakiraman, and David Wiesen. In this episode, Sarah tells the story of getting Nextdoor off the ground.  She talks about the painstaking work they did to figure out how to build a healthy community around a neighborhood, before they were ready to scale. We talk about the impact COVID-19 had on...

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Trae Vassallo is co-founder and partner at Defy, a venture capital firm she built with Neil Sequeira.  She was previously a general partner at Kleiner Perkins.

Trae made her way to Silicon Valley from…rural Minnesota.  As a girl, Trae fell in love with coding – on an Apple II.  She went, sight unseen, to Stanford University, where she studied mechanical and electrical engineering.  After a stint at design firm IDEO, she co-founded and led product at Good Technologies.

In this episode we discuss Trae’s path to Kleiner Perkins, and her experiences being one of relatively few female venture capital partners in Silicon Valley. She contrasts the treatment of women in Silicon Valley before, and after, Ellen Pao’s lawsuit (Check out Episode 101).  We discuss why she struck out on her own rather than staying at Kleiner, and how she and her partner came together to form Defy.

Finally, Trae discusses a health scare that led to her discovery of integrative medicine and lifelong quest for healthy living.

EPISODE QUOTES

On Her Early Experience with Computers

“It was like third or fourth grade where I have vivid recollections of seeing Oregon Trail (a video game), playing that game, and then learning how to build simple graphics programs. And that really was a spark for me:  That, you can logically build a sequence of steps and then have it go execute. And that kind of problem solving to me was incredibly exciting. And so that was the spark that made me realize I'm a problem solver, I'm a creative.”

On Palm Pilot and Women Leaders

“I was fortunate to get on the engineering team that worked on the Palm V. And through that, I got to work with Donna Dubinsky (Palm’s CEO) and Jeff Hawkins (Palm’s Founder). And this was when they were justgetting started and they had this runaway kind of success. That was my first exposure to a startup into what it meant to be an entrepreneur and frankly, a female CEO, a woman CEO who is just amazing at her job. And so I thought, OK, I love this engineering thing, but I want to do what she's doing.”

 

On Integrative Medicine


“When I left Kleiner, one of my top goals was” I'm going to get my health back.  I want to feel better than ever. I started reading up and looking at less conventional options, because I literally had been to Mayo and Cedars and Stanford and UCSF and nothing. Nothing, nothing. And I finally found this whole world of integrative medicine, which I'm now a huge fan of. The thesis behind it is really about root cause analysis instead of giving you a drug to alleviate the symptom of that issue.  Rathere, we're going to figure out why you have that issue to begin with and get to the root cause and solve that problem so we don't have to cover up your symptom.”

Defy:  https://defy.vc

Something Ventured: https://somethingventured.us