Insights by NEXT partners, Role Models: What it means to be a female entrepreneur
Back in October, Samsung NEXT proudly became the first official partners of Role Models, an English-language interview podcast and event series focused on supporting diversity in the tech through the hosting of conversations with female entrepreneurs and business leaders. Driven by the motivation to inspire a new generation of global leaders, Role Models sits down with some of the most influential female founders and investors to share what being an entrepreneur means to them. We asked the Role Models team to share some of the best pieces of advice they’d uncovered with some of their top guests.
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The founders, engineers, disruptors, creatives, and innovators who make up the international entrepreneur community are defining our futures in real time. But what does it actually mean to be an entrepreneur, and how can we demystify the word in order to make it universally accessible to the next generation of global leaders?
At Role Models, we regularly speak to some of the world’s most inspirational and innovative women. Here, we share insights from interviews with Ara Kratz, Ann Miura-Ko, and Tina Roth Eisenberg, who universally agree that “entrepreneurship” isn’t some sort of special gift possessed by a rare few, but rather a natural talent that we can all nurture, celebrate, and practice with time.
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“Entrepreneurship is really just a curiosity about a problem and a desire to create a solution to it. It’s not only teachable, it’s also something that’s very innately human.”
These are the words of Ann Miura-Ko, named “the most powerful woman in startups” by Forbes and a founding partner of Floodgate, an early-stage venture capital firm whose investments include Refinery29, Lyft, JoyRun, and TaskRabbit. For Ann, the key values of successful entrepreneurship are qualities within all of us.
Can we practice being better entrepreneurs though? Ann thinks so. To get started, she recommends building something before everyone else does, and seeking out the underdog role as opposed to working on something that everyone else thinks is going to be “the next big thing.” She also points to “hacking value” as opposed to growth — i.e., asking yourself how you can make something better for your end user, instead of just trying to reach the next business goal.
Listen to Ann’s full interview here.
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“The most exciting thing is that you build something that resonates with people – not just from a product perspective or a brand perspective.”
Ara Kratz, founder of recently launched seed.com, shares her belief that an entrepreneur’s power lies in producing something that resonates with its customer, as opposed to creating better branding or product vision. We spoke to Ara at a time of tangible energy, during which she infectiously described falling in love with the product she created all over again post-launch after seeing the impact it had on changing people’s lives started to reach her through everyday feedback.
Ara also recommends staying true to your company’s bigger picture, as opposed to getting too caught up in the endless minute details when in launch mode — something she manages by setting a clear vision for her team and then communicating and mobilizing it. By consciously carving this vision out, she believes in the positive trickle-down entrepreneurial effect this can have on the entire team.
Hear more about Ara’s story.
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“I feel like the lightness that comes from starting projects just as side projects, and the playfulness, is actually something people feel. When you don’t start something with the main purpose of it paying your rent and making you rich then there’s an incredible innocence and an energy around the project that people pick up.”
Tina Roth Eisenberg gradually turned CreativeMornings from a local event into a global lecture movement active in more than 80 cities around the world. At the same time, she manages a personal blog, swissmiss, with more than a million visitors every month, and has launched a to-do app called TeuxDeux. When we talked about her ability to create products that resonate, Tina described how she sets about designing them for herself, and the joy of the design process, rather than an end goal or user.
This light approach helps Tina to overcome any initial hesitations while simultaneously allowing her to shut out the world and just create, without worrying about any wider ramifications. To this end she points out: “What have you got to lose?” Once something has been explored on a small scale, Tina then tries to find a way to make her projects work together by adding value and scaling them all at the same time.
Check out Tina’s interview here.
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Role Models is a bi-weekly podcast and event series intent on inspiring the next generation of global leaders. Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and SoundCloud or via their website. Make sure you sign up for news, stories and more from the Role Models community as well.