How to find a mentor in tech with Floodgate’s Ann Miura-Ko

Product Hunt Radio

0:00

56:30

Jan. 8, 2019, 9 p.m.

We have a special guest host for this episode, my teammate at Product Hunt, Abadesi Osunsade. She is the author of Dream Big, Hustle Hard: The Millennial Woman's Guide to Success in Tech. She'll be hosting more episodes alongside me this year.

Ann Miura-Ko is a founding partner at Floodgate, a seed-stage VC firm in Palo Alto. She has been called “the most powerful woman in startups” by Forbes and is an early investor in Lyft and TaskRabbit. She is also a lecturer in entrepreneurship at Stanford's School of Engineering and a founding member of All Raise.

In this episode we talk about:

  • Ann recounts how she got to where she is today, including what it was like growing up with a NASA scientist for a dad. She talks about some of the formative moments in her career and explains why she says that a “career path” is a misnomer.
  • The mentors that have helped Ann throughout her career, and why she never approaches a relationship with an expectation of mentorship, but instead always “begins with an act of service.”
  • Why the tech industry should always take a step back to question whether everyone prospers from its work, the five values that drive her investments at Floodgate, and why they tell entrepreneurs “your life's work is our life's work.”
  • How she manages her children's relationships with social media (“browsing Instagram feels like not being invited to every party everyone else is having”), how she is personally working to increase the number of underrepresented founders, and the business benefit of diversity.

We also discuss some of their favorite products including an old-fashioned note-taking system for the digital age, a better way to organize your tabs in Chrome, and a built-in CRM for your Gmail inbox.

We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Also, big thanks to our sponsors, Rally Rd and AngelList, for their support. 😸

Quotes from This Episode

“My belief has always been that I never asked someone to be my mentor. I would start off with an act of service, and it wasn’t built on a belief that that act of service would then lead to mentorship.” — Ann

“In ten years, I’ve seen huge changes in the funding landscape. The opportunity for someone to access capital is so much greater than when I first got started. The playing field is not level at all but it is so much more accessible than it was ten years ago.” — Ann

“When we think about economic opportunity for the masses, when we think of better education for the masses, I believe that people envision technology playing a critical role in that. To separate out prosperity from technology advances, I think is crazy. We need to have a way of creating a better future that’s characterized by optimism and hope rather than insecurity and fear.” — Ann

Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode

Bullet Journal — An analog note-taking system for the digital age.

Streak — CRM in your inbox, for Gmail.

Trello — Organize anything, together.

Workona — Transform Chrome into a professional work tool for free.