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Ari Horie | Founder and CEO | Women’s Startup Lab
IMPACT
ordinaryextra
EMBRACE DIFFERENCES
TAKE A CHANCE
BE PERSISTENT
HITO
BALANCED AND COMPLETE
IMPACT
RESONATES
SHOES FOR THOUGHT
ordinaryextra
Share your thoughts on Twitter @wslab
BELIEVE…
Ari Horie | ari@womenstartuplab.com | www.womenstartuplab.com

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Empowering Women Technology Startup Founders to Succeed - Voices 2015

Editor's Notes

  1. Up on screen as you are being introduced
  2. Ordinary to extraordinary opening
  3. Ordinary to extraordinary opening
  4. The story: For a young girl or boy, fitting in is so important. Growing up in Japan, belonging and conforming to ‘the way things are’ is most important to fitting in. Community is valued over individualism. I was shy and quiet as a little girl, plus did not conform to what is normal in Japan. I had a single parent, my Mom. Divorce was very rare. She worked…as an entrepreneur, a restaurant owner. I always remember being picked on for not having a Father at home. Then it became harder. Needing a backpack to carry my things to and from school, my Mom bought me a pink one….when red was the correct color. Oh, now another reason to be picked on! I struggled but eventually learned how to let go of my many differences and become part of different groups by bringing something all valued… even when I was not the same. I would come home and say to my Mom what the kids said to me. She would always share this: They don’t know anything….you are special and good – go and be yourself…an independent and confident person. The Lesson: So what I learned as a young girl is being yourself is more important than being the same. I see my differences as valuable and of great benefit to others – and not as faults or shortcomings. Often women fall into the trap of trying to be the same. Falsely thinking that different is to avoided, and being different makes it harder. Entrepreneurs are different, because they have a huge passion to solve a problem, changes lives, make a difference. They embrace their difference as the path to have their vision become reality. Women entrepreneurs who succeed are at peace with their differences and use the differences as assets to move forward and make an impact
  5. The Story: My High School English teacher strongly encouraged me to apply for the National Exchange Student program to study for 1 year in the US. Selection was based on a competition. 3000 apply, 100 get accepted. By most expectations, criteria, and past winners, I was not a good match nor would I be competitive. I advanced past the 1st round, and in the 2nd round had to take an English proficiency test. When I was called with the results, I learned my score was 350 points. Having no frame of reference, because I had not studied or activity prepared, I was delighted and said so. After some silence on the phone, the administrator informed me 300 points were awarded for writing your name correctly! It seems hard to imagine, but I pushed back….saying the point of going to the US was to learn English….and not to show how well you understood English before the trip. And the test was only in English! It all seemed backwards to me. Next came a big question and answer session. I was asked how I would solve a problem….which I could barely comprehend because it was said in English….and I stated I would ‘just smile and walk up to someone and ask’! Wonders of wonders…I was selected to go. As others cried in disappointment, my Mom and I laughed from amazement. Later I learned why I was picked. Experience had shown students who were very good in English has a hard time in the US, partly because they tried to be perfect speakers….which would cause them to freeze or withdraw until fully prepared. Students not so good in English, like me, were more courageous and confident to engage……this lead to a better overall experience. The Lesson: Here is what I learned. You can’t accomplish anything without getting in the game, on the court, on the field. Standing on the sidelines to assess your chance may be helpful, prudent and practical. Only by being engaged and taking the chance, can anything happen because of what you do. To make a difference, to do something that matters, you have to do. Results can’t be predicted all the time. Women entrepreneurs, as do all entrepreneurs, take a chance. They do this every day and more often than seems sensible. Women’s especially need to let go of self doubt, of waiting until all is ready-set-and go. It is really hard to manage to success as a startup. There are too many unknowns and too many variables. Women need to take the chance: when it seems unreasonable or clearly out of reach. In taking the chance, new possibilities will occur. Often the are completely unexpected!
  6. IBM hiring story The story: By mistake I attended a job fair at my US college….and while there I was constantly asked if I spoke Spanish. I spoke Japanese I said, along with English. Turns out this was a job fair to recruit Hispanic students into US corporations. Was this awkward. Seeing similar objectives, getting a job after college, I started to ask around at the fair who would like my resume. I met someone who gladly said they would add it into the pool of broader minority applications. Was this because I was a women or Japanese or both? Soon I was contacted by IBM, and invited to a special weekend meeting to be recruited and interviewed by IBM management. Only 100 people were invited from across the US. A great opportunity and also a pretty select group of people. Shortly into the weekend, an IBM manager approached me and said possibly a grave mistake was made. I was asked if I had a work visa for the US. Which I did not. I quickly learned the recruits at this event needed a visa as a minimum requirement. IBM did secure visas for new employees, but this was reserved for the best of the best tied to strategic skills and jobs. My college degree was novel, International marketing, but it was not strategic to a company like IBM. Sensing my opportunity to be hired by IBM would never be better than this, I started to ask who could help. Eventually I met with the HR Director managing the session, and after 1 hour explaining and describing how valuable I would be as an employee, he agreed to set up a meeting with the VP of HR that evening. At the end the hour with the VP, the outcome was wonderful…he stood for me, saying he would see what could be done. Shortly after the event, the VP contacted me and said a visa was set aside for me….but it was on me to get a job offer from someone in IBM. Within a few months I had a job with IBM. The lesson: From this I learned: Keep going, keep moving forward. No is not a reason to stop. Setbacks are not permission to accept the situation. For Women entrepreneurs, persistence is so important, but can feel out of character. Being persistent is not the same as aggressive. Being persistent is not the same as competitive. Being persistent is not the same as bull headed. As an entrepreneur, you hear NO so often, you almost forget what YES sounds like. The vision will not become a reality if entrepreneurs backed off because of resistance, rejection or no. Transition: I now want to introduce you to Women’s Startup Lab. In many aspects the company embraces the three lessons I have just shared with you from my life . Embrace your differences Take a chance Be Persistent But before I do that, I need to share with you the core concept behind Women’s Startup Lab – the concept of community.
  7. This is the Japanese symbol Hito. It means Human. To be human is to rely on others. To be human is to be part of a community. This symbol is two lines leaning on each other. Showing that a human is who they are because of the support they get and they give. This is a guiding principle for me as I make my journey as an entrepreneur and for how Women’s Startup Lab is unique. Transition: Women’s Startup Lab is based in Menlo Park, Ca….the heart of Silicon Valley. It begin in March, 2013….with its first class of women entrepreneurs in September 2013. We just completed the 2nd class.
  8. Allow me to briefly share with you what Woman’s Startup Lab is doing and what makes this special. The founder is as important if not more important than the idea when a company is new. The programs at Women’s Startup Lab have a balanced and integrated philosophy….grow the founder as she grows her business and community. Inclusive and woman focused….so that women learn as many more naturally learn, in an environment based on trust, peer support, giving back, and collaboration. Men tend to ask people to choose Women tend to ask ‘what do you think?’ Men tend to compete to win Women prefer to collaborate to win Startup Development – grow the business Leadership Development – grow the person Community and Network Development –build and grow a network which wants to help you succeed….so much more than ‘just knowing you’. Integrated – ‘do it yourself’ or organic growth is hard to pull off….even in Silicon Valley which has an abundance of options….and more so outside of Silicon Valley. Women’s Startup Lab provides all three core areas of development allowing its members to be more effective and productive.
  9. Here are a few pictures of some of our Alumni. 27 have graduated since the accelerator began in September 2013. Two founder’s sold their companies this month! 1 was accepted into Y Combinator – which she saw as the next logical step in her business growth Several have established strategic partnerships with the #1 player in their target market
  10. This year a lot of attention as been showered on Women’s Startup Lab. The shy and quiet young girl is still in me….I am not fully comfortable with being so visible. Helping entrepreneurs is an underserved market – and our women focus is unique (over 3000 accelerators worldwide, possibly 4 focus on women) Balanced and Complete combined with Community is unique too. Journalists interested in women and entrepreneurs seek to learn from us and share with their readers and community. Government’s looking to advance women entrepreneurship in their country and capitalize on our program calling. The impact is expanding beyond Silicon Valley out into our larger world.
  11. My little secret is I really really like shoes. And I like the fun of choice at any moment. Few know that in the trunk of my car are dozens of pairs of shoes….so I can choose in the moment shoes that fit my mood and situation. Women’s Startup Lab embodies all these moments of impact in my journey help female entrepreneurs become successful. The three lessons I learned which I share with you are: Different is good Take a chance Be persistent The core values and benefits from Women’s Startup Lab are: We focus on the individual so that they can be the best they can be We provide a community which cares and supports from which the woman entrepreneur can build her network to move forward and succeed.
  12. Do something extra ordinary to help women entrepreneurs. Make an impact Tonight In the morning This coming week Thank you.