Katryna Dow is an impressive woman, with extensive experience in both corporate and startup spaces. She is the founder and CEO of Meeco, a multi-award-winning platform that gives people and organisations the tools to access, control, and create mutual value from personal data. They do this privately, securely and with explicit consent.
Mike Scott, CEO and Co-founder of Nona, got to chat with Katryna on episode 14 of his podcast How to be Moderately Successful. They discuss everything from fundraising and surviving the Valley, to Tom Cruise and founder habits.
We’ve gathered the top three inspirational bombs here:
3 lessons from Mike and Katryna
Trust your intuition
How do you know you have a worthwhile idea? The question has plagued all soon-to-be founders, but at this point the title probably hasn’t even crossed your mind – all you have is the idea, and maybe about a thousand questions that all look like this:
Do people even want this?
How do I make this work?
CAN I make this work?
So then, how do you decide if you want to go ahead? According to Katryna, it’s more of a feeling than a logical decision.
“It was really an idea that I didn’t really even understand how to solve, or how to go about it…I was completely clueless as to, first of all, the size of the problem or if anyone really cared or even how to go about it. So, I think for any founders or people that are listening that have something in their head or their heart, that they can’t get rid of – I think sometimes the call sort of pushing you forward makes the decision rather than your rational self.”
As mystical as it may sound, keen intuition is an incredibly useful tool in the entrepreneur’s arsenal. If you’re someone who learns from business leaders by reading their books and listening to their podcasts, we’d wager this isn’t the first time you’ve heard about meditation, instinct, and intuition in business. Tech giants like Jeff Bezos and the late Steve Jobs, for example, have attributed this aspect of decision-making to their success.
“Intuition is a very powerful thing,” says Jobs in his autobiography. “More powerful than intellect, in my opinion. That’s had a big impact on my work.”
Become an egomaniac
Okay, we don’t really mean that you should become an egomaniac (well, we do, but only a little bit – like, 10% egomaniac). You should cultivate faith within yourself.
According to Mike, there is often an immense amount of faith and self-belief coming from tech founders. It’s part of Katryna’s story, too. So many people told her she was crazy, it wasn’t going to work, it wasn’t the right time. And when funds were low, she kept the faith going. It’s a rather wonderful story about being stubborn as hell and persevering.
It seems to be a particular brand of self-belief – founder’s faith, if you will. You have to believe in yourself because so many other people won’t, and if you don’t believe in yourself, no one will.
“I was somewhat downhearted from the experience in the Valley,” says Katryna. “I’ve had VC firms say, ‘Hey, we love the idea, but you’re not an engineer. We don’t feel comfortable backing a woman of your age into a tech startup. If you let us hire somebody out of Google or Facebook and attribute them with the idea, and you stay on as an advisor, then we’d look to help you raise money.’”
Katryna describes her soul being as thin as a playing card after that experience, but she kept going. “You make that phone call you don’t want to make, and you go to that meeting that you don’t want to go to, and you do that pitch that you don’t want to do, and kind of amazing things happen.”
Stepping back and looking at these lessons, it looks like being a founder is a bit of a lonely gig, where you only trust yourself and your instinct. But when Mike asks Katryna what the one thing she wants listeners to leave with, she says this:
Don’t buy into your own bullshit
“Finding a way to believe in yourself enough to have the courage and the motivation to do something that’s scary or different, or you feel like you’re clueless – but also the humility to be able to go, ‘Hey, I’m stuck.’”
“That’s the paradox,” Katryna muses. “Being able to believe in yourself enough to trust yourself, and not buying into your own bullshit so that you don’t know when to reach out and ask for help.”
If you resonate with anything you’ve read here today, listen to the full discussion between Mike and Katryna. On the podcast they talk about funding, founder habits, being a woman in tech, and so much more. Check out episode 14: Building a business to solve the personal data problem with Katryna Dow from Meeco.me here.
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