The Breaking Into Startups Podcast is a platform where we feature stories of people who broke into tech from non-traditional backgrounds. Curious about how startups work, how to get a job without a degree or what technical and non-technical careers are out there? We have news for you - tech fields are booming and you don’t need the best technical degree in information technology to break in and get a six figure job in technology.
Our podcast gives you an inside look at the most disruptive startups by sharing success stories of people from all walks of life, including college drop outs, professional and student athletes, army veterans, teen parents, corporate folks, investment bankers, consultants, venture capitalists who acquired new skills and found jobs in technology.
Our guests attended coding bootcamps and immersive programs like Hack Reactor, App Academy, General Assembly, Dev Bootcamp, Flatiron School, Iron Yard, Tradecraft and more. After graduating they found well paying jobs in big time startups focusing on education, medicine, financial services, healthcare, AI, machine learning, automation, sharing economy and more. If you listen to 500 Startups, Learn to Code With Me, Twenty Minute VC, This Week In Startups, Startup Radio, Startup Podcast, The Tim Ferris show, Startup School Radio, Course Report or other tech stuff news, then this podcast is for you my friend.
#114: Phaedra Ellis - CEO of Promise on How to Build Power and Take Control of Your Career
Phaedra Ellis is the CEO of Promise, a startup that uses technology for good in the process to change the criminal justice system.
Prior to this, she was the leader of the South Bay Labor Council, managing over 110,000 members.
Before that, Phaedra was also the CEO of Green for All and is known as a music industry icon for having helped Prince get his master's back as his manager, without having any legal background.
What’s interesting is Ruben met Phaedra when he worked with her at Honor. She became his mentor and also was responsible for hiring former podcast guests Rita Henderson and Natasha Vianna.
#113: Tonio DeSorrento - Income Sharing Agreements Explained by CEO of Vemo
Tonio DeSorrento is a New York-native who spent time in the Marines as a captain. He has also worked at several institutions including SoFi.
Currently, he serves as the CEO of Vemo Education, a leading provider of income share agreements, which is an innovative financing model not only for coding bootcamps, but also for traditional universities. They are working now with 22 colleges and universities!
If you're someone looking to manage your finances as you're preparing for a career transition, this episode is a must-listen!
#112: Chasing your Dreams with Young Guru & Rodney Sampson
Rodney Sampson is the CEO of OHUB while Young Guru is widely known as Jay-Z's DJ. On today’s episode, Ruben joins Rodney & Young Guru to discuss how and why they came together and why they're passionate about creating opportunities for people outside of tech. OHUB has also partnered with Flatiron School, to give $1M in scholarships to people with color who wish to pursue a career in tech through coding bootcamps.
#111: Ameer Brown - Coding Bootcamp Graduate who is a Software Quality Engineer at Adobe
Ameer Brown is a Software Quality Engineer at Adobe. He talks about what it takes to be a successful engineer at Adobe. Outside of work Ameer also organizes parties. He also covers how that helped him take it to another level hosting parties in multiple cities.
From being a journalism major, he suddenly left his job, flew to LA, and applied to General Assembly. Through the bootcamp’s Opportunity Fund, Ameer’s coding education was fully funded by Adobe until ultimately getting hired (and he didn’t even apply for it!)
#110: Dan Rosensweig - CEO of Chegg, the Playbook for the Modern Day Student
Dan Rosensweig is the CEO of Chegg, an American education company with the aim to provide education that is less expensive, more available, more affordable, and more relevant. On the podcast, Dan explains how it's their responsibility to learn from, listen to, and build for young people.
He was formerly the COO of Yahoo! and CEO of Guitar Hero. He's also on the board of several amazing companies.
Dan admits Chegg was considered a failure for most of its first 7 years. 8 1/2 years later, they're a $3.5 billion Education Technology company and is considered a leader in their space.
#109: Cameron Yarbrough - CEO of Torch, on the Importance of Mental Health & Coaching
Cameron Yarbrough is the CEO of Torch and one of the best leadership and executive coaches in the world.
In this episode, Cameron talks about coaching for everyone! How Torch got its start and the problems that many CEO’s as well as startup employees have when they are faced with pressure.
#108: Dan Sommer, CEO & founder of Trilogy Education, workforce accelerator for leading universities
Dan Sommer is the CEO and Co-Founder of Trilogy Education Services. Dan has launched partnerships with over 37 of the world's leading universities, providing alternative forms of education on their campuses.
They have instructors teaching 200 classes every week. They have thousands of students who have completed Trilogy-powered programs, and 1,500 companies employ them.
In May, Dan secured a $50-million Series B and he's been doing a lot of exciting things related to future work. Prior to Trilogy, he was the President of Zeta Global, also a large education company.
Interesting takeaways from this episode: learning how to learn, developing your superpowers, and being aware of not just engineering jobs but specific technologies companies are hiring for in different geographies!
#107: Rich Smith - How A College Dropout Became A Senior Engineer at Netflix
Announcements: Watch the video recording of this episode on Youtube
Rich Smith is a Senior UI engineer at Netflix but did you know this was his 17th job?
Today, he talks about how he started hustling as early as 4th grader and eventually discovered his interest in coding!
On the episode he covers a lot of topics as what it was like growing up with role models who were athletes, which a lot of us could relate with. And how not until he dropped out of college that Rich stumbled upon coding and later realized that this could be a viable career path!
Rich’s journey to become a Senior Engineer at Netflix was certainly not an easy feat, but he lays out the roadmap on this episode that anyone can follow to attain the same results.
Hint: it doesn’t involve a computer science degree :)
#106: Balaji Srinivasan - CTO of Coinbase, How Everyone Can be an Investor
Balaji Srinivasan is the CTO of Coinbase. Prior to that, he was a co-founder of Counsyl, Earn, Teleport, and a General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz.
Today, he talks about his insights into traditional education vs. alternative education, as well as numerous concepts on technical debt, voice vs. exit, idea maze, idea vs. education, and more!
Balaji has a very interesting mindset in that he believes that not everybody can be a founder, but everybody can be an investor.
#105: Rick O'Donnell - CEO of Skills Fund, Providing Financing to Coding Bootcamp Students
Rick O’Donnell is the Founder and CEO of Skills Fund, a place that provides people with an opportunity to acquire skills and they also provide financing for students as they're doing a career transition.
Prior to Skills Fund, Rick worked as an Executive Director for the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies as well as the Director for the Department of Higher Education where he oversaw 29 public colleges and universities in Colorado. Since its founding in 2015, Skills Fund has provided over $100 million in students loans.
Today, Rick talks about how you should be thinking about your career transition and how you can afford it as well.
#104: Leanne Pittsford - Founder of Lesbians Who Tech & Tech Jobs Tour
There are half a million open tech jobs, and yet, diversity in tech continues to be a problem. The key is in building relationships and connecting people with the right companies that need their skills the most.
Leanne Pittsford is the founder of Lesbians Who Tech, the largest LGBTQ community of technologists in the world with over 40,000 members.
She is also the founder of Tech Jobs Tour, connecting diverse, underrepresented, and nontraditional talent with companies across the country. Among other companies she has created are include.io, and Lean Impact.
Fun fact about Leanne is when she’s not helping people find jobs she really loves to surf.
#103: Madelyn Tavarez - How a Part-time Bootcamp helped her Become an Android Engineer
Our guest on the podcast has a remarkable story.
Madelyn Tavarez did a part-time bootcamp, while holding a full-time job.
She taught herself how to code.
And became a software engineer at Pinterest now building products for hundreds of millions of people.
She is also a Dominican Republic-native who grew up in Washington Heights and due to her own drive and curiosity was able to change her circumstance.
Her senior year of college she went from being a bartender to an “eat, pray, love” moment which took her to Italy. Which eventually played a big role in Madelyn deciding to teach herself how to code.
Fast-forward to today, she works as an Android engineer at Pinterest. She also continues to get actively involved in different community projects, including the TECHNOLOchicas among others.
Austen Allred is the CEO and Co-Founder of Lambda School. Recently coming out of Y Combinator, Lambda now has thousands of students. Prior to this, he served as a Growth Expert at LendUp.
Lambda School is an online bootcamp that gives students the tools and training they need to launch their career in software engineering at no upfront cost. Their end goal is to eliminate all the distractions related to income, living expenses & time so students can focus on transitioning into their dream careers.
They also don’t get paid, unless you get a job!
#101: Avi Flombaum - Co-Founder of Flatiron School
Avi Flombaum is a lifelong educator. He is the Co-Founder of Flatiron School, which grew to thousands of students and got acquired by WeWork.
Prior to starting Flatiron School, Avi also built several companies.
Avi’s philosophy believes that education should mold and flex to the needs of the student.
On this episode, he shares his insights about their different programs and how they’re making education more accessible to people without having to carry that huge financial burden themselves.
#100: David Harris - How an App Academy graduate became a Software Engineer at Omada Health
Moving from Atlanta to the Bay Area, from being a writer, artist, to mathematician, David Harris completed App Academy and became a software engineer. By combining hard work and the power of networking, David ultimately landed a full-time job at Omada Health.
In this episode, David talks about his struggles and how he hustled his way to success. He’s also dishing out a ton of resources you can use whether you’re preparing for a bootcamp or prepping for an interview.
David is the brother of Ruben Harris. He also shares how Ruben, Timur, and Artur have helped him throughout out this entire journey, along with some other amazing people in the industry that he met along the way.
#99: Iris Nevins - Teacher Who Became a Software Engineer at Mailchimp
In 2017, Iris Nevins decided to leave her work as a teacher in Florida to attend a bootcamp in the Bay Area - but it was not without its own struggles. Iris believes that when you’re on your path, no matter the road blocks, serendipitous things will happen.
In 2018, Iris landed a job as a software engineer at MailChimp, an Atlanta-based marketing automation platform (although Iris works remotely in Oakland). Quick trivia: MailChimp sends out a whopping billion emails per day!
Iris is also the founder of Organeyez, an organization that provides relevant tools and content to groups and organizations that work towards fostering social justice.
#98: Galvanize's acquisition of Hack Reactor - Al Rosabal & Shawn Drost
Galvanize and Hack Reactor have now merged to become bigger and better in the bootcamp space. With the merger, Shawn who is the Cofounder of Hack Reactor and a returning guest on the Podcast, is now serving as SVP of Strategy and Innovation.
Galvanize has eight campuses across the U.S. including San Francisco, Seattle, Phoenix, Austin, Denver (2), Boulder, and New York City. They're primarily engaged in immersive education, enterprise work, and co-working.
Hack Reactor is one of the largest coding bootcamp that focuses on web development and is now expanding their offering to corporate clients. In their effort to create lifelong learning programs for alums and work transformatively with companies trying to set up, they decided to join a bigger company in order to realize this.
As the industry is going through consolidation, together Galvanize & Hack Reactor will be offering software engineering and data science across eight campuses and become the largest bootcamp.
#97: Ryan Carson - CEO of Treehouse on How You Can Start Learning to Code
Ryan Carson is the Founder and CEO of Treehouse. He grew up in Colorado and is currently in Portland. Today, he talks about the future of education, work, and more!
Treehouse is an online school that teaches adults how to code and build apps so they gain a super power. Running for 8 years now, they've taught over 850,000 people how to code, with currently 80,000 enrolled students.
Their mission is simple: to change lives through rebooting the talent pipeline in America and the world!
#96: Building Reddit, Posterous.com & Initialized Capital with Alexis Ohanian & Garry Tan
Today, we have two amazing people behind the widely successful early stage venture capital firm, Initialized. Today, they discuss the power of coaching, the cryptocurrency space, building teams and community, and some tech trends to watch out for.
Dubbed as "Mayor of the Internet," Alexis Ohanian is the Co-Founder of Reddit, Breadpig. He was a former partner at Y Combinator before co-founding Initialized.
Garry Tan is also a Co-Founder of Initialized, Posterous.com, and Posthaven.com. Also a former partner at Y Combinator, where he advised over 700 companies. In addition to that, he is the first seed investor at Instacart and Coinbase which will discuss in greater detail on the episode.
#95: Jacob Hsu - CEO of Catalyte, Guaranteeing Career Transitioners Engineering Jobs
It all started when Jacob Hsu immigrated from Taiwan at an early age! Fast forward to now, Jacob spends his time between San Mateo and Baltimore while he’s building and managing his team as the CEO of Catalyte.
An ex-banker, Jacob went on to create two startups, one of which is Symbio, a product development and R&D outsourcing services company. In just less than 11 years, the company has grown from $10 million to over $600 million in revenue. In 2016, Symbio got acquired for over a billion dollars.
Catalyte has a very unique business model, specifically using AI to find exceptional people from different backgrounds and helping them become great software engineers. Based in Baltimore, the company is now looking to expand to other cities where they can bring massive impact to local people within the community.
Today, Jacob talks about the different key elements Catalyte is built upon and why now is the time to kill the resume!
#94: Raul Moas - Bringing Tech Jobs to Miami with The Knight Foundation
A melting pot of different cultures, Miami is now seeing a dramatic shift in its career ecosystem geared towards technology and startups. But a little more work is needed for the educational landscape to align with the rapidly growing tech space.
Raul Moas is currently the Miami Program Director for the Knight Foundation, a national foundation with strong local roots, specifically focused on entrepreneurship. Formerly, he was the Managing Director for Miami Angels, a local angel group with more than a hundred investors putting seed stage capital behind tech and tech-enabled companies from Florida. He previously served as an executive director for Roots of Hope.
In today’s episode, Raul talks about the current trends in Miami from both educational and labor perspectives and what they can do to help bridge the gap.
#93: Saif Ishoof - How College Students Should Prepare for the Future of Work
Miami-native Saif Ishoof is the VP of Engagement at Florida International University and a leader in the Future of Work. He started up a nonprofit called City Year Miami and has run family business prior to it. He got his JD from the University of Miami.
We wanted to highlight the importance of radio, part of the reason this podcast got started. Undoubtedly, radio is still the strongest way to reach people in the community you want to reach.
Alice McLaughlin also joins in as she throws out some interesting questions. Alice is the host of Ask Alice, a radio show on Key Biscayne Radio 94.5 FM in Key Biscayne, Florida. It's also known as Blink Radio, where they feature business, technology, and lifestyle.
The show is going to be on live simulcast multi platforms so they're able to reach above and beyond their local footprint.
#92: Marlon Nichols - Deep Dive on Venture Capital with the Co-Founder of Cross Culture VC
Marlon Nichols is the Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Cross Culture Ventures, along with co-founder Troy Carter.
Marlon previously served as a Partner at Intel Capital. He has worked with several startups, invested in companies like Mayvenn, Gimlet Media, Blavity, Airspace Technologies, Codeverse, and many others.
Marlon is huge on CULTURE when it comes to uncovering hidden opportunities. Today, he talks about the power of culture and diversity, the value of mentorship, and how to assemble a winning team.
#91: Laurence Bradford - Founder of Learn To Code With Me
From economic development to a career in tech, Laurence Bradford is a software engineer and she’s now working as a product manager at EdTech startup Teachable, which is an online course platform.
Aside from being a contributor at Forbes, she also runs a podcast called, Learn to Code With Me, which now has over a million downloads. She runs a blog with over 40,000 subscribers and she has a community of over 14,000 people on Facebook where she's helping them learn how to code.
Laurence has traveled to over 30 countries, is an avid writer, and is very passionate to help others break into tech.
#90: Daniel Barragan - An Enterprise Account Executive's Playbook to Landing a Job
Daniel Barragan was the first sales rep at Zoom that was able to rise all the way up to the top of the ranks on the Enterprise team. He helped the company grow to over 700,000 accounts in six years, reach a billion dollar valuation, get into 90% of the top universities, and expand into different verticals.
What started out as just being a beta product with only one customer supporting 25 people, Zoom now supports hundreds to thousands people on a single call serving a wide range of customers ranging from small and medium-sized businesses to enterprises.
#89: Evan Fried - First Employee at Checkr & Head of Customer Success
A lot of times in startups, roles are not defined. And although we wear many hats, sometimes it never gets solidified.
Today, Evan talks about his humble beginnings. Born in Alaska, he sold his cream puff and shaved ice business that he put up in high school. He then studied Philosophy and Business in Seattle, until finally moving to SF to hustle his way through, living in a hostel while looking for a job.
Evan is employee #1 at Checkr, a startup that offers background check and screening solutions, which has grown from a two-person company to persently a hundred-person high-growth organization where he now leads their customer success team.
#88: Erika Balbuena - Head of Strategic Initiatives at Twilio.org
After the recording of the podcast, Erika joined the Impact Team at Amazon Cloud Services. Prior to that, at the time of the episode recording, Erika was the Head of Strategic Initiatives at Twilio.org. Before that, she also worked for TaskRabbit. Erika has not only in tech for a long time, she served on several boards and she also has deep experience in the nonprofit industry.
Under the Impact Fund at Twilio, they've given away about a $1.5 million in investments and grants where they take a platform and portfolio approach. Her vision? To have a platform in Twilio where nonprofits have a one-stop shop for technical help.
Erika is about to launch The Only, it's a storytelling project and podcast that documents the stories of women who were The Only in all male or mostly male environments.
Do you know someone who's been an "only" woman or if you've been an "only" woman yourself in your company or organization, submit a nomination form and Erika will reach out to you. This covers people in practically all types of industries.
#87: Aline Lerner - CEO of Interviewing.io on How to Reinvent a Technical Interview
Aline Lerner is the CEO and Co-Founder of interviewing.io, a platform for engineers that practice technical interviews and land jobs at the top tech companies.
Millions of people have read her writing and thousands of engineers sign to work with her platform each month. You can easily check her out in TechCrunch, Bloomberg, and other publications.
From being a chef to breaking into startups, Aline is now the founder of one of the largest platforms in the game focused on getting people to tech companies.
#86: Special Report - Congressional Black Caucus's Tech 2020 Initiative on Future of Work
In May 2015, the Congressional Black Caucus launched CBC TECH 2020 to bring together the best minds in the tech, non-profit, education and public sectors to chart a path forward to increase African American inclusion at all levels of the technology industry.
Since the launch of CBC TECH 2020 in May of 2015, the following companies have added African Americans to their board of directors:
AirBNB – (Kenneth I. Chenault
Former Chairman & CEO, American Express),
Apple, Inc. (James A. Bell, Former Executive Vice President & CFO of Boeing Co),
Facebook, Inc. – (Kenneth I. Chenault, Former Chairman and CEO, American Express),
HP Enterprise – (Leslie A. Brun
CEO, Sarr Group, LLC),
HP Enterprise – (Pamela Carter, Former President of Cummins Distribution),
HP, Inc. – (Stacey Mobley, Former Senior Vice President, DuPont),
HP, Inc. – (Stacy Brown- Philpot, CEO, TaskRabbit),
Twitter – (Debra Lee, Chairwoman & CEO, BET Networks),
Uber – (Ursula Burns, Former Chairwoman & CEO, Xerox, Corp),
eBay – (Adriane Brown, Advisor with Intellectual Ventures, LLC)
#85: Michael Ellison - CEO of CodePath.org, Helping Engineers Advance their Careers
Michael Ellison is currently the Chief Operating Officer of CodePath where he leads product, operations, and business development.
CodePath is an education technology startup that has a reputation for excellence in training engineers with the skills that they need for cutting-edge tech jobs.
Running for four years now, CodePath has worked with over 850 of the top tech companies. Not to mention, they're the most popular Android resource on the Internet with over 20,000 startups and over 500,000 developers using their resource every month. They've also helped redesigned onboarding programs for companies like Facebook and Airbnb, of which 25% of their engineers have been taught by their program.
Recently, they launched CodePath.org that is powering under-searched schools with coding curriculum. Presently, they've worked with over 30 schools and 1,200 students.
#84: Joe Musselman - Founder of The Honor Foundation, Helping Special Forces Vets Break In
Joe Musselman was spending his time in the military working with Navy SEALs and upon finishing his service, he started The Honor Foundation to help special operation forces who have left service to transition and find jobs in tech.
Joe has supported over thousands of people with over 200 employee partners who have raised funding from people all over Silicon Valley including Marc Andreessen, and other organizations. Part of their vision is to grow their special operations community to 65,000 by 2020.
Here are some surprising stats:
-In 2013, only 13% of Navy Seals had jobs when they finished service and their average salary after leaving the service was $87,000.
-In 2017, graduates that go through The Honor Foundation received a 97% placement rate with a salary of $130,000-$140,000+.
#83: John Maeda - Global Head, Computational Design and Inclusion at Automattic
John Maeda is the Global Head of Computational Design and Inclusion at Automattic. Previously, he was a Partner at Kleiner Perkins where he founded the design and tech report that's read by people all over the world.
Fascinated with the idea of remote working, John is an inspiration in the design world currently serving on the boards of Sonos and Wieden+Kennedy. He recently created a site called Design From Anywhere, that tells you more about remote work, inclusion, and how you can get into these positions and basically do it from anywhere.
Being in a educational field for a long time, John noticed the art education in the U.S. was decreasing and most educational programs were becoming geared towards STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). So he had been advocating in Washington, D.C. to add Art through STEM and transform it into STEAM, which has become a legislation in 2013 to bring back Art into schools.
#82: Wendy Padua & Tami Forman - How Returnships help Mothers & Parents Get Back Into the Workforce
If you're a mom or you know some moms who want to know what it takes to break back into tech after you've been out of work for several years, this is a must-listen episode.
Today's guest is Wendy Padua who has been out of work for 16 years and is not part of the marketing team at Zendesk.
We also have Tami Forman on the show today. She's the Director of Path Forward, a nonprofit organization that creates mid-career returnship programs to ease the transition back to work for women and men after taking a break for raising children or other caregiving responsibilities.
Wendi and Tami share their beautiful experiences with regard to motherhood, the struggles with putting yourself out there as you try to return to the workforce, and how to ultimately set yourself up for success!
#81: Melissa Hereford - How to Win in a Salary Negotiation
Melissa has been teaching negotiation tactics for the last 22 years.
Today, Melissa Hereford is going to teach us how to negotiate, not only in terms of salary, but life in general - deadlines, relationships, friendships, etc. She's going to give you actionable strategies you can use to negotiate a higher salary with your manager.
Previously, Melissa worked for BayGroup International, the biggest negotiations consulting company in the world. She's worked with huge clients like Cisco, At&T, Oracle, GE, and several pharmaceutical companies.
Stop selling yourself short! You’ve got to ask for more. But the biggest question is how. Negotiation can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. You just have to know how you can prepare for it!
#80: Jason Mayden - CEO 0f Superheroic and Former Designer at Jordan Sneaker
Jason is widely known as a global brand director for the Jordan Brand at Nike, where he led and contributed to the creation of several shoes for athletes and cultural icons including Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Derek Jeter, and Michael Jordan.
Following his 13+-year stint at Nike, he started several things in tech at Accel and as an advisor for Stanford’s Design School. He then co-founded a startup with Stephen Curry and eventually creating his very own startup called Super Heroic, a tech-enabled system of play for kids starting with shoes that help them discover that they're actually superheroes.
Contrary to what many people think that San Francisco is Silicon Valley, but it's not. In fact, it's not a place. Jason is therefore doing a lot to make sure they're able to leverage this platform to do a ton of educational work in places such as StreetCode Academy and collaborate with other teams like Black Jedi ZULU, and so much more.
Jason is the founder of Trillicon Valley, a community of entrepreneurs, athletes, designers, and creatives.
#78: Ana Díaz-Hernández - Head of Sales for Interviewing.io & a Leader for the LatinX Tech Community
Ana Díaz-Hernández is the Head of Sales at interviewing.io, a platform for engineers that set technical interviews and land jobs at top tech companies. Sacramento-born, Ana talks about how she leveraged online communities to get into Stanford, break into startups, how she went through an acquisition process, hustled her way into venture capital at Kapor Capital. In addition to that, she also led business development and online education platforms like Udacity.
She founded the Women of Color in Tech - Bay Area. She is a member of the Diversity Advisory Council for Code.org. She is in the Board of Directors for Chicana Latina Foundation.
#77: Vicki Tan - Product Designer at Headspace talks about Mindfulness
Prior to her current role as a rockstar product designer at Headspace, Vicki Tan holds an impressive portfolio having worked previously at Lyft and interned at Google. She has worked in the HR and also used to be a research intern and research coordinator at Stanford University School of Medicine, doing studies in Pediatric Oncology. Find out more about Vicki’s transition from the academic realm to the tech space, along with some nuggets of wisdom along the way.
Gary Vaynerchuk does not need an introduction. For those of you who haven’t heard of him yet, he is not only a rockstar entrepreneur, he's an author and a speaker. He's a four-time New York Times bestseller. He now runs a 800-person media agency, VaynerMedia. He is also an early investor in Twitter, Snapchat, and Uber.
Big on giving back and making people happy, the one legacy he wants to leave is that he has given more than what he has taken.
#75: Heather Swan - Journey From Retail to an Enterprise Account Executive at Zoom
A San Jose-native, Heather Swan is the Chief Happiness Officer at Zoom, a video conferencing tool that works on any device. She started as an employee #15 and now Zoom has grown to over 700,000 clients worldwide, she has worked in every sales role within the company and has consistently hit her quotas.
Heather has previous experience in the retail sales space, particularly for Tory Burch shoes and medical devices. Today, she shares the perspective of founding a startup from an employee perspective and some qualities a great salesperson must have.
#74: Ian Harriman - from a Sales Development Rep to an Account Executive at Checkr
Southern Californian-native, Ian Harriman is a rockstar salesperson. He started as a sales development representative until he rose up to the ranks of being a mid-market account executive at Checkr, a background check community that utilizes software (instead of people) to complete a majority of the parts to the process.
Ian also talks about his leadership role in the Bounce Back to Work Program at Checkr, where they help both applicants and companies through their background screening process.
We talk about how most companies fail, his experience at a failing company, and how he actually bounced back to where he is now.
#73: Kyle Woumn - Software Engineer at Twilio, who Turned an Internship into a Full-time Offer
Today, we take a closer dive into getting internships and how you can leverage those to get full-time offers.
Kyle Woumn is a fullstack engineer on the messaging experience team at Twilio, a cloud-communication platform that integrates communication into apps. A Georgia Institute of Technology graduate, Kyle did internships at GE and Twilio.
He's also part of the National Society of Black Engineers and he is currently building an app that fosters an online community for Black Greeks.
#72: Marco Morawec - Founder of The Firehose Project (Remote Coding Program)
Born in Germany, Marco Morawec is the co-founder of The Firehose Project, an online coding school that helped over a thousand people learn how to code remotely and become engineers. They also got a 1-million dollar grant from TechHire to help more people from under-represented groups to gain tech skills.
Marco got his undergraduate degree and Master's in Public Policy and Management from the University of Constanz in Germany. He formerly worked as a Product Manager at an advertising firm called Jana.
A self-taught software engineer who is big on networking, Marco believes people should not be coding in isolation. Listen in as he talks more about their programs and how people can learn how to code no matter who you are, or where you are.
#71: Jon Deng - U.S. Army Captain who Became a Software Engineer at Snapchat
Jon Deng is a mentor who has helped several people break into tech. He is widely known as a software engineer at Snap Inc. Prior to tech, he was actually a platoon leader in the U.S. Army with 40 men reporting to him. He was a captain and a field artillery officer.
In this episode, Jon walks us through his transition from the military into tech, his thought process, and how he essentially prepared himself for the coding bootcamp at Hack Reactor. He also talks about how he got through his job search as a veteran with zero work experience in coding as well as some resources available out there for veterans who might be interested in jumping into the tech.
#70: Dan Burrill - Director of Inside Sales at Twillio
Dan Burrill is not just the inside sales boss at Twilio but he's also a seasoned executive having spent time with other amazing companies including Box and Honeywell.
A man who’s big on commitment and the power of listening, Dan admits coming to Twilio for one big reason - market opportunity.
Twilio operates in the telecommunications industry that has been around for decades and it's fast-forwarding the space into the future. No wonder it’s his favorite among all the companies he’s worked at.
Adam is a co-founder of MissionU where he is building a school for the 21st century. He is also a founder of Pencils of Promise that has built over 400 schools around the world and provided over 70k kids with an opportunity to learn!
At MissionU, Adam is building a school for the 21st century!
Millions of people are either themselves effected by college debt or know someone in their family who is effected by it.
College loans are also the only kind of debt you cannot default on.
To fix that, Adam and his team want to give you a world class education, debt free.
When he first started, Adam went on a listening tour. He spoke to over 200 people, including students, educators and CEOs of publicly traded education companies to figure out how to solve the problem.
As the result, MissionU partnered with companies like Spotify, Uber, Lyft, Warby Parker and many others to understand which base, skill-sets, a student must have in order for these companies to hire them.
Afterwards, Adam and his team went back to the drawing board and designed a program where they will teach you the needed skills for a year, completely free and you’ll pay them a percentage of your salary once you get a job and you're making over fifty thousand dollars.
Their program is a year long, it’s full time and because they realize that not everyone can afford to not work for a year, the program is meant to accommodate a 20-hour a week part time job as well.
Nick Caldwell is the VP of Engineering at Reddit and has been in the game for over fifteen years. He has worked for impressive institutions including Microsoft and NASA. He is also heavily involved in the community, having worked as a facilitator for organizations like /dev/color.
If you haven’t heard, Reddit is the fourth most traffic website in the United States, and seventh in the world. With about 320 million monthly active users, Reddit is home to several communities with 1.1 million active communities on their platform.
#67: Bangaly Kaba - Journey to a Product Manager Role at Facebook & Instagram
Bangaly Kaba shares his story on how he broke into product management from a non-traditional backgrounds in Education and Finance. Originally from the East Coast, Bangaly is now considered as one of the best PMs in the Bay Area. He previously worked at Facebook's growth team until landing his current product management role at Instagram.
You probably first heard of Bangaly's name back on Episode 13 when Elaina Koros mentioned his name on the show referring to him as a great mentor.
From working in Switzerland, to starting a men's fashion business, working at Facebook and finally handling product management at Instagram, Bangaly sure has crafted his own success story.
#66: Rocio Lopez - A Product Designer & a DACA Recipient is Standing Up for All DREAMers
Rocio Lopez came to the U.S. as an undocumented minor and lived on the East Side of Palo Alto.
For years, she and her family have gone through so much struggle until the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA was signed by President Obama, a program granting temporary work permits to immigrants who came to the U.S. as children illegally.
Recently, DACA, has been repealed by the Trump administration. And Rocio is one of the 800,000 DREAMers that are going to be affected by this decision.
The average DACA recipient is 26 years old who came to the U.S. at 6 years. 91% are employed, and 100% have no criminal record. They pay $500 to renew every two years and contribute $800 M per year to the government.
Rocio is a Product Designer and an amazing speaker. She considers herself an American who is willing to die for her country. But why is America trying to persecute her along with other hundreds of thousands of DREAMers? Now is the time for you to show you care.
We hope for you to bring two takeaways from this episode:
1. Meet other DREAMers.
2. Make sure you call your members of Congress to pass the DREAM Act over the next six months.
#65: Zac Otero - From the Meat Factory's Floor to becoming a Salesforce Admin
A Missouri-native, Zac Otero is a true testament that a four-year degree isn’t always an indicator of success. High school dropout, Zac Otero describes how he worked his way up the career ladder from working a blue-collared job working at a McDonalds, a popcorn factory, a grocery warehouse and a meat packing factory before landing a Salesforce admin role. He talks about how he got into this role, what Salesforce is, and how he learned through books before the online platform Trailhead came out.
As a Salesforce admin, Zac clarifies that he is certified to work with Salesforce but he's not an employee of the company. He works for a public accounting and advising services firm, BKD CPA’s & Advisors.
From New York to San Diego, Saron has launched one of the biggest coding podcasts called CodeNewbie. The show has over 1.4 million downloads and listened to over a hundred countries.
With a Twitter community of over 27,000 people, Saron hosts the #CodeNewbie Twitter Chat happening every Wed @9PM EST. She organizes meetups in ATL, Philly, New York, and DC. She caters to an early audience to get people to recognize that there are multiple ways to learn how to code.
Saron is also the producer of Codeland Conference, an annual event that gives a whole new light to how tech conferences should be done.
#62: Mandy Cole - VP of Sales of Startups such as Living Social, Zenefits and Stella & Dot
Born in Atlanta, Mandy Cole is the founder of The Cole Method, a consulting firm that helps startups that have reached $1 million revenue to start learning how to go from putting balls in the basket to playing basketball.
It's very important for someone that successfully broke into a startup to understand what a high functioning sales organization looks like. Listen in to find out how a high-functioning sales organization is supposed to operate. Mandy is an expert at not just building organizations but explaining how that looks like and establishing the necessary processes in place.
Among Mandy’s career portfolio include companies like Main Street Hub, Zenefits, Stella & Dot, and LivingSocial where she has served as VP of Sales.
#61: Gabe Moncayo - Founder of Always Hired who Helps People Get Into Sales
Gabe Moncayo is the CEO and Founder of AlwaysHired, a three-week teaching program focused on training sales development representatives. A Bay Area-native, Gabe grew up in a family with roots to South American. He never went to college and instead got his first job in political fundraising. Gabe transitioned over from nonprofit to for-profit orgs where he did lead generation and worked at several startups. He was so passionate about the skill that he wanted to focus on teaching other people from nontraditional backgrounds about how to break into tech via the sales route.
#60: Matthew Tran - Youtube Personality & Founder of Engineered Truth Youtube Channel
Matt Tran is the Founder of Engineered Truth, a YouTube channel with over 240,000 subscribers. He initially followed the traditional path, studying Psychology and Mechanical Engineering in college. He had three jobs as a mechanical engineer but got fired from all of them until he finally started his YouTube channel where he now makes over $10,000 a month.
Also, tune-in and check out how Matt did this and what are some resources you can use to help you get started if this is something you’re interested in.
(Bonus: Discover how he negotiated his way to learn coding for free.)
#59: Dr. Carol Langlois - How Self Esteem & Empowerment are Changing the Ratio through Hackbright
Dr. Carol Langlois is a lifelong educator who used to run the business program at USF. She was the Dean at Mills College and founder of Higher Education Specialists.
She did a dissertation in female self-esteem development that led her to creating a book called Girl Talk where she interviewed over 200 high school women on the subject. It was later turned into a play called Girl Talk: Teen Monologue Series. It's next performance is going to be on August 24 @ Potrero Stage in SF.
#57: Kelvin Lightner - Tax Consultant from Deloitte Become A Software Engineer at Intuit
Kelvin Lightner is a software engineer apprentice at Intuit and a graduate of Dev Bootcamp. Prior to tech, Kelvin has a double major in Legal Studies and Economics from UC Berkeley and he worked as a consultant at Deloitte.
A true lover of logic, he jumped from management consulting to tech with this strong belief that the end does not justify the means. Kevin has drawn great support from #YesWeCode, an organization that helps people from underrepresented backgrounds break into the tech space.
#56: Mike Slagh - How a US Navy Veteran Started a Company to Help Veterans Break Into Tech
Mike Slagh is the Founder of Shift.org, a hiring pipeline for military veterans. Back in the military, Mike was a bomb technician and since finishing his service a little over a year ago, he started Shift.org to create new pathways for veterans into various industries that didn't exist before.
There will be about a million new veterans in the next five years, which means there are 20,000 military service members leaving every month. Mike’s greater purpose is to help bridge that gap between the military and the civilian world through skills translation and leveraging the power of personal connections.
#55: Pavan Ravipati - Deep Dive on Software Engineer vs. Sales Engineer
An East Bay-local, Pavan Ravipati grew up in a family of tech people. He initially took Film and Media in college, landed some corporate sales roles, and worked his way up but he ultimately found his calling in tech. After taking some coding courses online, Pavan decided to join Hack Reactor and he eventually took part in the organization's Hacker in Residence Program.
Currently, Pavan serves as a Solutions Engineer at GitHub, a leading open source software company.
#54: Erica Prenga - How a Graphic Design Major became an Experience Engineer at Adobe
Erica Prenga is currently an Experience Developer at Adobe. Aware that she had a different learning style, she decided to quit college after her fourth year of studying graphic design until she ultimately figured that going to a coding bootcamp was what she wanted to do and how she wanted to learn.
Erica is a Dev Bootcamp graduate and in this episode, she shares how she approached her job hunt differently as well as a couple of negotiating techniques, which people wouldn’t have normally done. Erica is big on having confidence in what you’re capable of doing and understanding your value so you don’t end up selling yourself short.
#53: Ysiad Ferreiras - How a kid from the Bronx became the VP of Sales at Hustle
With Dominican roots, Ysiad Ferreiras grew up in the Bronx where fear was not unusual thing and where hard life would be an understatement. He has made some bad decisions in his early life but he managed to pivot his way into right path doing well academically, learning how to code, and breaking into the tech space.
Currently, he serves as the VP of Sales at Hustle, a text messaging platform which is now being used by major politicians and people in nonprofit and labor organizations including the teams of Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Planned Parenthood, UFCW, and more.
Hustle is still in the seed stage but is now experiencing tremendous growth sending over 160 million messages. Ysiad and his sales team have taken it from zero to over $5 million in booked revenue, one of the fastest growing sales trajectories in Silicon Valley history.
#52: Kristin Parke - How a Music & a Biology major became a Security Hacker
Kristin Parke is a hacker aka a security consultant at the NCC Group. She shares her journey into tech and how she transitioned from music to science until ultimately she becoming an engineer.
In this episode, you can find out how she went from learning how to code and following that path until breaking into the security industry. She also discusses the parallels of reading music and coding and biology and hacking as well as what you can do to protect yourself from imminent cyber attacks.
#51: K. Mannah Kallon - an Educator who became an Engineer at Stitch Fix
From a chef to restaurateur to Math teacher to software engineer, Mannah Kallon has a pretty crazy and nontraditional background. That makes him an asset on anyone's team.
He earned degrees in Psychology and Philosophy from the University of Michigan and got his Master's in Education from Fordham University. Mannah was teaching kids in Harlem when he decided to move to the West Coast and learn how to code through Dev Bootcamp.
Today, Mannah’s shares a handful of insights that you too can apply to your own life whether you want to break into tech or simply want to follow your passion! You don’t want to miss this one.
#50: Jessica Uelmen - A Hardware Engineer who became a Product Manager at Fitbit
A self-confessed nerd and Sailor Moon enthusiast, Jessica Uelmen built her first HTML/CSS website at 13 years old and got involved with theater during college until she ultimately decided to major in electrical engineering during Sophomore year.
She ended up working as an electrical engineer for a few years after finishing school until she decided to pursue her passion for education and worked as a program manager at Udacity, an education company that offers free online classes where she specifically managed the company’s Nanodegree programs. She then took a leap into the product management space and attended Product School. Currently, Jessica serves as a Product Manager at Fitbit.
#49: Yusuf Soomro - An 18-year-old College Dropout who Became a Software Engineer at Omada Health
Yusuf Soomro figured out a way to incorporate his love of healthcare into tech and basically fast-track his way to a well paying job. Dropping out of college as a pre-med, he decided to become a software engineer and enrolled in App Academy when he was 18-years old. He ended up going through his job search at 19-years old and finding a software engineering job at a healthcare/tech startup. During the episode we also discuss what it was like being 20 years old, driving a BMW while some of his peer are just finishing up college with most of them having loans to payoff.
His journey wasn’t that easy though. He initially got failed the first two assessments at App Academy but he came back stronger and smarter the second time around completing his time at App Academy at the top of his class. The same goes for his job search process. He was committed and relentless that he didn’t even let age or lack of traditional experience get in the way of doing what he really wanted to do.
#48: Chloe Condon - An Actress who Quit her Job as an Office Manager and Became a Software Engineer
Based in San Francisco, Hackbright Academy is focused on teaching women how to code. We're recording several interviews with Hackbright graduates including our guest today, Chloe Condon.
Growing up in a family of artists in the Bay Area, Chloe ended up working at startups by day and performing as a theater actress by night. Prior to her current role as a Developer Evangelist at Codefresh, Chloe held a number of jobs including an Account Executive at Yelp and an office manager role at another startup.
In one of her previous jobs working as an Executive Assistant to the CEO of NewCo, she attended an event that changed her life and put her on a trajectory to study software engineering through Hackbright Academy.
Wayne Neale is the Co-Founder of GrowthX Academy, a 12-week, onsite, immersive, full-time educational experience program focusing on careers in Sales, Growth Marketing, and UX Design. The academy was born out of the need for more non-technical roles in the tech space.
Prior to this, Wayne was an operator at several companies. He started his own design consultancy and got several degrees including a Doctorate in UX Design. Originally from Ohio, Wayne currently lives in Phoenix and today, he shares with us his insightful perspectives on the current state of alternative educational programs as well as how you can break into nontechnical roles at startups.
#46: Niv Dror - How Leaving Finance Led Niv to Become Head of Social at Product Hunt
Niv Dror currently runs social at Product Hunt and does their daily newsletter featuring the latest and coolest products. Prior to tech, Niv shifted from soccer to academics, majored in Finance, and worked for some of top hedge funds and VC firms. It wasn’t until witnessing the power of Twitter and getting inspired by the investor Chris Sacca, did Niv decide to get off the finance path and break into tech.
In this episode, Niv talks about how he leveraged blog posts to meet the Who's Who of Silicon Valley, how to craft powerful cold emails, and a brief walk-through of his journey into tech, guided by his north star of offering value without expecting anything in return.
#45: Kenny Tran - How an App Academy & Hack Reactor Alum skipped college and became an Engineer
Kenny Tran is a passionate writer and coder. He chose to forego college and instead pursued his personal projects and his love of writing. After reading a post on Hacker News about App Academy, he decided to apply and learn how to code, joining the first Ruby on Rails cohort. He also attended Hack Reactor and built a cool project, PurifyCSS, that went viral on GitHub and Hacker News.
He eventually joined Mesosphere, an infrastructure startup, serving as a front end engineer but is soon leaving this job in order to focus more on his upcoming personal projects.
In this episode, Kenny talks more about his bootcamp journey, his job search experience, the life lessons he learned along the way, and the awesome projects he created.
#44: Anthony Pompliano - How an Army Sergeant became a Product Manager at Facebook
Anthony "Pomp" Pompliano is best known for his hustle. Since early years, he's been coming up with business ideas and today he invests in companies and helps them grow.
Before he became a Venture Capitalist, Pomp served as a Sergeant in the US Army, founded and exited 2 companies and then broke into Facebook as a Product Manager.
On this episode, Pomp drops a lot of gems on how he helps companies grow and what he did to get his job at Facebook.
#43: Soroush Mehraein - How a switch from Industrial to Software Engineering led to a job at Uber
UK-born Soroush Mehraein moved to the United States and graduated from UC Berkeley. He studies Industrial Engineering and ended up doing consulting for biopharma companies, Soroush attended a coding bootcamp and transitioned into the software engineering roles top Silicon Valley tech companies.
Prior to Google where he’s currently working as a software engineer, Soroush attended Hack Reactor to hone his coding skills and ended up landing a job at Uber. On the episode, Soroush discussed the interview process and what it was like working on the engineering team at Uber. While on the job, Soroush applied and got accepted into CodePath, a mobile training bootcamp for existing software engineers.
Living by Winston Churchill’s quote, “If you’re going through hell, keep going,”
Soroush believes that putting your heart and soul into building the right kind of relationships along with developing an in-demand skill set can surely take you places.
Based in Boston, Dan Pickett founded a program called Launch Academy built around the premise of helping people become the best version of themselves. Graduating over 500 people, the school is now set to expand in Philly along with some plans to create a virtual adaptation of their on-campus experience.
Starting his company at 15 years old, which is indicative of his entrepreneurial, hungry, and passionate spirit, Dan encourages people to not let age become a barrier if you’re interested in entrepreneurship. This episode explodes with nuggets of wisdom from Dan as he talks about the different keys to success, not just about searching for a job, but also on the power of maintaining your personal psychology.
#41: Kim Han - Biz Dev Deep Dive: from Tango to Business Development at Square
Growing up in Taiwan for 17 years, Kimberly Han moved to Seattle to go to College where she majored in Psychology while minoring in Dance. For majority of her adult life she was a professional tango dancer and a teacher as well as a voice actress for eight years. Until one day she realized she wanted to break into tech.
Having been able to successfully translate her dancing and acting skill-sets in sales, Kim currently works as a Business Development Rep at Square. She is also an organizer at One Salon SF, a weekly social, cultural, intellectual gathering of a community of over 2,000 people in San Francisco.
#40: Quincy Larson - Founder of Free Code Camp, Community of 1,000,000+ People Learning How to Code
Coming from a nontraditional background as an educator living in China for years, Quincy combined his passion for education and technology to launch Free Code Camp, an open-source community that helps people learn how to code and practice their coding skills by building projects for nonprofits.
Quincy has indeed built a massive network of “campers” with close to a million developers learning how to code around the world. Free Code Camp has helped over 5,000 people find their first engineering jobs and 6,000 developers level up by getting better jobs.
Being a prolific writer that he is, Quincy is also the editor of freeCodeCamp, Medium’s largest technical publication read by 100,000 people every day.
#39: Carly Robinson - Broadway Actress who became a Software Engineer at Slack
From dancing to coding, Carly Robinson left her theater career in New York and Chicago to break into tech. She attended Hackbright Academy and is now working as a software engineer at Slack.
Prior to coding, Carly got involved with Freedom For All, a nonprofit organization that tackles issues related to human trafficking. She continues to do so up to this day in her commitment to make a difference.
Carly’s secret sauce to success is sheer mastery of the fundamentals topped with good networking. It’s all about putting in the work, having that tunnel vision, committing to it, and deciding that you’re not going to give up.
#38: Nimit Maru - Founder of Fullstack Academy & Grace Hopper
Realizing the need for a more rigorous and accelerated curriculum for software engineers, Nimit Maru founded Fullstack Academy. He also founded its sister school, the Grace Hopper Program, which is the world's first tuition-deferred coding academy for women.
Prior to Fullstack Academy, Nimit and his co-founder, David Yang, graduated from Y Combinator. He also worked as a software engineer at Yahoo! and got his business degree from Wharton. Aside from seeing how the tech scene in the Bay Area and in New York differ from each other, Nimit has also seen how much coding bootcamps have gained credibility and recognition (especially among large tech companies) over the years.
#37: Natasha Vianna - Teen Mom who led the #NoTeenShame Campaign & became Head of Community at Honor
As a teen mom, Natasha Vianna had to deal with the stereotype that society has boxed her in. But she didn’t let this break her spirit. Natasha’s goal was and is to be the best version of herself. In fact, seeing how people (who are in a situation similar to her) needed all the support they could get was what led her to break into tech activism. Currently, Natasha leads the community activities at Honor and she is also the co-founder of #NoTeenShame, a movement that works towards reproductive justice.
#36: Austin Belcak - Career Coach and Virtual Career Mastery Summit Founder
Austin Belcak didn’t have it all figured out when he picked a Biology major in college and landed his first sales job in the medical field, both of which he didn’t actually like. However, he used them as motivation to push harder and further. By building his knowledge and networking with the right people, Austin has now landed his dream job at Microsoft. Additionally, his brewing desire of becoming an entrepreneur eventually led him to create Cultivated Culture, a platform that allows him to share his job search process with people in need of advice and resources.
Austin is holding a Virtual Career Mastery Summit coming up on April 03-08, 2017, featuring ten speakers (including Ruben, Artur, and Timur) to talk about various topics from helping people get interviews at companies and making transitions, all the way to starting a side business and growing it up to six figures while working full-time.
Sign up here to learn more about Virtual Career Mastery Summit and join this free event.
#35: Everette Taylor - How a 17-year-old who was homeless in HS rose to become the CMO at Skurt
Everette Taylor is not just any 27-year-old. Don’t be fooled by his age. To date, Everette built four companies including GrowthHackers.com, which he co-founded with Sean Ellis, Millisense Marketing Consulting, and GrowthPub.
He is currently the Chief Marketing Officer at Skurt, a mobility startup delivering rental cars-on-demand. Additionally, he was recently announced as the National Brand Ambassador for the NASA Startup Initiative and has been honored as a Social Influencer of the Year by Black Enterprise.
This Southside Richmond, Virginia-native, shares an extremely inspiring story of how he was able to achieve all of these accomplishments despite being homeless at young age.
Now he travels the world speaking at various conferences while building and empowering his team at Skurt.
#34: Michael J Walker - How a Marketing Exec Became an Engineer at 51 Years Old
For Michael Jay Walker, his career was more likely driven by the motivation to do what people thought he couldn't do, fearlessly working his way up the marketing ladder until a decision to take a passionate leap into the tech space.
Michael got his MBA at Ross School of Business and took on executive marketing roles for large corporations such as Ford Motor Company, Kraft Foods, PepsiCo, EA, and Mattel.
25 years later, he went out to co-found a mobile app startup and served as a Chief Marketing Officer and Operations Officer at a few other tech companies. He then decided to learn how to code at Dev Bootcamp until he was later asked to join the team as a Chief Academic Officer and Campus Director in San Francisco.
#33: Stevon Cook - From Public Housing to bringing Tech Training through Mission Bit
Being a 3rd generation San Franciscan who grew up in public housing, Stevon has always been aware of the challenges of his community including the major lack of access to Computer Science education among kids in the Bay Area. His drive to take part in bridging this tech divide was what got him to join Mission Bit, where he now serves as the CEO. Stevon also ran and won the election to be the Commissioner on the Board of Education for the City of San Francisco.
By leveraging relationships and tapping into the power of asking, Stevon is committed to providing computer science education for kids in the Bay Area so they can truly unlock their full potential.
#32: Carlos González de Villaumbrosia – Product School Founder on How to Become a Product Manager
It is his love of tech that got Carlos González de Villaumbrosia to immigrate from Spain to the United States. Being good at numbers and video games, led him to study computer science at one of the top universities in Spain where he spent five years learning how to code.
Although he once dreamed of becoming a soccer player as a child, Carlos is a coach, not on the playing field, but rather in the educational space. He is a serial entrepreneur having started three companies including Product School that teaches product management to people who have the passion to do it.
#31: Kenyatta Leal - Surviving San Quentin Prison By Walking The Last Mile into a Job in Tech
One thing Kenyatta Leal knows is that while there’s no manual for surviving a life sentence, tapping into the power of visualization can definitely get you far (in fact, as far as getting out of prison and now working as a Manager of Campus Services at RocketSpace, a tech campus for startups.)
Kenyatta believes that the greatest challenges present the greatest opportunities.
A former resident at San Quentin State Prison, Kenyatta owned up for the bad choices he had made in the past and corrected his course. He eventually became the founding member of The Last Mile, a startup accelerator and entrepreneurial program, where they help incarcerated individuals develop tech skills in order to prepare them for successful re-entry.
#30: Yan Fan - How a Bootcamp Grad is teaching Syrian Refugees How to Code
Born in China and raised in the U.S., Yan Fan knows that her coding skills are a superpower she can apply in any industry or role. Yan started out working as a commodities trader on Wall Street. Several years later, she discovered her other passion - coding.
After completing a coding bootcamp, Hack Reactor, Yan became a UI engineer at a big data startup called Ayasdi. This experience led her to join forces with ReBootKAMP, a nonprofit organization in the MIddle East focused on teaching Syrian refugees and women how to code.
#29: Charlie Harrington - From Finance to Biz Dev before finally becoming an Engineer at LendUp
A New Jersey-native, Charlie Harrington believes that you can’t find luck unless you take that courage to jump off the train and put yourself out there.
From New York to London, Charlie transitioned from finance to business development at a startup. As if breaking into startups via the non-technical route wasn’t enough to quench his thirst for creativity, Charlie ultimately took a deep dive into software engineering by attending a coding bootcamp called Hack Reactor.
Charlie currently works at LendUp as a software engineer but it was through a chance encounter that eventually got him the job.
#28: Rodney Urquhart - How a 16-year-old High School Dropout became a Software Engineer at Slack
Rodney Urquhart grew up in a North Philly neighborhood ridden with gang violence and effects of the crack epidemic. After seeing people around him get involved with gangs and crime, he realized that staying in high school would result in getting arrested or shot.
At 16, Rodney dropped out of high school and moved in with his grand mother. Being a high school dropout and having no college degree, Rodney had his fair share of companies casting doubt on his ability. But his willingness to learn and work well with others was what got him to create an impressive company portfolio including Comcast, Microsoft’s Yammer, and ThoughtWorks. He didn’t just want to survive, he wanted to thrive.
Rodney currently heads the test infrastructure team at Slack. He is also part of a program called /dev/color, a non-profit organization that aims to maximize the impact of Black software engineers in the tech space.
#27: Jotaka Eaddy - From Senior Advisor at NAACP to Head of Government Affairs at a Tech Startup
Jotaka Eaddy is a concrete example that you can come from political and social activism, take those exact same skills, and use them everyday to help build a business that creates change.
Even back as a seventh grader living in a small town in South Carolina, Jotaka was adamant about her commitment to abolish death penalty (that she even wrote this down on her high school yearbook.) Jotaka grew up as an activist and organizer who evolved into a political strategist.
Currently, Jotaka serves as the Head of Government Affairs at LendUp. She never would have imagined getting into tech but social impact tech was her driving force for finally joining the bandwagon. She then realized that tech people are not just a bunch of guys in white shirts, but like policy people, they are also dreamers and people who hustle to be transformative.
#26: Charles Pridgen - Account Executive at Loggly & Founder of BPN
A Baltimore-native, Charles Pridgen majored in International Business and Finance, but realizing that he didn’t fit into the financial field he pursued a career in sales and eventually decided to break into startups.
Charles previously worked at LivingSocial and Salesforce. He is currently working at a startup called Loggly, a cloud-based log management and search platform.
Charles is also an organizer of the Black Professionals Network (BPN) where he seeks to build a community that fosters diversity through the power of networking and which has now grown into a massive success and a source of inspiration among people in the Bay Area.
#25: Ty Olatoye - How to Build Genuine Relationships & Land a Job
Influenced by a strong Nigerian culture of excellence, education and faith, Ty moved from Arizona to San Francisco in search of that ONE opportunity that would push him every single day. Currently, Ty works on the Growth and Business Development team at Omni, an on-demand storage and delivery service.
Often referred to by his friends as the 10X TY, Ty is a firm advocate of the Power of One where you should find that one thing & make damn sure you do it really, really well. Ty underlines the power of humility, being genuine, and leveraging relationships to help get you to where you want to be.
#24: Divine - The journey from going in and out of prison to Breaking Into Tech
A Newport-native, Divine started dealing drugs at 13, got incarcerated at 18, and found himself not only locked up physically in federal prison, but also, in a psychological cycle of recidivism.
Always knowing he was bound to be more than that, Divine tapped into his spirituality, fortitude, and his quick grasp of knowledge and turned his 7-year sentence into a self-development workshop. Along with some help from his mentor, Divine was finally able to break out of his destructive pattern going from incarceration to innovation.
From crack to rap to tech, Divine currently provides financial literacy and entrepreneurship education to people through his new startup BLAK Fintech (where BLAK stands for Building Leverage Acquiring Knowledge).
#23: Rita Henderson - Who broke into startups as a Teen Mom
Growing up in one of the poorest areas in Philadelphia, Rita Henderson broke a ton of barriers as a single mom proving to the society that she was more than just a statistic. Moving from North Philly to DC, Rita finally drove all the way to San Francisco in the hope of making things work for her family and carrying with her that burning passion of bringing change into the community.
Rita is currently involved in the recruiting department at a startup company called Honor, an in-home senior care provider. Rita is the sister of Idalin Bobe who also came here on the show recently.
#22: Idalin Bobe - Community Organizer who broke into Tech and became a Tech Activist
Growing up in one of the poorest zip codes in the U.S., Idalin wanted to bring change and put social justice in the forefront. From North Philly to Cali, Idalin wanted to break into tech so she could bring resources back to her neighborhood.
Today, Idalin works as a Senior IT consultant at ThoughtWorks, which is known for having the toughest screening and interview process out of all tech companies. She is also part of ThoughtWork’s social justice team working as a tech activist where she is bringing computer education to the folks on the front lines fighting for justice and organize community-driven leaders around the world in efforts addressing the needs of black and brown people.
Idalin has partnered with different organizations such as Black Girls Code, Qeyno Labs, and #YesWeCode in her aim of making an impact on the world through computer and security education.
#21: Mo Woods - Ball is Life: Pro Basketball Player (6' 10" in) who became a Designer
Maurice is a 6'10" Richmond, California-native, legendary designer, and former professional basketball player who worked at several tech companies including Microsoft and Yahoo. He is the Founder of Inneract Project that helps youth and communities learn how to design.
It was in getting involved with startup projects that really got him into the tech space because he was able to make mistakes, learn from them, correct them, and get even way better. (Shout out to Maurice’s mom for ushering him through his design journey.)
#20: Nick DeWilde - Program Director at Tradecraft which teaches Biz dev, Product Design and Growth
A San Francisco-native, Nick deWilde was so certain he wanted to make movies but he ended up taking on a different path that impacts people’s lives. Nick is now the Program Director at Tradecraft, an immersive program that helps people break into tech into business development, designer, or growth roles.
His journey wasn’t easy. He took the plunge, worked as a waiter, went back to live at his parents house, and did customer support at a bank until he finally found his voice in the tech space. Nick is a rockstar who continues to help people pursue their real passion and craft their stories so they too can become rockstars in whichever field they choose.
#19: Matthew Dean Brooks - An Artist who became a Software Engineer
Transitioning from arts to engineering was not a smooth ride for Matt Brooks, but he never allowed obstacles to get in the way because he was willing to embrace failures.
Matt started out as a fine arts major and was doing woodwork until one day, something grabbed his attention to engineering and gave it a try. He started to learn coding, initially gave up, went back to try it another time, and got rejected at the bootcamp the first time.
His job search experience wasn’t an easy one either. But persistence was the key theme for Matt. He kept going and going and sought the guidance of a mentor until he finally found his place working as a software engineer at OpenTable.
#18: Preethi Kasireddy - How Investment Banker & a VC quit her job to became a Software Engineer
After excelling at Goldman Sachs and top venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, Preethi Kasireddy decided she wanted to leave “the best job in the world” to become a software engineer.
In her blog post called Why I Left the Best Job in the World, she talks about why she left VC to join Hack Reactor in order to learn how to code. In this episode Preethi shares what motivated her to leave finance for tech, her incredible work ethic, her 5 am workout schedule, and the lessons she learned on her journey to becoming a software engineer.
#17: Ina Herlihy - How a young journalist hustled her way into Growth Marketing
Ina Herlihy is a San Francisco local who knows what’s it like to hustle your way to get the thing that you want right at a very early age. She is passionate about journalism and was an editor-in-chief of her high school newspaper. She got to cover the 2008 Presidential Campaign and was the only high school student in the country to get a press pass for President Obama’s Inauguration.
Leaving a would-be promising career in finance to break into tech, Herlihy attended Tradecraft and soon landed a job as a Growth Analyst at Zumper. Her prolific writing in Medium, called How I Hustled to Get the Perfect Job: From Tradecraft to Zumper got a lot of attention that it became one of the most popular blog posts on Medium in 2015.
#16: Edgar Pabon - Army Captain who became an Engineer at Amazon Music
Edgar Pabon is a New York-native who, prior to his current position as a software engineer at Amazon Music, was a rapper, a communications degree graduate, and an active duty military.
He knew that being a software engineer is what he has always wanted to be doing that even during his military years he never stopped learning about the tech industry. Edgar’s journey was not an easy one, having experienced police brutality, undergoing rigorous military training, dealing with the impostor syndrome, and overcoming rejections. Yet through it all, his passion for tech was what has always kept his fire burning.
Kush Patel is the Founder of App Academy, which is considered to be the MIT of coding bootcamps. Prior to breaking into startup, Kush previously worked at hedge funds until he finally decided to pursue his passion for learning how to code through and joined the first coding class of Dev Bootcamp.
Seeing the huge gap between the amount of software engineers produced each year and the amount of software engineers needed in Silicon Valley and through the US, Kush, alongside co-founder Ned Ruggeri, saw great opportunity in the bootcamp space, thus the birth of App Academy.
#14: Chia Lin - From a Pastry Chef at a Michelin Star Restaurant to a Product Designer at a Startup
Born and raised in Taiwan, Chia Lin has traveled far and wide. She came to Tennessee when she was 11, moved to California in high school and college, and lived in Tokyo for a year. Her love of food and travel has landed her a job as a flight attendant and a chef at a Michelin star kitchen, until she finally discovered her true passion for design.
She believes that knowing who you are and being able to tell your story well will get you places. In fact, Chia wrote a blog post called 5 Things I Learned About Design in a Michelin Star Kitchen that got people coming to her and opened new doors for her.
Shawn Drost is the Co-Founder of Hack Reactor, a coding bootcamp founded in 2012 along with his college friends Tony Phillips, Marcus Phillips, and Douglas Calhoun with the primary motive to set people up for success as software engineers.
They envision themselves transforming higher education to be more transparent, accessible and outcomes-driven.
Hack Reactor’s community involvement is remarkable as they continue to offer curriculum, volunteer support and training to their nonprofit partners in their conscious effort to bridge the gap between underserved communities and the tech industry.
#13: Elaina Koros - Content Strategist who hustled her way into Facebook
With a huge appreciation for writing and journalism, Elaina Koros majored in Government and English Studies while attending Georgetown University. Today, Elaina works as a Content Strategist at Facebook. During this chat, Elaina discusses the importance of building relationships and having mentors which helped her tremendously in getting an internship that eventually led to a full-time offer.
#11: Richard Purcell - Sales Director who worked his way up from an entry level role
An East Coast native, Richard Purcell travelled cross country and courageously took the risk of taking an entry level job even though he was overqualified because it meant a chance to break into tech. Through persistence and overcoming objections, he landed his first tech sales job in Palo Alto at Medallia Inc. Currently, he serves as the Sales Director at Performance Horizon.
Having a multi ethnic background gives Richard an interesting perspective on race and privilege. He firmly believes that talent is universal and opportunity is not. That’s why he co-founded Medallia Medley to help give access to opportunity to underrepresented talent.
#10: Melanie Araujo - Designer and Founder of Front & Center that helps people break into tech
A Boston-native and freelance designer, Melanie Araujo is the Founder of Front & Center, a company that helps underprivileged people break into tech through design. Prior to design, Melanie has a professional background in neuroscience, which she leveraged to position herself as a unique designer. Investing a few thousands to learn design at General Assembly, what she got in return was 10x as she is now making six figures. Melanie believes that if you have your heart and mind set on something, there is absolutely nothing that will get in your way to get into your goal.
#9: Ben Creasy - Alaskan Government Official turned Software Engineer
An Alaskan-native, Ben Creasy wanted to pursue engineering since a young age but due to health issues, he ended up getting a degree in Economics and Philosophy in Oregon. At 24, Ben held elected office in Alaska but his passion for coding never faltered so he ultimately joined Hack Reactor. Currently, he works as a Software Engineer at BrightIdea. Ben is also an editor at Wikipedia, something he has been doing for 9 years now. He has also co-created the Bay Area WikiSalon where Wiki enthusiasts gather around to mingle and learn about new projects and ideas.
#8: Neil Shah - Quit his Finance job to help Homeless folks get Jobs
A South Californian native, Neil Shah would never have thought that a walking tour of Tenderloin with Del Seymour could practically change his life forever as well as the many lives of homeless people around the Tenderloin neighborhood. Neil basically never stopped hustling, jumping from med school to law school to business school, getting an MBA at UC Irvine, and getting locked up in prison for his third DUI. But it was his passion for helping people that got him volunteering at different non profit projects and organizations. Neil is now the Head of Business Development and Partnerships at Code Tenderloin where they have partnered with a whole bunch of startups and organizations in order to relentlessly help homeless people break into tech, basically disrupting the career pathway and transforming people’s lives.
#7: Max Rencoret - Deep dive into Growth Marketing and building a product
Max Rencoret grew up in Chile where he first got exposed to its education system, startup culture, economic climate, government and other things that led him to a career in Growth Marketing, where he felt like he could make the most impact in his life. One of Max's teachers explained the scale of technology, focusing on people, and led Max to start a company (similar to Snapchat) that he grew to 80,000 daily active users targeting Latin America. After Snapchat took over their market and realizing his interest in growth, Max finished his degree and moved to San Francisco to do a 3-month immersive program at Tradecraft. On this episode, Max talks about what it takes to be successful as a Growth Marketer, why learning to code is important, and how the Chilean community supported him here in San Francisco in his work as a Growth Marketing Manager at Samsara.
#6: Nico Roberts - Consultant who became Head of Customer Success
Nico Roberts is the Head of Customer Success at OnboardIQ. Customer success is a highly important in any startup. It not only ensures client satisfaction and handling customer complaints, but it also bridges the gap between different teams in the organization, ensuring its able to achieve a unified goal. Prior to OnboardIQ, Nico served as a consultant at Deloitte. A native from South Africa, Nico hustled his way through the United States with the goal of living the American dream and becoming a famous Hollywood director. Instead, he decided to finish his Bachelor’s degree, landed a job working as a consultant at Deloitte and found himself breaking into the startup world which he currently enjoys.
#5: Meghan Schofield - How she became a UX designer coming from a traditional background in art
Meghan Schofield is an Ohio-native who has an impressive knack for creative problem solving. Prior to her current role as a UX/Product Designer at infrastructure startup, CoreOS, Meghan worked in the field of museum exhibit design for 15 years and she also ventured into project management at some point. Meghan is passionate about creating a positive impact in people’s lives and she firmly believes that you need to have a deep understanding of your medium to become great at whatever you do in whichever field you’re in.
1. As a designer, you’re solving a problem. You’re not just creating something beautiful for the sake of it, but there’s always an element involved. There are parameters, goals, and rules to consider and always a consumer on one side of it. Think really deeply about what your goal is.
2. As a designer, you’re communicating all the time. Designers being visual, you need to be able to create a well-designed, well-thought of resume that stands out from the pile.
3. Curiosity, attention to detail, and knowing what people expect are three essential elements that make up a good candidate for a design role.
Enthusiasm is key during the interview process. Don’t pretend you know something or can make something up on the spot. Instead, ask them about their pain points or the problems they’re solving.
4. If you want to be a great designer, get to know the medium you’re in. You have to understand how certain pieces and parts come together. Also, having basic knowledge of HTML or CSS can come handy especially when you’re working with engineers.
SHOW NOTES (FOCUS ON THE STEPPING STONES):
[03:00] Her transition from illustration to design
[05:13] Her journey to museum exhibit design
[08:01] Day-to-day job of a museum exhibit designer [09:07] The art of creative problem solving
[10:23] Whetting her creative appetite
[12:27] Applying for tech jobs in DC was another struggle for her
[13:38] Learning HTML and CSS
[15:35] Her crushing job search experience
[17:53] Meghan’s first break into tech
[20:02] How she learned the specific skill sets required [23:14] Some curve balls she encountered at the tech company
[26:11] Another job transition
[28:19] What a design interview looks like at a tech startup [31:33] How to deal with the hard interview questions [34:44] The characteristics of a good candidate
[39:16] Meghan’s future plans
[40:49] The Lightning Round
1. Imagine that you get dropped in a brand new city. You don’t know anyone. You’re trying to start again and you only have $100. What would you do and how would you spend the $100 to get back on your feet?
Meghan would research a company that she really wanted to work for and reach out to somebody there that she could take out for dinner.
2. When you were in some of those frustrating moments when you couldn’t find a museum job or you couldn’t find a tech job, did you listen to any music or a movie or interact with any art piece that helped you brave through this situation?
Meghan spent a lot of time going to art museums to try to stay inspired.
3. Knowing what you know now, having gone through this amazing career of starting out in design then switching jobs, switching industries, ending up in tech, what is the one piece of advice that you have for our listeners who are contemplating starting on this journey?
It’s really important to have at least done some things in HTML and CSS. As a designer, you need to understand the limitations of what you’re going to be creating. You don’t have to be doing it constantly but at least have an understanding of your medium.
#4: Haseeb Qureshi - Professional Poker Player turned Software Engineer
Haseeb Qureshi is a Texas-native who dominated the poker world and decided to pursue his dream of becoming a software engineer. He started playing poker at 16 years old and was able to turn $50 to $100,000. He eventually became one of the world’s best no-limit hold-em poker players at 19 but he was not fulfilled. So, Haseeb left the poker world and decided to start over from scratch by giving all of his money away. After hearing about coding bootcamps from a friend, he decided to break into tech and join App Academy. Haseeb learned quickly, became an instructor after two months, and eventually became the Head of Product. He really wanted to work as a software engineer and his recruiting process was tough. On this interview he shares how he got his position at Airbnb by applying lessons from poker and proving that with confidence, deliberate practice, negotiating skills, and an altruistic heart, you can always rise above any challenges you meet along the way.
1. When you’re trying to learn something,you need to give yourself feedback when you make a mistake. This is the idea of deliberate practice. Try to find the smallest possible thing that could be critiqued and then get feedback on it and then try to iterate on it.
2. The biggest difference between boot camps is not the curriculum, the teachers, or the network. The biggest difference is your peers and the rate of intensity with which you’re going to be learning around them.
3. When facing rejections, remember that you have no control over things no matter how good you are. Also, pain is transient. You might feel awful today but you will feel better the next day and the next, until you can barely even remember. Besides, people can’t say no forever.
Consider plugging into your network for job search referrals throughinformational interviewing. Reach out to anyone in your network, sit down with them, ask them about their company and experience, and get referrals.
4. A large part about negotiation is power. Be mindful of it, where it comes from, and how to maintain it. Have leverage in your negotiations by having the ability to not accept it because you have another offer. Interviewers can’t read your mind. It’s not a zero-sum game.
SHOW NOTES (FOCUS ON THE STEPPING STONES):
[1:33] Growing up in Dallas, Texas
[2:47] Starting to play poker at the age of 16 with $50
[11:51] Advice on picking a bootcamp – The biggest difference between great bootcamps and a not-so-great bootcamps: Peers + Rate & Intensity level (with which you’re going to be learning around them)
[19:12] Deliberate Practice – Haseeb’s secret sauce for being world-class in poker and his boot camp journey (Feedback mechanism is key!) – Working on Codewars, massive practice, going back over and over to fix mistakes, and understanding the pattern
[27:42] Dealing with self-doubt: Haseeb doubted his vision of the world and this picture of himself being somebody who could just walk into an interview and nail it and have all these offers
[28:31] How to deal with rejections:
You have absolutely no control. No matter how great you are, no matter if you’re the best player in the world, there’s always a chance that you’ll lose.
Any pain is transient. What you feel today will be softer the next morning and the next.
Keep going. People can’t say no forever.
[35:05] Haseeb’s approach to the negotiation process
[37:57] Overcoming recruiter tactics that take away your leverage during negotiation:
[39:41] Exploding Offers – What are they? How do you deal with these?
[45:56] How to prepare for interviews
#3: Kevin Lee - Founder of Product Manager HQ where he teaches people how to become PMs.
Kevin Lee is dedicated to teaching people the fundamentals of product management through Product Manager HQ and also currently works in Venture Capital at FundersClub. Before becoming a Founder, he previously worked in Product at AltSchool and as a Senior Product Manager at Kabam, where he worked on products through all lifecycles in San Francisco, Vancouver, and Beijing to help grow one of the company’s products to become the third largest revenue generating products in the company portfolio.
Align your career with your personality type. Especially, when you find yourself questioning the role you’re currently doing, try to take a step back. Figure out your personality type and align it with your career.
There are many ways to break into any industry. Talk to the influencers. Get to know more about this industry. Network. Make yourself the product. Figure out your users’ needs and make sure you bring value to the table.
Once you’ve figured out a pain point within your industry, write about it and start blogging. Then make sure you create a community so people can still talk to each other right after reading your content.
SHOW NOTES (FOCUS ON THE STEPPING STONES):
[1:11] Kevin’s background
[1:52] His passion for education
[3:04] Kevin shares the story of “the river of drowning babies”
[6:14] Kevin’s big turning point
[7:07] Where to start looking for resources about Product Management:
Quora (a Q&A website answered by some high profile people) as his primary source
Books: Cracking the PM Interview, The Mom Test
[10:22] Getting his first job as a product manager: Kevin landed a PM job at Kabam, a mobile gaming company.
[11:19] Strategies to break into an industry you’re interested in
[12:45] What is Product Management?
[13:28] How product management in gaming differs from that of other industries
[17:39] Dealing with frustrations as a PM
[18:52] Why Product Management HQ was created
[20:21] Building the Community
[27:37] Do your Due Diligence – How to position yourself for an associate product management role at a startup
[32:12] Transitioning into a PM role within your organization
[33:26] The Lightning Round
1. Imagine if you were dropped in a new city, you had to start all over again and you only had $100, what would you do and what would be the first steps you would take to get yourself back to the point you’re at?
Kevin: Go to coworking spaces, hang out, use that $100 to buy a seat, and milk that for a month.
2. When you were dealing with any frustrations on your first projects, did you listen to any music or videos or something that inspired you to overcome whatever situations?
Kevin takes inspiration from his parents who were immigrants from Taiwan and coming to America with literally nothing and couldn’t speak English but worked so hard to provide for their family; so if they have done it, so could he. Never forget your roots. Never forget your family.
3. What is one piece of advice you would want someone to know who’s about to start on this journey?
Figure out your personality type (Take tests like the Myers-Briggs test or the Enneagram test) and be able to align that with your career.
4. What is one thing that you fundamentally believed in before that you changed your mind on after this process?
Kevin: Make yourself a product. These days, having that piece of paper from the university is no longer as relevant as what it used to be. It’s really important that you start to brand yourself. Make yourself a product because that’s what’s going to last forever.
5. What are you planning on doing next? What are you trying to do for the future?
It’s in Kevin’s blood to want to be helping entrepreneurs, helping founders, helping people. So he is going to try his hand at venture capital and work with great founders and support them in any way possible.
#2: Emily Racioppi - Sales Account Executive compares sales in startups vs. corporate
Emily Racioppi is an artist at heart. After talking to her dad, she realized that in order to be a successful artist you need to be your own brand so she followed his footsteps to become an Account Representative in the Sales Department at Cisco WebEx. Prior to that she was a representative at an infrastructure startup called Instart Logic. On this episode she talks about the different roles in sales, the interview process, salaries, the importance of on target earnings, metrics, and more!
1. When you’re in sales, you’ve got to be confident and competitive. Startups are pickier in terms of hiring people so there is no room for slacking.
2. In sales, you have to be a team player. There are times when you close deals on your own but there may also be other times that you need to work with different people such as engineers to get those deals done.
3. If you’re considering breaking into a sales role at a startup, do enough research about the company, their product, and their competitors. Ask questions about your role and how quickly that role progresses within the company.
4. As an inside sales representative, you have to be a closer. Take all the knowledge you have with you as a sales development rep, learn how to manage your time, and be able to qualify your deals.
SHOW NOTES (FOCUS ON THE STEPPING STONES):
[1:05] Growing up in Santa Cruz, California, Emily knew she wanted to come in the Bay Area due to its proximity to her family. She also draws major inspiration from her dad.
[2:04] Being more artistic most of her life growing up and her dream of becoming a curator in The Louvre in France.
[2:51] The power of asking questions
[4:13] Emily shared her struggles of doing door-to-door sales and what she learned from them.
[6:19] Factors for choosing the jobs she applied for: Location + Opportunities
[6:48] How to handle interview questions
[7:48] Qualities of a good candidate
[9:04] Emily’s advice on how to break in
[9:42] Getting promoted from a sales development rep to an inside sales role
[11:37] What motivated Emily to switch over to a smaller company
[13:55] How Emily prepared for her interview process at the startup company
[15:37] How Emily dealt with frustrations and turning them into best practices
[17:34] Crafting your pitch
[19:36] Tonality is key
[22:45] How to handle the interview process at a startup
[24:25] Resources to help you get ready for these types of interviews
[25:01] Knowledge is Power
[26:28] How the salary/commission scheme works at a startup versus a corporate environment (On Target Earnings of $40-$60k for beginning sales role)
[30:47] Key questions to ask as you try to break into a sales role
[32:17] What metrics are you evaluated on
[33:37] The next steps as you get promoted from a sales development rep (SDR) to an inside sales rep: Knowledge application, time management, qualifying deals, asking for help
[35:10] Emily’s plans for the future
[39:14] The Lightning Round
1. Imagine if you had to start over again and you had a $100. You get dropped in a completely new city, what would you do and where would you start?
2. Was there any music or movies or blogs that you read or someone that you talked to that you inspired to get through that frustration?
3. What is the one advice that you would give our listeners?
4. What is one thing that you fundamentally believed in that you changed your mind on after this process?
5. But is there any books that you’d be like, this is the best sales book I’ve ever read?
#1: Albrey Brown - Self-taught Engineer who founded Telegraph Academy to teach people how to code.
Albrey Brown, is a Berkeley native who does not take ‘No’ for an answer. He was rejected on his first attempt to becoming a Hack Reactor graduate and went on to become a founder of Telegraph Academy. Most importantly, he found a love for teaching and is an educator that has completely changed the career trajectories for hundreds of students. Although he never graduated from college, he always knew that he was going to be a teacher. He grew up in a single family home where his mom raised him to become the man who he is today.
1. When you’re learning a new skill, it’s good to have resources (see below), but try to find someone to double check if you’re doing the steps “correctly”
2. Bootcamps need to be more accessible and there are resources like Telegraph Prep and Climb that are working to democratize this form of education
3. You’re always going to find another bug (another hill to climb, a new thing to conquer) so don’t be afraid of that. Take risks.
4. Mentorship comes through various channels. If someone invests time into helping you, the best thing that you can do is succeed.
SHOW NOTES (FOCUS ON THE STEPPING STONES):
[1:12] – Albrey grew up in Berkeley, CA in a single family home with his mother and his aunt. He had no idea of what a startup was.
[3:15] Albrey’s mother got diagnosed with Cancer during his sophomore year and he took a couple of years off after he graduated high school (never graduated college)
[5:32] Beginner Resources – What resources did you use to learn how to code? First, a mentor. Then, he started with The Odin Project and Learn Ruby the Hard Way
[6:35] What was your motivation to learning how to code?
[10:47] What led you to choose Hack Reactor instead of all the other bootcamps?
[11:52] How did you do with Hack Reactor’s Interview Process?
[15:10] Don’t let money stop you from acquiring a new skill – How did you pay for your tuition ($18,000)? When he passed his interview and got accepted into Hack Reactor he needed to figure out how to pay tuition. He had no more money and used a crowdfunding platform called GoFundMe to raise $18,000 in 30 days
[18:19] Tell us more about the Bootcamp Model as a new model for education
[19:06] What makes Telegraph Academy different from all of the other Bootcamps?
[21:40] Take a Bootcamp Preparation Program if you are starting from scratch and need someone to guide you
[22:22] What financing packages are available at Telegraph Academy?
[24:58] What are some of the outcomes for Telegraph Academy?
[26:17] What do the demographics look like at Telegraph Academy?
[29:00] How did you put this all together? He is a big advocate of taking the road less traveled.
[30:40] What do you have planned for the future? Thoughts on education in general?
[33:37] The Lightning Round
1. How would you get back to this point in your career if you were dropped into a new city with only $100? (assuming your food and shelter is taken care of)
Albrey: Become a Lyft or Uber Driver to get a car (here’s the Uber option), make money, learn about your city, and meet people
2. When you ran into roadblocks or struggles, was there any piece of music or a movie that you watched that helped you get over that situation?
Albrey: Always Be Closing by Glengarry Glen Ross
3. Looking back, what is one piece of advice that you would give to someone now that you’ve been through this journey?
Albrey: The best resource that you can have is a mentor
4. Have you been able to speak with anyone that Sponsored your GoFundMe now that you have executed on your promise to start a school?
Yes; His cousin Brian Tippens, who never told him what he did when he originally contributed. Now that Albrey reconnected with him after the launch of Telegraph Academy, he just realized Brian is the Head of Diversity