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  2. Aileen Lee

“When I go visit my mom in the retirement community where my parents live, she has a bunch of friends, and she will say, ‘These neighbors I play bridge with have a son with an idea,’ and it goes from there.”

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Quotes by Aileen Lee

  1. A lot of the entrepreneurs and founders have big dreams and are on a mission to build things that the world has never seen before.
  2. Comscore, Nielsen, MediaMetrix and Quantcast studies all show women are the driving force of the most important net trend of the decade, the social web.
  3. Consider the social proof of a line of people standing behind a velvet rope, waiting to get into a club. The line makes most people walking by want to find out what’s worth the wait. The digital equivalent of the velvet rope helped build viral growth for initially invite-only launches like Gmail, Gilt Groupe, Spotify, and Turntable.fm.
  4. Each major wave of technology innovation has given rise to one or more super-unicorns – companies that could change your life to work at or invest in if you’re not lucky/genius enough to be a co-founder.
  5. Especially when it comes to social and shopping, women rule the Internet.
  6. Female users are the unsung heroines behind the most engaging, fastest growing, and most valuable consumer Internet and e-commerce companies.
  7. From a pretty early age, I developed an interest in travel. I told my parents I wanted to live abroad, and they said, ‘Well, you have to have money to do those things.’
  8. Having been a venture-backed CEO, and having an established background in working with consumer-focused companies, I’ve built a strong network of entrepreneurs and people who can help startups.
  9. History suggests the 2010s will give rise to a super-unicorn or two that reflect the key tech wave of the decade, the mobile web.
  10. I am committed to ensuring San Francisco remains a center for tech and the innovation capital of the world.
  11. I appreciate the sacrifices my dad made. I went to a great public high school.
  12. I did not grow up thinking that I wanted to be an engineer. I had read some articles about girls becoming increasingly scientifically illiterate and that girls lacked confidence in their capabilities when it came to quantitative skills. And I just thought that was kind of wrong.
  13. I grew up in New Jersey and played sports and rode my bike around. It was a really nice time – kids didn’t have cellphones then – and you knew everyone in the town.
  14. I have a tremendous network of friends and colleagues at other firms.
  15. I played with different words like ‘home run,’ ‘megahit,’ and they just all sounded kind of ‘blah.’ So I put in ‘unicorn’ because they are – these are very rare companies in the sense that there are thousands of startups in tech every year, and only a handful will wind up becoming a unicorn company. They’re really rare.
  16. I really have become very interested at working with and helping entrepreneurs at the early stages of their growth.
  17. I think it’s embarrassing for our industry that we have such low diversity across senior-level management at all of the mainstream, top-tier venture capital firms.
  18. I think there are many things that we can do today to make it a better work environment that is more supportive and encouraging of diversity.
  19. I think, from a woman’s perspective, that my interest as an investor and the way that I relate to entrepreneurs is a little bit different.
  20. I was ringside for Amazon and Google.
  21. I work with tiny companies, so I don’t really live in unicorn world, to be honest.
  22. I’m a first-born child of a Chinese immigrant family, I grew up on the East Coast. And I have to admit, I did not grow up around technology.
  23. I’m a huge believer in power of women on the web.
  24. I’ve learned that you really cannot judge a book by its cover.
  25. If a firm hasn’t hired a single female partner in its history, I don’t think it will finally happen by accident.
  26. If someone was having some surgery that was going to put them out for three months, it’s something you should consider, with a man or a woman. What is the impact of having the C.E.O. or visionary out for three months?
  27. If you’re a digital startup, building and highlighting your social proof is the best way for new users to learn about you.
  28. If you’re looking to grow your user base, is there a best way to cost-effectively attract valuable users? I’m increasingly convinced the best way is by harnessing a concept called social proof, a relatively untapped gold mine in the age of the social web.
  29. Immigrants play a huge role in the founding and value creation of today’s tech companies. We wonder how much more value could be created if it were easier to get a work visa.
  30. In the future, the best retail sites will know you much better and show you things that are much more relevant.
  31. It’s awesome that you have a female CFO and a female GC, but if you look at the investing partners, and it’s 15 dudes, I do think those people are going to get left behind if they don’t get with where the world is going.
  32. It’s not that I am saying that women and men are completely different. But I do think that if you are one of the only people around the table who is a woman, by definition, you’re different.
  33. Male founders who come across as Type B are more likely to get the benefit of the doubt.
  34. Many entrepreneurs, and the venture investors who back them, seek to build billion-dollar companies.
  35. Most VC firms are looking to bring in women because of the great consumer cycle.
  36. My dad was a dentist; my mom managed his office.
  37. Over the long term, there will be many more billion-dollar technology companies than there are today.
  38. Relative to all the start-ups out there, getting a valuation of $1 billion is rarely accomplished.
  39. Savvy companies are quietly changing up their boards of directors and teams, and this is giving them better collective intelligence, more community admiration, and better financial results.
  40. Seed stage is an investment area that is really important for early stage startups. It feels like there is a need for trusted, experienced people to work with and to guide startups at this level.
  41. Sequoia is a firm that a lot of people across tech and the Valley look to, and I think they’re setting an important example in adding new diversity to their team.
  42. Some companies are worth paying for up front.
  43. Some investors may grumble about entrepreneurs wanting ‘unicorn valuations.’ But let’s be honest: most investors want them, too, and are supporting the massive capitalization of these companies.
  44. Spend the first six to 12 months building a great product or service that people love, rather than chasing investors. When the time comes to engage investors, you will be meeting them from a position of strength. This makes all the difference.
  45. Starbucks did this magical thing where it took a product that people didn’t really care that much about and made it this treat. It makes you feel better about your day and gives you a chance to reflect, makes you feel a little special.
  46. Starting a company and being a founder is really hard, and most companies fail. You really have to have a deep commitment and belief in it and be willing to see it through many ups and downs.
  47. Super early-stage companies have a village that form around them for support.
  48. The question for Dropbox is whether, when they run out of private sources for funding, they will be able to maintain that valuation when they go to public sources for funding and their valuation is set on the public markets.
  49. The reality is that in a tech environment that is 90 percent to 100 percent male, it’s not super-encouraging for females to be successful. It’s just a lot of things that contribute to that: things that people do or things that people say that they may not realize have unintended consequences.
  50. The role and importance of females in companies can make a big difference.
  51. The world is diverse, and having a professional team that mirrors the world is going to be more helpful for us.
  52. There are a lot of benefits to having a team of young people, but there are many benefits to having people who’ve made a lot of mistakes.
  53. There are not many people from top-tier venture capital firms who are focused on the seed stage.
  54. There are so many people who try so hard and have such big dreams, and it doesn’t happen for them.
  55. There is very little diversity among founders in the Unicorn Club.
  56. There needs to be more deliberate effort on the part of folks at VC firms to bring in a more diverse team of talent. You have to make a more concerted effort to bring in people who are different and who may not be in your network.
  57. There’s an opportunity to make your board – and your company – smarter by adding diversity, especially of gender.
  58. Top creative and innovative talent wants to live in a vibrant, transit-friendly, global city that offers access to not only great jobs but also great food, entertainment and culture.
  59. We used to tie-dye T-shirts and sell them to classmates. We used to make egg rolls and sell them at street fairs. I worked at the mall. My parents probably spent more money on the gas driving me to different jobs than I made.
  60. We’re in this incredible age where new brands are making people’s lives easier, more convenient, more personalized.
  61. What is social proof? Put simply, it’s the positive influence created when someone finds out that others are doing something. It’s also known as informational social influence.
  62. What’s the word to describe the thing that all of us are trying to do, which is to found or work for or invest in a company that is the winner of all winners?
  63. When I go visit my mom in the retirement community where my parents live, she has a bunch of friends, and she will say, ‘These neighbors I play bridge with have a son with an idea,’ and it goes from there.
  64. When I was growing up, I had lots of smart classmates that were girls, but none of us were really pushed into math or computers or anything like that. Girls took AP history and AP English and AP European history. And boys took calculus and physics.
  65. When companies are private, founders can share more about their future dreams with investors; report less; and the shares are illiquid, constraining short-term changes in valuation.
  66. Why do investors seem to care about ‘billion dollar exits?’ Historically, top venture funds have driven returns from their ownership in just a few companies in a given fund of many companies.
  67. Women are going to be a huge force in developing Web and mobile companies.
  68. Women are the routers and amplifiers of the social web. And they are the rocket fuel of ecommerce.
  69. Women are thought to be more social, more interested in relationships and connections, better at multi-tasking.
  70. You can’t get into the trap of paying for customer acquisition.
  71. You have to get under the hood and spend some quality time with someone to understand what they’re really good at.