What is your name, age, location?
Pow (short for Paulina), 30, London.
What's your background?
I've always been a saleswoman from hell and an aspiring geek. Before I started my first company, I used to work for big tech companies introducing their products to different markets during the day, and hang out with unshaven guys talking about product market fit in the evenings. I finally caught the startup bug for real. I started my first company and learnt many things from it, mostly about how not to grow a business ;) Two years later, I started GrantTree, which helps tech companies get hold of government funding. There is 20 of us now and it's going very well. I'm excited about what's round the corner for us.
What inspired you to become a founder?
The unshaven guys talking about product market fit over pints of cheap beer at geeky meetups. All I longed for was to be one of them (minus the beard). I think running a company is one of a most tangible ways of having a real impact on the world. I like that.
Please walk me through your day, what do you do at your company?
My cofounder plays the MD (not a traditional MD though since we are a holacratic company) which leaves me with more time and freedom to do what I like. Deep down I'm still a sales beast but these days I can afford to be more hands off, and work mostly on strategic partnerships and bigger commercial opportunities for the company. My usual day is filled with meetings, speaking gigs, workshops and some time in the office to touch base with the team and make sure we are all on the same page. My team rocks.
Can you see yourself in ten years doing the same thing you do now?
That would be suicide. I develop every month (I'd like to think) and have minor identity/purpose crisis at least every six months (LOL).
What is the best advice you ever received?
This may sound a little woo woo but I did this guided meditation once where you meet your older self and get advice from them. My 30 years older self, wrinkled but tanned and happy, said: chill a little and trust yourself.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned in the last year?
Probably to trust that people (on teams) are naturally constructed in a way that they want to contribute. I learnt to step back and allow people to do what they are great at.
And what are your plans for the future?
I would like to be involved with lots of interesting companies and projects globally: directly, as an advisor or an investor. At the same time, I want to have enough space in my life for serendipity and doing unusual things whenever I feel like it.
If you could do one thing differently, what would it be?
I would wear more red dresses. Red dresses change your outlook on the world.
Any advice for your local/global Geekettes?
Chill a little and trust yourselves :)