(Note this episode was recorded before the current Coronavirus crisis)
Matt Hulett is President of Rosetta Stone – one of the largest language learning companies in the world. Long known for its striking yellow boxes of CDs (those CDs are now a thing of the past, BTW), Rosetta helps people learn almost any language from any mobile device or computer, at their own pace.
Matt came to Rosetta Stone after stints at Expedia, Atom Entertainment and RealNetworks. Where he worked for famous internet execs like Rob Glaser and Barry Diller.
In this episode we discuss Matt’s early interaction with computers (including his experiences with Telnet and Sun workstations!). We discuss his path to becoming a public company CEO, and the difference in running turnarounds, startups and big brands.
We also discuss no less than the state of literary education in the US and how Lexia Learning helps kids learn to read. Matt shares a few of his leadership lessons, and discusses how he keeps Rosetta stone out of the tricky politics of language into which people try to pull him.
Paul-Henri Ferrand is the Chief Operating Officer of Brex. Brex, the corporate card that accelerates entrepreneurs and scaling businesses, is founded by Henrique Dubugras and Pedro Franceschi, two engineers who previously founded Pagar.me, a Brazil payment processing company. Brex has raised $315M in equity and $510M in debt, and is backed by the co-founders of PayPal (Max Levchin and Peter Thiel), Y Combinator, Ribbit Capital, Greenoaks Capital, DST Global, IVP, and Carl Pascarella (former CEO of Visa).
Before becoming COO of Brex, Paul-Henri was President, Global Customer Operations for Google Cloud, and before that President of Dell US.
In this episode, Paul-Henri discusses why he moved from leading an enormous public company, to helping execute at a startup. He contrasts the cultures of the various companies – Dell, Google and Brex, and discusses what it means to “consumerize finance”. We also discuss why immigrants (Paul-Henri is an immigrant to the US, as are with both founders of Brex) find the US so appealing, and appear to be behind some of the great Silicon Valley companies. Finally, we discuss the importance of culture and leadership lessons learned at Dell, Google and now Brex.
Brianne Kimmel is a newly minted venture capitalist. She didn’t join a venture fund: She started her own. Her fund — Work Life Ventures — invests in new technologies and services for your work life.
Work today has a whole new meaning: it’s social w/ Slack, flexible w/ Zoom and approachable through low-code and no-code tools for anyone with an idea to build something. Brianne’s recent investments range from enterprise software (i.e. developer productivity tools) to creator tools that help anyone launch their own course, jewelry line or creative business.
Brianne has been an angel investor on evenings and weekends, had a YC company, and scaled Zendesk from a single product to multi-product platform.
She started her career building influencer programs for Nikon, then scaled into Head of Social Media at Expedia — in Sydney, Hong Kong and Silicon Valley.
But Brianne’s path to Silicon Valley wasn’t obvious. She started out in northeast Ohio, started attended Kent State while she was in high school and started her career in Australia.
Not the typical path for a Silicon Valley Venture capitalist. Nevertheless…here she is.
In this podcast we cover a range of topics and ideas. We discuss why she started her own firm, rather than joining an established VC. We have some fun with the emergence of ‘celebrity angels”, and take a more serious look at the future of distributed workforces.
She also surprises me – as it always happens – with what it’s like to be a high profile woman in the tech industry. She honestly shares what it’s like to get unwanted attention at, for example, conferences where, sometimes, security is called.