Fearless Founders: Meet Alisa Gould-Simon of Pose
It's time to inspire her mind! In our constantly connected world, women are inundated with information and opportunity. Especially inspiring are the true innovators that push through barriers and prove that women are equipped to excel in any industry. Many of them are changing our world one startup at a time. At Glam, we love women who encourage other women to push forward in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) based education and professions. In this series, Jesse Draper sits down with fearless founders to talk about their career paths, educational backgrounds and why STEM matters:
In the past few years, Santa Monica’s Silicon Beach, as the Los Angeles tech community calls it, started adding some fantastic startups to the fashion space, one of which is Pose.
I met Pose cofounder Alisa Gould-Simon a few years back through a mutual friend, and she’s proved quite the leader in #fashtech—where style meets STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).
As it is nontraditional for women to enter STEM professions, we chose to feature Gould-Simon because she embodies STEM as a woman in technology who found synergy between the fashion industry and the technology world. Gould-Simon also stood out because she helped lead Pose from a fashion inspiration app and platform through a 2013 merger and fast-forward to one of the best places to buy, sell, and trade items.
A former fashion journalist, she grew up in New York and made her way out West picking up some HTML code along the way. She’s a refreshing conversationalist, a huge fan of Sugarfish by Nozawa Sushi, loves a good hot tea with lemon, and recued the sweetest mutt of all time from the organization Wags for Walks.
Here are 12 things I learned from stylish STEM lady and Fearless Founder Alisa Gould-Simon.
1. What is Pose?
Pose is a free app and website where you can buy, sell, and trade items from the fashion brands you love with a trusted community. You can also use Pose to find outfit inspiration through images that other members of the community upload every day.
2. How do you personally use it?
I'm using Pose to put my closet on a cleanse—selling the many items I bought and tired of after one or two wears—and to shop for key pieces to fill the holes that the cleanse leaves behind. I also love it for style inspiration; there are so many fashionable ladies who constantly inspire me to try a new trend or look.
3. What is one leadership quality you try to embody in your behavior at work every day?
Empathy. This makes an enormous difference, whether it's thinking through a user experience, handling a customer-care issue, or empowering a member of my team to go the extra mile.
4. Do you know how to code? If so, how has it helped you?
I learned basic HTML coding back in my online journalism days in my early 20s. Sadly that's as far as my coding skills go. I can speak to which stacks we code, for example, Rails versus PHP, but, kind of like being a foreign-language beginner, I understand a lot more than I can speak.
5. What keeps you motivated to do your best?
The phenomenally talented people all around me I help employ and our amazing Pose community. The fact that people have had our app on their phone for two or more years now and still love it keeps me running this marathon every day.
6. What do you like about being a woman in technology?
We are the minority, which means there is a huge opportunity for disruption. As cliché as it may be, entrepreneurs love disruption.
7. What women do you look up to and why?
I look up to my mother—a college president who managed to raise two amazing children and manage an extremely successful career. I definitely look up to my female friends running companies. There's nothing like seeing a fellow first- or second-time female entrepreneur taking on huge challenges and doing it with grace and strength.
8. What is your daily routine?
I try to fit in a workout—typically yoga or spinning—before 8 a.m. so I can be at the office no later than 9. Depending on the day, I could be in meetings with investors or fashion influencers, or I could be in planning or grooming sessions (we use Scrum for engineering/product as well as marketing/customer care) with the team. I'm usually at a dinner with a friend or a work event by 8 p.m., unless Rachel Rutherford, my co-CEO, and I are really cranking away. In that case, we'll order in and stay until bedtime.
9. How do you prioritize?
We've just started implementing Scrum for our engineering/product and marketing/customer-care teams, and I can already tell it'll be life-changing for the company. This allows the whole team and company to have full transparency into what everyone is working on and makes collaboration and tracking projects really easy. My co-CEO and I also start every week by writing a list of key tasks for the two of us in dry-erase marker on the glass door of our office. This physical checklist helps keep me focused on top priorities that she and I have articulated for the week. If it doesn't make the cut, it waits until next week.
10. If you could offer the working woman one style tip, what would it be?
Invest in a good blazer or light jacket that makes you feel confident. I have a Helmut Lang black blazer that I spent a pretty penny on years ago, and I wear it every time I have a big meeting or a photo shoot and just want that extra oomph. Most importantly, it's about how a garment makes you feel. If it enhances your mood, everyone around you will see it too.
11. If you could tell your 16-year-old self something right now, what would it be?
Travel and study abroad for as long as your parents or school will let you. And know that it is really all possible if you work hard and put your mind to it.
12. What was the last math problem you did?
I have no good answer for this. Maybe just: We've been finalizing a financial model that feels like the biggest math problem I will ever need to solve.
UCLA grad, Jesse Draper is a technology expert and creator and host of The Valley Girl Show through which she has become a spokesperson for startups and has helped to pioneer the way of new media content distribution. She oversees everything from pre-production to distribution of the show. Draper started the show because she realized there was no FUN business talk show, only grilling teeth clenching interviews, and she believes the most interesting and inspiring people in the world are the ones who've started a business. In her former life, she was on a Nickelodeon show called “The Naked Brother's Band”. Draper also writes columns for Mashable, Forbes.com and San Francisco Magazine and speaks at business conferences around the world including SXSW, DLD, TEDx, TechVentures and STREAM.