The Drunken Walk explores the personal narratives of inspiring media entrepreneurs, unpacking the messiness of what it takes to build something from scratch. Success doesn’t happen because of a perfect plan. Hypothesis-testing, action, learnings, and adjustments are all a necessary part of innovation. And sometimes the dead-ends and changes of direction don’t make sense until viewed in retrospect, as a “drunken walk” full of highs and lows.
This podcast is produced by Matter Ventures. We support media entrepreneurs building scalable ventures that make society more informed, inclusive, and empathetic. Learn more at http://matter.vc.
Jill Koziol, Co-Founder and CEO of Motherly (and Matter Five alum!), joined us in San Francisco for a conversation with Matter Eight entrepreneurs. Pete Mortensen, Director of Program in San Francisco, talked with Jill about the incredible growth that Motherly has seen over the last few years.
Initially, Jill says, their growth was slow, but steady. By staying the course with conviction and always going back to their user-a digitally native, Millennial mom who is learning to parent in very different circumstances than previous generations-they built something that resonated. And over time, because they deeply understand her needs, they saw a huge spike in users without pouring tons of money into advertising.
Deepa Subramanian started out as a physics major and switched to computer science when she realized how much she loved that kind of problem solving. Since then, she has been a product manager at all kinds of of companies, from tech giants like Adobe to non-profits like Charity: Water-she even spearheaded the product direction with Hillary for America. As it turns out, political campaigns have a lot more in common with startups than you might think. In her "drunken walk" as an entrepreneur, Deepa stresses the value of testing with users, even when your users could be anyone in America.
Deepa went on from Hillary for America to work with Kickstarter before starting her own company, Wherewithall, to focus on helping tech startups and non-profits grow.
For this week’s speaker series, we were lucky to welcome a longtime member of our community back to Matter. Jennifer Brandel, CEO of Hearken and Matter Four entrepreneur, joined us in New York City where she and Roxann Stafford, our Director of Program there, sat down to talk about her “Drunken Walk” as an entrepreneur who really sought to change the way journalists tell stories.
Hearken has turned journalism on its head by actually bringing audiences into the reporting process. It provides journalists the tools they need to ask people what they want to know before going out into the field. Hearken really opens up newsrooms to find out the real questions in their communities and create more inclusive content.
Caitlin Kalinowski (rebroadcast)
Caitlin Kalinowski, Product Design Director at Oculus VR, joined us for the second time at Matter in San Francisco to share tips for better prototyping with our latest cohort. This time it was off-the-record, so we’re re-airing our episode with Caitlin from last season.
Caitlin has been a designer for over ten years and got her start at Apple as one of the lead designers on the MacBook Air. Her Six Steps to Superior Product Prototyping is a guide that echoes what we teach at matter: create ugly prototypes, get feedback early, and fail forward fast.
Kaitlyn Jankowski, better known among friends and colleagues as KJ, is Head of Marketing at theSkimm. In her conversation with Roxann Stafford, Director of Program in New York City, KJ talked about the dedication and passion it takes to go on the drunken walk of the entrepreneur. As someone who has spent most of her professional life working at startups, she knows how hard it can be when things go wrong, and how satisfying it is when you succeed. She says finding mentors, sometimes in the most unlikely of places, can make all the difference to get through the journey.
In this episode of The Drunken Walk, a series that follows the ups and downs of what it means to be an entrepreneur, we spoke with Gaby Darbyshire, Principal at Framestore Ventures. Gaby sat down with Roxann Stafford, our Director of Program in New York City, to speak in front of an audience of Matter Eight entrepreneurs who just started their 20-week journey through with us.
Before Gaby was Principal at Framestore Ventures she was Co-Founder and COO at Gawker, and before that she studied physics and mathematics—at one point she was even a barrister. Her long, impressive, and varied journey is an inspiration for anyone embarking on the journey to start their own venture (or even just starting to think about it). Her best advice for making it through the drunken walk of the entrepreneur is to surround yourself by people who are honest.