A few weeks ago I was honored by Fortune as one of the worlds 10 Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs. Before this selection I was asked to answer a few questions. I penned my responses at MaiTai Cabarate (an entrepreneurs / tech folk kitesurfing camp) knowing a session at La Boca was waiting. I won’t say these blurbs are my best work, but I think the spirit they were written in captures the essence of how I think. I’ve decided to share a few of them with the world over the next few weeks, culminating with the Fortune Most Powerful Women Conference. I hope you enjoy! Question 1: Why did you start your business? I founded Triggit probably because I didn’t know any better. I mean, who starts an ad:tech company without experience, and without a technical lead! Somehow, eight years later, as an exploding company and a leader in our space, it’s pretty amazing to look back at the journey. My brother Zach and I have actually been partners in entrepreneurship our whole lives. From publishing a WWII study guide when we were kids, to selling pins and scalping tickets at the Olympics (making us so much cash we had to hide bills in our vacuum cleaner), to Votes For Students (VFS), a Pew Trusts funded get-out-the-vote nonprofit we started in college, and now Triggit, starting stuff is in our DNA. After college I had shuttered VFS and moved to Chile to be a ski bum, surf bum, and travelista! Within weeks I had landed a sweet job as a ski instructor at Valley Nevado and was having the time of my life. Within months I was bored out of my skull. Zach called and asked if I wanted to start another company with him and I jumped on the first plane out of Rio and abandoned my ambitions of world surf dominance. In 2005 advertising was stupidly inefficient. Big brands were paying $100+ CPMs for homepage space on portals like Yahoo.com, but pennies for an even more engaging ad slot on niche blogs and websites. And there is money in advertising, lots and lots of money. In many ways I now think of starting companies like climbing a mountain. Most have been conquered, and if you keep moving there is a good chance you can find a route, but you can also fall off a cliff. It took us six pivots to find Real Time Bidding (RTB) and we came close to that cliff each time. So why did I start Triggit? Sure, we saw something massively inefficient in the market, but really, I love creating things, especially when they drive value. I love hard problems and figuring out how execute against them. And I love working with a passionate group of individuals who love the same. Today Triggit drives hundreds of millions of raw revenue dollars to our clients worldwide and helps make the Internet free. To me that makes the world just a little more cool and fun then it was yesterday.
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned from being an entrepreneur?
September 25, 2014