Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Where Retail and Tech collide


Something caught my eye this morning as I was on my usual consumption of technology news.
This is Kristen Green. And she's currently one of the leading venture capitalists.



I was reading up on some other tech news and one of the links led me to Pando Daily's piece on Kristen Green. I was happy it did.
Andy Dunn of Bonobos was talking about Kirsten Green when he noted, "“She lives and breathes the collision of retail and tech in ways others are just dabbling."
Naturally, after reading this sentence, my curiosity was piqued and I had to know more about her.
The piece is compelling and it's especially compelling because it sheds light on the success of a female venture capitalist who has managed to enter the game of venture capital and win rather impressively in it.
And it's not like she has the usual pedigree of those that usually populate the space of venture capital. As Lacy points out in her piece,
"By most estimates women make up less than 10 % of the venture capital industry and those percentages dwindle as you climb the partner ranks. On one level, there’s not even a lot of progress to point to. There are fewer women in senior roles than there were 15 years ago. The top five firms don’t have a single female senior partner doing early stage investments, and the recently published Forbes Midas list was exactly four percent female."

But in a landscape, where there does not seem to be many key women players in business, Green has managed to build a niche for herself. Because sometimes, when a niche cannot be found, it just needs to be taken. Or built. Be that as it may, in order for a player to play the game the way they are wired to: i.e., win!, the player needs to create the space to play the game.

And as Lacy points out:
"In a try-anything attempt to find a unique perspective, she started to hang out in malls. “The closer I was to the customer, the more insight I would have,” she says. “I started spending more time in stores and talking about how the product looked, whether people were going to the mall, whether there was foot traffic.”
She developed a unique pulse on the sector, which turned into a job on the buy side of the investment bank. Things were looking up. And then specialty retail fell on hard times. It was no longer about expansion and new categories, it was about contraction. It was about who could show better same-store-sales, and what analyst could build a better model."

A good read. Another solid example of someone who learned that the most expeditious way to play with the best is to really master the basics first, gain confidence in knowledge, and demand a seat at the table. Or, as Sandberg puts it: "lean in." Even though I seem to prefer a different verb myself. March. March with purpose.

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