Andy K

AUSTIN, TX

Insured since Oct 2017

COFFEE ORDER

Cold brew on nitro

ALBUM/PLAYLIST

The Country Gold playlist on Spotify (which confuses me just as much as those reading this)

AUSTIN SPOT

Lazarus

FAVORITE WEBSITE

NPR

FAVORITE QUOTE

“A good man will have many acquaintances, a few good friends, and one true love.” My dad used it to describe my grandfather at his funeral, and it has always stuck with me

FAVORITE THING ABOUT LEMONADE

How easy it was to sign up

Hey Andy! Thanks for taking me to your Austin spot.

Of course! I’m here everyday before work, so even if you weren’t here, I would be.

Where do you work?

I work for a tech company called Phobio. I’m a product manager on a small team that’s building a communications tool for retail organizations. It’s called Rodio – think GroupMe and email in the same app, with some additional features for compliance/accountability.

How are you liking it?

It’s great, I love it. But we’re a company of all dudes right now, and I’m hoping to change that as we continue to grow.

Can you tell me more about that?

Absolutely. I’ve done a lot of hiring here in Austin, and we need more women in tech. For an open role at a previous company, we had 300 men apply and just 3 women. That makes it hard.

So the issue is that fewer women are applying?

Yeah, one of them. I’ve thought a lot about this – where does the gender divide start? It’s multifaceted, but a big issue is education. It’s a shame that most early-stage startups don’t have the resources or bandwidth to train junior engineers. But that’s where larger companies come in. They have the resources to focus on initiatives beyond, “get this three-month project done in two weeks,” that’s so typical for early-stage companies.

From your perspective, what are the steps that women - or anyone - can take in order to have more opportunities in tech?

This is multi-faceted as well. There are a lot of moving parts, but strong mentorship goes a long way. It’s important to find an ally. You need someone pointing you in the right direction, introducing you to people and companies, and genuinely being on your side when you hit stumbling blocks.

What’s the best way to find a mentor?

Find people you admire and buy them coffee. It can be awkward to formally ask ‘hey, can you be my mentor?’, but if it’s a good fit, it’ll happen naturally. When you meet with them, it’s all about asking pointed questions and listening. You don’t have to do what they say step-by-step, but take what they have to say into account and then make your moves.

That’s great advice. How are you liking start-up life so far?

Early-stage start-ups can be a great learning environment, but there’s lots of shit going on. You have to look for inspiration at every corner. Actually, when my team started redesigning our onboarding process, Lemonade was an inspiration for me. After I signed up, I ended up taking screenshots of the entire process. Anyway, working at a startup is super energizing for me because I get to wake up every morning thinking, ‘what is the one thing that’s going to ruin the day if I don’t do it?’

What's your take on Austin's startup culture?

It’s great how approachable everyone is, especially in Austin. Choose 5 startups that seem interesting, and I’d bet that 4 out of 5 founders will meet you for a coffee or a beer if you reach out. If you’re looking for a job, meet with people and ask them what their problems are. Then find a way to help.