Jess Lee - Designing Investment Products - [Invest Like the Best, EP.284]
My guest today is Jess Lee. Jess is a partner at Sequoia Capital as well as their Chief Product Officer. Before becoming an investor, Jess co-founded fashion app, Polyvore, and was an early product manager for Google Maps. Most recently, she founded All Raise, a non-profit that is changing the gender balance in tech. Our discussion ranges from Burning Man to Marvel to Sequoia’s mobile app and I hope that Jess’s passion for delighting users rubs off on you. Please enjoy my conversation with Jess Lee.
For the full show notes, transcript, and links to mentioned content, check out the episode page here.
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[00:02:35 ] - [First question] - Why more investment firms don’t have a product mindset
[00:05:22 ] - How to approach building a productized version of capital
[00:08:49 ] - Driving reasons that Sequoia wins deals beyond their brand name
[00:10:28 ] - How her work as CPO at Sequoia has changed her investing approach
[00:12:28 ] - Everything she’s learned about community and its relevance to business
[00:17:48 ] - What the gold standards are for studying strongly built communities
[00:19:42 ] - What it is about Comic-Con that works so well from a community standard
[00:21:18 ] - The role that scarcity plays in communities writ large
[00:23:10 ] - Product mindset and customer obsession
[00:24:33 ] - Knowing when it’s okay to begin expanding
[00:25:14 ] - The formative experiences or lenses that inform her investing decisions
[00:28:12 ] - Rates of change in her investment progress and dollars going to female founders
[00:29:36 ] - Systemic bias and what’s driving a lack of funds towards female founders
[00:32:26 ] - How she applies community building lessons to All Raise
[00:33:20 ] - The internal learning culture in Sequoia that others could adopt and benefit from
[00:37:01 ] - Which Marvel superheroes her Sequoia partners would be
[00:43:06 ] - When you should innovate and when you shouldn’t reinvent the wheel
[00:44:31 ] - The best ways she’s seen companies manage and support human capital
[00:45:36 ] - Biggest mistakes made when managing human capital
[00:46:42 ] - What working on Google Maps taught her about product development
[00:48:42 ] - Someone she admires and has learned the most from in All Raise
[00:50:02 ] - Measuring success at Sequoia over the next ten years
[00:52:20 ] - The kindest thing anyone has ever done for her
[00:53:42 ] - What it was that made the people who believed in her take a chance on her
[00:55:03 ] - Things in pop culture today that most has her attention