239 Bettina Hein: Innovating Web 3.0

Bettina Hein is onto her third game-changing business – remaking what we know of the web into its newer version, a decentralized 3.0 version where we own and control our own data. CEO and founder of HelloYellow, and SVOX and Pixability before, Bettina shares her excitement at the promise of blockchain technologies allowing us to secure and validate our online identities in this brave new world. We also talk fundraising, how to overcome venture capital resistance to funding female founders, and balancing innovation with young kids.


Melinda Wittstock:         Bettina, welcome to WINGS!

Bettina Hein:                    Thank you so much for having me, Melinda.

Melinda Wittstock:         I’m so excited to talk to you because you’re right at the cutting edge of technology; you always have been. You’ve always decided to jump in early into amazing, amazing new technologies and the latest is Web 3.0. I want to start the interview by having you describe that for everybody because it’s so exciting. So let’s talk about Web 3.0 and then, what you’re doing in it.

Bettina Hein:                    Sure. The web was founded in about 1991 here in Switzerland, where I’m actually living right now, at the CERN research center by Sir Tim Berners-Lee. He founded the web with the vision of connecting everybody in the world and having a very decentralized way of sharing knowledge. What has happened in the last years is that the web has been kind of usurped by big tech and by nation states, there are parallel Internets in China and in Russia and in North Korea, where people don’t actually get to share the information, where there’s censorship. In our countries here, our data has been dealt with pretty loosely, so web 3.0 is a new initiative that comes out of MIT, where Tim Berners-Lee is a professor. He is now founding a project, a new framework for the web called Solid, you can look it up at solid.mit.edu, for the first time in his career he’s also founding a company called Inrupt. He has never profited a cent from creating the World Wide Web, so this is the first time that he’s doing this and the reason is that he’s dismayed about what has happened to his baby.

What I’m doing with my new company, HelloYellow, is that I am founding a company based on his technology, and it is really brand new. It was announced publicly one month ago, pretty much exactly. Now the developer world is really abuzz with it. What it’s going to do for the consumer is that you can really get back your data, and you can decide who to share it with, how long to share it, what are your circles of trust and you can take that back. Let’s say you are going to go buy shoes, you would want maybe the shoe seller website to know your shoe size, but you probably wouldn’t want to give that site your blood work lab data from the last ten years, you would probably give that information to your doctor, but your doctor doesn’t need to know your web surfing history. So these are … you give access to different things to different people, but you have the overall access. That will take all this data that’s out there about you and you can create really cool new things that depend on that sharing of data that is controlled by you.

Melinda Wittstock:         Bettina, this is so exciting, I can see so many possibilities here. What’s lovely about it is it does return to the original hope of the Internet. How does this one become different than how the other one was taken over?

Bettina Hein:                    Because we’re trying to re-decentralize the Internet. Through that re-decentralization people will come to understand data ownership better. I think we all entered into this naively, thinking, “I’ll just press yes here for this cookie, I’ll press yes for that”, nobody really understood exactly what we were doing when we were joining Facebook or joining Instagram, how much data was actually being collected. So now people are much more aware of it and we have these new things called DDPR, which is privacy regulation from the European Union, we have all kinds of things that people are saying, yes, I want to take charge a little bit more. The second thing, why this will be successful I think, is there are going to be very cool applications built on it and my hope is that we will see that gold rush mentality that we saw at the beginning of the World Wide Web.

In the late ’90’s, early 2000’s, where people were really doing revolutionary things that wouldn’t have been possible, weren’t even thinkable at that time. I think that that could happen again, and because so many of us remember that time, that have a lot of experience, we want to bring a whole new generation, not Millenials, the post Millenials, actually, the Generation Z, into this. I think they will be the ones powering this revolution; it won’t come just from the United States. I’m very sure that in Africa and in Asia there are going to be developers that are going to have crazy useful solutions to really tough problems that we have in the world.

Melinda Wittstock:         You have to think, oh wow, the kids coming up are going to be a lot smarter than us.

Bettina Hein:                    They’ll save us.

Melinda Wittstock:         Gosh, I hope so. I’m relying on my kids for that. Speaking of kids, you have two kids and you juggle everything that you’re doing, being a true tech pioneer. We’re going to get into your history of how you’ve done this many times before, you’ve had big exits, you’ve done so much, Bettina, at the cutting edge of technology. But you do it all with kids, how old are your kids?

Bettina Hein:                    They’re four and a half and seven and a half.

Melinda Wittstock:         Wow. How does that change everything for you?

Bettina Hein:                    Becoming a mother is a huge change in your life, no matter what you’re doing. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, or you’re a nurse, or you are a lawyer, it doesn’t really matter what you do, it’s a big change. It’s not just a change for mothers; it’s a big change for fathers as well. You quite don’t know what going to happen when you have kids. For me, I have learned over the years, not just when I had kids, to be very efficient in what I’m doing. So when I became pregnant with my first child I actually went to my investors and I said, “Okay, here’s the plan. I will do three things before I have this baby”. Well, first I had to confess I was pregnant, they had invested and I was quite scared about saying that. Maybe these days it’s a couple of years later it’s become easier, but I went to them personally in person and said, “I’m going to do these three things. I am going to hire a productivity coach that is going to teach me to do the work that I’ve done in 12-13 hours a day in 10 hours”, that’s the first thing.

The second thing, I’m going to move closer to work. I was about 20 minutes away from work, maybe half an hour and I moved in walking distance, let’s say 10 minutes at most. And the third thing was, which you’d probably expect is I would go out and fundraise. So I have fund raised twice while pregnant and, it was an interesting experience. I got it done, but it was, it wasn’t easy, but I think I was able to in a jujitsu way, convert that disadvantage into an advantage at least with my second child.

Melinda Wittstock:         How did you do that? Because it’s so hard as we know for female founders to get the venture capital, our share I guess with the venture capital pie, only two percent of venture money in the United States goes to women founders. And there you are twice pregnant doing it. But Tina, what was your secret? How did you do it?

Bettina Hein:                    Well, I had no alternative essentially. Right? You know, I was a foreigner in the United States and, I was on a visa and so I needed, if I can’t pay myself, I would have to have left the country. So, I had to do it. I had my husband working for me. He was our CEO and when I got pregnant with our first, he was doing another startup that was sort of not doing that well, so he decided to join me and that we would team up and try to juggle this new challenge together and I couldn’t have done it without him. Right. He is the primary caregiver of their children and he works fulltime, as do I. So that has been quite the herculean effort to do it. But my tricks around the being pregnant were, with the first one I just wore and larger blazers for quite while.

And I stood when, as I was speaking to, I was doing an angel round at that time, a pretty large one, but an angel round. And I had to go to dozens of meetings and present to all these angel investors around Boston and angel investor groups and, so I would just try to convince them of our vision and get them excited before they even saw, oops. She’s pregnant. But, you know, some people did tell me, well, you’re my social experiment. I’m investing in this. And I’ve, I’ve had people ask me, are you sure you’ll be able to do this, are you going to come back? And I was just, I was so livid about these questions because I know a man would have, they would have said, oh, that’s really great that he’s adding a new family member to his family because that means they’ll work harder.

So I was just angry about that. But with a second one, you know, it’s harder to hide the tummy because it just pops out. There’s just been something in there before. So that was harder, but the company was also doing better. And what I told the VCs. So we had gone on to raise, I think it was the series, was it series B? So we had raised, yeah, I think we had raised the series B and then I was looking for a continuation of the series B and I just told people, okay look, here’s this baby, I’m cheap. You can invest now before I deliver or it’s going to be more expensive afterwards. So I had people like say, okay, we’ll get the deal done. It was a great forcing function. I’ve figured out that, you know, if they wanted to invest, they thought they were getting a great deal because you know, I let them in an evaluation, that was advantageous for that stage.

But I also got it done. I probably have given up a couple of million dollars of my net worth. Fingers crossed. That happens. But I’ve given that up for having these children. A man wouldn’t have had to do that, but that’s fine with me. I don’t, I really. I wanted them and if I have to take that penalty, fine.

Melinda Wittstock:         You got it done. I mean, here’s the thing, you got it done and only two percent of female founders get it done. What do you think? I want to get back to everything you’re doing with your new company and the story of Pixability and so much more besides, but what do you think is it that stands in the way of women getting funding.

Bettina Hein:                    A lot of things? But let me say before I say that some of this you can’t let it deter you. I always talk to women and say, look, yeah, you’re a woman, but the same issue is for people of color, right? Let’s say you’re a white woman. Well you’re probably lucky that you are not an African American man, black man because you still have an advantage over that. And so, or let’s say you have a really strong Chinese accent that is also a hindrance. So, just feeling sorry for yourself; it’s not a solution, right? So you have to say, okay, I’m going to go beyond that. I understand that that is a hindrance, but I’m jumping over hurdles is part of our profession.

Melinda Wittstock:         I am laughing because I just think of how many hurdles, right? How many, have I jumped over? Have you jumped over? And so many of the women that we know and instead of seeing that hurdle as an obstacle, it’s like, to me it’s like, oh, look, a hurdle. It’s like, how high can I clear that by, you know, can I completely knock? Can I knock it over? Can I go around it? Can I go under it? Like, it becomes actually a mindset challenge like what’s in our head and how we choose to look at it. Do you think that’s true?

Bettina Hein:                    Absolutely. You know, if you are doing something with passion, you kind of forget about your gender, right? My first company was as SFox, right? I was SFox I wasn’t, a female. I was the COO and CFO. That wasn’t the thing, right? I could have done anything in that company and I did. And it was just, I had this conviction that it was the right thing to do. So I just forgot about all of that. And Pixability and HelloYellow.

You know, people may judge me, but they’ll judge me for all kinds of things. Maybe they don’t like my hairstyle, just whatever. My glasses are horrible. I don’t know. So, just going forward in that belief, that confidence, I know that is hard and there are many days when you don’t feel that confidence. But, I think if you think about what you’re doing it for, what is it that drives you with this, that gives you a lot right? To jump over and to allow you to jump over hurdles.

Melinda Wittstock:         The mission is vital. Like if you’re really connected to your true purpose, your passion, your talents, like why you’re here in an earth suit today. What’s your legacy? What are you meant to be doing? And if you’re really kind of connected and dialed into that, I find that everything’s possible because you’re right, like you forget about all the other stuff. You’re so focused, singularly focused on that mission. In alignment. And in when you’re in alignment, do you find this happens when you’re really in alignment with something that just, things line up for you? Just a little bit more easily, like just a little bit with a little bit more flow or even like synchronicities and things like that. Find the businesses where I’ve been truly in alignment with that suit me or whatever, they seem to fall into place with kind of relatively more ease than the other ones that feel a little bit more like pushing a boulder up a mountain.

Bettina Hein:                    Absolutely. Yeah. I agree with you. Remind me how many companies you’ve worked on Melinda.

Melinda Wittstock:         Okay. So I’m on my fifth.

Bettina Hein:                    Wow. Okay. I have to catch up. I’m only in my third.

Melinda Wittstock:         Okay. But, okay. And, and let’s, let’s just level set here for a moment. Okay. Just, just tell everybody the size of your last exit.

Bettina Hein:                    Okay. So for the first company was a speech software company, real basic technology, which I started with co founders from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology called SFox. We raised eight million dollars and we sold it for $125 million.

Melinda Wittstock:         Exactly. Okay. So I have not had an exit like that. And then your exit number two.

Bettina Hein:                    Well, I don’t have an exit yet from that, but-

Melinda Wittstock:         But you will.

Bettina Hein:                    Who knows, right? You never know until it happens, but I raised $28 million in venture capital for it and $15 million in venture debt and, for over five years in a row, I more than doubled revenue every single year.

Melinda Wittstock:         Look at you. I mean, you’re, that’s amazing. I mean, just really congratulations.

Bettina Hein:                    Thank you.

Melinda Wittstock:         Because it’s not everyone who can say that. I mean there are a lot of men who never get there, goodness me. Only three percent of women in business get to a million dollars in revenue. And so, that’s why I wanted you to say those numbers. I mean really, this is possible ladies listening here, I mean think big because I think sometimes women stopped themselves from really doing what they really want because they just can’t necessarily see or allow themselves to see that they can do big things.

Bettina Hein:                    That’s why it’s really important that we talk about these things, right? Sometimes self-promotion is not the strong suit of female founders and what I’ve learned over the years, going through programs like Springboard and speaking with other female entrepreneurs, we practice bragging about ourselves. It’s really hard because you feel like you’re talking about somebody else. You feel like you’re being immodest and that’s not what we were taught as girls to do, just be humble. Don’t make a big brouhaha around yourself. You have to learn that, you know, for me saying I raised $8 million and I sold it for $125 million, I delivered 11 x for the investors. That’s something I had to force myself to repeat, like a mantra, because people don’t know if you don’t tell them about your qualifications. So that’s one key element to succeeding and you have to practice it in front of a friendly audience. And if you have strong women around you, that is the way to practice that, because I think these days most women have each other’s backs.

Melinda Wittstock:         Oh, it’s so true. I remember going through Springboard in 2011 and we had to do a two minute pitch, about the company, so all the things, your product, your product market fit, your market size, your competitive differentiation, your team, all the different things you can tick off the list and doing two minutes. But we also had to do a two-minute personal pitch about ourselves and oh my God, it was like torture for everybody in the room.

There were women who had had $500 million exits. There was a woman who had been an astronaut who forgot to mention that fact. I mean amazing things. And then also the other thing that when we were asking for money that, that we started to see this pattern of kind of asking with a question mark at the end. Like I’m raising five million dollars? Like pretty pleased with sugar on it. And no, no, no, no, right? So, it was so interesting to watch us all struggle in that way. And I still see that now I meet so many really amazing accomplished women through the springboard boot camps who are doing phenomenal things like disrupting whole industries and you would never know it because they don’t tell you.

Bettina Hein:                    Yeah. And I still struggle sometimes with that. I can speak much more easily about my challenges than about the successes because again, I don’t want to seem like I’m bragging or I’m all that. But what I’ve started to do, and I think this has helped, I think it could be a trick for, for other women, is at Pixability. I found out by watching male led companies that they sign up for every single award out there. So I created a marketing department that would just sign up for everything we could think of. And we used the fact that I was female, to also sign up for lots of things. So I’ve gotten all these prizes and la, la, la, la, la. Which I didn’t feel very connected to. Sometimes I wouldn’t even pick them up. I would send my team because I felt like, I didn’t deserve my team deserved it, they did all the work they put in for that.

They wrote the essays at the beginning. I had to obviously help with that, but it became this machine and we, had to submit sometimes videos, nah, nah, nah all of that. And that is something that is quite objective where you can actually put that in your C.V. It’s not bragging, it’s a fact that year that I became, a 40 under 40 for the Boston Business Journal that we won the global award for most innovative player in the video round from Google that I became a young global leader at the World Economic Forum. These are things that are facts and that you can just state, I think that makes it easier for a lot of women. And it’s something that people often don’t take the time to do because again, they don’t think they don’t want to be self-important.

Melinda Wittstock:         You know, that’s really inspired advice. And I think also something that you mentioned earlier is that women are getting better at supporting each other. Way, way, back when I was starting out and I’m of the age that I was often the only woman in the room, there weren’t really very many, if any, female entrepreneurial role models or even in journalism where I began and did a lot of kind of entrepreneurial innovation within major media companies. And if anything, the women above me would almost be. It would feel like they were trying to keep me down. It was sort of like there was, only so much oxygen at the very, very top of the summit. And so, women tended in that scarcity kind of environment to compete with each other rather than competing with everybody.

And I really am one of the reasons I started this podcast and why I’m so passionate about advancing women in business is that I really wanted to change that. I felt that I suffered for that. Like the isolation of that and really wanted to change that dynamic. And all of a sudden I see such a kind of a, blooming or a flowering of women really suddenly really stepping up for each other. Do you see that? Do you see that there’s been a big change or a sea change and that women are helping other women sing their praises?

Bettina Hein:                    Absolutely. I am seeing that there. I think there are many of us, right? I belong to the same group and there’s actually research that has been done about this. In the syndrome that this is about, that you’re saying that women were competing with each other is called the Queen Bee Syndrome and there can only be one queen, right? In a bee colony. So that was that phenomenon. And often these women were like: I worked so hard for this. She should work just as hard.

Melinda Wittstock:         Right.

Bettina Hein:                    That actually changes. That dynamic is reversed when there are, and I can’t remember the exact number when they’re like 15 percent women, 20 percent women.

Melinda Wittstock:         Aah

Bettina Hein:                    We’re getting to that threshold. So that’s where it starts. I know you have been doing this podcast. What I did essentially a self-help is I found it in Boston that She-E-0s and it’s a networking group. We have about 170 female founders and CEOs on our mailing list and we meet every month to just have these really open meetings where we can let our hair down. We don’t let investors come; we don’t let service providers come. It’s just for us and we practice pitching and we ask things of each other, can you help me find a new marketing person or how do I find engineers?

All of these questions that every entrepreneur that’s in this scalable business has we help answer. And the reason I did that was that I had started my first company in Switzerland and I did not know a single other female tech entrepreneur in the whole country, let me say that again. Seven million people. Not a single one. There may have been one or two, but I didn’t know them and I was really involved in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. So when I came to Boston and I met all these other founders, I was astounded. I was thrilled and I thought, oh my gosh, there has to be a way to get us together, and so that’s what I did. I co-founded with Robin Chase, who’s the founder of Zipcar, I co founded the She-E-Os. There was a lot of inspiration coming from Sheila Marcello, who’s the CEO of another company that went public, care.com.

I found as a supporter for us Gail Goodman who went public with Constant Contact. I had Beth Marcus who had sold her company to Microsoft, had Diane Hessan who built a great company with C Space and sold it for $100 million, so there were these other women and we banded together and helped each other out and that just made it so, I was not lonely anymore. I didn’t want to be lonely and so I think that as my advice would be to other female entrepreneurs, just look around you. Who are the other women that are doing what you’re doing, who are founding a dry cleaning business? Who are the ones that are running restaurants around you that do the same thing. Yes, you may be competition, but you can also help each other. Just ask those women, say hey, do you want to meet for coffee every first Wednesday of the month? We could help each other and then get more women to join you. Just having that sisterhood takes really a weight off your shoulders.

Melinda Wittstock:         Oh, gosh. I say with wings that we all soar higher when we fly together and in fact, when women collaborate, we release the brain chemical, oxytocin. We’re not meant to be isolated; our whole thing is to really be connected and help each other, so we all do better when we come to it in that, more of an abundant mindset. There’s oxygen for everybody. We actually all do better. I think this is really great.

I know in my own business career, Bettina, that I didn’t really start to really succeed meaningfully until I learned a couple things: How to ask for help and how to connect with people; how to get out of that isolation. And as an introvert, I always tend towards that. I like to have quiet and be by myself and this sort of stuff so I have to actually push myself to do it, but when I do, it makes such a big difference.

Bettina Hein:                    Yeah, I’m an ‘ambivert’, I would say, sometimes more on the introvert side, but I think I’m a learned extrovert, because when I believe in something, I can put myself out there and so that is, I learned this as a teenager, putting myself in front of people and doing something. That was kind of hard but if I had a purpose, if I was giving out leaflets for a cause I believed in, if I was talking in front of lots of people about standing up against hate, of foreigners, of violence, that was something where I, just my own self, went into the background and I was able to go forward and I think that that’s something where you can do it. You can do it and you can ask other people for help, if you enlist them in a cause.

And a company is a cause because creating jobs is, to me, the most noble thing you can do. Creating livelihoods is so important. My life goal, actually, is together with my husband, that I want to create 5,000 jobs. The reason for that is that I grew up in this small town in Germany, about 20,000 people and if I create 5,000 jobs, I would be able to feed my whole town. One good job can feed four people, even five people. So creating good job, meaningful jobs is something that I find a really noble cause. I can enlist people with that. My husband I together, we are about 900 jobs then, so I still have a long way to go and I’m in my mid-40’s, but still, I believe that I can do this.

Melinda Wittstock:         Bettina, that’s wonderful, though, 900 jobs and I love what you said about it’s a cause. You know when people say things like entrepreneurs … They say things like oh you should give back and I said wait a minute, actually by being an entrepreneur, we are already giving. We are creating. We are creating so much value, creating jobs, creating products that help people, solving big problems and coming up with innovative solutions. So I actually believe that entrepreneurs really are at the center of the ability to … Sorry. Sidney, I’m in the middle of a podcast. Okay, well you’re going to have to bring me all the stuff. Okay, sorry, I’ve got … My daughter’s late to school here. Let me just pick this up. She needs a note.

I really believe, though, that entrepreneurs are the solution to a lot of the biggest intractable problems that we have, whether it’s climate change or education system or transportation or healthcare. There’s so many different ways in which we can use our entrepreneurial ingenuity and creativity to create value and really solve a lot of problems. I feel like it’s a calling, it’s a mission. That’s when I get extroverted, exactly like you said because you can hear it in my voice, right? I’m just like, really passionate about this. We’re already giving; we don’t have to give back. Does that make sense?

Bettina Hein:                    Yes, I believe entrepreneurship is my calling as well. All of my four grandparents were entrepreneurs, my grandmothers as well as my grandfathers. So I had a lot of role models. I mean, they were … Didn’t have huge companies but nobody in my family growing up had a nine to five job. My mother had her own pharmacy as did my grandmother. My dad is a doctor and he has his own partnership and so for me, I had these role models in my family already and so I think it just made all the difference. I felt I could do this. My grandfather gave me a small amount of money. He actually meant it as sort of a little bit … I think it was like $20,000 or something, as kind of an inheritance.

But I went to him and I said, “Grandpa, I want to found this software company. Can I please use the money that you gave me for this?” And he, without hesitation, said, “Yes. Go do that.” Even though he had experienced many, many failures in his career, he tried so many things. He had seen his son, my uncle, kill himself because he ran my grandfather’s company into the ground. But this, still, he said yes, you can do that. I always wish for others to have that support. I don’t know if it made it any easier, my first company. I had to fire half of our staff when I wasn’t even 30 years old yet and we went through a big downturn post host the WorldCom scandal and Enron and all of that.

But just having a family that knew about this and that didn’t judge me for not getting that great job as a consultant or investment banker or whatever, that made a big difference in my life as well.

Melinda Wittstock:         So Bettina, it sounds like you learned really early on that failure is part of this process, that there’s no shame in it. It’s just part of the deal and how, I guess, not to take that personally.

Bettina Hein:                    Yeah, I mean, it’s still hard, right?

Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah, it is. No, it really is because we’ve all had those things happen in our companies, those moments that are hair raising where it’s oh my God, am I going to make payroll or yeah, I have to let people go. We’ve all had those or just sometimes companies or product launches that fail, I mean, just didn’t work. Maybe the timing was wrong or maybe the product wasn’t quite right. But when I look back on all of my ups and downs, it was really the challenges or the failures that actually I embrace with such gratitude, actually now, because I learned. And I keep learning.

Bettina Hein:                    That’s exactly right. The successes are great and you learn some recipes there, but the failures are those that really teach you something and help hone that resilience. Me, now, as a more experienced entrepreneur, I can now explain to my junior employees when they’re experiencing a little bit of failure or don’t feel so confident about the company’s trajectory or something because there’s a little bump in the road, I’m able to tell them, look, here are examples from my life where I had lots of what they call “WFIO” moments, right?

But it gets better and this is actually … There are all these “S” curves in companies and you feel like you’re stuck and then you keep trying and trying, you find the solution and you get to the next level. So those are things that I feel that I can pass on now. By the way, do you think your listeners know what “WFIO” is?

Melinda Wittstock:         Well, you can explain it in case they don’t.

Bettina Hein:                    So it means … It’s a bit crude, but it means, “we’re fucked, it’s over.”

Melinda Wittstock:         Thank you for saying it. I know you had to say it.

Bettina Hein:                    You know, these moments where you see that like, oh my God, your competition is coming to … A product to market that you’ve been working on and they were quicker or you see a new technology come out that is just so far advanced of what you-

Melinda Wittstock:         Right.

Bettina Hein:                    … All these moments and they can be smaller. When like a huge customer leaves you or three customers in a row or prospects say no, I can’t use this. Those are times when you’re thinking, “Oh my God. We’re doomed.” And this doesn’t only happen to beginning entrepreneurs.

Melinda Wittstock:         No, it happens at level sets all through your career. It happens to you on company three, four, five, company 10. It doesn’t really … Whatever the company. I know that you’re really good and accomplished at scaling companies and so you know this, right? You know that every company is a little bit different and you got to often let go of stuff, so then you’ll be able to then step into the next phase; all of these things. There’s so much beyond your control. It’s humbling. I mean, it’s a humbling process but it’s so exciting. I don’t know, I couldn’t not do it.

Bettina Hein:                    Yeah, because we often think as entrepreneurs, a lot of entrepreneurs are slightly hypomanic and we have sometimes these megalomaniac ideas that we can-

Melinda Wittstock:         You think?

Bettina Hein:                    Yeah, [inaudible 00:56:52].

Melinda Wittstock:         Just a little bit. Well, yeah, because it is that. It’s like this huge roller coaster because we have these big ideas, right? Because you think big and you’re a visionary and you can see this. You have this passion for it and then at the same time, it’s like there’s so many things that have to come together; so many things that have to work, so many things with the timing, the team, the … Yes, what you were saying about the competitive environment, like oh my God, what if we build it and nobody likes it, like oh my God.

So there are so many things that can go wrong and do. Yeah, is it any wonder that we swing between elation and despondence in all of this! Have you found, Bettina, over the years, though, that those, that kind of like sin curve, if you will, levels out a little bit? I know for me, the crazy ups are tempered for me just like the downs are sort of tempered. I kind of have a sense now of oh yeah, this is part of the thing. It’ll all work out, whereas in the beginning, I was not like that.

Bettina Hein:                    Yeah, I do think that it does temper a little bit because you have seen in the end it will come out okay and that you can emerge unscathed from it, no matter if it goes wrong. I think you’ve rebuilt from crazy lows. I’ve done that, as well. You’re like okay, I can do this even if I feel super, super, super crappy right now, there is a way forward. I just need to take a step back and ask people around me that see the situation maybe just a little bit clearer than I do, get their advice and then make some hard decisions and move forward. I think that age and experience does help you do that.

Melinda Wittstock:         Oh gosh. It surely does. So there’s so much that we could talk about. So Bettina, you definitely have to come back on this podcast because there is not enough time in our session today to go through so much wisdom you have, really about the tech space, what’s going on, how to scale a company. I want to talk to you more about that. I want to talk to you about building a great company culture and we could just barely touch the sides of all of those things in the time that we have.

So first of all, before we start to wrap up, I want you to promise that you will come back and talk more about your company, the secrets of scaling, the secrets of building a great culture and as we wrap up, I just want to ask you to go back to the beginning of the interview and just ask you about your vision for your new company. This new company you’re going to get from 900 to 5,000 jobs created, I’m sure. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Bettina Hein:                    First of all, I will come back.

Melinda Wittstock:         Yay. I’m going to make you do that. I love this conversation.

Bettina Hein:                    So the vision for this company and I feel that I have the courage now to swing for the fences, even more than I did before. I want to help, not just create a company, but a movement and that movement would mean a lot for the world, I’m hoping. So if I could not only create a successful company, but also give fuel to another generation of entrepreneurs, that would just be an awesome reward. I don’t mean just entrepreneurs in Europe or the United States but in Central and South America and Africa and Asia and Australia, everywhere. There are so many people that are connected with each other these days that it matters less where you are, but what you have in you and I think that Web 3.0 is a real opportunity for me to make a dent in the universe.

Melinda Wittstock:         I have no doubt that you do just that and you already are. So Bettina, as we wrap up, how can people find you at Pixability, where you’re still on the board and also your new company, Hello Yellow?

Bettina Hein:                    For people that are interested in Pixability, we’re a video advertising optimization software and we are growing super strongly, so take a look at our website at pixability.com. And if you’re interested in working in an extremely growing company, check out the jobs that we have open there and for Hello Yellow, we’re just at the beginning. If you want to follow us on our journey, go to helloyellow.co, dot C-O and just sign up for our mailing list and we’ll send you info about how you can join the Web 3.0 movement.

Melinda Wittstock:         Wonderful. Bettina, thank you so much for putting on your wings and flying with us today.

Bettina Hein:                    Thank you so much for having me, Melinda. It was great.


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