Minnie Ingersoll Minisode Transcript
Women Innovating Networking Growing Scaling – that’s WINGS … I’m Melinda Wittstock, my mission is to help women take flight to soar to the success of our dreams in business and in life– and create and grow businesses in alignment with our passion and purpose.
On this Mentoring Minisode of Wings of Inspired Business … we talk about the innovation mindset and why 2020 is the year to innovate “woke” business models to improve our world. Also how to find inspiration aligned with your true purpose so that even the seemingly smallest actions can have butterfly wing impacts.
Here with us today to provide her insights and inspiration is …
Minnie is a partner at LA-based venture capital fund, TenOneTen. She is the co-founder of Shift, an online marketplace for used cars that she grew to a $100mm company as its COO. She’s host of the LA Venture podcast and a mother of 3.
A venture capital investor, successful entrepreneur and a mom of three, Minnie shares today why she believes mission-driven or “woke” businesses have the power to improve our world … where governments are failing.
Minnie is a Partner at TenOneTen Ventures and the COO and co-founder of Shift, an online marketplace for used cars. She started her career as an early product manager at Google where she co-founded the Access team; a cross-functional product, policy, and engineering team that spun off Google Fiber. After more than a decade, she made her exit from Google to begin her own entrepreneurial journey with Shift, a company that she co-founded and scaled to $100M+. Minnie is a long-time Silicon Valley product leader and operations executive with experience building and scaling impact through elegant technical solutions and great teams. She recently moved back to LA after 20+ years in the Bay Area and is excited to be a part of the growing tech ecosystem of Southern California.
Today we talk about how to think for yourself in business, double down on what makes you different or unique, how to build resilience as an entrepreneur, and how to find peace in all the mayhem and uncertainty that often comes with the entrepreneurial path.
Melinda Wittstock: Minnie, welcome to Wings.
Minnie Ingersoll: Thanks Melinda. Great to be here.
Melinda Wittstock: I’m excited to talk to you. And I’m always fascinated by what is inspiring you at this particular moment in time.
Minnie Ingersoll: You know, depends on if you want to zoom out or zoom in. I think for me a lot of what’s inspiring me are the small things that people do that have a lot of some of the butterfly wing effect where they have much bigger impacts on me and sort of my, whether it’s just my feeling that day, or actually sort of my outlook on my career, my life in general. So, I appreciate the small things.
Melinda Wittstock: You know, this is really true. We can get so focused, you know, we’re building big companies or doing big things but I love that. That sometimes a tiny gesture or something like that can make all the difference.
Minnie Ingersoll: Yeah, and sometimes they’re a little bit less expected. You might expect that your manager acts like a mentor to you but sometimes it’s someone I barely know who’s done something for me and I find it inspiring because I think it’s something that we can all do. You know? You don’t have to be in a leadership position to be helping others more than you know. So, I find that very inspiring.
Melinda Wittstock: This is so true. Like, you know, our hashtag really with this podcast and all the retreats I do for women entrepreneurs who are scaling companies and you know, 7, 8, 9 figure businesses, our hashtag is #liftasweclimb. And one of the things that I’ve learned along the ways is so true that you can get wisdom in the Starbucks line. You know?
Minnie Ingersoll: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: Everybody has something to share with everybody else of value.
Minnie Ingersoll: And that’s something else I find inspiring, I guess, is the state of entrepreneurship right now in our country and that you can get inspiring moments from the Starbucks line as you say. But I think that entrepreneurship has been a real bright spot of our country at a time when sometimes, you know, the state of our government is not as inspiring to me right now.
Melinda Wittstock: I hear you. Oh my goodness.
Minnie Ingersoll: So, there’s many things that I think, you know, if you look around you can say, “Oh, that’s not working, that’s not working.” But the sort of innovation mindset that a lot of people are taking to their life and their careers and it’s sort of contagious as you say. You can run into other people who are forging their own path and I think we’re taking leaps and bounds as a society with sort of the entrepreneurial culture we’re building.
Melinda Wittstock: Because you know, also, I’ve just come to the conclusion that you know, entrepreneurship and business really is the canvas to solve major global world challenges. And it’s fascinating to see, too, that companies that have those kinds of models actually are driving higher valuation growth as well.
Minnie Ingersoll: Absolutely. And I think Kara Swisher from Recode, she said something like, “The year of the business model to be woke.”
Melinda Wittstock: I love it.
Minnie Ingersoll: Yeah, I like it as an interesting that people are voting with their pocketbooks in a sense to really, they’ve got sort of a consciousness about their actions that is translating into business having to take a harder look at what they’re doing. And you know, my background is many years at Google where I felt like business was actually having to solve some of these sort of social problems like what is freedom of expression, things that really matter in our society. So, I’m glad to see that’s seeping into business as well.
Melinda Wittstock: Absolutely. Now, we all have our challenges and I know you juggle a lot. I mean, you’re a mom of three, you know? You’re in the venture world, you have a startup that’s growing fast. So, what are some of your challenges right now in your business and your life?
Minnie Ingersoll: All of those things you listed.
Melinda Wittstock: All of those things, right? Juggling all that? Yeah. I can see that.
Minnie Ingersoll: Yes. All of those. You know, depends on what day you ask me. Sometimes, I mean, not enough hours in the day but it’s not doing all of the things that I want to do. At the end of the day, it actually does really bother me when I don’t follow through on things that I really care about doing but I don’t have enough time to and ultimately for me, the way I approach is I sort of have an enough list which is not a to-do list, it’s just sort of the enough. And I need to be able to go to bed every night at 11 or whenever I go to bed and just say, “I did enough. There were many things I didn’t do. But if I do those couple things, that’s sort of enough to say, ‘Well, I did so much in my day,’ and then I say, ‘There was so much that I didn’t do today.'” But just kind of finding a way to be at peace with that and not actually having it bother me and keep me up at night because I didn’t do some of the things I really wanted to do.
Melinda Wittstock: So, along the way, I can only imagine you’ve learned lots of lessons and have plenty of advice for female founders at whatever stage of business that they’re at. And if you had to distill it down to the top three, what would they be?
Minnie Ingersoll: It’s funny, I was thinking about this like in terms of advice. I think my biggest piece of advice might be that you have to think for yourself. So, it’s not really the, it’s the opposite of take my advice. I see a lot of entrepreneurs in particular when I’m wearing my venture hat, who come in thinking they need to tell me, they need to show me a particular slide that shows the total adjustable market. What I really care about is someone who has thought through for themselves the story they’re going to tell me. So, that’s probably number one.
Number two is probably just around building resilience. And again, with the venture hat on, I’ve been an entrepreneur much longer than I’ve been a VC but I see so many good businesses that are struggling to get funded. And then I see businesses that are funded but are struggling. And figuring out how to have that resilience and just keep going and sort of taking the bigger picture view of things which is a lot of people, the startup, their business feels like their life. And how to decouple that and actually, you know, sometimes get outside and sort of realize that there’s an ocean, there’s a mountain, there are things that are much bigger than actually like startups. And startups, a lot of them I see fail.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah.
Minnie Ingersoll: So, yeah. The resilience aspect, which is a huge life challenge, no matter what you’re doing, really.
Melinda Wittstock: Well, for a startup to succeed, you think of all the things that have to go right, and you know, a number of them are within your control but like a lot of them are not within your control at all. And so, your reaction to those things matters but the resilience of oh gosh, okay, so that happened, so let’s rethink. Right?
Minnie Ingersoll: Yeah, yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: What would be number three?
Minnie Ingersoll: Number three for me is probably assuming good intentions. And so, you know, it’s all hard enough, someone said to me something like 95% of stress in life is self-inflicted.
Melinda Wittstock: Yes. No doubt, I would assure that’s true.
Minnie Ingersoll: I’m sure it’s true and yet I’m also sort of sure that it, what does that possibly mean? Like, how can you actually measure whether stress is self-inflicted or inflicted by someone else. But I think life is hard enough if you let yourself have any doubts and so I think just always going back to assuming good intentions in others.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. I mean, we always choose our thoughts and I think of that in the context of say road rage or something like that. You have no idea what that person is doing. I mean, maybe they’re racing to the hospital, maybe they’re, right?
Minnie Ingersoll: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: And so we control our own thoughts. So, that’s where I think stress is probably self-inflicted on some level, right?
Minnie Ingersoll: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: But oh gosh. Very, very true. So, Minnie, how can people find you, work with you? How can people find you at TenOneTen
Minnie Ingersoll: Yeah, so probably the thing I’m looking for most right now is I’m doing seed investing out of a fund called TenOneTen. We are based in LA but we don’t invest exclusively in LA. So, TenOneTen.net is our website if you wan to learn more. We tend to invest in sort of engineering software heavy businesses. And then I’ve got a podcast which is called LA Venture where I talk to the venture capitalists in LA about what they invest in and what’s exciting to them and their advice for entrepreneurs.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, fantastic. Okay, well, everybody definitely yeah, tune into LA Venture. I will do that, too. I will subscribe and give you a review on iTunes and go from there. I’m busy building a podcasting network as it happens and audience engagement platform so, you should come on my platform as well.
Minnie Ingersoll: Absolutely. No, I would love to be a part of that.
Melinda Wittstock: That’s awesome. Minnie, thank you so much for putting on your wings and flying with us.
Minnie Ingersoll: Thanks for having me.