“It was one of those things, ‘Well, men always start companies when they’re 25, why can’t a woman do it?’”
If you’re in the not-very-exclusive club of 130 million people that Brit + Co reaches every month, you know what it does. But for everyone else: Think Martha Stewart-ish lifestyle content for millennial women, mixed with live events and — recently — direct-to-consumer merchandising.
On the latest episode of Recode Media with Peter Kafka, Brit + Co CEO Brit Morin explained how she set out to be her generation’s Stewart (sort of) when she was only 25, fresh off of helping Google launch its Chromecast TV dongle. When that product was still in the works and still called “Google TV,” Morin had to convince big media companies to give Google its video content.
“Everyone was turning us down, and there were a few reasons,” she said. “One, they fundamentally didn’t believe in ever putting longform video content on the internet because of these ‘piracy’ things. And often, they also didn’t even have engineers who could do this.”
Morin, who had sought out computer science classes since her childhood in Texas, saw a “huge opportunity.”
“To me, it was this wide-open-eyes understanding of just how the media industry was not going to change, for many years to come,” she said.
Her other influences before starting Brit + Co included the awed reactions of her followers on Pinterest, when she would post creative projects there; and a series of fortuitous run-ins with the up-and coming stars of Silicon Valley: “Kevin Systrom was my ‘Google buddy,’ my first day at Google.”
“Starting a company at 25, I remember, it was one of those things, ‘Well, men always start companies when they’re 25, why can’t a woman do it?’” she said. “Yeah, I’ve never managed teams of hundreds of people before, but I can learn that. And I felt like, at that point, I had managed a $ 50 million budget, launching Google TV. Why can’t I go raise $ 50 million and manage that budget?”
“I felt bullish enough to try it,” Morin added. “The worst case — In Silicon Valley, this happens all the time, right? 99 percent fail, and you go back and you get another great job, or you start another company and try again. There wasn’t really a downside for me.”
If you like this show, you should also sample our other podcasts:
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- Too Embarrassed to Ask, hosted by Kara Swisher and The Verge’s Lauren Goode, answers all of the tech questions sent in by our readers and listeners. You can hear new episodes every Friday on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcastor wherever you listen to podcasts.
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