Watch: How Women Can Build Confidence in a Virtual World

Annie Burford

Annie Burford is dot.LA's director of events. She's an event marketing pro with over ten years of experience producing innovative corporate events, activations and summits for tech startups to Fortune 500 companies. Annie has produced over 200 programs in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City working most recently for a China-based investment bank heading the CEC Capital Tech & Media Summit, formally the Siemer Summit.

Watch: How Women Can Build Confidence in a Virtual World

The latest edition of our dot.LA Convenes series, devoted to empowering women in tech, focused on "Building Confidence in a Virtual World."

dot.LA Convenes: Building Confidence in a Virtual Worldyoutu.be



As movements such as Times Up and Me Too gain in popularity, examples of women using their voices in the workplace have taken center stage. With all this attention on these issues, why is it that we still struggle with self assurance to stand up for ourselves? Why is it more difficult to find the same confidence our male counterparts easily exude in workplace interactions — especially in male-dominated industries like tech?

Challenges around self-censorship have only increased during the pandemic with financial security at stake and working from home making it more difficult to have authentic interactions. We seek to foster an honest dialogue and discuss specific strategies to combat them.

Esports One COO and Co-Founder Sharon Winter, Vurbl Media Co-founder, CEO Audra Everett Gold, and Valence Head of Partnerships Victoria Tinsley held in in-depth discussion on the topic, led by dot.LA Chief Host & Correspondent Kelly O'Grady.

Victoria Tinsley, head of partnerships at Valence

Victoria Tinsley, Head of Partnerships at Valence

Victoria Tinsley is the Head of Partnerships at Valence, a new tech platform and community incubated by Upfront Ventures focused on connecting Black professionals with mentorship, career opportunities and capital. The company's mission is to unlock the global combined power of Black professionals to create massive economic wealth and social progress that impacts current and future generations. Valence was founded in January 2019 and has a thriving membership of thousands of Black leaders across the nation. Valence also partners with a variety of organizations such as PledgeLA, Netflix, Facebook, USC, The Gathering Spot and Silicon Valley Bank.

Prior to joining Valence, Victoria served on the marketing senior leadership team at AAA as vice president, consumer insights & data analytics. In this role, she led the analytics center of excellence that supported four divisions (Insurance, Membership, Travel, A3 Labs) representing over $4 billion in annual revenue.

A traditionally trained CPG marketer, Victoria also previously worked at General Mills managing product development and marketing strategy for the Annie's Homegrown, Immaculate Baking Company and Pillsbury brands. Prior to earning her MBA at the Michigan Ross School of Business, Victoria held a variety of marketing roles during her 7 years at Active Network, a tech startup that had a successful $1 billion IPO and sale.

Audra Everett Gold, co-founder and CEO at Vurbl Media

Audra Everett Gold, Co-founder and CEO at Vurbl Media

Audra Gold has dedicated her entire career to building first to market and scaled mass media digital products. Her passion for product management and her ability to identify new and emerging product trends has led to her reputation for developing novel, cutting-edge products across gaming, streaming video, digital media, enterprise SaaS platforms, in various business verticals.

Today, as the founder of Product N, a product management consulting and recruitment firm, Audra and her team work with early-stage ventured funded start-ups in various verticals to create, launch and grow their digital products. The team also works in partnership with the VC firm Alpha Edison, helping AE portfolio companies in need of product management expertise to either create, expand or pivot their digital product lines.

Prior to Product N, Audra has spent years leading Product teams at Rubicon Project, The Mighty, Pluto TV, Fourthwall Studios and Defy Media (formerly Break Media). She also held senior product roles at WeddingChannel/TheKnot, Viviendi Universal's online division, and IGN.com.

Sharon WInter, COO and co-founder of Esports One

Sharon Winter, COO and Co-Founder of Esports One

Sharon Winter is the COO and Co-Founder of Esports One, the first all-in-one all-in-one fantasy esports platform with real-time predictive data. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, Sharon previously worked at IBM's Watson division before becoming CEO and Founder of Hotpoint App, a CRM and data company for the entertainment and hospitality industries with over 2500 clients from Live Nation, Patron, Hakkasan, Wynn, and others.

Sharon has experience building community-centered products within data-rich platforms. She's on the mission of bringing esports to the Olympics by bridging the gap between esports and sports, and the endemics and non-endemics of the gaming world.

http://www.linkedin.com/in/annieburford
annie@dot.la

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How the 'Thrift Haul' Boosted Secondhand Ecommerce Platforms

Lon Harris
Lon Harris is a contributor to dot.LA. His work has also appeared on ScreenJunkies, RottenTomatoes and Inside Streaming.
How the 'Thrift Haul' Boosted Secondhand Ecommerce Platforms
Evan Xie

If you can believe it, it’s been more than a decade since rapper Macklemore extolled the virtues of thrift shopping in a viral music video. But while scouring the ranks of vintage clothing stores looking for the ultimate come-up may have waned in popularity since 2012, the online version of this activity is apparently thriving.

According to a new trend story from CNBC, interest in “reselling” platforms like Etsy-owned Depop and Poshmark has exploded in the years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. In an article that spends a frankly surprising amount of time focused on sellers receiving death threats before concluding that they’re “not the norm,” the network cites the usual belt-tightening ecommerce suspects – housebound individuals doing more of their shopping online coupled with inflation woes and recession fears – as the causes behind the uptick.

As for data, there’s a survey from Depop themselves, finding that 53% of respondents in the UK are more inclined to shop secondhand as living costs continue to rise. Additional research from Advance Market Analytics confirms the trend, citing not just increased demand for cheap clothes but the pressing need for a sustainable alternative to recycling clothing materials at its core.

The major popularity of “thrift haul” videos across social media platforms like YouTube and TikTok has also boosted the visibility of vintage clothes shopping and hunting for buried treasures. Teenage TikToker Jacklyn Wells scores millions of views on her thrift haul videos, only to get routinely mass-accused of greed for ratching up the Depop resell prices for her coolest finds and discoveries. Nonetheless, viral clips like Wells’ have helped to embed secondhand shopping apps more generally within online fashion culture. Fashion and beauty magazine Hunger now features a regular list of the hottest items on the re-sale market, with a focus on how to use them to recreate hot runway looks.

As with a lot of consumer and technology trends, the sudden surge of interest in second-hand clothing retailers was only partly organic. According to The Drum, ecommerce apps Vinted, eBay, and Depop have collectively spent around $120 million on advertising throughout the last few years, promoting the recent vintage shopping boom and helping to normalize second-hand shopping. This includes conventional advertising, of course, but also deals with online influencers to post content like “thrift haul” videos, along with shoutouts for where to track down the best finds.

Reselling platforms have naturally responded to the increase in visibility with new features (as well as a predictable hike in transaction fees). Poshmark recently introduced livestreamed “Posh Shows” during which sellers can host auctions or provide deeper insight into their inventory. Depop, meanwhile, has introduced a “Make Offer” option to fully integrate the bartering and negotiation process into the app, rather than forcing buyers and sellers to text or Direct Message one another elsewhere. (The platform formerly had a comments section on product pages, but shut this option down after finding that it led to arguments, and wasn’t particularly helpful in making purchase decisions.)

Now that it’s clear there’s money to be made in online thrift stores, larger and more established brands and retailers are also pushing their way into the space. H&M and Target have both partnered with online thrift store ThredUp on featured collections of previously-worn clothing. A new “curated” resale collection from Tommy Hilfiger – featuring minorly damaged items that were returned to its retail stores – was developed and promoted through a partnership with Depop, which has also teamed with Kellogg’s on a line of Pop-Tarts-inspired wear. J.Crew is even bringing back its classic ‘80s Rollneck Sweater in a nod to the renewed interest in all things vintage.

Still, with any surge of popularity and visibility, there must also come an accompanying backlash. In a sharp editorial this week for Arizona University’s Daily Wildcat, thrift shopping enthusiast Luke Lawson makes the case that sites like Depop are “gentrifying fashion,” stripping communities of local thrift stores that provide a valuable public service, particularly for members of low-income communities. As well, UK tabloids are routinely filled with secondhand shopping horror stories these days, another evidence point as to their increased visibility among British consumers specifically, not to mention the general dangers of buying personal items from strangers you met over the internet.

How to Startup: Mission Acquisition

Spencer Rascoff

Spencer Rascoff serves as executive chairman of dot.LA. He is an entrepreneur and company leader who co-founded Zillow, Hotwire, dot.LA, Pacaso and Supernova, and who served as Zillow's CEO for a decade. During Spencer's time as CEO, Zillow won dozens of "best places to work" awards as it grew to over 4,500 employees, $3 billion in revenue, and $10 billion in market capitalization. Prior to Zillow, Spencer co-founded and was VP Corporate Development of Hotwire, which was sold to Expedia for $685 million in 2003. Through his startup studio and venture capital firm, 75 & Sunny, Spencer is an active angel investor in over 100 companies and is incubating several more.

How to Startup: Mission Acquisition

Numbers don’t lie, but often they don’t tell the whole story. If you look at the facts and figures alone, launching a startup seems like a daunting enterprise. It seems like a miracle anyone makes it out the other side.

  • 90% of startups around the world fail.
  • On average, it takes startups 2-3 years to turn a profit. (Venture funded startups take far longer.)
  • Post-seed round, fewer than 10% of startups go on to successfully raise a Series A investment.
  • Less than 1% of startups go public.
  • A startup only has a .00006% chance of becoming a unicorn.

Ouch.

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From The Vault: VC Legend Bill Gurley On Startups, Venture Capital and Scaling

Spencer Rascoff

Spencer Rascoff serves as executive chairman of dot.LA. He is an entrepreneur and company leader who co-founded Zillow, Hotwire, dot.LA, Pacaso and Supernova, and who served as Zillow's CEO for a decade. During Spencer's time as CEO, Zillow won dozens of "best places to work" awards as it grew to over 4,500 employees, $3 billion in revenue, and $10 billion in market capitalization. Prior to Zillow, Spencer co-founded and was VP Corporate Development of Hotwire, which was sold to Expedia for $685 million in 2003. Through his startup studio and venture capital firm, 75 & Sunny, Spencer is an active angel investor in over 100 companies and is incubating several more.

Bill Gurley in a blue suit
Bill Gurley

This interview was originally published on December of 2020, and was recorded at the inaugural dot.LA Summit held October 27th & 28th.

One of my longtime favorite episodes of Office Hours was a few years ago when famed venture capitalist Bill Gurley and I talked about marketplace-based companies, how work-from-home will continue to accelerate business opportunities and his thoughts on big tech and antitrust.

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