With almost no time to process the talk with Lolita Taub, we hosted the TalkX with Brian Brackeen. We had beautiful memories of his time in the previous edition, and although he focused on more technical issues this time, his frankness, jokes, and laughter did not disappoint.
Ana Mª Manda, a startup mentor and leadership expert, was the host. Her energetic presentation made it clear that the following minutes would be very intense. And we were not wrong because after leaving us several pearls that we will talk about shortly, one of the best pieces of advice we have ever heard at TalkX popped up. Do you want to succeed? “Doing the right thing is always the right thing to do.” Brian Brackeen‘s word.
Why do we take everything he says with his eternal smile so seriously? Because he knows what he’s talking about. After exploring a bit about his beginnings at such big names as Apple (“I love that company, but I left because I wanted to change the world,” he confessed), he went on to tell us how he created Kairos, the facial recognition company that has made him famous, and how much it has meant to him to surround himself with the right people.
“It’s all about the people you work with; human beings are affected by your decisions. So not only is it essential to listen to your client and know what they want, but you have to do the same with your team. Some people are not working where they should or where they want to. In those cases, we have to make decisions, and they are very hard, but it doesn’t mean that they are harmful; those same people can be in the company’s future even if they are not part of it. The great thing about entrepreneurship is that the bad times are bad, but the good times are soooooo good!
Of course, to carry out this exercise, transparency and a code of ethics – values to which you can adhere – are essential. “It’s important to have a Constitution in your own company,” he said. With it, you will build a workforce understanding the company’s point of view. “The best thing about the team I’ve put together is that they make you believe they can change the world with their learning and experience,” she says, her eyes shining with pride.
What is the role of women in this scenario? For Brian, it is fundamental, which is why the general partner of Lightship Capital, from where they back under-represented entrepreneurs, comments: “We invest in immigrant women or women from disadvantaged groups who don’t have access to financing. Beyond that, almost 99% of the funds are controlled by men, so if you’re a woman…” he said. Then, Brian eloquently suspended the sentence to continue: “Men ask women very different questions than they would ask another man,” he concludes.
The questions posed by the audience brought with them the opportunity to dwell on these issues. For example, Brian explained how to keep a team together (Ana Maria, our host, did her bit by explaining that “giving people the opportunity to succeed is also a success for you”), what investors are looking for, how to balance work and personal life or what book he would recommend to tackle difficult conversations. Want to know what their answers were? Press play: