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Breaking Into Startups

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We're starting a podcast that features people who came from non traditional backgrounds and broke into startups.

We're starting a podcast that features people who came from non traditional backgrounds and broke into startups.
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We're starting a podcast that features people who came from non traditional backgrounds and broke into startups.








#102: Austen Allred - CEO of Lambda School

Austen Allred is the CEO and Co-Founder of Lambda School. Recently coming out of Y Combinator, Lambda now has thousands of students. Prior to this, he served as a Growth Expert at LendUp. Lambda School is an online bootcamp that gives students the tools and training they need to launch their career in software engineering at no upfront cost. Their end goal is to eliminate all the distractions related to income, living expenses & time so students can focus on transitioning into their dream...


#101: Avi Flombaum - Co-Founder of Flatiron School

Avi Flombaum is a lifelong educator. He is the Co-Founder of Flatiron School, which grew to thousands of students and got acquired by WeWork. Prior to starting Flatiron School, Avi also built several companies. Avi’s philosophy believes that education should mold and flex to the needs of the student. On this episode, he shares his insights about their different programs and how they’re making education more accessible to people without having to carry that huge financial burden themselves.


#100: David Harris - How an App Academy graduate became a Software Engineer at Omada Health

Moving from Atlanta to the Bay Area, from being a writer, artist, to mathematician, David Harris completed App Academy and became a software engineer. By combining hard work and the power of networking, David ultimately landed a full-time job at Omada Health. In this episode, David talks about his struggles and how he hustled his way to success. He’s also dishing out a ton of resources you can use whether you’re preparing for a bootcamp or prepping for an interview. David is the brother of...


#99: Iris Nevins - Teacher Who Became a Software Engineer at Mailchimp

In 2017, Iris Nevins decided to leave her work as a teacher in Florida to attend a bootcamp in the Bay Area - but it was not without its own struggles. Iris believes that when you’re on your path, no matter the road blocks, serendipitous things will happen. In 2018, Iris landed a job as a software engineer at MailChimp, an Atlanta-based marketing automation platform (although Iris works remotely in Oakland). Quick trivia: MailChimp sends out a whopping billion emails per day! Iris is also...


#98: Galvanize's acquisition of Hack Reactor - Al Rosabal & Shawn Drost

Galvanize and Hack Reactor have now merged to become bigger and better in the bootcamp space. With the merger, Shawn who is the Cofounder of Hack Reactor and a returning guest on the Podcast, is now serving as SVP of Strategy and Innovation. Galvanize has eight campuses across the U.S. including San Francisco, Seattle, Phoenix, Austin, Denver (2), Boulder, and New York City. They're primarily engaged in immersive education, enterprise work, and co-working. Hack Reactor is one of the...


#97: Ryan Carson - CEO of Treehouse on How You Can Start Learning to Code

Ryan Carson is the Founder and CEO of Treehouse. He grew up in Colorado and is currently in Portland. Today, he talks about the future of education, work, and more! Treehouse is an online school that teaches adults how to code and build apps so they gain a super power. Running for 8 years now, they've taught over 850,000 people how to code, with currently 80,000 enrolled students. Their mission is simple: to change lives through rebooting the talent pipeline in America and the world!


#84: Joe Musselman - Founder of The Honor Foundation, Helping Special Forces Vets Break In

Joe Musselman was spending his time in the military working with Navy SEALs and upon finishing his service, he started The Honor Foundation to help special operation forces who have left service to transition and find jobs in tech. Joe has supported over thousands of people with over 200 employee partners who have raised funding from people all over Silicon Valley including Marc Andreessen, and other organizations. Part of their vision is to grow their special operations community to...


#83: John Maeda - Global Head, Computational Design and Inclusion at Automattic

John Maeda is the Global Head of Computational Design and Inclusion at Automattic. Previously, he was a Partner at Kleiner Perkins where he founded the design and tech report that's read by people all over the world. Fascinated with the idea of remote working, John is an inspiration in the design world currently serving on the boards of Sonos and Wieden+Kennedy. He recently created a site called Design From Anywhere, that tells you more about remote work, inclusion, and how you can get...


#82: Wendy Padua & Tami Forman - How Returnships help Mothers & Parents Get Back Into the Workforce

If you're a mom or you know some moms who want to know what it takes to break back into tech after you've been out of work for several years, this is a must-listen episode. Today's guest is Wendy Padua who has been out of work for 16 years and is not part of the marketing team at Zendesk. We also have Tami Forman on the show today. She's the Director of Path Forward, a nonprofit organization that creates mid-career returnship programs to ease the transition back to work for women and men...


#81: Melissa Hereford - How to Win in a Salary Negotiation

Melissa has been teaching negotiation tactics for the last 22 years. Today, Melissa Hereford is going to teach us how to negotiate, not only in terms of salary, but life in general - deadlines, relationships, friendships, etc. She's going to give you actionable strategies you can use to negotiate a higher salary with your manager. Previously, Melissa worked for BayGroup International, the biggest negotiations consulting company in the world. She's worked with huge clients like Cisco, At&T,...


#80: Jason Mayden - CEO 0f Superheroic and Former Designer at Jordan Sneaker

Jason is widely known as a global brand director for the Jordan Brand at Nike, where he led and contributed to the creation of several shoes for athletes and cultural icons including Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Derek Jeter, and Michael Jordan. Following his 13+-year stint at Nike, he started several things in tech at Accel and as an advisor for Stanford’s Design School. He then co-founded a startup with Stephen Curry and eventually creating his very own startup called...


#79: Ghazal Asif - VP of Worldwide Channels Sales at App Dynamics

Ghazal Asif is the heading Channels Sales at App Dynamics and she shares her path into tech!


#78: Ana Díaz-Hernández - Head of Sales for & a Leader for the LatinX Tech Community

Ana Díaz-Hernández is the Head of Sales at, a platform for engineers that set technical interviews and land jobs at top tech companies. Sacramento-born, Ana talks about how she leveraged online communities to get into Stanford, break into startups, how she went through an acquisition process, hustled her way into venture capital at Kapor Capital. In addition to that, she also led business development and online education platforms like Udacity. She founded the Women of...


#77: Vicki Tan - Product Designer at Headspace talks about Mindfulness

Prior to her current role as a rockstar product designer at Headspace, Vicki Tan holds an impressive portfolio having worked previously at Lyft and interned at Google. She has worked in the HR and also used to be a research intern and research coordinator at Stanford University School of Medicine, doing studies in Pediatric Oncology. Find out more about Vicki’s transition from the academic realm to the tech space, along with some nuggets of wisdom along the way.


#76: Gary Vaynerchuk - CEO of VaynerMedia

Gary Vaynerchuk does not need an introduction. For those of you who haven’t heard of him yet, he is not only a rockstar entrepreneur, he's an author and a speaker. He's a four-time New York Times bestseller. He now runs a 800-person media agency, VaynerMedia. He is also an early investor in Twitter, Snapchat, and Uber. Big on giving back and making people happy, the one legacy he wants to leave is that he has given more than what he has taken.


#75: Heather Swan - Journey From Retail to an Enterprise Account Executive at Zoom

A San Jose-native, Heather Swan is the Chief Happiness Officer at Zoom, a video conferencing tool that works on any device. She started as an employee #15 and now Zoom has grown to over 700,000 clients worldwide, she has worked in every sales role within the company and has consistently hit her quotas. Heather has previous experience in the retail sales space, particularly for Tory Burch shoes and medical devices. Today, she shares the perspective of founding a startup from an employee...


#74: Ian Harriman - from a Sales Development Rep to an Account Executive at Checkr

Southern Californian-native, Ian Harriman is a rockstar salesperson. He started as a sales development representative until he rose up to the ranks of being a mid-market account executive at Checkr, a background check community that utilizes software (instead of people) to complete a majority of the parts to the process. Ian also talks about his leadership role in the Bounce Back to Work Program at Checkr, where they help both applicants and companies through their background screening...


#73: Kyle Woumn - Software Engineer at Twilio, who Turned an Internship into a Full-time Offer

Today, we take a closer dive into getting internships and how you can leverage those to get full-time offers. Kyle Woumn is a fullstack engineer on the messaging experience team at Twilio, a cloud-communication platform that integrates communication into apps. A Georgia Institute of Technology graduate, Kyle did internships at GE and Twilio. He's also part of the National Society of Black Engineers and he is currently building an app that fosters an online community for Black Greeks.


#72: Marco Morawec - Founder of The Firehose Project (Remote Coding Program)

Born in Germany, Marco Morawec is the co-founder of The Firehose Project, an online coding school that helped over a thousand people learn how to code remotely and become engineers. They also got a 1-million dollar grant from TechHire to help more people from under-represented groups to gain tech skills. Marco got his undergraduate degree and Master's in Public Policy and Management from the University of Constanz in Germany. He formerly worked as a Product Manager at an advertising firm...


#71: Jon Deng - U.S. Army Captain who Became a Software Engineer at Snapchat

Jon Deng is a mentor who has helped several people break into tech. He is widely known as a software engineer at Snap Inc. Prior to tech, he was actually a platoon leader in the U.S. Army with 40 men reporting to him. He was a captain and a field artillery officer. In this episode, Jon walks us through his transition from the military into tech, his thought process, and how he essentially prepared himself for the coding bootcamp at Hack Reactor. He also talks about how he got through his job...