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LEARN with Kat Steinmetz, Principal, Initialized Capital

A successful career can be achieved without following a conventional path. 

From being an award-winning musician turned HR professional to a startup consultant turned Burning Man organizer turned VC, Kat Steinmetz, Principal of Initialized Capital, offers a unique background and fresh perspective on creating a positive work culture that fosters growth and success.

In our latest episode of LEARN, Kat shares her insights into the intersection of art, music, and HR and how they can be leveraged to create a dynamic and thriving work environment. She emphasizes the importance of being an excellent storyteller, particularly in areas such as L&D, where the ROI may not be immediately apparent. 

LEARN Podcast by WorkRamp

“If there's one thing you can get very, very good at, especially in L&D or maybe areas where it's not a direct sales, right? I'm like, okay, what have you done for me lately? Kind of thing. What is the ROI here? You've got to be incredibly good at your storytelling. So you've got to paint the picture for people. You've got to enroll them. They need to become champions for you. Here's what we're doing. Here's why this is important. Here's how you're gonna be involved. This is how I'm gonna enroll you. This is how you're gonna influence your amazing people that you've taken this time to hire, right? And this is what's going to happen from those programs, and this is where we're going, and this is what the roadmap is. So you've gotta become an incredible marketer.”

During the episode, you'll hear about Kat's experiences with:  

  • Stitch Fix and Box and how her love for music and Burning Man helped her thrive. 
  • The secret sauce for hiring and developing exceptional talent and building community within an organization. 
  • What it takes to maintain a unique culture when companies go public.

Join us for this exciting episode to gain insights and inspiration from a true innovator in the startup space.

Show Timestamps

00:00 - Intro

01:20 - Kat's background

04:11 - Working for Burning Man

07:04 - Stitch Fix, Box, and IPO

10:37 -  Learnings from Stitch Fix

17:53 - Preparing for IPO

20:35 - Getting Leadership & employee buy-in and hiring tactics

27:33 - Rapid-fire round

Transcript

Kat Steinmetz: If there's one thing, you can get very good at, especially in l and d or areas where it's not direct sales, right? I'm like, okay, what have you done for me lately? Kind of thing. What is the ROI here? You've got to be incredibly good at your storytelling. So you've got to paint the picture for people. You've got to enroll them. They need to become champions for you. Here's what we're doing. Here's why this is important. Here's how you're gonna be involved. This is how I'm gonna enroll you. This is how you will influence the amazing people you've taken this time to hire, right? And this is what will happen from those programs, where we're going, and what the roadmap is. So you've gotta become an incredible marketer.

Ted Blosser: Hi, I'm Ted Blosser, CEO and Co-founder of WarkRamp, where we're redefining the corporate learning space with the world's first all-in-one learning cloud for employee and customer learning. Welcome to the Learn podcast, where we learn from the biggest leaders in SAS and hear what makes them successful. Hope you enjoy the show. We are delighted to have our guest, Kat Steinmetz. She's the principal at Initialized Capital and former head of Talent Success at Box and Stitch Fix. We have so much great stuff to talk about. Kat, let's get started here. Why don't you kick us off with a little bit about your background?

Kat Steinmetz: Yeah, great to be here. Thanks for having me, Ted. Um, yeah, my background is definitely non-traditional, especially getting to where I am now at a VC firm, um, not the expected route. Um, so yeah, my whole career, though, is in HR, talent, and culture. Um, almost 20 years in that, uh, I moved to the San Francisco Bay area as a little baby recruiter, I like to say in the original dot com era, um, kind of at the very peak. And that was a really incredible experience. I helped open an office here for a company that I was with in Minneapolis, where I went to college and started off in the Bay Area tech scene. So was in there. And then, of course, when the dot com era died and, uh, you know, everyone got laid off, especially recruiters. I was certainly one of those. Um, and at the time, I was kind of excited to look at various other things in my life beyond a traditional corporate background.

I came from a pretty, uh, artsy hippie family and was a fine art major in college, and, uh, wanted to pursue some of the things in that realm. So I always kept my foot in the door of HR. So even during the dot com era when it died, um, I was helping startups do their HR side, just consulting and kind of helping them start up their programs and policies and help hire their team in their first HR person. But I also pursued an artistic and musical background, so I became a singer and a musician, which is pretty prominent here in the Bay Area. Won a couple of awards, um, was on, uh, several, uh, albums. I'm on Spotify, all those things. And, um, I became a performer in that realm and went to Burning Man, which is one of the ways that I started becoming their head of HR. So I started consulting with them.

Ted Blosser: Wait, before we go on to the rest of it, I did not know this about you; you gotta tell me more about the musical background. Like what, what do I look upon? What do I look up on Spotify? Absolutely.

Kat Steinmetz: And Kat. So that was the song I was in very well known for that. It’s Kepi and Kat.

Ted Blosser: Are you still, do you still keep up with it or what?

Kat Steinmetz: My son, who is 10 years old, goes to performing arts school and is big, very big into music, so he's become our musical project. Um, we kind of, you know, did the solid, you know, festival, club all around the world, kind of, uh, performing for like a solid decade. And, um, that was really amazing. And during that time, I was the head of HR at Burning Man. I kind of grew with them. I, I like to say we grew up together. I learned on the job that they were learning, too, as they became this worldwide phenomenon. When I started with them, they were not that at all. Um, and so I just kind of helped them grow into all of those stages. Become a full-fledged nonprofit, all of the different entities that are under that at the Burning Man Project, and grow to an 80,000-person event.

You know, when I started there, they were 25 or 30,000. Um, so yeah, quite a complex organization. Way more than people expect. I usually get the question of Burning Man as HR, and I'm like if you only knew. Um, very intense job. Um, but I learned a lot. It was also a ton of fun, interesting, and very transformative to be there during that time. And again, kind of kept my foot in the startup world the whole time. I just always, you know, hung out with a lot of founders; my former partner and, Music partner, was a founder. Um, so just always in that world. And, um, loved the tech scene. And so I left Burning Man and went to Stitch Fix, and I was a very early employee there. Number 140, uh, they were in their series C, I think had just gotten their series C; I was part of their very first people leadership team.

I worked directly with Katrina Lake, Mike Smith, Eric Colson, the entire management team, and Margot Downs, who hired me as the C P O there. So yeah, did the entire realm of talent development. I went from being the head of HR to focusing on talent development, talent management, and employee engagement, which was my passion. Um, and so dug deep into that at Stitch Fix. Created all of their programs from scratch. Absolutely everything from nothing. Built the entire team for talent development, talent management, um, all of the programs. They wanted to do everything very innovative, creative, uh, created all of their cultural assets, behaviors for the values, all of the leadership qualities, everything around that kind of thing. Um, and helped them IPO. So that was a really incredible experience, and loved working with Katrina Lake. Still very, um, inspired by her. Uh, and then I went to Box, they recruited me, uh, somebody I met Tiffany Stevenson, uh, in my time at Stitch Fix remembered me. And uh, when she got her headcount at Box, she immediately called me and said, you're the unicorn I want here. Cuz you know how to build an entire learning function from nothing. And you also know the community because of Burning Man. And she wanted me to run all communities. Um, so all the ERGs and just the community in general there.

Ted Blosser: And where'd you know Tiffany from? Where did you meet?

Kat Steinmetz: Tiffany Stevenson was interviewed at Stitch Fix and was kind of considering this sort of like people partner guy getting more into the head of HR now; of course, she is. She went on to go to Patreon as well, which is one of the initialized companies. Um, and then now is at Weight Watchers help. Literally, her first day at Weight Watchers I think, was on the Nasdaq, um, stage. So she just had that happen like four months ago. So I just saw her at the Transform Conference, so, so awesome to see her and all the things she's doing, but we had an incredible time together, really love her. And Jessica Swank, who is still the head of people there, um, at Box, and you know, Box was maybe looked like, why would I be going there after going to Burning Man and Stitch Fix?

And in fact, Aaron Levy asked me exactly that question, burning Man, stitch Fix. And then he thought, sass, this is cool. And I was like, well, no, but I used your product and loved it at Stitch Fix. So I believe in the product. And two, your culture's amazing. And Ted, you know that cuz you used to work there and um, we helped bring you on Work Ramp at Box, um, and thank you for that, which was a huge, probably one of the biggest things I did there because we were at a very old OG system there that was terrible. Um, so we were very excited to bring you on and work with somebody modern. Um, and yeah, we had an incredible time, kind of a startup there in the midst of Box, and I like to say because they really did not have any formal programs in talent development.

Um, and they were a global IPO company, right? A public company already. But then, everything was very DIY and kind of like some decks here and there, and people were quite hungry for real de development. So we, you know, along with my, you know, partners on that team, uh, the leadership team, we created full career frameworks, job leveling, development guides, all of the programs from scratch, like I had done at Stitch Fix the entire team from scratch. Um, and most of them are still there. And, uh, it was an incredible time. Yeah, really, all through covid, I learned so much. We published a couple of white papers when we were there, uh, of the things we were doing on onboarding and other things during C O V I D and how we could pull that off so fast, so incredible time. And now I'm at initialized. I was also recruited here outta nowhere.

Ted Blosser: People envy you just get plot.

Kat Steinmetz: I guess I, I'm, I'm a big, uh, I'm a big community builder and super-connector. That's the most important thing to me is my community. So I do a lot to cultivate that, stay in very good contact with people, and just connect dots and make sure that I'm sort of like doing that all the time. It's just the way that I think. So I think that helped me. It just, uh, I had been taking some classes on being the angel investor, uh, as a woman and four women founders. I was passionate about that. I'm also a people tech partners advisor and have been for a few years. And, of course, that whole program is about, you know, incubating people, tech products, and founders. And so helping them by giving them feedback by being a strategic advisor. So it made a lot of sense. And initialized philosophy is that we only hire former operators and founders on the investing team, which is quite unusual. It's the opposite. So, they are teaching me how to be an investor, and I have some incredible mentors there.

Ted Blosser: That's awesome. Well, your career is, is um, has been such a whirlwind and has so many accomplishments that we'll dive into here in a second. I'll actually, you know, once actually maybe start with Stitch Fix, I think, yeah. This is a company a lot of, lot of us know. Yes. Um, Katrina Lake is obviously very, very famous. Mm-hmm. Very popular. Um, I think she's back; she's back now, right? Uh, she took back the race.

Kat Steinmetz: Exciting to see that. But, I'm really happy about that.

Ted Blosser: Walk us through the timeline, I think you spent about four years, over four years there. When you took it public. Yep. Maybe walk us through that experience in a little more detail even. What did you learn and, and, uh, Katrina Lake, for example, is she's pretty young. I think she's the youngest female CEO at the time.

Kat Steinmetz: And ever take a company public, ever,

Ted Blosser: Still, ever.

Kat Steinmetz: Okay. And I think she was the only one to have her son on her hip while she did. So inspiring.

Ted Blosser: I'm curious, like, what did you learn from her, or were you teaching her more, cuz I'm assuming you had more experience than her in your realm, right? Um, like, walk us through that time. Let's go into a little more detail there.

Kat Steinmetz: Absolutely. Incredible time incredible journey. Could have had no idea when I started, right? It was just this interesting fashion tech company, and I just love fashion, always interested and thought, wow, what an innovative company. Um, no idea they were gonna do what they were gonna do. I just thought it was a really interesting leadership team where we could do some really cool things I could build from absolute scratch, which was an incredible, you know, opportunity. Um, so yeah, to have all that happened was quite a wild ride. Um, I would say that it was actually a very complimentary relationship between the two of us. Um, she taught me a lot from her perspective having gone to, you know, Harvard and start a business out of her, you know, basically dorm room or apartment, you know, and just like such grit and resilience. And it took so much for her to get, uh, funding.

You know, unfortunately, as a woman in the Bay Area, especially a woman doing consumer and fashion, people just did not pay attention to her. Um, and so I learned a lot through that, you know, of how she turned that into like, great that I'm just gonna be profitable, that I'm not gonna take a lot of funding. I'm just gonna like figure out how to do this. And she did so, and she has an incredible way of attracting great people to her and delegating and letting people have agency and autonomy to do the things that she hired them to do. Lots of founders have a lot of trouble with that. I do a lot of coaching around that every day. Um, and so, I think one of the big things I learned from her early on too, when you're crazy, you know, fast-paced startup and you're just going like, wildfire was progressing over perfection.

And I really, I, I distinctly being, remember being in my first meeting with her where I took that note, progress over perfection, get things to 70% and put it out and experiment and iterate. And I was like, I love that. That is like how I do my life. So it just spoke to me so much. It was like I was on fire the minute I got out of that meeting. I'm like, okay, I know how we're gonna do this, you know, we're just gonna like put some things together and put it out and experiment and get feedback.

Ted Blosser: Do you remember any programs you rolled out specifically that were progress or perfection? What was the state of the world right when you started? Was it like literally nothing on the talent side? Like No. Okay. Walk, walk us through.

Kat Steinmetz: There was like, uh, you know, of course, we were, the whole people leadership team was being hired by like every other week. There was another person that was being added. I was, like, maybe the third person on that team. So, um, you know, and, and you know, I would say Margot, who hired me, took a bit of a chance on me. I was coming from Birdman, you know, I was hoping I was gonna get any job after that. Um, and one of the reasons I kept my foot in the tech world was to make sure that I did. Um, but you know, she really wanted somebody who was creative and innovative. That is what she wanted. And Katrina Lake was very supportive of that and that I had in Spade, right? On the strategy side, not so much. So I had to learn that.

Um, but I was a, you know, a fast student. So I think, you know, coming in there, there was absolutely nothing. We were creating everything from scratch, the entire team from scratch, which was dazzling cuz I came from a nonprofit where there is nothing extra, right? You are fighting for every penny that you get. And I learned to do so much with nothing. I learned how to get people to become champions for me to do work that wasn't on my team, but they would do it because they were excited. Um, it taught me a lot of great things. But I went from that to a startup with so much funding and money, and it was just like, do whatever you want. And in a lot of ways, I was, like, frozen. I don't know what to do with that. Like what?

So I really had to like to constrain myself, like what am I trying to do? What is the thing I'm gonna do and prioritize so that I can get it done? It was just too much pie in the sky. So just like, what are the team members I needed first? What is, you know, and took a lot of mentoring and input from, you know, everyone who was there, who was learning and winging it too, um, as we were going. Uh, but yeah, I think that perfection's progress really helped me move forward. Cool. That was the constraint.

Ted Blosser: Was there a program you remember that you're really proud of? Was it, was it leadership development? Something like that? 

Kat Steinmetz: Yes. Incredible. We, in Incre, we, we created an, an entire, uh, incredible manager program that I'm very proud of that they're still running to this day. Uh, in a lot of ways. And I would say probably the one that's most special was the leadership offsite. Hmm. So the leadership offsite was a day-long, um, very interactive, experimental, immersive type of day that absolutely every employee went through. Did not matter what level you were at. Not every warehouse employee, but we figured out how to do them. Even if we would go to the warehouse and do that as a half day, every single full-time employee did no matter what level went to that. And, in fact, you are all immersed in that. And it was incredibly special for people, people, you know, young people who had never been to anything like that. It was very self-development-focused. It was all an immersion in our values and our leadership qualities. And it brought it to life through very creative, transformational, interactive, and sometimes very emotional activities for people. Mm-hmm. Um, and it was taught and facilitated by the management team and the leadership. And that is what really truly, and that’s

Ted Blosser: Like a cultural introduction. 

Kat Steinmetz: Like complete emotion. This is what we do here. This is how we feel here, this is what the behaviors look like. And the modeling by the facilitators, by Mike Smith and Eric Colson and Margot and all of the management team and the VPs who only, only at that time we had one or two, um, were the facilitators. They were the ones bringing that to life. And they were completely committed to doing that. Like every other month, they would switch off and we would do it probably every other week. Because we were, you know, recruiting people so fast. Wow. Um, and that was incredible. People ha people were so committed from that. Um, it was like, we called it a rehire moment. Yeah. The minute they got in there, they were rehired, and they were like, I made the right decision to be at this.

Ted Blosser: It wasn't just new hires; this was people even in the middle of their careers. Yeah. Ok. Yes. That's cool. I love that. Yeah. Ok, I'm gonna fast forward. Let's pass, I'm gonna go four and a half years ahead, from Stitch Fix over. So you get Recruited a box by Yeah. By, uh, Tiffany and, you know, you know, uh, for the listeners and the audience, I, I worked at Box from, uh, 20 11, 20 15 actually kind of met Kat through, uh, their evaluation of Box, sorry, of WorkRamp. And, um, the thing about Box is you came in at a really interesting time when I was at Box, it was like, it was kind of like your situation at Stitch Fix. We didn't even know how to spend all our money. Like we were just throwing cash out the window, buying anything you could, like throwing lavish parties at BoxWorks, and things like that.

Ted Blosser: And the era you came in was kind of the opposite. It was like, Hey, we are a public company now. We have to, because we came in in March of 2019, we're a public company now. Efficiency matters a ton. We're watching our margins very closely. And then, but the culture was well-defined too. So it's interesting you've kind of come into a company that by that time's about, what, 14 years old, I'm, I'm trying to do the math. Walk us through coming into an established culture that can't really spend that much money, I'm assuming, and you have, are tasked with building the town programs for the first time. How do people navigate that? Give us, give us a rundown.

Kat Steinmetz: Well, for me, it made the perfect sense between two things. One was I was coming from Stitch Fix, which had gone all the way to the public, and I was there another year and a half after they were public and global. So I had the experience of all of a sudden all that money is completely taken away. In fact, I almost had offers out like rescinded. Like that is how fast. It's like we went in a recession right? When we were about to IPO and then that was it. From then on, everything had to be proven. You had to put the strategy together. It all had to be in a completely different way. So I had that full experience at the end of Stitch Fix where I knew that's how I had to do things and had to do them at scale and in different languages because I had to start being global.

So it wasn't too hard coming to that. It was like, okay, I get it, public company. And it also was my roots from Burning Man, right? A nonprofit where you have no resources, and you have to count every single penny. You have to prove why you are, you should actually have that money or, that resource. So I was like, okay, I know how to do this, and I know how to prove like, you know, persuade. I'm very good at persuasion because of those two things that had a lot of influence in that way. And I think I learned a lot about building my strategy skills in the four years at Burning Man. And I really sunk into that. And I would say the biggest thing I would tell people too, which really helped me, is storytelling. If there's one thing, you can get very good at, especially in l and d or areas where it's not direct sales, right?

Of like, okay, what have you done for me lately kind of thing. What is the ROI here? Um, you've got to be incredibly good at your storytelling. So you've got to paint the picture for people. You've got to enroll them. They need to become champions for you. And that's what I did with Erin, Dylan, Jessica, and the entire team there. I just met with them constantly. Here's what we're doing, here's why this is important. Here's how you're gonna be involved. This is how I'm gonna enroll you. This is how you will influence the amazing people you've hired this time, right? And this is what's going to happen from those programs, where we're going, and what the roadmap is. Um, so you've gotta become an incredible marketer. Basically. 

Ted Blosser: Let me, let me dig into that a little bit further. I totally get it on the leadership side, the storytelling of, hey, for example, and I, and I saw some of the great programs you built, um, like, hey, we want to go build this, let's call it leadership development program or, or new hire onboarding program revamp. You could tell a story around that. How do you flip it to also market really well internally too to them, and we call them learners in our world, but, uh, to your employees in that world, how do you get people interested in, especially in a company like Box that again, is so old by that. That's so old. They sound geriatric, but they're 14 years old by then. Um, but how do you change their ways? They're like, wait, what is this new talent thing? Why? Like, I haven't done this before. Why do I need to do it? Tell us about the storytelling internally to get the results that your story is told to the executive team.

Kat Steinmetz: Well, I'll back up real quick, which is that I tell this story that I remember about Midstream at Stitch Fix about two years in my team was like, we need a marketing and PR person. Like, we don't have the skills for this. And I had never thought about that until that moment. And from then on, that is what everybody needs. Now. There are way too many things pulling at everybody's attention in every company and everybody's life, right? There's so much happening at all times that you could be doing. So you have to have those skills. So I started hiring for that. I started looking for that. I started developing for that, I started developing myself in that, right? And that was uncomfortable, you know? So I think like you gotta push for how are you gonna market your programs? How are you gonna do pr? How are you gonna get champions, right? Internally, who are gonna be teachers for you? Who is gonna like, tell others to go to this program? Who is gonna pass on that email?

Ted Blosser: You actually look for people with marketing backgrounds, uh, in their history or maybe extroverted personality traits, specifically looking?

Kat Steinmetz: I Would say I look for emotional intelligence skills. That's the biggest thing I hire for. I hire for self-awareness, personal responsibility, and the ability to remain calm in the midst of a lot of chaos. You need those things when you're building at a startup or any kind of high-paced company. Um, and those, I think, see you through. Um, I'm also like to say I'm a huge fan of Teach for America. I did not go there. I don't have any affiliation with them, but I've hired probably seven people from that program. And they are incredible in recruiting, developing, and getting their people to do what they're doing, which is really intense and hardcore. I don't know what it is, but it's a secret sauce. So I used to, um, you know, recruit off their alumni list.

I used to look for that on LinkedIn, and I've always had really great results with that program, for whatever that's worth. Um, I think it's like, I remember thinking that, and then that was it. From then on, we had to do that, right? And so when I was at Box, it was the same. It was like, how am I gonna make sure that people know about this or care about it? And it was about; it was half my job. So it was intense. No doubt. When you're building, and you're building the team from scratch and all the programs from scratch, and it's like you and only you, you're definitely staying up at night, and this is what you're doing. But that's what you're doing at first. Do you know? And, and, and, and when you're meeting with the leadership team, you're emphasizing that vision and that enrollment of people, and you're getting people then to champion.

That's a thing that people forget, and you have all these people in the company just sitting around waiting to also be ambassadors and champions of your programs. And this is where I would also give Box a big shout-out. This is why I went to Box. They have incredible culture, as you know, Ted, um, amazing culture. I still think it's an amazing culture, one of the best. And so it was a fertile ground. They were ready to be enrolled and engaged and excited about it. I never got pushback from employees like, this is dumb or cheesy, or I'm not into it. People are just into things there, right? They go to Box because they're excited; they want to use emojis and talk about how great things are. This is how what's cool about Box. And so I was like, I can do what I want here.

And one of the big things I wanna do there was roll out international coaching programs across every level. And I did that. And even during covid, I could roll out three large coaching programs during covid, which is kind of insane. Like nobody had funding during that time, but it was, I could prove why, what the story was, how the r o a was gonna, you know, deliver. And I would say the other thing for my kind of, you know, l and d professionals who might be watching this is to make sure you partner with excellent vendors. So when I went to a vendor, I never thought of them as a vendor. I thought of them as a partner in my business, and if they didn't think of themselves like this, I wasn't gonna do business with them. So they needed to be constantly working for me. What are you doing for me? How are you sending me narratives? What data are you giving me? Are you doing a slide deck for me so I can use it for the leadership team? I pushed all of them very hard to do all of that work for me because that's their job. Their job is to keep me as a customer. So ensure they do everything possible for you because they should have all those things. And if they don't, this is only gonna make them a better client, right? A better vendor.

Ted Blosser: Tell us more about what you recommend for vendor partnerships. And you, you've been on both sides of the table now. Yes, I have. Um, tell us more about, like, tips for vendors, like the world's work ramps, all the software you've bought in the past. I think you've bought Torch in the past, probably Udemy or other things. Tell us how people should, um, uh, work with their vendors that they, that they work with.

Kat Steinmetz: Yeah, and you brought up Torch, and so I think that's a, a perfect example, uh, a story to use, which is, you know, we have a great relationship. It was a, a perfect match for me to be on their board, um, because I am literally their buyer. I came exactly from doing that to this, this role, um, on the investor side. So I have such deep experience being that partner, right? Being that buyer. Um, so I've given a lot of, uh, you know, hour-long coaching advising sessions to the sales team. Um, I know a lot of their, the network of the companies they're selling to, so I'm always reaching out to those people that I know. Um, I'm finding out feedback from things, whether they have Torch or whether they don't. I'm helping to make those introductions and just finding out feedback, right? Just again, always looking for win-wins for anybody I know.

Like, how can I help you, and how can you help me? Um, because it's always there. It's always present. You just have to look for it and reframe things to be that. Um, you know, and then I think also the product itself. You know, I I have rolled out big coaching programs, so I, I know what I'm looking for. I know what various scaled, sized companies are looking for as they're doing that. So I think I have a lot of insight to understand that, and I really press them to be that incredible partner. That was one of the first things I did. How are you partnering? It's not a, it's not good enough. You need to get better. People will not renew with you, especially in this market, unless you are an incredible partner. Um, they don't have time. They have fewer team members and less money. So they have even less time to be, you know, doing all of that work. So you need to do that work and believe me, they will stick by your side because you are making their job easier, and you're making them look good, right? And you're allowing them to do what they came to do, right? I mean, if we're doing l and d, we're passionate about that, right? We're not gonna be doing that outta the blue. So we want all those things to be a win and help that person be that.

Ted Blosser: Awesome. Well, I'm gonna close out; we're at the end of our session. I will close out with what we call the learn Rapid-Fire Round. I'm gonna ask you just a series of questions, mostly learning-related. Um, I'd love to get one, two-line answers for each of them. This will probably take a couple of minutes, but this is one of the favorite parts of the show, so all right. First question, who have you learned the most from in life?

Kat Steinmetz: I will have to say two and say it quickly. I would say one is my community. I have an incredible community, and I'm constantly feeding them, and they feed me, and I've learned everything I wanna know from my community. Um, and I would also say my son, he has taught me so, so much about myself, about life, about how to calm down, how to, how to give and receive good feedback, how to, you know, be in the moment with him, stay playful, all of those things. I'm so thankful for him.

Ted Blosser: That's great. Usually, people say the reverse of their parents, but it's so cool hearing from your son. That's awesome. All right, next one. What is one podcast book blog you've learned the most from or even that you're listening to now?

Kat Steinmetz: I would, actually, I just got done with an incredible book, uh, called Four Thousand Weeks. I think it's Oliver Burkeman if I'm correct about that. Wow. Really incredible book. Um, he does it on audible. I'm a big audible person. I like to listen while I'm doing other things. Um, incredible. I laughed, and I cried. I saw myself. I felt my humanity. I was just very, very impressed with that book. And it's like a five-hour book, so it's not a massive investment, but I can't, um, recommend it highly without

Ted Blosser: I will have to use some of my 10 audible credits on that one just sitting there. I gotta go get that one. Yes. All right. What topic would you like to learn more about in the future if you had the time?

Kat Steinmetz: I mean, I really am so immersed in becoming an investor. I have so much to learn on that side. I have so much on the operator and advisor sides that comes very naturally within seconds. I can tell you things that you need to know on that side, but I am learning like, like, uh, Brene Brown calls it an fft an effing first time. Like I'm having those every day as. Um, and so I'm constantly, I just took a huge month long, uh, modeling for financial, you know, sort of venture, and I'm just learning all of that, and it's incredible. So I have a lot to learn, and I'm excited about that.

Ted Blosser: I'm still learning my cap table modeling, after four venture rounds. Still don't understand.

Kat Steinmetz: Oh my gosh, that's, that's very validating. Thank you.

Ted Blosser: Most founders would not admit that, but they probably don't know how to model. Uh, okay. Last one I wanna ask. What is one big piece of career advice you could give someone earlier in their career that you've learned in yours?

Kat Steinmetz: Yeah, probably from all you've just heard, having a non-traditional background is okay. It's okay to pursue all the things you want to do in your life and make your life art. This is your one beautiful life. So you gotta do that. And it's always about the story you tell. So internalize your story, connect with why it's cohesive, and anyone will get on board with you when you talk about that.

Ted Blosser: Make your own life masterpiece. Love it. Right. All right. Well, Kat, thanks so much for joining us. This is an awesome discussion. I think the crowd is gonna learn a ton from you and, uh, look, looking forward to, uh, uh, connecting again soon.

Kat Steinmetz: Yeah, thanks so much for having me, Ted. Really awesome.

Ted Blosser: Thanks, Kat. Thank you, everyone, for joining. We hope you enjoyed the episode. And remember, always be learning.