Female Startup Founders in SF 6/4: Free Speed Advice Clinic

Hi there, female founders of San Francisco-area startups -- and their friends!

Got a micro question holding up your progress? 

Here’s an answer to get you on your way.

My fellow startup veteran Shefaly Yogendra and are offering a free speed advice clinic for startup up founders when Shefaly’s in town from London next month.


  • What: Speed Advice Clinic for Female Founders
  • How: In 20 minute slots, the two of us will listen deeply to your problem and offer possible implementable steps
  • When: Thursday June 4, from 11am to 3pm
  • Where: A central spot in SOMA-SF

As you probably know, I just spent a year leading early growth, product strategy, community building and operations at a visual story app in SF. I also bring extensive global media and content experience including NYC tech journalism and Hollywood entertainment.

Shefaly recently exited her fine jewelry venture, and has 2 decades of international business building and CXO advisory experience. She's been named a top writer at Quora for the past three years.


  • product strategy
  • content and community building
  • branding
  • market outreach
  • governance
  • global growth


In the comments below or by private message, let me know you want to come. We’ll get you a spot, and tell you exactly where we’ll be. We’ll also take walk ins, so even if you're not sure you can make it, reach out now to get the address.


Time permitting during the clinic, we’ll also reply on the #founderclinic tag to your tweets directed in advance to @anastasiaashman or @shefaly. Try that right now!

Let’s do this. Share this with someone you think will like it.

Listening deeply: getting to know you, developing products, advising startups

This is my last week at the Storia App by Selfish Inc's headquarters in San Francisco. After more than a year leading early growth, product strategy, community building and operations management of this visual story sharing app at RocketSpace, I’m moving on…

I’ve really enjoyed exploring a new realm of expression with everyone in the Storia development, design and product management team and the Storia user community, the gift of getting to know creative thoughtful people better through your creations in the app, sharing stories with hundreds of people around the world, and all the candid discussions we've had about our life and passions.

I also admire the vision of so many beta testers and content creators for this new storytelling service and its budding community. The feedback shared with me about shaping Storia as a technology that supports your life and most important relationships and pursuits has been insightful, and generous.

To everyone I've talked with in the past 16 months -- whether you used the app or not, whether you're on Android or iOS or only the web, whether we've known each other for ages or just met on the side of the road for a few minutes, believe me, we talked about it -- I thank you for your contributions to the development of this story sharing social network and want you to know that I was listening deeply.

Even as I move on, I'm looking forward to what Storia has planned, and what people everywhere are going to do with Storia in the future.

What's next for me? I'll be around, and engaging with you about where we're headed with content, community, visual storytelling, and all things digital media and startup.

I'll also be talking with startups about chief product or chief community builder roles, and consulting on product, operations, marketing, growth.

On June 4, I'll be holding a speed advice clinic for startup founders in San Francisco.

With CXO advisor visiting from London Shefaly Yogendra -- who recently exited her fine jewellery venture and has two decades of international business building, and has been named a top writer at Quora for the past three years -- in 20 minute slots, we'll listen deeply to your problem and offer possible implementable steps.

Let me know if you want to come that day with a question related to product strategy, content and community building, branding, market outreach, governance, global growth. We'll get you a spot, and tell you where we'll be.

Bringing decision-maker and startup mentor Shefaly Yogendra to RocketSpace

Did you know decision making is a discipline?

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Thrilled to be able to bring my longtime friend and global woman entrepreneur peer Shefaly Yogendra, visiting the San Francisco area from her base in London, to speak at RocketSpace.

She'll be leading a decision-making workshop on the co-working campus tomorrow.

Check out Shefaly's answers on Quora, where she's been named a Quora Top Writer for 2013, 2014, and 2015.

And here she is, talking about "risk literacy" after Angeline Jolie announced her decision to get elective mastectomies.

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Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 6.58.36 PMSee the photos here at Storehouse.

Key takeaways:

  • problems are dynamic, solutions are dynamic
  • going with your gut feeling is as good as rationalizing a decision
  • we all make imperfect decisions, they are only perfect at that moment in time

On the road to Slush, the startup conference in Helsinki

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 5.12.42 PM In an ongoing, collaborative Selfish visual story, here's what happened this week at Slush, the massive startup conference in Helsinki, which I attended with the founders of Selfish Inc, Rostem Hairedin and Moody Fayed.

Pitching contests, Vegas-worthy light shows, avant garde gentlemen's grooming, Marimekko prints, exhibits and panels by Finns you've heard of, Finnish humor, a sauna in the sky, SuperCell's blowout after party, human androids and oculus rifts, meetings about user feedback analysis, bean bags, Estonian tech sisters, Facetimes home, spontaneous ice cream picnic with Istanbul Teknokent Turks, a party in a casino with RocketSpace mobile ad regulars Fiksu, Tune and Ad Colony.

View the story "On The Road To Slush" to see the details.

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Video Director Amit Raikar's GlobalNiche Interviews

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"It's a community about possibility. I'd like to see this become a life philosophy." ~ Tiny Habits coach and environmental engineer Shirley Rivera

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 6.33.02 PM Just saw the rough cut of director Amit Raikar's video about the GlobalNiche movement shot this spring. Such great questions, and so many distinctive perspectives to fill in the mosaic of what GlobalNiche is, what it means, where it's going, how it works in our lives. I can't wait to be able to share it more widely! Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 6.18.54 PM Here are some stills from the video (Shirley Rivera, Tanya Monsef Bunger, Loreen Huddleston, Bertita Graebner, me, and Evelyne Michaut), and a few juicy quotes. More to come...Thanks everyone, and Amit and crew for the wonderful work.Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 6.31.34 PM Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 6.32.27 PM Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 6.18.13 PM

"This allows me to build the platform to be very consistently me in the world." ~ transpersonal psychologist and life transitions coach Bertita Graebner

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Biggest Startup Lessons, Fun Tech Coworking Spaces, A New Product's Superpower

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 1.16.25 PM Thanks to RocketSpace for interviewing me for their Startup Spotlight series this month about SELFish, the new social network I joined earlier this year. We're based at RocketSpace, a really fun coworking and office space for high growth tech companies.

An excerpt from the interview (you can catch the whole thing here:

What’s your favorite thing about RocketSpace?

I’ve been working remotely as a cultural entrepreneur for many years so my favorite thing about RocketSpace is the energy and the serendipity of meeting others who are on a similar journey. After living globally for 14 years, I especially appreciate the borderless, international nature of RS. And I have to give props to RS’s sense of humor. The “wtf@” and “omg@” email aliases for reporting issues or happy occasions are your brand voice. You manage to be substantial and lighthearted at the same time.

What is your product’s superpower?

I’d say it’s that there are no social conventions to worry about at SELFish. We give you control, so you can indulge your self expression. Share what you want, how much you want, with whom you want. Since I’m a high volume publisher with very disparate interests and communities I want to interact with, I especially like that aspect of the product.

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Speaking At The Innovation Lab For Silicon Valley Startup Founders

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 6.49.59 PMLooking forward to speaking about social media for entrepreneurs along with Tanya Monsef Bunger at the Women's Startup Lab's Innovation Lab on May 13th. Innovation Lab is an intensive and interactive learning lab for startup founders "to develop the skills and competencies needed to be effective leaders/founders."

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 8.26.08 PMTanya and I will be leading a 3 hour workshop in the ‘Grow your Startup’ section of the lab.


To complement six other ’how to’ subjects offered in this series, such as essential sales techniques to close deals, lean marketing strategy, lean startup training, UI/UX design, IP Strategy and Valuation/Financial modeling, we will be instructing the group on using social media to build an online community.

Tanya is my GlobalNiche team member, and for the past year has been a business coach at the Women's Startup Lab founded by Allison Chapman and Ari Horie, who's pictured below.


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Multiplying Community Management Effects In A Startup Accelerator

Screen Shot 2014-04-11 at 11.25.00 AMExcited to brainstorm next week with Olivia June Poole, the new community director of RocketSpace where I'm now based, a regular gathering of community managers here to bring together all the different community people from startups in this incubator/accelerator/coworking space.

Kinda meta. Also, a way to make coworking even more beneficial.


I see it being a way to get to know our fellow community-entrusted pros, discuss community management issues among ourselves, and begin to meld our discrete communities for increased impact and opportunity.


Executing Global Rollout Of A New Social Networking Collaboration Tool


photo-9BetaList highlights to thousands of tech-savvy early adopters the upcoming mobile app of, the San Francisco startup I joined in February as director of community...

So fun strategizing and executing the global rollout of this new social networking collaboration tool! Sign up now to be notified as soon as it hits the app store.

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Turkey-Related Entrepreneurs, Founders & Funders

Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 5.29.29 PMOut having antique cocktails (that's the San Francisco way) at Comstock Saloon with family and friends. The international (and Turkish-related) set of startup entrepreneurs, founders and funders included Bora Sahinoglu, Burc Sahinoglu (of CratePlayer & HIVEBEATS), Rostem Hairedin (of and Ersin Pamuksuzer of StartupBootcamp in Istanbul.

Ersin's latest venture was in the news this week, with TechCrunch announcing "As Investor Interest Heats Up In Turkey, Pan-European Accelerator Startupbootcamp Launches In Istanbul."

TechCrunch also reported that heat up this week. Congrats to my friend global VC Cem Sertoglu who's managing the $130 million Earlybird Digital East Fund (EDEF) "to invest in early and early growth startups in Turkey and Central and Eastern Europe."

Hearing From Women Startup Founders at Founders Den

Enjoyed this special panel discussion at Founders Den tonight, introduced by a principal in this SOMA coworking space, Zach Bogue (or Mr. Marissa Mayer to you) Screen Shot 2014-01-18 at 1.35.47 PM We heard from women founders of successful startups who got their start at Founders Den. From left to right: MODERATOR: Christina Brodbeck-Co-founder and Managing Partner, Rivet Ventures;Co-founder and CEO, TheIceBreak; Founding team member and first UI Designer at YouTube PANELISTS: Ruzwana Bashir-Founder and CEO,; Heidi Zak-Founder and CEO, ThirdLove (which just got $5.6M funding this week); Deena Varshavskaya-Founder and CEO, Wanelo

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Mapping My LinkedIn Network

Screen Shot 2013-09-16 at 4.41.07 PM My network has a new branch since I last did this network map in March 2013. That maroon group on the lower lefthand side is from PJ Van Hulle's 90-day list-building challenge, Listapalooza.

The blue are Turkey and Expat Harem-related. The green are Turkish diaspora. The pink is Bryn Mawr College, the orange is social media and online marketing pros, and professional coaches. The bronze is NYC, SF, writing and travel peers. The yellow at center is Silicon Valley, startups and the VC world, while the light blue is the TED community.

Click on the image to see a larger version. Here's where to get your own.

Putting A Global Entrepreneur's Priorities Thru The LUXr Molecule

Screen Shot 2013-10-11 at 5.50.46 PM Pleased to take part today in user testing at LUXr which builds practical tools for today's global entrepreneurs.

I tested product designer Kate Rutter's priority-clarifying tool The Molecule, supplying factors from my work with the GlobalNiche startup.

The idea is that you do this exercise on a weekly or daily basis to help you better focus your energies and efforts. As you can imagine, there's usually more than one answer for each of those atoms of PEOPLE, PROBLEM, SOLUTION, but on any given day, the elements that you find most compelling are the ones you need to push forward (by not acting on the other ones!).

Being An Advanced Oddity: Between A Rock & A Hard Place

Here's a conundrum I've been discussing with potential business mentors as we try to find ground where we might meet.

Being the advanced oddity that I am -- that is, an independent scholar and entrepreneur on my own evolving path -- when I seek out specific help from established/establishment entities, I meet resistance to my very own realities.

I told the regional head of a national businesswomen's organization recently that my combination of being way out ahead in my thinking and operations yet a fledgling in business seems not to compute for most organizations with resources.

I may be a startup but I've got 25 years of professional and personal experience. I'm the age of people with established businesses but I don't particularly want to backtrack to become resonant with them, or adopt dying practices or conventions in the process of being disrupted.

So, receiving training on how to be professional or being moved by perks like "can bring your dog to the office" or recognizing myself in the accelerator organization's language of f-bombs or "join the movement, dude" (which is what international digital agency's career page used to say), are not really in alignment with the kind of support I need.

On the other hand, more mature cultures of support I gravitate toward often ask for benchmarks I am nowhere near, like "$2M in revenue" and don't yet value (to judge from their own operations) many operational strengths I bring, nor necessarily grasp my outsider, international perspective.

And I note other rock and hard place factors I'm dealing with. I'll go into them more deeply another day but here are big ones: working around and with tech but not offering a "tech solution"; and being global in focus but not considering "global = somewhere outside America".

Still looking for the mature, forward-operating, early-stage business resources out there best suited for global women entrepreneurs.

Pitched to Silicon Valley VCs At Orrick's Elevator Pitch Roundtable

 Orrick's Elevator Pitch Roundtable in Silicon Valley.This is a photo of my fellow entrepreneurs and I *do* mean fellow --I was the only woman pitching in a room of 40 --  at global law firm Orrick's Elevator Pitch Roundtable last week in Silicon Valley. We all practiced 30 second pitches to venture capitalists like Blue Run Ventures' Jeff Tannenbaum (seen here in a blazer leaning against wall).

Many of the companies I heard pitched were about cars (either traffic or parking), sports (events, or extreme sports video communities), entertainment (YouTube analytics, movie tickets). There was only one other educational venture, and none specifically aimed at women, or personal/pro development.

Before the event I'd already cut down my  current pitch by half (see it below) and it was still twice too long. Mine were the longest 30 seconds of anyone in the room. Back to drawing board.

Many people feel out of place in their own lives, surrounded by the 'wrong' culture or people.

GlobalNiche empowers those people to find their place on and offline by tapping our 25 years of global experience living and working off the map.

GlobalNiche is an educational online destination of live video events, course material and a supportive environment to teach every day people personal branding, platform building, creative entrepreneurship and global community development.

Our market is 180 million people interested in life-improvement using new technology and the web. Our first product launches in September and we're recognized as top expat entrepreneurs in social media by Telegraph UK and

A comment I got from a veteran entrepreneur that GlobalNiche sounds like "a therapeutic solution for unactualized people" and few investors I might pitch will ever personally connect with the idea of being unsuccessful.

Now I am thinking about how I might aim for resonance: "You know that person in your life who's talented or creative, or has an adventurous spirit, but simply cannot make it work for them? Pretty much all of us have a friend or family member we've been watching and trying to help but don't know how to light their fire. That's what GlobalNiche does. We guide people to light their own fire."

The same entrepreneur said he sees GlobalNiche getting funded by sponsorships (as in nonprofit) than by investorship.

VC Tannenbaum gave me feedback. He said VCs care less about HOW it works and our pitching goal is to get to that first meeting. He also said if you have a difficult to understand business find an existing solution to compare it to. Analogies. I am looking for something like that for GlobalNiche.

If you're interested in participating in a similar event, consider joining Orrick's TOTAL ACCESS mailing list to be notified of future opportunities.