If you’re based in LA and are entering the world of the startup, chances are you’ll have met or met someone that knows Espree Devora. Known as “the girl who gets it done” Espree has taken the world of the startup and built a resource filled atmosphere around it. A successful entrepreneur in her own right, Espree uses her expertise to help others navigate their way around the tech scene.
We had the pleasure of sitting down with Espree to talk about the LA tech scene and her entrepreneurial career.
The Guy Society: Hi Espree, it’s fantastic to have you on The Guy Society. Now, you’re known as “the girl who gets it done” and with just a glance at your resume that certainly seems the case. Providing seminars for some of the biggest corporations and universities on the planet, live panel producer, journalist, blogger, podcaster, LA startup influencer, owner of digital media company. If I carried on this one question would become a novel about your success. It’s easy to see you must love everything you do in order to create such a wide-reaching empire. Where did your passion for entrepreneurism come from?
Espree Devora: Been passionate about being an entrepreneur since I was a little girl actually. It’s strange. I remember at 4 years old walking into Westwood Village with my father daydreaming about what businesses I would put into the empty office buildings. My father had a home office and often took me to business meetings so I guess I truly was born to be an entrepreneur.
The Guy Society: One thing that caught my attention when we first connected was the scope of your company “WeAreLATech” which includes a podcast, a mobile app, a private chat group for LA startups, an offline ‘Experience’ Club and more. Your podcast skyrocketed to #2 on the iTunes chart and your #Womenintech concept, I absolutely loved. It’s hard to get away from the fact that almost every tech mag is male dominated. But when you have people like Emily White, Marissa Meyer and 28-year-old Lisa Falzone dominating their industries, it’s hard to see in this day and age, how the males are getting the headlines. Why do you think the industry is still so male dominated, especially in terms of the media, and was this a factor in you setting up “Women in Tech”?
Espree Devora: It’s neither here nor there to me that a ton of guys are in the industry. What I’d like to see is anyone male or female pushing themselves to go after what they want in life. Statistically women don’t ask for what they want as often as men do. My inspiration to create the #womenintech Podcast was to show people examples of awesome women who have ‘made it’ so that listeners can see what’s possible.
The Guy Society: Tech is booming all over the world, but Silicon Valley has long been the most widely regarded hub of the worlds major tech companies. The LA tech scene is growing by the day, with new startups gaining huge investments. What do you think is fueling the tech boom south of Silicon Valley? Apart from the INSANE house prices in SV.
Espree Devora: Yes the escalating over-inflated housing prices definitely help people choose LA or SF, though to be fair both areas have over priced housing (laughs). There’s quite a few factors that have catered to the startup scene thriving in Los Angeles. One is we have the film business and with the boom of social media and content creation, digital is our first language as a city. Next up is CoLoft, a working space in Santa Monica that was built on the sentiment ‘community first, profit second’. CoLoft cultivated and nurtured a fragmented talent pool so developers, founders and investors all had a home to connect in.
The Guy Society: You formerly founded ZexSports and have worked with the likes of Tony Hawk and Kelly Slater. Are you an action sports fan? How did that industry attract you?
Espree Devora: Yes we shot a ton of pro athletes at action sports competitions and award shows. I’ve been into motocross and skateboarding forever as a fan girl. Started snowboarding when I was 15 too. Really it was my Dad taking me to moto comps and letting me run up on the fields to meet the dirt bike riders. Or there was hanging out at the Santa Monica courthouse watching my friends who became Pro skaters. I grew up in LA, so it’s always been a piece of me. In 6th grade my father bought me my first video camera. A huge gift for a little girl, but made quite the impact on my future.
The Guy Society: You’re obviously an extremely busy woman. How difficult is it to manage your time? Do you have a system?
Espree Devora: VERY (laughs). Because I take on as much as I can possibly take on and I give all my heart to everything I do. I use Headspace app to meditate, am a nerd about discovering productivity tools, do hot yoga, delegate to my team as often as possible (hence having an incredible team), use FancyHands often (It’s a virtual assistant service. Use FancyHands for a big discount if you want to try it) and call my Mom to drive to my house to help me clean my room and do the dishes! (grins) I’ll forever be 12.
The Guy Society: What advice do you have for our readers that are just starting out on their entrepreneurial journey?
Espree Devora: No one has a road-map. Each journey is unique. Create your own story. Your intuition is your oracle. And my Mom taught me to always search for the open door to ‘Yes.’
The Guy Society: What are the keys to building a successful tech company?
- Discovering a pain point.
- Building a solution to solve that pain.
- Effectively communicating the value to the right focused market.
- Providing that solution to a market who wants it so bad they’ll pay for it.
- Making sure they are willing to pay more than it costs you to build and run.
The Guy Society: It is becoming more and more evident every day that the big money is certainly in creating a tech company, whether it be apps or software, would you say that it’s getting more and more essential for the new-wave of entrepreneurs to learn code?
Espree Devora: I think people should master where they excel and hire for everything else. It’s about knowing what resources exist so no matter what your budget you can always make things happen. That’s why I curate productivity business tools on my blog Save Business Time and why I scour the internet for delegating services like the one I mentioned above and TWassistant and Butler and Sensay.
The Guy Society: Having personally accomplished so much, how do you ensure you stay motivated and strive for bigger goals?
Espree Devora: I just am a motivated person. As long as I am passionate about what I am doing I am motivated. So if I am not being proactive it means I shouldn’t be working on that project.
The Guy Society: At The Guy Society we always talk about failure as being a part of being an entrepreneur. It’s inevitable that you are going to fail at some point. How do you handle failure and make sure you wake the next day with the same drive and determination?
Espree Devora: Failure sucks. And it definitely takes way more than a day to recover. But if you are born an entrepreneur like I am you see every experience as an opportunity to gain compassion and a wider understanding of the world. Eventually after failure I dust off the fear and ‘startup’ again.
The Guy Society: I personally, and I’m sure our readers would also appreciate, you talking some more about Women in Tech and your plans for its future.
Espree Devora: My plans are really for WeAreLATech and my personal fulfillment just being healthy and being surrounded by loved ones as often as possible. The sole goal for the #womenintech Podcast (also our Facebook group) is simply to utilize an awesome platform for women who have ‘gone after it’ to share their stories of what helped them get there. This way others can believe more in themselves and that they truly can achieve whatever they set their mind to.
The Guy Society: What’s next for you personally? Do you have any other ventures in the pipeline?
Espree Devora: Sole focus is WeAreLATech. Other than that I am excited to write a novel one day and go backpacking again internationally.
The Guy Society: I really appreciate your time. I know how busy you are. If you have anything else you’d like to say to our readers, I’m sure they’d appreciate it.
Espree Devora: Thank you for the opportunity! I believe in two way conversations so always feel free to reach out and say hi on twitter and on LinkedIn!
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Feature image credit: Alaia Williams