Stacey hardly needs an introduction (Google already does that for her very well). The Forbes 30 Under 30 young entrepreneur lives in San Francisco and is also passionate about Labor Law, Workforce Management, Technology, and Women in Tech. We guarantee that you’ll be taking away lots from talking to her.
To quickly get to know you - what's your definitive personality trait?
Openness to new ideas
Something weird about you?
In middle school, I had a guinea pig named after my favorite meal -- Macaroni and Cheese (Mac Mac for short).
Ultimate goal in life?
Help others achieve their life goals.
How does it feel looking at your Wikipedia page? Must be awesome!
Having a Wikipedia page is not as cool as looking back at all the people I’ve been able to work with and the value we’ve been able to create and say “We did that.”
Anyone you can't live without?
My dad & mom
So you co-authored and published 2 Billion Under 20: How Millennials are Breaking Down Age Barriers and Changing the World. What's something you personally learnt from the 75 stories you collected?
The biggest overarching theme and take away that I had from co-authoring and publishing 2 Billion Under 20: How Millennials Are Breaking Down Age Barriers and Changing the World is that everyone is on their own journey to success and success is different to everyone.
In our society today, we tend to think of success in the monetary or physical sense. What is so-and-so’s net worth? What kind of car is that person driving? What brand of clothes are they wearing?
When I read the stories in 2 Billion Under 20, it’s a refreshing reminder that success looks different for all people across all time-zones. It may mean inventing a new technology or selling a company. Or it may mean building great relationships with your parents or helping a sibling understand something important about their own future. The stories in the book highlight snippets of learnings from young people trying to reach their own idea of success: the ups and downs and the moments of glory that endure.
I'm getting a copy of that book right after this conversation. You created an extremely successful startup in high school - I want to know, what did entrepreneurship mean to you back then? Did you always know it was the path for you?
When my brother and I started MySocialCloud, a single sign-on company, the word “entrepreneur” wasn’t in my vocabulary. My parents were both accountants by trade. They “climbed the corporate ladder” as was customary of their generation. It was expected that my brother and I would both go to college, get a job and do the exact same thing. When we started MySocialCloud, Scott and I thought it would be a summer project. I don’t think we understood at that point that starting businesses was an acceptable career path. But shortly after we built our first prototype and started gaining traction on our password manager, we attracted the attention of a few investors who invested $1.2M into the business. That was when our attitude shifted from “we’re in college and this is a side project that may or may not work” to “this is a business and we are entrepreneurs.”
Wikipedia told me that the Richard Branson made a significant investment into MySocialCloud. How did you guys pitch to him?
When we started MySocialCloud, I saw a tweet from Branson that said “Meet me in Miami for cocktails, Don’t $2K to charity” with an email address on the next tweet. I emailed the email address explaining that we were broke college kids trying to start a company but would love the opportunity to meet him. Later that night, we got an email back that said if we could donate the $2K and be in Miami in 48 hours, we could have the opportunity to meet him.
To make a long story short, we ended up borrowing $4K for my brother and I to attend. When we got to Miami, there were 18 people who had responded to the tweet and we all went around the room and chatted about who we were, why we were there and what we were passionate about. My brother and I spoke about MySocialCloud and our passion to solve this problem of usernames/passwords, but we expressed that we needed advice and guidance. It was here that we asked Branson for his email to get his advice on our company.
When we got back home, we sent him an email to get advice on MySocialCloud and a few weeks later he, Jerry Murdock and Alex Welch ended up investing in MySocialCloud.
That's absolutely amazing. What about your startup now, Forge? Could you tell me a bit more about it?
I came up with the idea for Forge after publishing 2 Billion Under 20: How Millennials Are Breaking Down Age Barriers And Changing the World. I realized that most people today work hourly jobs and most people want a flexible work schedule; they want to be able to have control over the hours they work each day. Life isn’t always as simple as working a 9-5 shift every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Recent legislation like the Affordable Care Act that has caused companies to provide health benefits to employees who work over 30 hours per week. Operating on small margins as it is, restaurants and retailers have an especially tough time making ends meet with these requirements, so they’re forced to cap hours at 30 hours per week per employee; leaving the employee with less opportunity to make money.
I started Forge with the mission to bring a flexible schedule model to individuals working hourly jobs and the companies who employ them. With Forge, Team Members can get approved at certain locations and select which hours they’d like to work, while companies can share their talent pool with other companies in their geography to provide each employee with more work opportunities.
Interesting! As its CEO, how would you character the relationships between the management team at Forge?
- We’re an extremely small team at Forge today, so I take the approach that everyone on the team is a mini CEO of their own timelines, goals and metrics. It’s the job of everyone else on the team to give honest and constant information about their part of the business and it’s my job to make sure everyone is moving in the right direction, with everything they need to be successful.
Congrats on getting the Thiel Fellowship, I'd love to know about how you got there!
Sure! So a little known story about me and the Thiel Fellowship is that I applied for it in 2011 and was rejected. I still believed in the idea of the organization -- you can accomplish great things without a college degree -- and decided to continue pursuing MySocialCloud. Four years and one acquisition later, I had gotten to know and stayed friends with many of the people who were running the fellowship -- namely, Michael Gibson and Danielle Strachman -- and was accepted in the class of 2015.
Do you have any advice for me? I'm also hoping to achieve my dreams :)
Go the extra mile in everything you do. Otherwise, it might not be worth doing at all.
It's been such a pleasure getting to know your story a bit, thank you!
You're absolutely welcome.