Feb 9 • 59M

Episode 83: Startup Scrappiness, Venture Matchmaking, and Thinking In Bets with Leigh-Marie Braswell

 
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Datacast follows the narrative journey of data practitioners and researchers to unpack the career lessons they learned along the way. James Le hosts the show.
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Show Notes

  • (01:43) Leigh-Marie shared her formative experiences of her childhood — growing up in Alabama, solving math problems competitively, and going to Phillips Exeter Academy.

  • (04:21) Leigh-Marie discussed her undergraduate experience at MIT studying Math with Computer Science.

  • (06:41) Leigh-Marie went through her internship experience at Jane Street and Blend.

  • (10:07) Leigh-Marie recalled lessons learned from interning at Google — as an ML engineer for the Research and Machine Intelligence Team and an Associate Product Manager for the Chrome Web Platform team.

  • (13:39) Leigh-Marie talked about her decision to join the early founding team of Scale API (now known as Scale AI) after finishing MIT.

  • (17:30) Leigh-Marie explained why labeled data is the key bottleneck to the growth of the ML industry.

  • (20:02) Leigh-Marie discussed the engineering and product challenges of dealing with 3D sensor data.

  • (22:33) Leigh-Marie unpacked her experience building Scale’s Sensor Fusion Annotation product from scratch, from gathering customer interests to building the initial MVP.

  • (26:45) Leigh-Marie talked about learning curves during Scale’s scaling phase, as the product had more advanced features and the customer list grew.

  • (32:21) Leigh-Marie dived into Scale’s credo emphasizing a relentless speed of execution.

  • (35:00) Leigh-Marie shared valuable hiring lessons at Scale’s early days (Read Alex’s blog post about Scale’s hiring philosophy).

  • (38:05) Leigh-Marie went over the importance of developing uncompressed understandings of how everything works together as Scale grows.

  • (41:39) Leigh-Marie shared her advice for folks who want to get into angel investing.

  • (44:02) Leigh-Marie shared her motivation behind joining Founders Fund (Read Founders Fund’s investment manifesto).

  • (46:56) Leigh-Marie went over how she has been proving value upfront and forming investment theses as a new investor.

  • (49:10) Leigh-Marie shared advice she has been giving to companies regarding their product-market fit and go-to-market fit strategies.

  • (50:38) Leigh-Marie reflected on her transitions from software engineering to product management to venture capital.

  • (52:31) Leigh-Marie shared the lesson learned from playing poker that benefits her careers in startup and venture.

  • (54:19) Closing segment.

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About the show

Datacast features long-form, in-depth conversations with practitioners and researchers in the data community to walk through their professional journeys and unpack the lessons learned along the way. I invite guests coming from a wide range of career paths — from scientists and analysts to founders and investors — to analyze the case for using data in the real world and extract their mental models (“the WHY and the HOW”) behind their pursuits. Hopefully, these conversations can serve as valuable tools for early-stage data professionals as they navigate their own careers in the exciting data universe.

Datacast is produced and edited by James Le. Get in touch with feedback or guest suggestions by emailing khanhle.1013@gmail.com.

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