S3E6: Verizon Store Manager to Venture Development Manager with Christie Pitts

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In today’s episode of the Learn to Code With Me podcast, I talk with Christie Pitts. Christie is a venture development manager at Verizon Ventures. Her current focus is on developing relationships in the startup community.

Christie began working at Verizon twelve years ago as a customer service representative. She worked her way up through retail store leadership and sales positions before completing her master’s degree. Then she was able to move into more strategic roles in marketing, business development, and operations.

In our conversation, Christie shares how she’s managed to progress so far within one company. She also explains how Verizon and other companies are using venture capital to improve diversity in tech. Overall, Christie teaches us the importance of working for a company whose values you share.

This episode was transcribed with the help of an AI transcription tool. Please forgive any typos.

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Hey listeners, welcome to the learn to code me podcast. I'm your host Laurence Bradford and today's episode I talk with Christie Pitts. Christie has been working at Verizon for 12 years, and she has totally worked her way up in the company. She started off as a store manager. She then got into marketing and business development roles. Today she is a venture development manager of horizon ventures, where she focuses on developing fruitful relationships in the startup community with a focus on the Internet of Things and the sharing economy. In our conversation, we discuss the world of venture capital and much more. Remember, you can get Show Notes for this episode, plus more information about Christie at learntocodewith.me/podcast. If you'd like the show, make sure to subscribe on whichever podcast player you're tuning in on. And if you're feeling particularly generous, a review of the show it'd be awesome to enjoy.

Laurence Bradford 1:52
Hi, Christy, thank you so much for talking with me today.

Christie Pitts 1:54
Hi, thank you for having me. Really appreciate it.

Laurence Bradford 1:57
Yeah, I'm really excited to talk to you but first, could you please introduce yourself to the audience?

Christie Pitts 2:02
Sure, I'm Christie Pitts. I'm a venture development manager at Verizon ventures, which is the venture capital arm for Verizon, and the whole company, including Verizon Wireless, and I've been with Verizon for 12 years, I've worked my way up through several positions. So I started pretty much the most entry level job that you could have as a customer service representative in a retail store, when I was pursuing my undergrad degrees, and then worked my way through retail store leadership, different types of sales position, I did a an online program to complete my master's degree. And then I was able to move into some more strategic roles in marketing, business development and operations. And so then now, that led me to the ventures team where I helped to manage relationships between the ryzen mentors, portfolio companies and the greater ecosystem that is Verizon.

Laurence Bradford 2:53
Yeah, so I was one of the first things that stuck out to me when I was looking over your bio and especially your LinkedIn was this career. progression that you made. And as you said, You started off as a sales associate. Correct. And then you totally moved your way, like all the way up through Verizon. And now you're in a totally different area, it seems, which is really awesome. Could you just share like more about that I, I so for me personally, just so it's just so interesting, because I've only ever worked while I've only had one, quote, unquote, full time job. And that's where I am now. I've been here for like, eight or nine months, and it's at a smaller startup, but especially at a bigger company, because I'm sure there's listeners out there who want to stay at their company. Maybe it's larger, like what kind of like how did you go? How would you do it?

Christie Pitts 3:37
Yeah, definitely. Definitely. So I okay, like to be totally transparent. When I started at Verizon, I was like, a sophomore in college, and I was really young. And one of the really, one of the primary reasons that I wanted to work at a company was because I could barely afford my cell phone bill. And this was like back in the day when text messaging were you paid per message and You could say that I've always had an affinity for mobile products, to say the least. So if you went back and you ask that girl, like, would she still be working on price and 12 years later, I am sure I would have had no foresight. So it's not like I charted a path for myself. But I will say that I was really fortunate and lucky to have had opportunities to progress. And I came into this industry specifically at a really good time. So when I started with Verizon, we had just launched the first mobile phone with a camera and it was the LG V x 6000. And if you think back, you know, 10 years ago, this is really before, before even blackberries were popular, this is when like, the palm Treo was like the smartphone of the time and then blackberry and then now of course, we have iPhones we have 4g networks. And really, I came in at a very good time, because there was a ton of growth in industry and a ton of growth in the company. So what so what I did is I just worked really hard and all the rules that I have had and I aggressively pursued opportunities in areas that interested me. So I was also lucky in that sense as well, that it wasn't just growth in my company, but it was also growth that aligned with the my developing skill sets and areas of interest.

Laurence Bradford 5:15
Yeah, I love that. I feel like that's something I can totally relate to is moving in a direction that like interests you like personally, like, like, as you said, the areas that interests you, for me, it's education, and especially Ed Tech, and kind of combining those two things. And for you, it sounds like it was initially stuff with mobile phones, right?

Christie Pitts 5:39
Totally. Yeah, I was all about the mobile and I'm still a huge nerd for anything mobile. So that's one of the reasons why Verizon aligns really well with me just from a values perspective, or just like a personal level of interest in in the type of work that we do. So I find mobile technology super fascinating. And I think You know, we've we've come so far in such a short amount of time, but we're not at the end yet. Like, there's still new technologies that are being developed and released that are really exciting. And they'll change the way that we communicate with the people that we care about the most. And that motivates me. So even like, if you go to the very basic level of whatever your role is, whatever company you work for, like if you can align with that company's mission, I think that that's great if you can find that kind of fit. And I was just really lucky to find out at a young age.

Laurence Bradford 6:28
Yeah, that's, that's, that's amazing. And, okay, I would love to like dive in more to your past. But I have this question. And I just I have to ask you, because Verizon is such a huge company. And it sounds like you've been moving to a different departments. Does it kind of feel like a new job when you move to the different area?

Christie Pitts 6:45
Yeah. So sometimes it has felt that way. And so I think this is my, I think this is my 11th job at Verizon, either 10th or 11th. And it depends on kind of how you slice it because some of the titles changed over time. But and sometimes they were like, very linear progression, like, I went from a store manager to what's called a floating store manager, which is kind of like a district manager at other companies. Like that's just like one step up, right? But then I moved from working directly in a sales channel to working in a marketing organization. And at that time, I had like, very, I had an educational background in marketing, but I didn't have any practical skill set other than internships I've done in college. But I remember like my first few weeks on the job, I really didn't say much because I was writing everything down. And I was like, when you're a little kid, and you had like, have to go back on the dictionary, I mean, like going back and googling terms at my desk, because I totally didn't understand it all. But luckily, I've always been with the same company. So at least there's been that common, some type of commonality where I have something to draw upon.

Laurence Bradford 7:50
Yeah, totally. Totally. I'm looking was this when you became again at the LinkedIn, the NCNH marketing manager?

Christie Pitts 7:58
Yeah, so and NCNH stands for Northern California in northern Nevada and Hawaii. So it was like, I can tell you a really quick, funny anecdote from that time when I was totally new to the role and new to the organization. We worked with a marketing agency called Tribal. And we're in the middle of a project with them when I started the role. And so everybody kept throwing around this term, Tribal, Tribal, Tribal. And I was like, What are they talking about, like Tribal? And I'm thinking like, I've been in the Northern California area my whole life. And I know there's like, Native American history and path here. But how does it relate? Like, seriously, that's how far out of scope I was. And I realized, like, five days into it, they were talking about a marketing agency. And I mean, you just can't know what you don't know. And I feel like I have a real curiosity to learn things. And so that's probably been helpful for me because I'm not uncomfortable, not knowing something in this scenario. I'm not afraid to say that I don't know something. But there's definitely been times especially as I've moved around that I've come in scenarios where I'm like, totally out of my comfort zone.

Laurence Bradford 9:02
Yeah, yeah, that's, that's that's a great story. I feel like that happens to me a lot to know where what what do you do something new and then and then you think something is a certain way or you think something has another meeting and then you find out later that it actually does not I can't think of a concrete example right now for myself, but I know that happens quite often, or, or I was just thinking, like, there's been tools that I thought maybe had a certain purpose or like some kind of like software tool, but then really, in reality, it was it's used for something else.

Christie Pitts 9:33
And sometimes, like when you come across those moments where you finally realize what's going on, you're like, oh, like lightbulb moment and then you're like, I can't tell anybody thatnobody should know that. I didn't know that already. But yeah, for sure.

Laurence Bradford 9:50
Yeah, definitely. Or you feel comfortable to share it like down the road, right?

Christie Pitts 9:55
Exactly. tell you that story now because it's been like six years since then. But Back in the day, I would probably have been embarrassed to share that.

Laurence Bradford 10:02
Yeah. So I'm looking again at your whole your career progression here and you So you went from like a marketing manager then to associate director of marketing, sales operations, and then to a business development manager. So these titles like to me sound like you're definitely working your way up, but you're kind of more in the still the marketing and then like the operations and then biz dev space, right?

Unknown Speaker 10:28
Yeah, yep. yep. So yeah, so um, well, I was just gonna say I was really fortunate when I was in the associate director role. So in that position, I was responsible for marketing as well as operations for our sales channels. And then I had some other groups as well, and we handled things like today, you might call it like data science, but at the time, it was like sequel reporting where we manage we measured the performance of the business and we also looked at sales, compensation, those types of things. And that really, in that role, it led to the business development position, because there were some special projects that my team took on while I was in that position. And then those projects kind of like grew legs of in and of themselves, and then that, and they were with startups. So that's what got me exposure to the startup ecosystem. And when I started learning about how startups work, and all this stuff, and then from there business development, and now it's my current day position at Verizon ventures.

Laurence Bradford 11:29
That's really cool. So from okay, so basically, essentially, that role led to the business development manager position. And now I feel okay, you need to explain what business development is for me, because that's a word I hear thrown around a lot, and I never totally get what like bizdev or you know, I do yeah, like they meet people all the time here in New York, that their job is in business development, and I just don't totally get what, what, what, what it is, so could you could you explain?

Christie Pitts 11:55
Yeah,we just we don't really work but we want you to think that we do, but no, it's one of those terms. Actually marketing is like this to where it's really like an umbrella phrase and what you what your day to day is can vary really greatly from position to position. So, in the in the role when I was a business development manager, my job was to create value for my business unit at the time, which was that which was bright and wireless in Northern California. And by partnering with startups, so I specifically worked with a few accelerators in the region. And we created partnerships with those accelerators and promotions for the startups that were within the accelerators. And then I also worked with specific startups that had relationships with horizon and we tried to find ways where there might be assets of horizon had that could be beneficial to those companies, because they're startups, like startups by nature are smaller teams with a lot less resources and Verizon has a huge company with a ton of resources, but looked for creative ways to find find things that we had a Verizon that can be used for the startup to create value.

Laurence Bradford 13:09
Awesome. And that perfectly aligns with what you're currently doing ventures development manager at Verizon ventures, which I am going to assume you're still working heavily with startups correct?

Christie Pitts 13:21
Absolutely. So now, it's really it was a great position to learn. And now that I think it was like a springboard for my move into the venture role, because now what I do is I have the same type of goal, but instead of kind of the narrow scope of creating value for that specific business unit ryzen ventures creates value for all of Verizon, with startups. And we do that by investing capital in them. So we we write checks every year into startups, every and typically a little bit later stage like series aid series fi ish, but we also create a lot of value for the startup for Verizon through partnerships, integration, and co development together, and so forth, and that's a lot of what I do is helping to manage those relationships and ensure that there's value created for both sides.

Laurence Bradford 14:11
Very cool. And you of course, I live in San Francisco. So that must be really fun. And it sounds like you've been there for a bit or at least Northern California.

Christie Pitts 14:21
Yep. I've been in Northern California pretty much my whole life. And actually, I work in San Francisco, but I live in Oakland, which is right nearby.

Laurence Bradford 14:27
Yes, of course, I here. I've never been there. But I hear really good things about Oakland. And a lot of people like it. I think. I think I was just with some people recently, were saying they like it more than San Francisco itself.

Christie Pitts 14:38
I do. Count me in. Yeah. I love Oakland. It's wonderful.

Laurence Bradford 14:44
Awesome. So okay, so and this is, again, I think I'm going to learn so much from you. Cuz these are all areas that I'm not super familiar with, like venture capital, right? I was reading an article a bit ago about women. It is about women. Men in tech women in leadership roles and women in venture capital are women VCs. Mm hmm. And Yep, I forget this. But it was kind of like making them up from what I remember. I don't definitely not quote me on this, but I feel like it was like 30% or something women in tech, and then it was like, got like, chopped in half for women in leadership roles. So I think like director and sea level, like something like 15%, like a tech companies. And then for women and venture capital, it was even lower. It was like, under 10%. So is that yeah. So is that something? I don't know? Is that accurate? Like, because you because you speak on that a bit?

Christie Pitts 15:32
Sure. So I also don't know the statistics off the top of my head, but they're definitely not good. The the national venture capital Association in VCA, has done a lot of work on this front. And they have, I think they've published some studies on this to show the percentages and the statistics, but it's definitely a problem right now in the industry in terms of gender balance, and there's a lot of really great effort. That's being put into place in order to help solve this problem. And this is also something that we support on the rise and ventures team. So part of, I guess part of the portfolio are a little bit separate from the portfolio is a group called built by girls ventures. And built by girls, that initiative built by girls was formerly part of AOL. And Verizon acquired AOL. A little while back. So built by girls has invested they only invest in companies that has seen male founders and leadership. And they've invested in over 30 companies at this point. And then in addition to their efforts on Verizon ventures teams, we are committed to supporting female technologists and entrepreneurs and we sponsor events like the we festival to x in tech. We have six companies in our portfolio that have women CEOs, and that aligned with for IBM as a whole. So Verizon has a really strong commitment to diversity, and we're recognized as a top company For women, for female executives for working moms, so on and so forth. So it's a problem in the industry and definitely, you know, we wouldn't be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem. And so we're working hard to help be a positive influence.

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Laurence Bradford 19:27
Yeah, I feel like I've definitely heard of Built by Girls Ventures but I also think there may be a few - are there a few like that now like I would I like venture capital firms that only invest in female founded startups or at least teams of one like female co founder?

Christie Pitts 19:41
Yep, there are several impact investment firms. Another one in Oakland is the K pours. And there's also impact investing that's not just around gender. So there's diversity investing like backstage capital is example of that across culture ventures is another example. So there are a lot of people out there working on this. Like I'd mentioned, I don't know if I just mentioned projects include, but I just included another resource. And they help startup founders, with their cultures and help them have a diverse, you know, start a diverse company from the beginning, through a lot of really smart people out there working on this. There's definitely it's a long way to go. We're not there yet.

Laurence Bradford 20:23
Yeah, it's really interesting that you mentioned project include, because I swear, I just had I think with a founder. Yeah. The founder was a recommended like LinkedIn connection the other day yesterday, and I was looking at it then look at the website and whatnot, but I hadn't heard of it until this until that point.

Christie Pitts 20:40
Yeah, it's incredible. They just won the Crunchy. Or they went to Crunchy at the TechCrunch awards. Just a couple I guess it was about a few weeks ago or last month. So yeah, they're working hard. They're doing good work.

Laurence Bradford 20:52
Yeah, that's that's awesome. Do you have any I know is such a broad such a broad question. But for people who are thinking about getting maybe more involved in the startup world, perhaps even in venture capital. Do you have any advice, especially since you worked with so many different startups and are really active in the community?

Christie Pitts 21:12
Yeah, I mean, is it is a broad question, but I think that there's a lot of different ways you can go about it. And there's a lot of startups that are hiring. So I think that's a great way to start. Like, if you are open to taking some risk and learning quickly and wearing a lot of hats at a company or like having a very broad role in a company, working in a start up is a great place to be because you have a lot of responsibility, and you're learning as it is. It's building itself. I think you said you work with startup, right?

Laurence Bradford 21:40
Yes, I definitely do. And I can attest to the loss of response, the loss of responsibilities, because a lot of times people ask you about like my job title, what I do exactly, and it really varies so much on a like quarter by quarter or month by month, even week by week basis. So yeah, having a broad range of skill sets definitely comes in handy there.

Christie Pitts 22:00
So, basically, you should be the expert on that. Since I've only ever worked at a huge company, which is Verizon. Well, so I think there's so many resources that are out there. Now, if you're looking to get into the industry, like, for example, Startup Grind is a great example are startup weekends, these are Startup Weekend, especially as they have short events, that they're weekend events where you can launch a start up in a weekend. There's a LAUNCH Festival. There's resources, like there's books about it. A lot of VCs have blogs, but they're really active. And they and they'll, you know, there's information regardless of what stage your company is in. So I feel like there's so much that you can learn just by doing some research and then just like anything else in life, I'd say like, pursue the thing that makes the most amount of sense for you. Like be authentic to to who you are, and then you can that should bring you on the right.

Laurence Bradford 22:54
Yeah, totally, totally. I love that advice. I always tell people I love you asked me about learning Learning how to code and what kind of projects they should build or how they should get like real world experience. And I always tell people to build things that truly interest them. Because, lots of people I talked with also speaking from experience, when early on, I was building things that just I wasn't really interested in. I thought it was a cool idea, but nothing that I was actually passionate about. And I would always lose interest in a week. And then when I finally started my site, and it's been something I've almost been doing for three years, but it was something I was truly interested in. And that's definitely what motivated me to keep up with it and keep maintaining it over all this time.

Christie Pitts 23:37
Exactly. Like I think once you can tap into that, whatever that is, whatever interests you that you'd like to seek out, regardless of whether or not you're getting paid for it or how you know how hard it might be or how tedious it be. If you're seeking something out naturally, like follow that path, because I feel like at least for at least for me, I have found that the more that I can align whatever I do are living with what I'm really passionate about, the happier I am. And the better I perform the good so much, it's really hard to force yourself to do really well in a role when you can't, like you're not naturally intrinsically interested in what you're doing. It's like, so tough. Whereas if you're really excited to go to work, or to work on whatever your products might be, then it's like, No one can stop you.

Laurence Bradford 24:23
Yeah. 1,000%. And I think you're such a great example of someone who found those opportunities within the same company, which, at least with people that I know and I and I see in the world, I think is quite rare nowadays. And obviously, you know, of course, Verizon is a big company, and you have like this, this vent is Verizon ventures and lots of different areas, like ways you can move around, you know, not just one direct path. But yeah, I think that's really awesome. Because when I think about if I stopped enjoying my job tomorrow, my instant reaction would be like, Okay, I guess I would have to find a new job, but that's not always is the case like you can move to another department in your company or you could askfor different responsibilities or to work on new projects or something like that.

Christie Pitts 25:09
Right. And I've been really lucky because Verizon has been really committed to internal development. So there's been a lot of training and opportunity to move into new positions or like, shadow people and learn about what they do. But I think I honestly think a lot of companies are like this. And I'm not that remarkable. Like, it's just I think it's just that a lot of times you see people who have been with a company for a long time, and I think the assumption is like, Oh, you've just been in the same role, but most likely, their job is completely changed from when they got in. So definitely, if you're an even if you're the thing about being a startup is you get all of that experience in a short amount of time and then you can really decide what you like the most about a company and it can help you choose what you want to do next. And similarly in a big company. You can try out like different departments or different functions and font and then when you find your fit, then it's just like you grow from there.

Laurence Bradford 26:06
Yeah. And when you move around and Verizon or moved up and did all these internal trainings and whatnot, did you ask for these opportunities? Or were they sort of like presented to you? I don't know if that's, that's kind of a weird question to ask. But I'm really I'm really a firm believer though. And like, you don't get what you don't ask for. Right? So it's like if you're unhappy in your current position, or this could even apply to outside of work, like speaking up, and you know, being communicative is really important. So I'm just wondering, like, how much of that you did?

Christie Pitts 26:35
Yeah, you're absolutely right. Like as much as I wish I could get on with you and be like, Oh, no, I just sat back and opportunities rolled in. It was definitely not like that. I think so. Okay. So I, I went after opportunities I applied to them. I put projects together in more than one scenario, I took a role in an acting capacity, meaning that when I moved into the position It was basically I had to prove myself like there's a temporary period before I had the job for real. And that was, that was driven a lot by my own motivation and curiosity. But I think like going back to what we were talking about before, something I started doing in my career, probably about five or six years ago, is I and I still do this now.

Christie Pitts 27:22
Like, I've done it with a job that I have today at Fry's and ventures, which I love my job to be totally clear, but I'll take, I'll think about everything that are my responsibilities and in the role and what I need to do well in order to perform really well. And I usually rank them in terms of what I really love, and the things that maybe I don't love them, but they're like necessary components of the job. And you can and this applies to any job you have, even if you own your own company, they're going to be the things that you're really passionate about. And then they're going to be the things that have to be taken care of in order to keep the lights on or whatever. And I've always tried to widen the stock at the top. So when I've been one of evaluated for new opportunities, I always look in and try to judge that opportunity by whether or not maybe a good fit for who I am. And then, you know, I can't reiterate enough that I was definitely self motivated to go and pursue new opportunities. But it's also really lucky because the company was growing and the industry was growing. So there were opportunities available. And that was just fortune. I can't take any credit for that.

Laurence Bradford 28:29
Yeah, I really love that pro tip that you shared. So I'm calling it out, but listing out the responsibilities in your current role. And then ranking them by like, what you love to do and then serve, like what needs to be done, and then trying to make sure that the stuff that you love is outnumbering the stuff that needs to be done. Is that is that right?

Christie Pitts 28:51
Yeah, exactly. And you can even apply it to anything in your life, like just what you were saying before, right. So like, if you're looking for a new place to live, like what are the things that you really want to have And what are the things that are our deal breaker and what what's like, Okay, well, you know, maybe coin op laundry is okay with me or whatever it is, then you. I think that's by operating on that rule. I've always, like, had a strong. If I look at something and I stopped drinking like that, and I can feel really comfortable that the majority of it lines up with what I value, then it's a good decision. It's an easy decision go with my gut on what I want to do.

Laurence Bradford 29:30
Yeah, that's an awesome tip. And this reminds me of another exercise I heard about before I more so for business owners. I think I still think this could apply to a full time job correct me if I'm wrong, or if you disagree, but it was the same exact thing that you that you said like what you love to do. Things that like need to get done and only you can do and then other things that you can delegate to other people. And then I think there was even this again for business owners by listed things that you like, actually hate doing, or something like the things that you really dread like Obviously the full time job, or even your own business, there's going to be things that you don't like to do as much, but you have to do themselves and you really probably can't delegate it to anyone else. Right, right. Yeah. But that's, that's kind of a similar exercise. So yeah, that that's really awesome. Now, how often do you do that? Because, right, like responsibilities, even if you keep the same job title can change. Do you have like a calendar reminder to revisit like your list every so often?

Christie Pitts 30:26
Not like a counter reminder, although we do have a yearly planning cross process. So that's really a helpful time to align everything. Also, I think, I've been in a cadence of moving through different rolls of horizon like every year to two years ish. And so somewhere around that timeframe, it naturally starts to come up. Whether and a lot of times it's because maybe my role has grown or my responsibilities have changed and I found that whatever has changed, either I really gravitate towards it and love it. Or maybe Not so much. And then when those conditions change, I kind of take a step back and look at the landscape and do an inventory to say, Okay, what what's the current situation? And I think another part of this that is a change needs to be made is like, what's the ideal situation? So like, for me, I'm an extroverted person. So I need to be around people, I need to have that ability to collaborate and work in a group and as a team. So if that was something that constricted in my role, I think I would reprioritize it and whatever move I considered making in the future.

Laurence Bradford 31:33
Yeah, I love that thinking about the ideal situation. I do that in like little I try to do that in even really tiny moments like in my in my day to day so sometimes if I get it, maybe other people can relate to this, but I'll get really frustrated with something and I can get into this. I call it like a victim mindset. So I get like really upset. I'm kind of just like dwelling and not really taking action. And fortunately I'm usually able to snap myself out of it. Pretty quickly and be like, okay, you know sitting here and worrying be upset is not going to do anything I need to just take like meaningful action, you know, what will the ideal situation be okay? What steps can I take, you know today to make moves towards that ideal situation. And it always comes down to taking action and, you know, being I think, communicative and ask again, you don't get what you don't ask for. So in your job if you're unhappy, like in the right way, communicating that with your, you know, your supervisor, or finding ways that you could take on new projects that would bring you more fulfillment.

Christie Pitts 32:31
Totally. You're exactly right. And I think like everybody gets in those moments, by the way, so the like, if you're listening or like for you don't beat yourself up over it. If you get a little bit twisted over something. I always think to myself, like if it was my friends that was in this situation, like, what would I tell them? Like if I could have like out of body experience and just look at this other person and say, like, Oh, it's pretty simple. Just take this action or like, take a deep breath in, and I always like, try to look at it that way as well. Instead of just like, getting so caught up in the minutiae of it.

Laurence Bradford 33:04
yeah. Another thing I tried to do with things like that is asked myself, you know, will I care about this in a year? Will this matter in like six months from now? Usually the answer is no. And sometimes we'll even be like, will this matter in two weeks from now? And sometimes the answer's no. I like, especially at a company like like, where I work or even when I when I'm doing like women projects like like these, like, these little things that can just like get kind of set you off on the wrong foot or rub you the wrong way. But in reality, and like a week or two weeks, it probably won't even matter, right? Or you won't even be thinking about it. So it's like, okay, I shouldn't waste all that energy. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, being upset about it. So thank you so much again, Christy, for sharing all this information. It's super interesting. And I think you're the first person I ever had on the show. I definitely had a fair amount of startup founders, but I think the first person who's been like, out of is it technically a VC firm? I using the right phrasing there?

Christie Pitts 33:57
Yeah, you're good. It's well, we're we call ourselves Corporate Venture Capital Firm, but yes.

Laurence Bradford 34:02
Okay. Corporate Venture Capital Firm. Okay. Nonetheless, I think you're I think you're the first person I did have someone on the last season out, I think about it, who was a founding partner, one of the founding partners at Y Combinator, like earlier earlier, I was there for a few years. So I guess maybe that's kind of similar from what your was what you're doing these like, picking companies to invest in? Yeah, absolutely. Okay, cool. So I'm not totally -

Christie Pitts 34:27
Yet, you're not totally off the differences, just an approach. So like for Y Combinator, they provide this like training for startups. And it's very startup so well, now, especially now, the startups are more established, but back in the day, I think they were earlier stage. And for us, we're coming in at a later date. So like, we're talking to people after the events by combinator, for example, when they're a little more established, and the company is a little bigger, has more revenue more felt larger team. But yeah, we both play in it in the startup space at different stages.

Laurence Bradford 34:59
All right now. Cool, so yeah, happy wasn't totally off base with that. Anyway, so where can people find you online?

Unknown Speaker 35:06
For sure. So I can be found on Twitter @ImChristiePritt. And also, please if Venture Capital interest you or Corporate Venture Capital interests you check out www.verizonventures.com. We have a ton of information there about our portfolio, we have our own blog, and we have a podcast to where we feature other startup founders and venture capitalists and other corporate partners. So we're doing a lot to help raise the awareness, just around corporate VC.

Laurence Bradford 35:36
Awesome. Christy, thank you so much for coming on.

Christie Pitts 35:39
Thank you for having me. I had a great time.

Laurence Bradford 35:46
I hope you enjoyed our conversation. Again, the Show Notes for this episode can be found at learntocodewith.me/podcast. If you're listening to this episode in the future, simply click the Search icon in the upper navigation and type Chrisie's name. It's spelled like C-H-R-I-S-T-I-E. And her last name is P-R-I-T-T-S. Regardless, make sure you go on over to my website, learntocodewith.me, where you can find even more awesome code related content, like my 10 Free Tips for Teaching Yourself How to Code. Thanks again for tuning in, and I'll see you next week.

Key takeaways:

  • Getting opportunities to progress within a company depends on both luck and hard work.
  • The more you can align what you do for a living with what you’re passionate about, the happier you’ll be and the better you’ll perform.
  • Startups are great places to work if you’re open to taking risks, wearing a lot of hats, having a lot of responsibility, and learning a lot.
  • If you work for a big company and you’re unhappy in your job, you don’t have to leave. You can try to move to another department or position or seek out internal training opportunities instead.
  • Rank the different aspects of your job to see how much of it you love. To evaluate a new opportunity, assess whether it has more of the things you love than your current job.

Links and mentions from the episode:

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