Girls in Tech recently sat down with Tiffany Pham, CEO of Mogul, an online platform designed to bring women together globally and help them reach their full potential. Pham talked with us about the genesis of Mogul, its overall mission, and the challenges she faced in scaling the business from startup to company.
Girls in Tech: So, tell us about the vision behind Mogul and how it got started.
Tiffany Pham: The drive to build this company really came from my family. My grandmother was this amazing Mogul herself; she spent her career running newspapers across Asia. I wanted to be just like her. She was so courageous and brave, but at the same time so generous. I grew up in Paris, but my parents were worried that, because I was a minority, I wouldn’t have the same opportunities as those around me. So, at age 10, we moved to the states, to Plano, TX. My life changed four years later when my grandmother passed away. At that time, I made the decision to live my life with the same mission as she did. And I have ever since.
That ultimately led me to Mogul, which is now one of the largest platforms for professional women worldwide, and we’re generally seen as a go-to platform for diverse talent. We help women all around the world to chase their goals and reach their potential. Additionally, we are a B2B company; firms like Nike, Bain etc. leverage mogul to attract talent from all over the world. Now, as an increasingly profitable company, we are able to leverage our success to generate social impact via free educational resources for millions of women around the world. It’s a circular model in this way, as these women become part of the Mogul ecosystem later.
GIT: A lot entrepreneurs focus on the business side, while others handle the code. But you’ve done both. Can you talk a little bit about the experience of actually building Mogul?
TP: I wanted to create a place where women could come together to find opportunities, but I didn’t have millions of dollars to build it, or to hire expert engineers to build it. So, I decided to teach myself how to code. I started with textbooks on coding, and it was extremely difficult. It really didn’t work for me, to put it simply. I was getting so frustrated, and then my brother ended up showing me a fantastic PDF on the subject. There were 10 chapters; one on the software to download, and nine on how to code. The first one alone took me a month to get through. I honestly almost gave up several times. But, in the end, this is what gave me the discipline I needed to become an engineer. And I was able to build the first version of Mogul. That is still the backbone of the company today.
GIT: What were the most difficult challenges you faced in going from startup to company?
TP: The most difficult part about scaling is going from the product to the infrastructure that can support the business. You need to bring on staff, advisors etc., and that brings a ton of complexity. Once you’ve past the founding stages, bringing on the early employees who have the same passion and drive as the rest of the team, and then extracting the cultural values you are molding and disseminating those values through the organization, is the hardest part. We focus on knowing who we are inside and communicating that effectively, to make sure that, as we grow, our values stay intact. Also, today, you really need to be global-first from the beginning. So, we really had to think about how to do that early.
GIT: How do you feel about being dubbed “The Queen of Millennials”? That’s quite a title!
TP: I’m known as a servant-leader, whereby my leadership style is to support others, so that’s quite a title to accept! What I also find wonderful is that Mogul has evolved to serve women across generations: from Generation Z to Millennials to Generation X. I’m therefore honored by that title, and yet love serving all women, all ages, across the world.
GIT: Do you have any advice for women entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
TP: Just put your pen to paper, and get started. Rapidly prototype, and iterate toward perfection over time. It doesn’t have to be perfect at the beginning. With all your hard work, dedication, and passion, you will get there.
GIT: What makes you most excited to be involved with the GIT community?
TP: I know these are incredible women who are challenging themselves to be the best of the best in an male dominated environment. And we need that, we need their leadership, to ensure that women all over the world can reach their full potential.
Tiffany will also be speaking at our Hacking for Humanity event on November 16 at Etsy in Brooklyn. Click here for more info on how to get involved!