"Where are the women in this space?"

with Lauren Ingram, Founder of Women of Web3

Show notes:

When her contract with Meta ended, Lauren Ingram was too scared to tell anyone she was pregnant in case it jeopardised her job prospects. 106 unsuccessful applications later, Lauren decided to take the leap and turn her interest in Web3 into a business.

I think the theme that threads through our conversation is women belonging and taking up space – in tech leadership roles, as consumers, in asking for payment for speaker opportunities, as business owners.

And Lauren also shares some advice on how to get to grips with AI, Web3, Blockchain (what they all actually are!) and why it’s important for us as women and mums to be part of these conversations.


Listen in for:

  • The end of Lauren’s contract with Meta coinciding with pregnancy and the effect it had on her job search and how she felt about herself
  • Why Lauren started learning about web3 and why it’s important for mums of ‘potato’ aged babies to have something for themselves
  • What web3 and block chain actually are!
  • Why Lauren founded Women of Web 3, and why it’s so important for women to be part of the tech conversation
  • Why we should rip of the AI plaster and get on board with it to make our work and home lives easier
  • How to get the confidence to pivot into the tech industry from a different path
  • The realities of running a business with a toddler and the choices and sacrifices we all need to make
  • Knowing your worth when it comes to ‘exposure’ opportunities
  • Lauren’s favourite part of her founder journey (I LOVED this)
  • 3 places to start learning about web3

 

Links:

Website
Instagram
LinkedIn

 

About Lauren Ingram:

When Lauren found she was newly unemployed from her role in tech and on maternity leave, she needed a new plan.

She decided to upskill by learning about all things Web3, blockchain and the metaverse – and while she discovered a burgeoning area of emerging tech, she was shocked by the lack of women in it.

Since launching Women of Web3 in 2022, they have grown into a global community of over 20k women and curious minds to learn about emerging tech together.

Women of Web3 have partnered with the biggest names in tech, consulting, luxury and more including Google, Amazon, Cartier, Charlotte Tilbury, and Shiseido in order to educate, and bring equity and accessibility.

I encourage you to learn more about her and head over to youtube (once you are done with this episode of course!) to hear Lauren’s TEDx talk on ‘How to build a better internet’.

(Oh and the one only Steven Bartlett counts himself as one of the many fans of what ‘Women of Web3’ are doing)

If there is any podcast you listen to – please make it this one where Lauren will be talking about why we need to be aware of the lack of women in the tech space.


Lauren Ingram’s Links:

Website
Instagram
LinkedIn (Women of Web3)
LinkedIn (Lauren)
Ted Talk

Transcript:

Accountant She

Today’s episode of Bump to Business owner is proudly sponsored by Accountant She the disruptive, holistic, and person-centered accounting team helping to take you from bump to business owner and beyond. From fully outsourcing your business finances to strategic and enhanced maternity planning. We’ve got you covered and if you don’t need an accountant just yet but want completely free, accessible consumable financial education, then you can find me everywhere that you consume content at Accountant She.


Intro

Hello. I’m Caroline Marshall, and welcome to Bump to Business Owner the podcast speaking to mums in business. You. I’ll be in conversation with some of the most inspiring women and mothers in enterprise about their journey, how they created their successful businesses alongside raising their children and what that looks like in work and family life.

Caroline (00:36):
Hello and welcome to today’s episode of Bump to Business Owner. I’m your host, Caroline Marshall, and today I am welcoming Lauren Ingram, founder of Women of Web3. When Lauren found she was newly unemployed from her role in tech and on maternity leave, she needed a new plan. She decided to upskill by learning about all things Web3, blockchain and the metaverse, and while she discovered a burgeoning area of emerging tech, she was shocked by the lack of women in it. Since launching Women of Web3 in 2022, they have grown into a global community of over 20k women and curious minds to learn about emerging tech together. Women of Web3 have partnered with the biggest names in tech consulting and more including Google, Amazon, Cartier, Charlotte Tilbury and Shiseido in order to educate and bring equity and accessibility. I encourage you to learn more about her and head over to YouTube (once you’re done with this episode, of course) to hear Lauren’s TEDx talk on how to build a better internet. And the one and only Steven Bartlett counts himself as one of the many fans of what Women of Web3 are doing. If there is any podcast you listen to, please make this one, where Lauren will talk about why we need to be aware of the lack of women in the tech space. Lauren, welcome.

Lauren (02:13):
Thank you so much for having me. That was really nice hearing all my achievements shared back to me.

Caroline (02:18):
Such achievements, and I’m sorry you have to shout out about Steven Bartlett if he’s a fan of yours at the start. Got to get those connections somewhere and join the dots, but I saw you talk on a panel for Female Founders Rise and I was like, I have to bring her on. We have to talk about all of this because naturally my head always goes into if there’s a lack of women in something, I always wonder, is it the motherhood? Because we had a little conversation before this about it not just being a gender pay gap so much anymore, but perhaps the motherhood penalty lending into this. And so I love hearing about women moms out there making a change, which you certainly are. What’s your career path that led to this? Tell us a little bit about that.

Lauren (02:58):
Of course, it’s been a little bit mixed. In fact, even recruiters have asked me in the past, why have you jumped about so much? And I think I might’ve had shiny object syndrome. I also think maybe earlier in my career, I probably wasn’t the best at, I guess at my job, and I did find out slightly harder to hold down jobs in the early days, but I’ve jumped about between things like digital agencies, tech startups, all the way from tiny little four person businesses all the way up to Meta when it was Facebook and I think that was about 70,000 people ish when I was working there.

Caroline (03:30):
Wow. What was that like?

Lauren (03:31):
I loved it actually. I mean I think partly because of the free food, I mean I am a sucker for it.

Caroline (03:38):
I love your honesty.

Lauren (03:41):
I’m probably not meant to say that it’s the people actually

Caroline (03:43):
Girls’ got to eat in London.

Lauren (03:47):
They did have amazing food though, but I’ve always really enjoyed being at the intersection of new technologies and what you can do with them. Some creative stuff that I wouldn’t call myself a creative, but I think somewhat creative person and then also thinking about women and inclusion and so when I was working at Meta, my job actually was running something called She Means business, so like a training programme for female entrepreneurs, several other programmes like it. So I did actually manage to make women and inclusion part of my job, which I didn’t even realise was possible. I mean that was also the job that I lost when I found out I was pregnant. So it was tricky irony. They didn’t actually know that they didn’t know that I was pregnant when my contract was coming to an end. You could only renew it a certain number of times. That was according to their rules and I didn’t manage to go permanent initially. Partly it was a tricky jobs market and then as I found out I was pregnant, I think I was just giving off more and more desperate vibes and so yeah, didn’t manage to go permanent there and didn’t manage to get a job elsewhere and so ended up taking a totally different route.

Caroline (04:48):
And was this in 2020 as well? So was this in lockdown? You were job hunting, in which case understandably very hard time to job hunt as well.

Lauren (04:57):
It was about a year into the pandemic. There was still a lot of uncertainty around things. Is there budget to bring on basically new permanent roles in whatever team? And so anywhere I was interviewing, you might then find out like, oh, actually that’s being pulled because budgets are changing because everything was moving and changing so fast, it wasn’t a great time to be interviewing and I think I lost a sense of myself and what I was good at. So if previously prior to all of this, I think I would’ve been more confident in talking about my skills in marketing, pr, running big events, community building and things like that. And then I felt like by losing my job and then interviewing for, I checked my spreadsheet beforehand. I interviewed for, applied for, sorry, 106 jobs. I think I interviewed for about 25 and I had something like 60 interviews in total, get down to the last two and then it just wouldn’t come off. So yeah, it was quite a demoralising time, but actually ultimately I’m genuinely glad because if I had managed to go permanent a big tech company on a juicy salary, I wouldn’t have then left to start my own business. I don’t think I would’ve had the sort of confidence or the impetus to go and carve my own path.

Caroline (06:06):
I had agree on that. I was made redundant and then went to a job then furloughed, and I was like, okay, and it was locked down and I was pregnant as well, and I was like, yeah, okay. Sometimes you just need to take the hint that you’re meant to be doing this on your own and not all of us are meant to jump. I have real respect for people that actually jump and go for it versus ones that are like, okay, this has happened. I need to make the best of it, see what I can come up with. And I love that you’ve spoken about the, I think it was in your TED Talk, the gut wrenching fear about losing your job while pregnant, and I found that so relatable as well. I was so fearful. I think I felt not to trust my employer at the time when I became pregnant and that it would change everything. Perhaps that similar experience, was it lockdown or is it just something we go through that realisation of everything I’ve been working towards is now going to change and I’m pregnant.

Lauren (07:00):
Yeah, I mean it is a massive shift and I had the same, I guess, mistrustful of my employer. I didn’t tell anyone, anyone that’s connected to work in any sense, did not tell them I was pregnant, literally told close friends. My parents kept it very small while I was unemployed because I just felt like any possible almost leak of that information would jeopardise my chances of a job, which is really sad. In fact, even at the time as somebody, she’s called Neve and so she’s now running our partnerships for women of Web3. So she has a day job at Slack and also supports women of Web3 in her spare time. But at that point, she was also a contractor at Facebook slash Meta but contracted for a lot longer than I was. And so she was sending me roles knowing that I was looking for stuff and because I knew I was pregnant, I hadn’t told her I had this like, oh my God, I felt so guilty towards her of like, oh my God, she almost shouldn’t put me forward for things or recommend me for things.

(07:54):
I really felt that strongly at the time, whereas now we talk about it of I can’t believe I almost wanted her to stop recommending me because I was pregnant. I felt like she might feel so disappointed. She then found out I was pregnant and then say if I managed to get a job that she recommended me for and then I take maternity leave, that that would somehow reflect badly on her, which when I articulate that out loud, it sounds kind of ridiculous, but at the time it doesn’t feel like that at all. It is really terrifying. Part of it is that very fundamental human feeling of just need to go out and provide for my baby child, you can’t help it.

Caroline (08:29):
That’s what you’ve been told is important up until this point when you’re like, okay, what happens to that now that I’ve been working on all this time bringing in my own money and being independent, and I think maybe that’s a point of being founders now is that we can try and support that change. I had that with a team member. I think something happened and they had to tell me they were pregnant quite early and they’re like, oh, I didn’t think you’d want me to put me forward for this client anymore. And I was like, oh no, you’re still working with them and we’ll sort your maternity leave when the time comes in nine months, whenever it is you’re taking it and can hopefully be part of that change now to be like, well, no, I still put you forward for work. Even if you are hoping pregnancies in your near future or is in your path right now.

Lauren (09:13):
Exactly the sort of living by our values and employing other women in a way that we would love to be employed and be part of an organisation. So that is literally why you need more women in leadership is because of this shared lived experience and so being able to be a better leader that can better help other women in an organisation accordingly. I

Caroline (09:33):
Love it. That’s the optimistic view, but so I’d love to talk about how you actually started Women in Web3. I really want to talk about what you do and try and not make it seem scary and encourage others who might be at cross paths in their career to look at your industry as a potential job path for themselves. You also said that motherhood was boring in those early stages, which I loved. You’re so honest about. Do you think it was especially boring because of when you did your early motherhood, you couldn’t go out and do the whole maternity leave thing?

Lauren (10:09):
I did sometimes feel bored with a potato age baby. He was very sweet, very beautiful, and obviously I loved him very much. I felt like I did do fine on the kind of bonding with my baby, but there is only so much they can give back when they can’t do anything.

Caroline (10:23):
We know that we love them, but it is, which is lovely when you’ve got say other kids running around and you don’t want to be doing too much, but when you’re on your own, that could be quite a lonely time or strange time.

Lauren (10:38):
Yeah, so I mean I watched quite a bit of Sex in the City and Gossip Girl, but I also

Caroline (10:43):
Gossip Girl. Brilliant. I did too.

Lauren (10:46):
But I did find that I just needed a bit more stimulation somehow of you’re either changing nappies or walking in circles in the park to send a baby back to sleep or breastfeeding in the middle of the night, and so you’re going a little bit loopy and may or may not be watching Gossip Girl or turning your Brain to Marsh anyway, it wasn’t even necessarily about needing to upskill or learn something really important. I just felt like I needed something different of something that was uniquely for me that I could, whether it was learn about or do, it could have been something like a pottery workshop instead. It wasn’t that in the end it was Web3, which is the kind of next major iteration of the internet Web3 point. So if Web one was basically the dawn of the internet and essentially websites Web 2.0 was the next major phase of innovation. So things like social media and the sharing economy and basically essentially apps. So things like Uber, Airbnb, anything that might be an app on your phone, that was the next big change on the internet. So the third big change is Web3 and a lot of that is blockchain based. And so things like NFTs, I’m not going to go into the full jargon.

Caroline (11:54):
Can you simply explain blockchain? Is there a way you’ve managed to do that? I’ve always tried to ask people this about blockchain.

Lauren (12:02):
Can I explain it in a really simple way? I can try, but I will inevitably put some people off anyway. So blockchain is a sort of decentralised internet and the idea or ambition behind blockchain and Web3 more broadly is can you decentralise powers away from the central decision makers like the Facebooks and Googles of the world, but also central banks and institutions in that sense? So cryptocurrency is a type of money that operates on blockchain and you don’t need a bank to transfer that money. You can just do it basically crypto wallet to crypto wallet. You can also use a blockchain for things like managing supply chain or owning things like NFTs, non fungible tokens. But let’s not worry about what fungible means. Basically you are owning digital assets and digital items. So with something like Spotify, you’re like, okay, here’s the playlist or the music I own, but actually you don’t own any of that.

(12:56):
Same with Netflix, we don’t own any of those things actually, even things that you might download like a podcast episode onto your phone, apple could then just rescind that at any point. But something like an NFT is because it’s recorded on the blockchain, which is a super safe permanent way of recording transactions, you really do own that item. So if your token was, it could be a song or it could be a piece of digital art or it might be some kind of membership to a community, but that you fully own it in the same way as if you were to put money onto your mattress, you really own that money. It’s not in the bank, not owned by the bank sort of thing, not held by them. So still not sure that quite answers the kind of what is blockchain, but it is a sort of alternative way that’s not centralised way of running the internet.

(13:43):
I think that’s part of what got me interested in it. There’s also the metaverse side of things of a more immersive version of the internet. So things like virtual reality headsets and as it turns out also augmented reality, which is things like Instagram filters that you can put of your face, whatever, all of that stuff is all part of this next major phase or wave of innovation. So the more I learned about it, the more I was like, Ooh, this is really cool. But if initially I was partly learning about it thinking, okay, post maternity leave, I need a job obviously. So I was initially learning about it thinking this can be just my new thing. Maybe I can try and upskill try and get a cool new job later. And the more I learned it was like, no, actually this is the thing. This is the thing I need to be in. So do I need to maybe go and work for a Web3 startup? I wasn’t even sure what at that point, my baby was still already little at that point. But yeah, the more I learned, the more it was like where are the women in this space? It feels quite hostile to women to be honest.

Caroline (14:38):
Interesting why you say, why did it feel hostile in that sense?

Lauren (14:42):
Well, I dunno how many crypto bros you’ve come across, but

Caroline (14:48):
A couple…

Lauren (14:49):
Web3 and some of this stuff and maybe something like NFTs specifically is kind of at this crossroads of the finance bros that have then turned to crypto instead and sort of obsessed with crypto. And then you also get some of the kind of Reddit culture of boys in their basements or gamers, some of that culture coming together to this little niche of people that are buying and selling or flipping NFTs and things like that. And it can be, well a, it’s full of jargon and acronyms and slang, but it’s also some of that slang is a lot of that is deliberate gatekeeping of, Hey, we know this special code, we know there’s really cool technology, you dunno about it and it’s our thing. We are going to do really well out of it. Good luck to you like the rest of you.

Caroline (15:35):
Yeah, it’s like gatekeeping it. It’s like this is ours. We are going to be the successful people in the next stage. The boys are still going to be the ones holding onto this.

Lauren (15:43):
Exactly. And actually some of that stuff is about representation. So of all the people that you’re seeing talking about this stuff are male. And actually what we continually hear from our community as women of Web3 is that women feel intimidated by a lot of this tech and kind feel like if you are intimidated by the technology anyway and then you go somewhere and all the voices you hear talking about this stuff are male, you kind of like, oh, I’m not meant to be here. This isn’t a sort of environment for me, it wasn’t made for me. Maybe I’m just actually whether it’s not clever enough or not the right person to be here and then they sort of check back out and that’s what I’m trying to, I suppose to fight with women of Web3. So we are essentially a community, I guess a community and a consultancy.

(16:24):
So we have in-person events in London hoping to do some elsewhere as well. We have online events, we also have learning resources like Weekly Women of Web3 podcast where I interview interesting female leaders partly natively from this space. So Randy Zuckerberg is Mark Zuckerberg’s older sister and she has built her whole business around things like NFTs. Oh wow. But I also have interviewed a couple of people like Martha Lane Fox who’s the co-founder of last minute.com because I thought she’d have a really interesting perspective on that kind of web 1, 2, 3 of the kind of what progress have we made from a tech standpoint, but also what progress have we made from a women’s standpoint. So that’s been really fun to do that. We also offer, we have a jobs board of if women are interested in Web3 and actually AI as well, we’re starting to do more and more with AI because that does form the next major phase of the internet. So yeah, jobs in web, three jobs in ai, we’re doing more and more of that is like, yeah, can we educate as many women as possible about this stuff but then also help them actually thrive in it.

Caroline (17:20):
I’ve got so much to ask, I want to come back, especially to the jobs part, I think that’ll be so relevant to our community, but I had so much to say, where do I start? But I think it’s great from that point I can heavily relate to and I think many can of, if someone’s explaining something and I don’t understand it because it’s not meant to be, they’ve not thought about me as a target audience at all. I would easily go, oh, it’s my fault, it’s too clever for me and I would do that. And so thank you for being someone who can easily be like, no, this isn’t it. We just need to get more of us involved and it’s more diversity in there. And also, so something about one, two and three because I was seeing loads of stuff about Web3 last year and I was a bit like, oh God, what is this? What do I need to know now? And so web two, it’s like we didn’t even know that all that change happened. Apps became a thing, we didn’t even know it was a new phase, did we? And now it’s like we’re starting to understand seeing new web. So is Web3 starting to happen now or is it something like what’s the timeline on this Web3? That’s what I always want to know.

Lauren (18:29):
Good question. I would say we are entering Web3.0, but it is still early days. I would say that there’s still not massive adoption that a lot of the Web3 proponents we’re predicting it would be like everybody’s using digital wallets and blockchain and we’re in the metaverse every day. It’s not there yet, but I don’t think it’s that far away. And I actually think because of generative AI and things like Chap GPT, that’s accelerated all of it, even just something like AI has improved the capabilities of things. What can you do on a VR headset? The graphics on that on any headset have vastly improved in the last two, three years and longer. Yeah, we’re not fully in Web3, but actually some of the hype around Web3 as a concept has died down a little bit, but maybe that was needed in a way that not everything can stay hypey the whole time. I think people almost enjoy rejecting something that’s hyped up.

Caroline (19:27):
Yes. Do you think we’re entering a phase of that with ai? I actually spoke to someone the other day who trains assistance with ai, so it’s basically helping, supporting EA is becoming empowered with AI. Fiona doing great stuff and she said, I was like, How’s it going? She was like, it’s not moving as fast as she thought. And I was like, oh, in what way? And she’s like, the AI is, but the people aren’t. And that was a really interesting thing. She goes into places and do you think there is a limit of how fast as humans we can move with this stuff?

Lauren (20:00):
Yeah, that’s really interesting. I can understand that actually because especially I suppose the people that I come across a lot in my work are already very curious about tech. They might feel really intimidated by it, but they’re certainly in the kind of tech curious bucket. But when you start actually looking at the general public, there is a lot of fearfulness around this stuff and a lot of reluctance because people don’t really want to change and quite happy as they are or more or less. And it is quite scary, especially when media headlines are saying this is going to change everything and a smaller alert it is going to change everything. But yeah, it is a lot when you’re being sort shouted at about this pace of change. So I do recognise that I think that maybe people are slower to start adopting these technologies than we thought, but I do think it’s got amazing capabilities, the AI part, especially something like ChatGPT.

Caroline (20:52):
And I just always think of it in terms of huge organisations, it’s really hard for them to change quickly. If you just look at banks when Starling and Monzo came out and all the features they could have on their apps that then all the other banks just took ages to bring in. They’ve got all these functions that make it everything slower in that sense. So I’m wondering if that also fits that kind of piece as well.

Lauren (21:15):
Yeah, there’s a bit of that. I think also with the example of generative AI and something like chat GPT, I think a lot of businesses are trying to work out what’s their AI policy around this stuff because chat GPT does take on the data that you share with it. So if you were to share financial results or basically anything confidential, you are feeding the big data machine with that information. So you do need to be cautious and that’s why you do actually need some kind of AI policy or ways of interacting with it. The tricky thing is you shouldn’t sort of clamp down on usage of it completely because people will inevitably just circumnavigate that. They’ll just use chat BT with their own personal login and we’ll probably still share confidential stuff with it. So yeah, this stuff is kind of coming regardless and the genie is already out of the bottle.

Caroline (22:00):
Already out. I love that.

Lauren (22:04):
Partly how do you mitigate for that stuff, but it’s also about how do you make the most of it businesses could be getting a major advantage from adopting this stuff.

Caroline (22:12):
Yeah, no, there’s cases for both sides and like you said, it’s not going anywhere. So this is why I’ve got you on the podcast to help us with this next phase. On top of what you’ve already mentioned by the fact women could be left behind when you talked about this, I just immediately go to mothers and I think about the fact despite all the work I do, I work with startups and in this world, so I go out of my way. It’s part of my job to be educated on this stuff, but I still feel overwhelmed of when do I have the time to embrace AI every week? And this is just another thing on my to-do list and do you think this could be part of it, of that the mother load is hugely real and even when someone like me where it’s part of my job to know this stuff, that this is another way to be left behind as mothers are too busy running the household still largely as well as working.

Lauren (23:00):
Yeah, it is a risk and it is something that we hear from moms in our community quite a lot is I’m interested in this stuff but I feel like I can’t keep up. I would say just try and build it in the moments you do have. I mean with ai, especially in something like chat g pt, I guess the biggest benefit is that once you do get starting using it, the benefit is that you can automate stuff and it can sort of take some of that thinking work off your plate. So I think that’s why it’s worth investing some time in. You don’t even need to invest much time in, I think of it as a bit like incorporating vegetables into your diet. No, you don’t need to be having a salad every meal, but make sure you do have some broccoli alongside whatever McDonald’s that you’re having.

(23:42):
Just trying to build in little bits of it, just getting a bit more confident with it is that there are plenty of people that have never opened chatt pt, never gone on the open AI website, set up an account for free and just started using it. Or actually you can even use it through other means. I don’t think you even need an account if you go, if you literally just use Microsoft like Bing or Copilot or Google Gini, I think you can just basically just start using it. If you Google search, Google Gemini and start using this tool and just asking it questions and inevitably you’ll ask silly things initially it’s giving somebody the internet for the first time or giving them the ability to Google something.

Caroline (24:20):
Like what you put into Ask Jeeves.

Lauren (24:23):
Yeah, I think of it like that, exactly like that. But once you’ve had a couple of little goes like that, then you’ll come back to it like a week or two later and kind of like, right, okay, I’m going to try and take something off my plate with something like meal planning for my family.

Caroline (24:35):
Meal planning. That was what came to my mind. I think that’s a great use case for it. Totally train it on what you like to eat and what meals you have already and what can it add to them.

Lauren (24:47):
Exactly. So I did basically exactly that probably six months ago or so. And it’s not to say I don’t use something like that every day, and I don’t even use it’s suggestions every day, but it is one of those things where we know when you’re just lacking inspiration and you’re like, can someone just make this decision for me? And so that’s what it’s good for is that. So I just sort of typed in this is what I like to eat. This is what my toddler does and doesn’t like refuses to eat this, refuses to eat this, but we’re trying to make sure he has some protein. He’s not big meat eater. Just all of those variables treat it like a sort of brain dump of here’s everything about our weird eating habits like me, my child and my partner, but what we do and don’t want to eat.

(25:28):
And also can you make sure it’s not too much cooking and also not too expensive at the supermarket, whatever. You can just tell it all the variables you care about or we don’t eat dairy on our house, whatever it is. And then just tell it to give you some ideas or say, okay, come up with a week’s worth of meal planning and know that it’s always going to be ready bread for breakfast or whatever. It’s just plug all of that stuff in. I realise I’m making it sound like there’s need to be spending lots of time doing this stuff. Lots of it will be just a one-off of sometimes all you want is that bit of inspiration. And then you can scroll back to, okay, toddler meal planning that had some useful ideas. And so just going and returning to that stuff, it’s actually a bit easier than something Googling where that information just disappears into.

Caroline (26:11):
And it definitely could give you shopping list from that as well, I’m sure. So that would be easier as well, which Google wouldn’t necessarily kind of thing. If you go on good foods, it wouldn’t necessarily give you the list for that. So that is a really helpful use case and say you’re on the other end of the spectrum, you’re so interested. You’re like, I need to change career. Could this be a career for me? And they’ve gone to the women are Web3 job boards and everything like that. I can’t imagine pivoting. I started a business on what I knew. And so how can someone get that confidence to pivot into the tech space?

Lauren (26:44):
That is a good question and part of it’ll be just getting confident with the tech itself. And actually a lot of it you really do not need to be technical at all, especially when talking about AI because you talk to it in natural language, you talk to it like a human speaks. You don’t need to even do it like you do on a Google search of toddler meals minus broccoli, minus blah blah, which is not how we actually speak. So in terms of getting the confidence to go and do it, I would say yeah, keep testing it out. Try to think outside the box as to what some of those roles might be that it might not even have AI in the job title. But actually a lot of say marketing roles might actually require a lot of, not necessarily prior AI knowledge, but certainly to make use of it in the role.

(27:25):
So it’d be searching that on LinkedIn, but also if you’re thinking about using it in your business, it’s basically like, okay, what would I like to automate? Would I like to make this stuff actually core to my business model? It might not be, it might just be that you want to do exactly the thing that you were going to do, but you’re going to sort of just turbocharging it using emerging tech. And I think probably especially ai, if you are a solo founder, it can be really useful. It’s like actually if you were to give AI to your VAs or VA or VAs, that would just really increase the capacity of what you can get done in that time.

Caroline (27:58):
Exactly. It’s here to get us to do things quicker and take on more clients or support our clients in a different way. I see it as from the VA side of things.

Lauren (28:07):
And actually the other thing about AI particularly probably less Web3 lesser, but AI is it’s so all pervasive that it’s basically kind of like the internet, so you don’t necessarily see head of AI roles. You do see some, but I think that will end up seeming weird in the same way as you wouldn’t have head of internet roles. The internet affects everything. Digital affects everything.

Caroline (28:31):
It would just get sucked up in tech or those sort of roles basically.

Lauren (28:36):
But it’s not even this stuff

Caroline (28:39):
Or anyone’s it anyone role.

Lauren (28:40):
Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. I think it’s probably looking at what’s the passion that you have or the problem you want to solve and then thinking could or how could emerging technologies help support that and help me basically achieve that vision. I saw someone share this morning on LinkedIn talking about how they tried to build a business that was a sort of, I think it was almost like a sort of hub of inclusion knowledge. They’d spent two years trying to build this until a few years ago and hadn’t really managed to do it and had dissolved the company, but then she had taught herself conversational AI or generative ai. I think both. And that in the space of four weeks, she’s built this kind of minimum viable product that she’s got a interactive hub of knowledge about inclusion. And I think that’s really interesting, amazing the way we can speed up what we’re doing and she’s answering the same problem, but just using a different tool, a different methodology.

Caroline (29:35):
And what’s interesting about that, that’s what I find super interesting. It separates the people that also know what they’re doing versus not. So I got open AI to help me write, to redo the trial tasks. I set my potential team members. I knew exactly what I wanted to test them on and how to do it. I just wanted to get rid of the writing it part of it. So obviously there was lots of editing and me and the AI worked together on it, but someone could have gone into AI and been like, this is what I want to do this test and let’s pull it. And you can tell the difference between the AI working with someone who knows what they want and knows what they’re doing versus someone who’s just pulled it from ai. I think that’s the clear difference, isn’t it?

Lauren (30:16):
Yeah. I would consider using AI as having either an intern or I suppose someone very junior on your team, which is like, yes, they might be really smart and they can come with loads of great stuff for you, but you wouldn’t just take their work and present that directly to a client. Or there is still that kind of vetting process and the back and forth and improving on it. If an intern did provide a whole presentation day for a client, you wouldn’t then just present that deck without…

Caroline (30:42):
Some people would, that’s a scary part. I’ve worked with somebody who would.

Lauren (30:47):
It’s worrying, isn’t it?

Caroline (30:49):
I think that’s it. We wouldn’t but some people would.

Lauren (30:54):
Those would be the same people that you can see that they’ve got AI generated work. There is a certain way of writing that. For me, I think because I see this stuff all the time, those of work in this stuff, to me it’s incredibly obvious when something is written by AI.

Caroline (31:08):
Start to see it within inbound and outbound emails. Now I can tell.

Lauren (31:12):
It’s kind of gross, isn’t it? Because emails are meant to be by a person, but you can sort of see it with things actually, even if you sometimes notice American spelling slipping into people’s LinkedIn posts or emails and you’re like, you have not written this yourself.

Caroline (31:25):
Yeah, it is interesting. I think that’s where you can start to see it now and people get caught out on it. So it’s a useful tool, but don’t think you can just set up a whole business doing that.

(31:40):
What’s your favourite tool to use as a founder?

Lauren (31:43):
I feel like I sound like I’m sponsored by ChatGPT, but I really do use it quite a lot. In fact, I have been increasingly testing Google’s equivalent called Google Gemini, and that doesn’t, has given me better answers, actually. Is it better

Caroline (31:53):
Than Bard? I used Bard a little bit, which was the one before Gemini. For anyone who doesn’t know that,

Lauren (32:00):
Yes, it is better a sort of improvement upon it, but I haven’t used it loads and I couldn’t give particularly amazing answers. But for me it feels a bit less noticeable, that kind of AI way of writing. Yeah, I do use it a lot. I don’t think I use AI every single day. And also on the Web3 point, I don’t use things like a crypto wallet every single day, but I do think you will see more and more of this technology is just being kind of seeping into our daily digital lives. But ChatGPT probably use I think probably every other day or maybe every three days, sometimes just something you want to solve or as you were making reference to earlier, sometimes you just don’t want a blank sheet of paper. You want just something to work with or edit or a starting point.

Caroline (32:42):
It’s a starting point. I really need that. And I think that’s what’s so handy about these things is like, okay, even if you reject the starting point, which I do sometimes, and back to the women getting off high, do think it’s important to note, because you said, is it something like nine out of 10 Web3 startups still have no female representation? Is that right?

Lauren (33:02):
Yes. Nine out of 10 Web3 startups don’t have any women on the co-founding team. And I do find that worrying. So that data is from probably a couple of years ago. We don’t have more up to date data on that, but yeah, Web3 and AI are both pretty poor showing in terms of the number of women in leadership. But there is also still an opportunity to shift that to shape what’s coming next. Because if you start having more women in leadership, whether they are the ones starting the business or they’re being brought on as a co-founder or in leadership in whatever sense, it’ll also start building with women in mind the tech products that are being built, especially we built with women in mind. And then you start attracting more female users and then start attracting more female leaders or employees. All this stuff becomes this virtual cycle. Representation is incredibly important in that sense because it’s what ideas are in the room. And that’s also why fewer women are being funded is that a lot of investors are male and can’t necessarily identify with these challenges that we’re looking to solve. And so they’re kind of like, oh, does that really need solving? Well, yes, it does. For actually 50% of the population, yes, it does,

Caroline (34:09):
And financially it works out because 50% of the population will buy it.
Lauren (34:13):
If startups or businesses can’t necessarily see the moral need to make these kinds of changes, I think they should see the commercial need of, if you would like the other 50% of the population to care about your product and buy it, then that’s why you need to bring women into building it. But if you don’t do that, then you are leaving money on the table.

Caroline (34:31):
Yeah, it’s sad. That’s why I mentioned, in fact, 50% of women buying it. Sometimes the way we have to bring it is back to the commercial sense of it, not just the, it’s the right thing to do sense of it. I was also thinking about startups and then if you have female leaders in there, then perhaps they’ll actually think about things like maternity leave because the amount of startups that seem really unfeel friendly to just work at, if they haven’t even thought about that side from the start,

Lauren (35:00):
I don’t have data around this part, but just knowing what I do know about startups, you do get a lot of young men starting startups, especially, sorry, say tech startups, and there’s nothing wrong in and of itself. It’s just that yes, they don’t have that lived experience of starting a family and certainly not of probably being pregnant. So they’re just not building that in and they’re kind of thinking like, oh, but we’re bootstrapped. We don’t want to be spending the money on paying someone that’s not physically actually working that day. So I can understand the kind of reluctance or fearfulness around it, but actually it’s so important to welcome women into the workforce. And so you do need things like maternity policies. And I have heard from lots of women, it sounds like you have as well, who have, they’ve been the first person to get pregnant in their whole company.

Caroline (35:45):
So that was actually me.

Lauren (35:46):
Oh, really? Oh my God.

Caroline (35:48):
So there was no policy in place.

Lauren (35:50):
Yeah, I think that’s quite common, actually. And doubly rubbish because basically you have to fight harder to just show what is necessary or decent, et cetera, but you’re also essentially doing that on behalf of anyone that might get pregnant after you, so you’re having to fight other people’s fight as well. So then that’s a lot of pressure if you the first person to get pregnant in the company anyway. And there can be a real lack of sometimes a lack of empathy, but certainly lack of understanding.

Caroline (36:24):
And even if they’re trying to do the right thing at first, and it’s like, oh, we want yours to be the flagship pregnancy. It’s a bit like that. That’s a lot on me.

Lauren (36:33):
Yeah. Yeah. It’s

Caroline (36:35):
All I did was decide to grow human being and now I’m representing all the next human beings in this workforce kind of thing. Yeah, it’s a fascinating world because just been in it and know it, just to talk about the awareness of companies start up and just don’t have these things in place. And obviously there’ll be a whole host of other policies as well, not in place, but in the context of this podcast. It’s just another way of getting women into this field is by being more inclusive with your policies and having them in place to start with and on that. So how has it been for you growing women of Web3 while you’ve been growing a small human? It is obviously your passion. I think sometimes my learning is you make peace that if something’s your passion, you’ve got to do that as well.

Lauren (37:23):
Yeah, I mean, I did get a little bit ticked off by my partner for how much I’m using my phone and laptop at the moment, but I think it’s one of those things where I’ve allowed myself to use that stuff all the time because I’m like, oh, but this is actually where I get opportunities from. If I’m posting on LinkedIn, I end up getting paid opportunities, getting business in the door. So I sort of legitimise it that way, but I’m also probably telling my toddler what I care about in terms of what I’m spending my time interacting with. So that part does slightly worry me.

Caroline (37:50):
Oh, we all have that challenge, I think, whether it’s your work or you’re not, if you’re spending too much time on your phone around your kids and what you’re representing to that.

Lauren (37:59):
But in terms of my own, I guess, working setup, I only have three days a week of childcare. I do have a partner. He probably does more of the at home stuff than I do. He does more of the cooking and stuff. So I was going to say I was really lucky. But then also, no,

Caroline (38:14):
My husband does the cooking and I feel like why should no, men are walking around saying they’re so lucky their wives cook. I mean, maybe some are

Lauren (38:24):
Exactly that. So I try not to say it too much about that. Oh, I’m so lucky. But yeah, that’s the kind of standard I would hope for lots of women to have partners that do this stuff equally or maybe do all of the cooking, whatever it is.

Caroline (38:36):
And I just appreciate, we used an example of cooking earlier and neither of us cooks.

Lauren (38:48):
So yeah, a supportive partner who’s sort of physically present a lot of the time. He’s also freelance, so we do have to do quite a lot of choreography. In fact, I mean, I know that parents relate to this generally that your relationship, a lot of it is just organising stuff of whether it’s play dates or getting in touch with or sorting out what’s even called tax-free childcare, and whether we’re eligible for the 15 hours, 30 hours, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Caroline (39:13):
I mean, that’s a full-time job that doing that. Yeah.

Lauren (39:15):
It’s not particularly romantic that a lot of our conversations with our partners are about stuff like this or meal planning, anything like this. But yeah, I suppose I do feel lucky in my setup. However, some things obviously can’t do everything. If I’m working three days a week, I did actually say a couple of months ago to my partner, I was like, okay, so I’ve got 12 working days a month. If our toddler does not get a temperature, if a 2-year-old does not get a temperature, then I’ve got officially 12 working days. And actually a yes, he does get a temperature because he’s two. And so it’s pretty

Caroline (39:52):
More like, is it nursery? Is he those three days a week? So yeah,

Lauren (39:55):
Yeah, a childminder with a bunch of other little snot bags.

(40:02):
So yeah, maybe I get 10 or 11 days if I’m lucky of working days. I was like, oh, that’s why I feel like I’m always really behind on my emails, my work, if I was feeling, everyone always feels behind on their stuff, but it was like, oh, okay, if I’ve got about 10 working days a month, no wonder I feel like I’m really behind and I’m failing to do the stuff. But no, I’m sort of making peace with that. And actually, so I even sort of stepped away from one business opportunity. So I had started another second business with a friend as a co-founder, and it was fun. That was exciting, but I also felt like I was doing a lot of apologising of, sorry, either my toddler’s got a temperature, so I can’t come to our meetings. Or it might be that for women of Web3, we are holding a big international Women’s Day event. All that stuff is, it can end up being all encompassing. And so I’ll be like, oh, sorry, I can’t work on the other stuff at the moment, while everything is so all encompassing with my first business and I was starting to get things, I forget what they’re called, the beginnings of migraine aura, where you basically, you can’t entirely see out for me for my night. Oh

Caroline (41:07):
My goodness.

Lauren (41:09):
So it was just kind of recognising things like that. It never got really bad, but I was like, that’s…

Caroline (41:14):
A sign for you.

Lauren (41:15):
Yeah. It was also like, I don’t want it to get really bad before I then make a change. So yeah, something’s got to give, so I’ve either got to spend less time on that, or I’ve got to spend less time with my kid, so it’s less time on the other business. So I am stepping away from that to just focusing only on women if we have three and a young family and no other massive commitment. I
Caroline (41:35):
Love that. That shows you had to make a sacrifice and that was your choice, and it is about choices and sacrifices with these things. And so your three days a week, are you fully on the business and two days fully mommy day, I

Lauren (41:47):
Would like it to be as well delineated as that. And actually I think some of it’s poor organisation on our part that it would be better if we were actually quite strict about that of this is your day or your half day, whatever. And it’s quite a lot more free flowing than that, which in one way is lovely. And another way we are really not doing ourselves any favours. So yeah, three days officially. My mom also helps out one morning a week, but then there’ll be plenty of other listeners that recognise this, that you’re also having coffee together at the beginning of that three, four hours, and then maybe also making the kid meal at the end of that period. And so actually I probably get about two hours, maybe an hour and a half, maybe an hour if they’re at the park or something. Sorry, I sound really ungrateful. No,

Caroline (42:31):
I hard relate to that. Yeah, no,

Lauren (42:35):
Well, I suppose that if it’s like a family member or someone close to you that’s looking after your kid, then you’re also to some extent looking after them. It is also a kind of socialising opportunity. So yeah, I feel very lucky with my setup. But yeah, there’s probably an hour and a half or two hours extra per week in terms of childcare that I have, but you

Caroline (42:53):
Put it into 12 days per month. That is, well, just in general about how you’re doing it. That is not a lot. And I think I did the same. I think I did three days a week still when my second was around that age. And how have you found the fact that they are, it is more have you felt as you’re still in it in those early years? It’s more on you being the mother, even though you’ve clearly got husband admin wise, you’re very good at splitting stuff, which is great.

Lauren (43:23):
I’d actually say on balance, I think he actually takes on more than I do, but I would say I’m probably the odd one out in that sense. Our relationship is the odd one out. Although we do also have habits as to, I think I do more of the administrative side of it in the sense of as, for example, earlier when the childminder handed my partner the form about the 30 hours free childcare, whatever, and he looked at it and then was like, oh, actually I’m just kind of pretending to look at this, or it’s obviously going to be Lauren that sorts it out.

Caroline (43:55):
Oh yes, here you go. Except as my husband just passes it to me, not even pretend, then I pass in the mortgage form. So it’s fine.

Lauren (44:06):
Oh, see, I am on the financial admin side of things. Yeah, I think you just end up with divvying up of one person tends to look after certain things, so like, oh yeah, look after the bills and things, and he looks after the bins. And that works well for me,

Caroline (44:21):
Working in a kind of bro culture, it easily could be. Do you ever feel, you’ve got to explain that you are three days a week or that you don’t have all your energy on women of Web3, like a young 22-year-old might on their business? There

Lauren (44:37):
Is a little bit of that. Yeah. I mean, I suppose because not in a bigger organisation, I don’t necessarily have to make excuses in that way, or not even excuses, but explain myself in whatever sense. And I suppose I do also work with quite a lot of other women because of the nature of my work, but I do occasionally feel like I have to slightly apologise or things like that. Or quite a lot of the time I get asked to do speaking opportunities for free. So I’ve started either turning them down or actually I tend to qualify it with when I’ve worked out that it’s unpaid. And I’ll say, would you be able to pay a £100 or £150 to cover transport and childcare? And I’ll say in the email so that it doesn’t cost me money to come and speak at your event.

(45:17):
So there is a sort of sudden backing up of like, oh, oh, oh, actually I think maybe we can find that £100 for you because yeah, it shouldn’t cost me money as well as my time. It’s both. If you’re not going to pay me for my time, then you should at least make sure it’s not costing me money to help make your business money. I noticed it really with International Women’s Day, and I know there was quite a lot of chatter around it at the time that it was really financially focused. Organisations like big banks and payment companies and things like that were asking me to speak at their event. And I said no to five opportunities. And it is kind of hard turning stuff down, but I’m also, I don’t really want to, if they’re sort of saying, not in these exact terms, but they’re basically saying, we can pay you with exposure. I’m like, well, I’ve got exposure. I’m thanks. My mortgage provider doesn’t accept that as payments, so neither do I.

Caroline (46:07):
Especially when there is the funds behind them. And I saw the same sort of chatter you do, and actually I’ve got a lady called Laura Lee who runs a speaker agency that encourages diverse speakers and yeah, I think we had a conversation on this quite recently, and it shows the difference between lip service or actually wanting more female speakers and paying them kind of thing. And thank you for sharing what you ask for, because I think that’s really helpful for others to be like, okay, I’m going to start asking for that if I’m not going to be paid, at least cover my childcare.

Lauren (46:41):
In fact, I did feel embarrassed when I actually stated a number. I was like, oh, should I not have stated a number? But you’re right, it’s really helpful context, but it is also, you’ll have a sense in your head of what the childcare cost is, or if it’s like an evening event, what it costs to have a babysitter, that kind of thing of, yeah, these companies should help facilitate that. Anybody could come and participate in this stuff.

Caroline (47:00):
Because it’s not just about that asking you to speak free. It’s like they’re actually asking you to pay money to speak if you’ve got to do it on a day where you’d normally have childcare and you’re not budgeted for that sort of thing.

Lauren (47:13):
It’s sort of not relevant whether I had childcare in place, they don’t know that or not, do you know what I mean? I have to pay for childcare, whatever. So yeah, I should, or we should all be asking for that kind of fee regardless. It just makes sure that I’m not worse off as a result.

Caroline (47:29):
Yes, that’s a good point. And I think I’m going to take that away myself, so thank you. Good. Oh, Lauren, it’s been an absolute pleasure chatting to you today. I’d love to ask one, well, two final questions. What’s been your favourite part of your founder journey so far?

Lauren (47:48):
I think I’d be realising that I’m allowed to do it. I dunno why I thought that I wasn’t allowed, but I’ve realised, oh, I actually can run in my own business. And I’ve almost, I feel like I’ve got away with it, which is a bit ridiculous, but I’m really enjoying it.

Caroline (48:04):
I love that. Oh, thank you. And finally, so any places to direct people for them to learn more about the Web3 World, AI, crypto, anything they might have been interested in that you do?

Lauren (48:17):
I would definitely say, I would say go and listen to the Women of Web3 podcast. And part of the reason I’d say that is that it is deliberately beginner friendly, so I don’t let it get too into the kind of jargon. And when people do start going down the tech rabbit hole, I sort of try and bring them back and say, what does that mean? What does that word mean? And actually a lot of the time we’re talking about the human impact of tech rather than the deep tech. I would say if you are London based or in the South England, come to one of our women of Web3 events. We just had a big event at Google recently and I’m hoping we’re hopefully going to do more of those and more essentially meetups at Google and other locations like that.

(48:57):
And then something that’s nothing of my own. But I would say that people should go and test ChatGPT or other equivalent products because it’s either very cheap or free to do so. And I think as soon as you start, you just have to rip the plaster off in that sense, start using this stuff. It makes it feel less scary and you realise you’re talking natural language with AI like that. And it can really help you do more, sort of automate more of your life, whether it’s your home life or make it easiest to do your job and the automate things you don’t want to do.

Caroline (49:28):
Thank you. So it’s like rip the plaster off and check out Women of Web3 Community and podcasts. I think that’s such easy takeaways that busy people can do. And where else can they find you, Lauren, if they want to find out more.

Lauren (49:42):
Best place, probably LinkedIn. So yeah. I’m Lauren Ingram on LinkedIn. I’ve got a little yellow background behind my head if you’re looking for me.

Caroline (49:48):
Lovely. Well thank you so much for your time today. It’s been an absolute pleasure to learn more definitely, but also chat about your motherhood and founder journey. So thank you.


Outro

Thank you so much for listening to Bump to Business Owner. I hope you enjoyed the conversation. Please do rate, review, follow or subscribe wherever you’re listening. It really helps us to connect with more mums and business owners. You can DM me at Bump to Business Owner on Instagram and I’ll be back next week.

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