4 Minutes to read
Dora Palfi, Co-founder and CEO of imagiLabs
Learning Inspiration 🌈 #68
Which blends community, software, and hardware together to equip and empower teenage girls to shape the future with technology – Dora Palfi shares with us her sources of inspiration, her favorite books and favorite podcasts.
Who is your major source of inspiration?
My biggest source of inspiration these days is the other female founders I’ve gotten to know personally, like Debbie Sterling, the founder of GoldieBlox, or Linda Liukas, the creator of Hello Ruby.
I also have role models that I admire from afar – for example, I find Melinda Gates’ work for women’s equality incredibly important and I keep going back to Brené Brown’s lessons on leadership as I work to improve my capabilities as a founder and CEO.
How do you keep learning on a daily basis? What are your learning routines?
I love learning new things and strive to do so all the time, both within and outside of my work! As a startup founder, I constantly learn things that help with my business. I refer to this as just-in-time learning, and it’s usually very pragmatic: from learning to create a financial model and run effective all-hands meetings, to learning how to better support our users in learning to code with our app. I usually learn through reading, listening to podcasts and talking to customers and other founders. I always keep my mind open to new ideas, and in doing so, I enjoy learning from other people.
Currently, I have also been spending a lot of time learning Swedish and my best strategy there is simply talking with native speakers. I enjoy learning new languages because they provide a straightforward goal to progress towards – as opposed to the things I need to learn for my job.
What are your favorite books and why?
I love to read and even joined a book club this year! I thought of three really impactful books to share. Angela Duckworth’s Grit taught me a lot about finding a passion/purpose and committing to it throughout difficulties. Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez is an incredible collection of data on how the woman’s perspective has been historically overlooked. I refer to this book all the time in my work for gender equality. Finally, Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog was one of my favorite memoirs, and I would recommend it to all entrepreneurs!
What is your favorite podcast and why?
I absolutely love Masters of Scale. Not only is it full of practical ideas and examples for startup founders, it is also extremely fun to listen to! I’ve also listened to all of Gimlet Media’s Startup and Y Combinator’s Startup School podcasts.Given that I have a background in UX Design, I also still listen to podcasts on the topic – my favorite being Design Better. I find that the concept of design thinking and lessons in design are actually transferable to most areas of business and life.
How do you remember what you learn?
I believe that teaching is one of the best ways to ensure we truly digest and understand a concept. This is why I love to take notes, create summaries and ideally further share the knowledge I acquire.
Also, knowledge is best retained if it is actually being used over and over again since forgetting is simply natural. That is why notes are so important. I know I can’t just rely on my memory, and I tend to be rather forgiving with myself when it comes to remembering details. After all, that’s why we have technology and good old-fashioned paper-and-pen notes – to augment our brain’s capabilities.
What would you tell the 18-year-old version of yourself?
That you don’t have to know what you want to be 🙂 It’s ok to try a million things and keep changing your mind! In fact, that is the only acceptable thing to do because chances are really low that you will be happy with your first choice!
What is the most important thing you learned over the last 12 months?
It used to be that my most exciting and interesting stories and experiences were all about traveling. But after having spent pretty much the entire past year within biking distance of my house, and still constantly going far outside my comfort zone, this notion has changed completely! I learned that one can always work with the constraints provided by life and make the most out of any situation. (That being said, I would lie if I said I am not looking forward to the post pandemic world and being able to travel again!)
What is the biggest challenge you had to overcome this year ?
I would say one of the hardest parts of the past year has been navigating business and life amid uncertainty. We launched our product in 2020 and pretty much everything has been impacted by COVID: our manufacturing in China and our ability to work in person with children and organizations to teach programming.
If you were to stay alone on an island and were only allowed one item, what would it be?
I’d say my phone. I just continue to be amazed by all the things our phones are capable of. I would listen to podcasts, audiobooks, music, take photos (I expect it’s a nice island?) and a lot more! 🏝
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