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Roxanne Varza, Director at Station F
Our very first learning inspiration is Roxanne Varza…. we feel like we do not need to introduce her anymore!
Roxanne is the Director of StationF (Da Boss).
She is originally from Silicon Valley. Before joining STATION F, she led Microsoft Ventures Paris and TechCrunch France. She also worked for several London-based startups and cofounded StarHer, Tech.eu and Failcon France.
Who is your main source of inspiration 👩 ?
Uh…everything? I think there are so many incredibly inspirational things in the world and I think my energy comes from so many different places.
That said, I made an active decision to leave my country and move to France because, well, I just felt good here. I felt inspired, I felt there was an opportunity to build and create things.
Another huge source of inspiration is the people around me. I meet so many incredible people every day. A lot of the entrepreneurs at Station F don’t know it but learning about their backgrounds, their projects, and their stories is largely what drives me 🙂.
How do you keep learning on a daily basis ?
Well, I think I am still learning so much about my job on a daily basis. This is part of the beauty of taking on such a big challenge and dynamic project. Entrepreneurship and innovation changes on a hyper-regular basis, what we are building needs to keep up and adapt, we are not in a static world by any means. So I feel I am learning so many new things just by what I am doing, the environment I am in and the people we are surrounded by.
That said, I also love learning other things. I read a lot (I actually love reading about innovation, management, and business but I also read other random things for fun). I love listening to podcasts. There is so much great content available – it’s almost like we have to go out of our way not to learn 🙂
For some things I want to learn, I will get a teacher or tutor to force me to commit to making progress. For example, even though my husband is Chinese and could easily teach my Chinese, I have had a Chinese teacher for the last 2 years. This format forces me to get serious about the topic.
And finally, one of the best ways I learn is by actually producing content myself. I used to blog/write a lot more than I do now but this is a format that forces me to really look into a topic, speak to different people, read up on it and organize my thoughts and analysis. So whenever I publish an article, a podcast, or moderate a panel at an event, I’m doing it somewhat selfishly to force myself to learn.
What are your favorite books 📚 ?
In the fiction realm, I have always been a huge fan of Mark Twain. I think he’s witty, brilliant, and well ahead of his time.
In the non-fiction realm, I love reading about management, business, innovation, and the likes. I absolutely loved reading The Culture Code (Daniel Coyle). I loved it so much that I wrote to him to tell him 🙂 I also loved John Doerr’s Measure What Matters, I never imagined a book on OKRs could be so interesting! And I also absolutely loved Scott Kupor’s Secrets of Sand Hill Road – it’s a very informative and comprehensive read on the world of venture capital.
And then just because it speaks to my heritage and makes me laugh, I like anything written by Firoozeh Dumas. She’s an Iranian-American married to a French guy and she’s written a lot of funny autobiographical stories on her upbringing.
What is your favorite podcast 🎧 ?
I love Harry Stebbing’s 20 minute VC. The guests are incredible, the questions are good – and Harry moves so fast that you don’t have time to get bored! I also like Patrick O’Shaughnessy’s Invest Like the Best for similar reasons. Bailey Richardson’s Get Together is also a fascinating collection of stories about different communities.
OK, I confess, I also really liked Serial when it first came out.
If you were to stay alone on an island and would only be allowed to bring one item, what would it be ?
Does my husband count as an item?
If not, I’d say a pencil and paper. I love writing, drawing, etc. So if I’m going to be on this island I may as well make use of my time 🙂 .