Get to know Carla – Kamet’s newly promoted Head of Design
1) How did you get into the field of venture building?
As an undergraduate student in psychology, I was always interested in the concept of how things work and what makes people/concepts/ideas take off. On paper, psychology might not have a lot to do with designing companies, but in theory, it’s probably the most important element as it is all about understanding people’s needs, motivations, and helping them reach their goals. Combined with my newfound business knowledge following my MBA, I co-founded a start-up where I was introduced to the fascinating world of design process and thinking.
As an entrepreneur, I found myself particularly enjoying the process of tinkering with our offering and making small changes in the user journey that I envisioned making a big impact on the overall product. Having said that, I also noticed that the biggest thrill for me came at the very start of the venture creation process where I could learn what people needed and apply that knowledge to creating something brand new.
In our world, this feeling of having the pieces of the puzzle suddenly come together is known as the elusive concept of finding “product-market fit”. But I found that once the product was more defined, the process wasn’t as exciting as it used to be. To keep that feeling of newness, I started consulting for larger companies and was fortunate to work with Kamet on some of their early projects. I fell in love with their vision of incubating and problem solving and was excited to join them on the journey of building disruptive companies.
2) What did you want to be when you were a child?
I enjoyed arts and crafts and was quite shy and introspective as a kid. I found that painting was a great way to express myself when I couldn’t do so in words. For a time I even imagined living life as a painter in New York.
3) What’s your favourite venture?
That’s really hard to say because one of the main reasons I attribute to having so many success stories in our portfolio is that along the way we are killing a lot of ideas that aren’t strong enough to take off. We firmly believe that it is unrealistic to think that everything you create is a success. This has meant I’ve really loved teams, ideas, and projects that ended up not going anywhere.
In our current portfolio I am a big fan of Apricity because it allows people to start families, which is arguably one of the most rewarding things in life. I am also a big admirer of what Ibex is doing to transform how quickly and effectively cancer is diagnosed. Their incredible results to date are a testament to the enormous potential the product has on impacting the lives of millions and the way that they have built their tech and algorithms is truly impressive.
4) Favourite books?
My absolute favourite is Nudge because I have always loved behavioural economics and I find it fascinating to be reminded of just how predictable we are as humans. Another favourite is Predictably Irrational because when you are designing, what people think they need to do versus what they end up doing, are two very different things. It made me realize that being agile and ready to “roll with the punches” are probably two of the most important ingredients to success in our line of work.
5) Coolest place you got to design?
I would probably have to say The World Bank. But I assure you it’s not what you are imagining, as I wasn’t quite picking furniture for their new office! I got to work on rethinking how different departments could collaborate more productively together and create more effective organizational processes.
6) How has the world of work changed for you since you’ve had two little girls?
A lot of my mom-friends told me this would happen, and at first, I didn’t think it was possible! But it’s really made me more efficient. I maximise working hours during the day and really make them stretch for me. In turn, I’ve become outcome-driven and hold myself and my team to even higher standards.
7) Tips for not procrastinating/being efficient?
This isn’t a very creative answer, but what’s always worked well for me is the tried and tested method of having a list, organising it depending on priorities, and working through it. I have to say that having a checkbox and seeing it slowly get filled and crossed throughout the day is rewarding enough to make me want to finish more of my daily tasks.
8) Favourite restaurant?
Sadly, it’s in Chicago, so I don’t get to enjoy it as often as I would like, but Gilt Bar has the most delicious food (with generous portions) plus an awesome speakeasy downstairs where you can relax after a fun dinner with friends.
9) What do you like to do to relax?
I really enjoy playing with my two daughters and spending time as a family. On the rare occasion I am lucky to have some alone time, I love to do yoga and read a good book.
10) Best vacation you’ve ever taken?
I would probably have to say Japan. I was absolutely mesmerized by the unique culture and couldn’t get enough of Naoshima - Japan’s art island.
11) Words to live by?
I should caveat this by saying that those who are close to me know that I always like to anticipate what’s coming. When we were working together, my former co-founder (and current brother-In law) used to always say, “We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.” I found it to be a really good way of focusing on what’s important today and think it applies equally well to both work and personal life.