Tiffany Yu

Founder of Diversability, Millennial speaker & social entrepreneur, ex-Goldman Sachs

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON March 15, 2017

Discussion

Tiffany Yu@imtiffanyyu · Founder, Diversability
Hi, I’m Tiffany Yu, thrilled to be here! I’m the founder of Diversability, an award-winning social enterprise to rebrand disability through the power of community. I’ve had a multi-passionate career: I’ve been an investment banker and a campus recruiter at Goldman Sachs, a segment producer at Bloomberg Television, a corporate finance executive at Sean Diddy Combs’ REVOLT, and most recently, completed a coding bootcamp at the New York Code + Design Academy and was working at Common in San Francisco. A lot of my work and story can be found in press outlets like Forbes, the Guardian, the Ford Foundation, etc. Join me for a conversation around building community, side hustling, making career transitions, moving across the country (any other NYC > SF transplants here?), and more. Ask me anything! **EDIT** Thank you for the great questions and thank you Product Hunt for the opportunity to chat live with you! If you'd like to connect further, don't hesitate to reach out to me on Twitter at @imtiffanyyu.
Paul Booth@new_user_f61ff363a1
Hi Tiffany, Given your extensive experience in finance and business, what is your opinion on the choice between working on a number of side hustles/projects versus putting all your effort into one big idea? Diversifying is common advice for investing money, but is it the same when you're investing your time?
Tiffany Yu@imtiffanyyu · Founder, Diversability
Hi @typeofgraphic, great question! It is of course a deeply personal decision. I feel extremely grateful that my full time experiences have also allowed me the time to work on projects on the side. When I first relaunched Diversability, I actually made a list of all my commitments and cut out most things other than my full time job and Diversability. At the time, it made sense to focus my energy into that. This is a piece I wrote awhile back on managing a side hustle: http://fortune.com/2015/12/29/en... In terms of money though, I'm a big believer that, like investing money (and diversifying your portfolio), we should have diversified streams of income (full time job, side hustle, investing, etc.) I've been thinking a lot more about personal finance these days, so happy to chat more about this if interested.
Paul Booth@new_user_f61ff363a1
@imtiffanyyu thanks, that's a very insightful answer. Last year I also cut everything but my thesis and part-time consulting work out, so it good to know I am not alone there. I am finishing my time in academia in the coming weeks, and a number of possible projects have accumulated (that I have written down, sketched out but avoided working on so far) that I could do; some are small apps that would be fun to do and small, but others are giant projects that need time, a bigger team, and considerable financial resources. There is a small group of awesome people I know that are all interested in working on side projects and diversifying their income. So perhaps the answer then, now that I have reduced my commitments to finish my academic work, will be to introduce projects into my work stream (and theirs) and ask myself “does this bring joy to my life or help me propel my [plan] forward?” - as you suggest in your Fortune article. I have been trying to read more about where to invest money in the medium and long term, so if you have any advice or thoughts on personal finance I'd be grateful to know more, thank you.
Tiffany Yu@imtiffanyyu · Founder, Diversability
@typeofgraphic Great to learn more about you! Excited about your next chapter post-academia. For active investing, have you heard of Robinhood? There are a couple of other platforms like Wealthfront, Betterment, Ellevest (for women), etc. This is more of a personal interest, so feel free to take with a grain of salt!
Bradley Jones@indiaccelerates · COO, the House of M
Changing career paths can be...risky to say the least, what do you feel was the biggest, scariest business risk you took? Was the risk worth the reward?
Tiffany Yu@imtiffanyyu · Founder, Diversability
Hi @indiaccelerates, thanks for the question! The biggest risk had to be the first one... making the move from finance to media earlier in my career. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Goldman but had always had a dream of working in a live newsroom. I didn't end up staying in the newsroom, but it was so worth it. It provided me with clarity that this "dream" I had wasn't actually my dream and I'm grateful that I had the opportunity. I know I won't look back and wonder "what if?" I was interviewed awhile back on making a career change if you are interested in reading some more stories: https://www.themuse.com/advice/h...
Bradley Jones@indiaccelerates · COO, the House of M
@imtiffanyyu Thank you Tiffany. I will definitely check out the other stories...
Thomas Lui@thomas_lui
Hi Tiffany As an Adult Allies and Mentor how do we work on getting our work better to spread messages about inclusive?
Tiffany Yu@imtiffanyyu · Founder, Diversability
Hi @thomas_lui, great to see you here! The best way to get the word out is by making as much noise as possible. ;-) And let us know at Diversability how we can help spread your message across our social platforms. Without the people and organizations doing awesome work, there would be no Diversability. At the same time, the media plays a huge role in how people with disabilities are perceived. We need to do our best to get as many of our stories shared so we can highlight how colorful our community it. There is no such thing as one disability experience or narrative. As an ally, the best thing you can do is get to know as many of us as possible. This was a great piece of advice I came across from blogger Bitter Butch. We've also highlighted 8 other ways on our website: http://www.mydiversability.com/b.... If you have any comments or thoughts to add, I'd love to hear them.
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · PMM @ Twitter, Previously @ Product Hunt
I've been temporarily living in NYC (couch surfing for 6 weeks) and moving permanently to SF next week. What are the most glaring differences? Favorite and least favorite part of each city?
Tiffany Yu@imtiffanyyu · Founder, Diversability
Hi @andrewett, an early welcome to San Francisco! Don't hesitate to reach out as you get acclimated in SF. I lived in New York for 6 years (and the majority of my adult life) so I still consider myself a New Yorker at heart ;-) A friend described San Francisco as a "sleepy" city to me. People dress "comfortably" here, ha! I also think people wake up earlier here (even on the weekends). I'm a huge foodie, and I have my favorites in NYC (highly recommend Scarpetta and Uva in your last days), but have yet to find those in SF. I've heard from most NYC-to-SF transplants that it takes about 6 months to a year to get acclimated here. To me, the biggest differences are in getting around: I used to walk anywhere within a 3 mile radius in Manhattan and if not, the subway and buses were so convenient. In SF, Google Maps doesn't warn me that there are hills and I find myself turning to ridesharing services when it looks like I'll have to make multiple BART/Muni transfers to get somewhere. I also felt like anytime I met an engineer in NYC, it was like meeting a unicorn. Here, if you don't work in tech, I'm like "whoa."
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · PMM @ Twitter, Previously @ Product Hunt
@imtiffanyyu So you prefer NYC 😏
Tiffany Yu@imtiffanyyu · Founder, Diversability
@andrewett Too early to tell ;-) The weather has been pretty glorious here over the past couple of days, I love hiking, and I've heard that the best things to do in SF are what you can do outside of SF. I'm still exploring!
Kelly Ann Collins@itskac · Digital Nomad. Virtual Badass.
Hi Tiffany! How can we help rebrand disability in the workplace? What's a good first step?
Tiffany Yu@imtiffanyyu · Founder, Diversability
Hi @itskac, great chatting with you yesterday and thank you for the question! In the workplace, we need to create environments that respect all differences. It could start with having a conversation about it to start to remove stigma around disability. I'm grateful that I've been able to be a part of these conversations at the places I've worked. Oftentimes, if we are not affected by it, we overlook it. I gave a presentation on this here: https://www.slideshare.net/Tiffa... From a hiring perspective, I wish it were as easy as telling a company's hiring managers to hire more people with disabilities. There are great organizations like the US Business Leadership Network and Lime Comment, but there is still more work to be done that transcends disability. Project Include, Inclusion Ventures, Change Catalyst are a few that come to mind that are working in the diversity inclusion space.
Kevin Suh@kevinsuh34 · Software engineer, Nova Credit (YC S16)
Do you prefer fish or shrimp tacos?
Tiffany Yu@imtiffanyyu · Founder, Diversability
@kevinsuh34 I will consume anything made my Chef Kevin. <3
Hinda Rafai@hinda_rafai · Hinda rafai
Hi
Hinda Rafai@hinda_rafai · Hinda rafai
Howar are you
Tiffany Yu@imtiffanyyu · Founder, Diversability
Hi @hinda_rafai, I'm doing well! Look forward to chatting with you on Wednesday!
Hoan Do@hoandesign · UX Designer, PPCLINK MOBILE
Do you have any prediction about the future of the US under Trump's era?
Tiffany Yu@imtiffanyyu · Founder, Diversability
Hi @hoandesign, big question! First, I have to give a shoutout to my friends at theSkimm (http://bit.ly/skimmthis) for keeping me informed. I'm not sure I have any predictions about the future other than the fact that we are still here (and will still be here) and how empowering it has been to see communities come together, mobilize, and talk to each other. My friend Yvonne launched The Hello Project to help facilitate this conversation: https://medium.com/the-hello-pro....
Seth Williams@sethbwilliams · Designer, Product Hunt
What made you found Diversability? How did you get it started at the beginning?
Tiffany Yu@imtiffanyyu · Founder, Diversability
Hi @sethbwilliams, thanks for joining! I started Diversability based on my own personal experiences. I was involved in a car accident about 20 years ago where I broke a couple bones in my leg and sustained a severe nerve injury that would limit the use of my right arm to this day. More here: https://www.theguardian.com/side.... Diversability started as a campus organization in 2009 as a way to raise disability awareness and continue the disability conversation on campus. It literally started as one person (me) hanging up flyers around campus and continued to grow on campus through the next couple of years after I graduated. I relaunched Diversability in 2015 (with a gentle push and support from my friends at Dreamers // Doers) to humanize disability through the power of community and continue to facilitate this conversation around disability. Sometimes when it comes to disability, we feel like we need to "fix" disability... but what about the reality that this is part of our identities? Ability/disability is very much as aspect of diversity. Also, I could not have felt more isolated and alone in my experience and I wanted to create safe spaces where people could come together and just be. Finally, I feel like we oftentimes don't talk about disability because we're afraid of the "right" language to use. What if we threw "political correctness" out the door and address the "elephant" in the room?
Ben Tossell@bentossell · Community Lead, Product Hunt
Hey If you had to swap lives with a tech CEO for a week, who would it be and why?
Tiffany Yu@imtiffanyyu · Founder, Diversability
@bentossell Hrm... this is a tough one. Maybe Jack Dorsey because I want to know how he is running Twitter and Square at the same time. Plus, I saw him speak at a Recode event and he just seems like a cool person. I'd also add Jennifer Hyman of Rent the Runway/Project Entrepreneur, Alexa von Tobel of LearnVest, and Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin of theSkimm because they are all boss people and working on things that are empowering others in different ways.
Ayrton De Craene@ayrton · Code @ Product Hunt
What does success look like for you?
Tiffany Yu@imtiffanyyu · Founder, Diversability
Hi @ayrton, love this question! My definition of success has changed over time, and I think it will continue to change over time. Today, success for me is rooted in doing something that matters and paying it forward. And just being a good person. A quote I like: "In a world where you can be anything, be kind."
Jacqueline von Tesmar@jacqvon · Community, Product Hunt ⚡️
What are your top tips for building an engaged community?
Tiffany Yu@imtiffanyyu · Founder, Diversability
Hi @jacqvon, great question! Tiffany's top tips (ha): 1. Lead by example. In the communities that I lead and am a part of, I make it a point to show up, be accessible, and be vulnerable, whether it is online or in person. Brene Brown's Daring Greatly was a game-changer for me in bringing my full self to my communities. 2. Engage. To me, community is all about belonging. People want to feel like they are seen/heard, respected, and part of something that wants them to be there. I'd love to hear your pro tips as a fellow community person!
Chad Whitaker@chadwhitaker · Design at Product Hunt
Hi, Tiffany 👋 You’ve had some pretty varied roles in your career to date. Can you share some of the main differences/similarities across the industries and why you’ve changed paths?
Tiffany Yu@imtiffanyyu · Founder, Diversability
Hi @chadwhitaker, love this question! For the first couple of years, the common thread was business/finance. Now the thread is community. I started in investment banking, and I moved to recruiting because I loved talking to students about my internship and full-time experiences and wanted to play a more active role in that process. When I moved to media to pursue a childhood dream of working in the newsroom, I was at a business TV network, writing about my former industry. :-) I moved to REVOLT TV because I missed being on the business side of a company. In this role, I was still in media, but working on corporate strategy and corporate development role at the TV network (similar to what I had done in banking). I started Diversability while I was at REVOLT, where I learned a ton about the disability space (including the amount of tech innovation happening) and how to build online/offline communities from the ground up. Learning more about accessible technology led me to want to learn how to code, and my experience with the community led me to run Admissions and Community at Common. If this were a game, I feel like I should be leveling up soon. ;-) I'm so grateful to have had such diverse experiences and have learned so much as I stretch my comfort zone and acquire new skills. I used to struggle with "comparison syndrome," but I can't compare anymore because my journey has become so uniquely my own. I love that.
jerod moore@jollymonatx · Co-Founder goKittr & Coffee hunter
Hello Tiffany, We have a social media SaaS platform https://gokittr.com and have early usability experience with some users who have disabilities and it has been eye opening. The things we take for granted in beta we are now seeking to optimize for users with visual impairment. What are some of the key points to consider in making our software ability-neutral and balancing that with development costs? Should we comprise a User Persona for visual impairment? Thanks!
Tiffany Yu@imtiffanyyu · Founder, Diversability
Love this question @jollymonatx! Thank you for working on making your site accessible! I hear a lot about "compromise" when it comes to accessibility but the two are not mutually exclusive, like making sure your images have alt text. You should definitely connect with my friend Thomas (who is doing an Instagram takeover on our account this week https://www.instagram.com/p/BRlv...) as you two would have a great conversation. Also, if you need more beta users, let me know! We are launching Awesome Foundation Disability (http://www.awesomefoundation.org...) next month and one of our trustees Walei has been so instrumental in helping to make sure that the platform is accessible.
Tiffany Yu@imtiffanyyu · Founder, Diversability
@jollymonatx Also, if there is an A11y meetup in your area, I would highly recommend attending!
Bradley Jones@indiaccelerates · COO, the House of M
What is the one business mistake you learned the most valuable lesson from?
Tiffany Yu@imtiffanyyu · Founder, Diversability
Hi @indiaccelerates, this is a great question. Three words: ask for more.
forzuh derick ngonge@forzuhn · Civil engineer, entrepreneur, SPAO
Hi Tiffany, thanks for joining us today. My question is how can building community contribute to technology and globalisation today? Thanks
Tiffany Yu@imtiffanyyu · Founder, Diversability
Hi @forzuhn, thanks for your question! I think community is at the core of both of those things. Tech should enhance the lives of all. It makes it easier for us to connect with each other around the world and across borders, like we are doing here in this chat. I'm seeing an uptick in online communities -- sometimes, probably to Simon Sinek's disapproval (
), if we can't find community and a sense of belonging in the physical places where we are, we can find them online in communities led by vulnerability, openness, and honesty. I have also seen communities rally around tech, like Toptal and theSkimm.
Jake Crump@jakecrump · Community Team with Product Hunt
Do you manage to achieve work-life balance? What does this look like for you?
Tiffany Yu@imtiffanyyu · Founder, Diversability
Hi @jakecrump, thanks for the great questions. I'm a big believer in work-life integration, but I will also admit that I tend of be a bit of a worker bee. I'm not sure if balance exists, especially in the hyper-connected world we live in today. There was period of time right after I relaunched Diversability where I described my life as "colorful." That was pretty awesome. But I think self-care is SO important. There was a quote that I came across that said, "Self-care is the main essential to manifesting anything in your life." I'm exploring what that looks like for me, whether it is feeling well-rested, having meaningful conversations with people I care about, or spending time with my friend Netflix. What works best for me is making as few plans as possible, which leaves room to be spontaneous and say yes to life.
Jake Crump@jakecrump · Community Team with Product Hunt
What’s your morning routine?
Tiffany Yu@imtiffanyyu · Founder, Diversability
Hi @jakecrump! I've never really been great with routines, haha. Ideally, it would be something like... wake up, work out, meditate, shower, breakfast, coffee and emails. Oh, let's throw journaling in there too. ;-) In reality, it's like snooze, snooze, meditate (sometimes), and running out the door to seize the day. Work in progress.
Niv Dror@nivo0o0 · Words @ProductHunt & @AngelList
How are you finding living in SF from NYC? 🤔
Tiffany Yu@imtiffanyyu · Founder, Diversability
Hi @nivo0o0! Sad, your emoji showed up as a box on my computer. I'm still getting settled out here in SF, but it is definitely different from NYC (see my answer to Andrew's question here: https://www.producthunt.com/live...). But maybe you can give me and @andrewett some pro tips ;-)