Terri Hanson Mead

Terri Hanson Mead Teaches You to Pilot Your Life (#152-153)

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Our guest today: Terri Hanson Mead

Terri Hanson Mead is a San Francisco Bay Area native, a helicopter pilot (a skill which she learned later in life after she has become a mom), IT consultant, expert witness, angel investor.

Terri runs her podcast “Piloting Your Life”, which consists of inspiring interviews with people who chose to rely on their internal fortitude to chart their own course. Terri discusses what helped them achieve the success they enjoy today. 

“Many of us have big goals but don’t have the role models to help us see this journey unfold in front of us. It is hard to become something that you can’t see or imagine and these interviews provide inspiration for us to be the pilots in our own lives. ” – Terri Hanson Mead 

This was one of the conversations I wish never ended. Terri and I talked for more than an hour so to keep listening easier, we’ve broken down into two parts. 

This episode is especially exciting for women who want to know how they too can thrive in business and in life. Though there isn’t an absolute work-life balance, an over-used and often not achievable, Terri walked me through how she manages her success as a self-made unsung heroine. 

As for Terri, her background had to do with technology, and she can help companies get to market faster and optimize overall business processes. On top of that, she is a natural connector, who loves connecting people and ideas.

Show Notes

  • [07:00] Tell us how you became a helicopter pilot?
  • [08:00] When did you decide to start taking flying lessons? What were you going through at that time?
  • [10:00] How was your initial experience? Were you scared when you started?
  • [12:00] What does “ground school” mean?
  • [14:00] Why fly helicopters and not airplanes?
  • [17:00] How does it feel for you to fly? What do you do when you are actually flying?
  • [19:00] Have you ever experienced a failed engine or malfunction on air?
  • [20:00] You are trained for emergency landings, but in case of those events, what are some of the things you would do?
  • [22:00] How do people respond or react when they find out that you are a pilot?

— Part 2 —

  • [30:00] What is it like to live in the Silicon Valley area? How true is the Silicon Valley TV show?
  • [33:00] What is your role as an angel investor?
  • [39:00] What is your role in your consulting business?
  • [42:00] What are some of the organizations you invested in? What type of organizations are those?
  • [47:00] What would be your advice to people trying to get into Angel Investing?

 

Favorite Quotes

[15:00] They usually ask me why helicopters over airplanes? Maybe it’s because everybody can fly an airplane, and I wanted to do something that’s a little bit different. You have so much going on in a helicopter, your right hand is doing something, your left hand is doing something, your feet are doing something, and then you are constantly looking around, you are on the radio. Every part of you is engaged. For me that’s the fun part.

[31:00] I’m constantly trying to find the right balance between the reality and the craziness of everything that’s going on here (in the Bay area).

[38:00] I’m constantly looking for ways to introduce people to each other, whether they are investors to investors, people to investors, investors to startups, or even resources to resources to continue to build what I’m calling this mesh network of support in order to get more money in the hands of people.

[51:00]  The good news is that there’s no single path into angel investing, and that’s something I want to make clear for all people, especially women, who are generally not big risk takers. The problem is that we need to be bigger risk takers from a financial perspective to be solid from a financial perspective later on in life. We need to take more of those risks.  We need to set aside some part of our asset class into high risk assets, invest intelligently, so we can have the potential for bigger outcomes.

Transcript

Part 1

(Part 1). Terri Hanson Mead Teaches You to Pilot Your Life.m4a: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

(Part 1). Terri Hanson Mead Teaches You to Pilot Your Life.m4a: this m4a audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Fei Wu:
Hey. Hello. How are you? This is a show for everyone else. Instead of going after Top 1% of the world. We dedicate this podcast to celebrate the lives of the unsung heroes and self-made artists.

Terri Hanson Mead:
Why helicopters? Maybe it's because anybody can fly an airplane. And I always like to do something that's just a little bit different. You have so much going on in a helicopter. Your right hand is doing one thing, Your left hand is doing another thing, Your feet are doing something. And then you're constantly looking around. You're working on the radio, you're figuring out where safe landing spots are in the event of an engine failure. So every part of you is engaged. Is this how I want to operate in the world? And so I'm constantly trying to find the right balance between the reality and the the craziness of everything that's going on here. It's a natural connector. I'm constantly looking for ways to introduce people to each other, whether they're investors, to investors, investors to startups, or even resources to resources to continue to build what I'm calling this mesh network of support in order to get more money into the hands of these female founders, founders of color, LGBTQ+ founders, because money is power and we really need to see a shift in order to really level the playing field. The good news is that there's no single path into angel investing. And that's one of the things that I really want to make sure is really clear for a lot of women, especially who are generally not big risk takers. We need to set aside some part of our asset class into higher risk assets, invest intelligently so we can have the potential for bigger outcomes because simply putting stuff into a mutual fund or putting stuff into a bank account is not going to grow our wealth. And if we get paid 73, $0.75 or $0.78 on the dollar for every man, we already know that we're behind the curve for later on. So we have to start taking more risks.

Fei Wu:
Hi listeners, this is Fei Wu, your host for the Feisworld podcast. For the past two weeks, I've been trying something new, which is to tell you a little bit more about podcasts and podcasting and all the quick facts. Quick fact A number three this week is that podcast listeners are loyal, affluent and also educated. That is you, my friend. Did you also know that 80% of the people listen to all or most of each podcast episode and listens to an average of seven shows per week? This week we welcome Terry Hanson Mead, who is a San Francisco Bay Area native. A helicopter pilot, a skill which she acquired later in life after she has become a mom. This was one of the conversations. I wish that never end. Tara and I literally talked for hours, so we had to break down this episode into two parts. And I hope you listen to both. Trust me, it's worth it. The conversation with Terry is especially exciting for women who want to know how they too can thrive in business and in life in particular. I'm a firm believer that women who have worked in a corporate environment can also grow into careers that give them more freedom. Though there isn't an absolute work life balance, which is an overused phrase and we're trying to avoid. Terry walked me through how she manages her success as a self made, unsung heroine. As for Terry, her background had to do with technology, and she can help companies get to market faster and optimise overall business processes. In the second part of our conversation, we talked about her angel investing with Sand Hill Angels.

Fei Wu:
Investing isn't an area of my expertise, but I learned so much from Terry, who's passionate about digital health, specifically in Femtech, which is women's health care, and also Pedia Tech, which is pediatric health care. You may be wondering why femtech and media tech because 80% of household health care spend is controlled by women and over 50% of the population is female. This is a greenfield opportunity right now. Terry's also investing in many female founders. Why the research and data support that? Investing in women makes good business sense, and not enough investors are taking advantage of this very opportunity. I hope you enjoy the show. Quick announcement Phase World is launching its very first course called Reaching Billions. I'm super excited. It's a course to help maybe you or someone, you know, launch your show in China without learning a word in Chinese. To learn more, please visit Feisworld for course. Without further ado, please welcome the lovely Terry Handsome Mead to the Feisworld Podcast. I was really touched when I received your email. It wasn't a canned version of Hi, would you like to be on my show? Or You seem interesting, but it was so well curated and I was really touched by that email. I opened that up when I just landed in, I believe, Portland, Oregon, after a67 hour flight and just kind of, you know, that moment being out of town. It warmed my heart and I was so excited just in the in the taxi reading it. So thank you for that.

Terri Hanson Mead:
Though. I think, you know, thank you for saying that. I do spend a lot of time on my messages to people introductions to make sure that there's context, that there's value, that there is something that's very personal. We were inundated with information. And so if there isn't a personal touch or there isn't something that that gives us the ability to connect, we're just going to disregard it. So so thank you for saying that. It's helpful to me for me to know that the effort that I put into something actually has value.

Fei Wu:
Absolutely. And I wish more people talk about it, too, because I always say something when I see an email either from creators like yourself or even a friend, like a family or a friend who sent me something meaningful, I always make sure I say something because I feel like part of what we are here on Earth is to encourage other people, and especially the good behaviors, because so much of that is lacking today. So with that said, Tara, the first thing that caught my eye that I felt like, I don't care what other people ask you, the first thing I want to talk about is the fact that you are you are where you were working as a pilot.

Terri Hanson Mead:
All right. So I'm commercially rated, but I don't work. It's a it's a hobby. I do it for fun, but I have a commercial rating. And if you want whenever you want to get started, I can explain why I got a commercial rating in addition to my private, but I've never done it as a career. It's always been a hobby. It's something that I paid for because I always wanted to do it. And I became a commercial rated helicopter pilot to be a pilot. So it was to be a better and safer pilot. Maybe one day I'll get paid to do it, but it's just a hobby also.

Fei Wu:
Let's talk about that. I feel like I'm I feel like I'm one of your best friends, like Terry is. I'm putting all these labels on titles on you, but thank you. You're so thank you for clarifying that. Tell tell us why you decide to become a pilot. Like, how old were you? I guess. What were you going through at the time? It was a pretty big commitment. Yeah.

Terri Hanson Mead:
No, it's so funny because it showed up on my Facebook memories that nine years ago at this time I was doing my final prep for my check ride to get my private rating. So it goes back to my dad, flew fixed wing. He had a Cessna 152 and flew out of Hayward, California, and I got to go up and fly with him. He worked a lot. So it was always a it was always time to get daddy time with with him when he would go flying and when we were about eight. So you know it. But your listeners don't know. I have an identical twin sister and so she and I had an opportunity to go up in a helicopter at an air show. And inside my head I just said, one day I'm going to fly one of these things. And I never told anybody until, oh gosh, 15 and a half years ago when my husband and I moved down the peninsula from San Francisco, we would drive by the San Carlos Airport, which is middle of Silicon Valley, and I'd see all these helicopters and just say, one day I'm going to fly one of those, one day I'm going to fly one of those. And my husband got so sick and tired of hearing me say that that for my 38th birthday, he gave me a Discovery flight and he thought, okay, she's going to say this is too expensive, this is too noisy, this is to something or another, and that I would just shut up. And instead I just said, if I don't do this now, I'm never going to do it. And the client projects I was working on, I had some flexibility and I decided just to go for it. And it was almost ten years ago, ten years ago in April was when I had my first Discovery flight. And then I jumped off and said, I'm going to go get my license.

Fei Wu:
Wow. So I'm so glad you did that because it's not so much of a hobby to say, I'm going to learn how to Zumba dance or how to take swimming lessons. You know, this was quite a bit of a commitment. But tell tell me about your initial experience at the time. I mean, what was a training like? Were you scared?

Terri Hanson Mead:
So so getting my license was one of the hardest things I'd ever done. You know, I have kids, I had an MBA, I've started a business. But getting the license was one of the hardest things I was raised. You know, I was born in San Francisco, grew up in the East Bay, in the East Bay, in Northern California. And not that I was raised as a girl, but I didn't know anything about mechanics. And I'm not aerodynamic type things. Things that aren't tangible are difficult for me from a conceptual perspective. So the first constructor that I had was this guy named Aaron, and I decided to go with him only because he's the one that I did the. Every flight with. And I thought, okay, I'll just get started with him. And after the first month, I was like, This does not feel right. I didn't feel like I was progressing. I'm very goal oriented. I like to know what the target is and I like to hit the target. And so I told him, I said, I need a better plan. I need to feel like I'm accomplishing something. I don't feel like I'm accomplishing anything. And so the next month continued to be more of the same. And we were in the air and just had a little bit of a fight in the air over a misunderstanding.

Terri Hanson Mead:
And I just said, You're fired, you're done. So that was two months that I felt like I'd kind of wasted. And then I bounced around through two more months of a couple of other instructors until I landed on this gal. Monica and Monica was 19, had just finished her CFI or flight instructor school, and I was essentially her first student and I was like, Oh my gosh, here she is. 19. What does she know how? Oh my gosh, She was amazing. By Halloween, I passed my written exam at 100%. I soloed by Thanksgiving, and then by March I had my license. And since I was doing it part time while I was working, running my business, having my family, etc., by March. So within 11 months after I took my first Discovery flight, I had my license. And it was it was hard because it wasn't like I attended classes. It was a very tailored program to me and I would just sit down and have grad school with her like 6 to 9:00 at night, a couple of days a week. We would schedule flights and with weather sometimes they would get canceled. Sometimes there'd be a problem with the helicopter. So it was very there was a lot of start, stop, start, stop, start, stop.

Fei Wu:
What is a you mentioned ground school. What does that mean?

Terri Hanson Mead:
So you have to you have to have certain basic knowledge. And so in ground school, you're not up in the air actually flying. What you're doing is you're learning about aerodynamics, you're learning about parts of the engine, you're learning about whether you're learning about communication, you know, all this kind of stuff. So it's two parts. So when you go and you do your check ride with an FAA person, my guy was John Pyle out of Palo Alto. I now rent helicopters through him. So the first part of the exam is a is an oral exam. So asks you about all sorts of things, FAA regulations you have to do, look at charts. You have to talk about airspace. I mean, there's just a lot of stuff for my private rating that was probably 4 to 6 hours before we went out and flew for about 2 hours to go through all of the different activities or exercises that are part of the standard check ride in order to get passed. And then for my commercial rating, I want to say my oral was about 8 hours. So it was it was pretty intensive. So so yeah, I've got to do all the groundwork to learn enough so that when, when the check ride person gives you the oral exam, that you're able to answer all of the questions.

Fei Wu:
Hi there. You were listening to the Feisworld podcast. This is your host Fei Wu. Today on the show, I'm joined by Terry Handsome Mead, who is a San Francisco Bay Area native, a helicopter pilot, an angel investor and a kickass female entrepreneur. Why helicopters instead of, you know, jets and planes? Because, I mean, believe it or not, where I am right now, I know somebody you know, I live in Boston and Maine. It's just about like, say, three or 4 hours away. And I know there were people I knew who took lessons. I was able to fly jets, I guess, back and forth. I don't know why helicopters.

Terri Hanson Mead:
So when I'm around fixed wing or airplane people, they ask me why helicopters over airplanes and they'll say, well, because anybody can fly an airplane. Why helicopters? Maybe it's because anybody can fly an airplane. And I always like to do something that's just a little bit different. You have so much going on in a helicopter. Your right hand is doing one thing, Your left hand is doing another thing, Your feet are doing something. And then you're constantly looking around, you're working on the radio, you're figuring out where safe landing spots are in the event of an engine failure. So you're engaged on every part of you is engaged. And so for me, that is the fun part. That's the challenge. It helps me. It's very Zen to some extent, because let's say I'm having a particularly tough time with a client project or my kids or my husband. If I go flying, I literally and figuratively get above it all because, you know, if you think about like swimming, when I focus on swimming and I do laps or whatever, it's so mind clearing and flying is the same way. So I don't know. I just always loved helicopters more than airplanes.

Fei Wu:
I completely understand the meditative side of things as I'm a very avid swimmer myself. I have every time. I mean, once you're in the pool and your ears are, you know, covered with water and such, you just everything else is just tuned out. You don't have to do anything. But, you know, one thing I know with helicopters, I was very excited to be on my I would say my very first maybe second ride of I think the first time ever was, of course, in Arizona. Good. The Grand Canyon. At the time I was light enough. I actually sat right next to the pilot and I noticed just how unbelievable that experience is because you're so close, you know, you don't get the wings and it just feels so close to so surreal. And they give you these like Bose headphones and yeah, how does it feel for you to fly? Do you listen to music? I mean, what do you do when you fly?

Terri Hanson Mead:
No, no. I have to focus 100% on the flying, especially here in the San Francisco Bay area. It's a really busy airspace and we're really close to the class Bravo airspace, the San Francisco airspace. And then we've got Class Charlie over in Oakland and San Jose and then just over the hill over in Half Moon Bay. You know, people don't necessarily have to be on radio, so you have to constantly be vigilant to make sure that you see what's going on. You listen to what's going on to make sure that you're not introducing any unnecessary risk. And that's the thing for me is because this is a hobby, because I'm the primary breadwinner in my family. My husband has stayed home with the kids for ten and a half years. I need to make sure that I come home alive. And so it's all about mitigating risk. And typically I just do bay tours. So I just fly up to San Francisco sometimes under the Golden Gate Bridge over the Half Moon Bay. I love flying over Moffett Field because it's used to be a military base that was in restricted space. So it's fun for me to fly over there, but I only fly around here. I don't fly super far away. So there wouldn't be time for music because usually we're moving from one airspace to another. It's just super fun to play a little bit of tour guide while I'm up there too. Wow. Well, and the other thing that's fun about it, it's like, Oh, you want to see that again? Let's just go zip around Alcatraz, you know? Oh, you didn't get your picture. Let's go around the other side or or you want to get closer to the Transamerica building or the new Salesforce building. Sure. Let's just zip over there. So although it does make it does freak me a little bit, freak out a little bit in San Francisco because there aren't a lot of safe landing zones. So usually I'm kind of holding my breath as we're flying over certain parts of San Francisco because there's just no place to safely land in the event of a failed engine.

Fei Wu:
So tell me about the failed engine. Have you ever experienced it or any other malfunctions that may have scared you before?

Terri Hanson Mead:
Okay. Knock on wood. So far? Well, yes. There was one time where the carbon dioxide light went off. I was with a friend of mine, actually, somebody I went to high school with who works for the FAA. She does ground crew electronic stuff in San Francisco at the airport. And it went off and I was like, hmm. So we opened the windows, we opened the vents, and we tried to clear it. And eventually I just said, okay, we're just going to head straight back. But so far, no, I've not had any other significant problems. I tried to do a pretty thorough pre-flight that lasts probably about 45 minutes to. Make sure that everything seems to be good. And I do practice simulated engine failures and various different safety and emergency procedures periodically so that in the event that, you know, the clutch light goes on for 10 seconds or it starts blinking and I need to land immediately or enter an auto rotation, that I'm comfortable enough to be able to execute those.

Fei Wu:
Oh, wow, That's super interesting. So I know that you're a trained for any emergency landing you had mentioned several times, even though, you know, God forbid, well, you never, ever need those skills. Same way with me. Training for martial arts. I don't ever want to be mugged or people attacking me. Right. But in case of those events, what what are some of the things that you would do to mitigate that?

Terri Hanson Mead:
Well. So in the event of an engine failure or anything that I would think would be an engine failure, then we practice auto rotations, which is essentially we decouple the main rotor from the engine. And so the thing about that is there are three different types of energy. You've got airspeed, you've got altitude, and you've got the kinetic energy that's built up into the main rotor. And with flying, it's all about energy management. And then when you enter an auto rotation, you use up that energy. So we try to we pitch for a certain airspeed. We try to make sure that the rotor RPM doesn't get too low or too high. If it's too low, it stalls out. If it's too high, we can damage it. And it's all about making sure that once we find the landing spot, the landing spot could be right below us. It could be ahead of us, it could be behind us. We want to make sure that we're always landing into the wind so that we've got the wind adding to that to that energy. And we get towards the ground and we hit a certain like 40 feet and we flare and then we use the extra energy that we get in order to cushion the landing. And so we practice that kind of thing. So all sorts of things could lead to potentially an auto rotation, but I have to stay current on what to do if we have to land in the water with the engine on, with the engine off, with the with passengers, without passengers, not something I ever want to do. But, you know, I go through that periodically.

Fei Wu:
I have so many other questions for you. But before we move on, I wanted to know how people, especially when men respond to knowing that the fact that you're a pilot, whether people you meet for the first time, were in particular men who are also pilots themselves.

Terri Hanson Mead:
So that's actually a really great question. And I'll come to the second part of men who are pilots. So being a helicopter pilot is incredibly advantageous to me in the industry that I'm in because I do IT strategy and IT compliance for biotech, med device, diagnostic and digital health companies. I'm also an angel investor and advisor and expert witness. I'm often the only woman in the room. And now that I'm over 45, very easy for a lot of people to dismiss me as a woman. And so when I walk into a room and it's primarily men and I'll walk up and start to talk to them and we'll talk about what I do. And on the consulting side, a lot of people don't understand it, so they just kind of just brush it off. Or being in Silicon Valley, if you don't work for a startup or a tech company, a lot of times quickly dismissed. So so yeah, I'm an angel investor and that might pique their interest. And then we'll start talking about something and something will come up and they'll say, Oh yeah, and I fly helicopters and oh my gosh, all of a sudden I get all the attention and all of a sudden I have credibility.

Terri Hanson Mead:
And it's really sad and pathetic that it takes something like that in order to get the credibility. But it's one of the reasons why I drive a Tesla, because then I can be a part of a conversation, especially here where every other car is one or and then being a helicopter pilot. So trying to get the attention and not to be quickly dismissed by men in general. It's it's incredibly helpful. And then your second question, I'm trying to think so. When I meet fixed wing pilots and they find out I'm a helicopter pilot, automatically, I get yeah, I get a bad ass label very, very quickly on that one. And but if it's other helicopter pilots, it really depends. It's interesting, this week, Heli Expo is happening in Vegas and I'm not there, unfortunately. And usually female helicopter pilots we we are we are well taken care of. They other male helicopter pilots have a great deal of respect for us.

Fei Wu:
Oh, that's so good to hear. Because I not that I was too concerned, just given your energy level and frequency, I think you can handle pretty much anything. But, you know, being a programmer or a computer programmer, earlier in my career, I felt there was a lot of pressure from men to kind of dismiss your ability of any kind in addressing the issue that it was really hard, I would say 15 years ago, nearly. But I think the industry, it's changing. Hi there, It's me again. I want to thank you very much for listening to this episode, and I hope you were able to learn a few things. If you drill what you heard, it will be hugely helpful if you could subscribe to the Feisworld podcast. It literally takes seconds if you're on your mobile phone, just search for Feisworld Podcast in the podcast app on iPhone or an Android app such as Podcast Addict and click subscribe. All new episodes will be delivered to you automatically. Thanks so much for your support.

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Part 2

(Part 2). Terri Hanson Mead Teaches You to Pilot Your Life.m4a: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

(Part 2). Terri Hanson Mead Teaches You to Pilot Your Life.m4a: this m4a audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Fei Wu:
Hey. Hello. How are you? This is a show for everyone else. Instead of going after Top 1% of the world. We dedicate this podcast to celebrate the lives of the unsung heroes and self-made artists. Hi there. You were listening to the podcast. This is your host Fei Wu today on the show. I'm joined by Terri Handsome Mead, who is a San Francisco Bay Area native, a helicopter pilot, an angel investor and a kickass female entrepreneur. Yeah. I mean, people probably at this point, they might not know that you're living in the heart of the Silicon Valley. And I loved the TV show Silicon Valley and make me it's so funny and being coming from the tech background. But tell me, how do you in case you have seen a few episodes already, how true is that? I mean, what are some of the things we don't know about living in Silicon Valley?

Terri Hanson Mead:
So what's funny is initially what I saw that I couldn't I so cringed, you know, because I see it on an airplane. And then finally, I think I don't know what it was. I got suckered into it. And whenever I fly it because we don't have a TV, so whenever we fly, I'll watch it and oh my gosh, it is really sad and pathetic. How much of that is true and how it's I haven't watched it in a couple of months, but now it's it's really sad living in Silicon Valley. You and I were talking before about how we live in a bubble here, and it's really easy to get caught up in living here and thinking that the rest of the world is like this. And I am incredibly I feel incredibly fortunate and privileged to have been born and raised here. I've never lived really never lived anywhere but the Bay Area. And my husband is also from the Bay Area. So it's. It's I'm I'm both glad to be here. And other times I try to make sure to take my kids out of this area, to make sure that they realize that this is not the way the rest of the world operates or exist. There is such craziness here. So with the angel investing and seeing as many startups as I do and talking to as many VC people, we've lost a sense of reality in some cases, and we, me and my husband especially, really try to make sure that we stay grounded. But there are times that I can get really caught up in it, and then I have to take a step back and breathe and go, Is this really what I want? Is this, is this how I want to operate in the world? And so I'm constantly trying to find the right balance between.

Terri Hanson Mead:
The reality and the craziness of everything that's going on here. And and I also have to ask the questions like, okay, if I'm questioning this, is it because I'm not one of the Bitcoin billionaires and is it a cop out or do I really want to be different in the world than some of the other people that I see? And one of the things I'm working on is with a lot of people is to create an alternate funding source or an alternate funding ecosystem for female founders and founders of color who don't have access to the same capital that your typical bro white bro has access to. And we can be so deluded into thinking that there's only one way of doing things. And at the same time I'm fighting for something that's a little bit different to make it so that we're getting closer to leveling the playing field and creating these opportunities. But I do have to step back and say, Okay, am I doing this because I'm copping out? Because I don't think I can get access to all of that capital? Or am I doing this because this is the right thing to do. So there's this constant mental negotiation that's happening or this mental battle that's happening to make sure that I'm taking advantage of what's here. But at the same time, I'm not getting so caught up into it to realize that it's just that we live in a crazy, crazy place.

Fei Wu:
I mean, I love what you're transitioning into right now, and I have to say that when we think about and talk about that, there's only one thing to do anything. It just simply it's not true. You know, we look at successive examples of Elon Musk and all the people we talked about at the beginning of the show versus, you know, what you and I talked about on your show of making money as a podcaster, that how difficult it can be. So the moment I heard that, oh, you need at least two or 3 million downloads in order to make money. And I realized there must be another way. Otherwise, there's no yes. People can do it for the passion of it, but maybe there's somewhere in between that people can make money, connections. And so since you start talking about the business side of what you do and I'm very curious in learning more about angel investing and you know, what you what you do for women and minorities, maybe in the US or worldwide. Tell me a little a little bit more about what is that you do there.

Terri Hanson Mead:
Yeah. And the consulting that I talked about, funds, my investing habit as I as I'm now calling it, because I absolutely love it. So the angel investing I started about three years ago. I was talking to a friend of mine. He happens to be a helicopter pilot. And I was saying to him, Hey, you know, I'm bored. I'm tired of being stuck in this really old and archaic life sciences technology space with Google and Twitter and Facebook and all of these startups around here. I'm like, there's got to be a way to really access some of this technology and bring life sciences, especially biotech and med device, into the 21st century. And so I started doing angel investing, and just like with the helicopter flying, I decided to do it and I just jumped right into it. I didn't do much research. I didn't look at any groups beyond Sandhill Angels, and I didn't take any classes. A lot of women generally want to learn as much as they can research it before they go into it. We have our various different complexes about needing to be 110% qualified for anything that we do. And what's ironic is the things that I've jumped into without overthinking them have ended up being some of the best decisions in the happiest times of my life. So what I realized in investing through Sandhill Angels is I learned so much. Santa Angels is about 115 people. We're based here in the Silicon Valley, and about 15 of the members are women, so primarily men, a lot of older gentlemen who've been through semiconductor and not a whole heck of a lot of diversity.

Terri Hanson Mead:
And what I realized in my in my two years of being with the Intel is that I really wanted to do do what I wanted to do well and do good in my investing. And I was really looking for investments that who had founders and startups that aligned with my own values. And what I'm finding is that that is really a very female tendency, is we want to do well and do good. We don't want to necessarily have ROI at all costs. And at the same time, you know, I'm kind of looking at having consistent doubles and triples. So I'm not swinging for the fences and I'm hoping that my percentages end up over time. All of my all the startups I've invested in are still alive. Well, you know, raising successful subsequent rounds. That, you know, I can beat the 5% return average of VCs in the US, which means that 95% don't have good returns, you know? So what I'm trying to do is I really see an opportunity in investing in founders with startups that are appealing to the rest of us. So, so much has been defined and designed, especially in the tech space, by men for men. And yet there are so many of us who don't necessarily align with that. And so now we're really seeing a shift. And I'll say the one political thing, the one good thing that came out of the Trump election is that a lot of us have activated in a way that we hadn't been activated before.

Terri Hanson Mead:
And we're saying, hey, we're not going to put up with this anymore. We want things that are designed by us and for us. And the same thing of founders of color. Same thing with LGBTQ+ founders. And I'm seeing a huge market opportunity. And I moderated a panel in Helsinki at Slush on shifting demographics and the need for investors to shift with that. And if they don't shift fast enough, this is where this whole separate funding ecosystem needs to come into play, where we try to get primarily female investors, new women investors, investing in the things that we need in the world. Do we need another Facebook? Do we need another Twitter? No, we don't necessarily need another one of those. So then why don't we invest in other things that the world actually needs? And so I mentor through some various different accelerator programs. I advise advising a fashion tech startup in New York City. I'm going to be mentoring ADA, which is an accelerator. They're trying to get more female founders and entrepreneurs in Berlin. So I'm going to be starting with that I think in June. And Constance, as a natural connector, I'm constantly looking for ways to introduce people to each other, whether they're investors, to investors, investors to startups, or even resources to resources to continue to build what I'm calling this mesh network of support in order to get more money into the hands of these female founders, founders of color, LGBTQ+ founders, because money is power and we really need to see a shift in order to really level the playing field.

Fei Wu:
So this is an area Angel investing is an area where investing in general AI is the type of knowledge I'm lacking greatly and something I've been teaching myself, you know, as an adult. So what is your to help me understand what is your role? Are you are a consultant to this company or are you like an advisor? What is your role?

Terri Hanson Mead:
So it's funny that you mentioned that about not being educated in the angel investing space. So just today I wrote a medium post because I keep getting asked about resources that I would recommend for anybody trying to get into angel investing or into venture. So that's out on my my medium post, which can be found on, I think, Terry Hanson Mead. And just next week on my podcast, I'm going to start a series on angel investing in terms of, you know, what I've experienced, what I've learned, how I've operated, how I operate, things that I attend just as as a supplement to my normal podcast. So that'll just be 10 minutes a week starting next week, because there are a lot of people who are very curious about it, who don't know much about it, and especially for women or people of color who have not been raised with it or exposed to it, it feels like this really crazy, mysterious, hard to get into thing. I would say that that's the case for Venture. It's a total bro network. It's super hard to break into, but angel investing, I think we have we have room in there. So I invest in companies so I, I write checks to for the for two years I was investing through Sandhill Angels so we would see various different startups. And then some of us would say, yeah, we want to put money in. So we would pool our money and invest together into a particular startup. So over the course of two years, I invested in seven different startups and I doubled down and tripled down on some, which meant that they raised subsequent raises and I believe so much. And what was that they were doing that I wrote second checks and third checks.

Fei Wu:
Hi there. You were listening to the Feisworld Podcast. This is your host Fei Wu. Today on the show, I'm joined by Terri Hanson Mead, who is a San Francisco Bay Area native, a helicopter pilot, an angel investor and a kickass female entrepreneur. Sorry. I was just wondering. I don't know the you know, how confidential that type of information is. If you can reveal the name of those organizations, could you give us a sense of what types of organizations they are?

Terri Hanson Mead:
Oh, I would absolutely love to. I love I'm I am actually really proud of the of the startups that I've invested in. The first one that I invested in is a company called My Health Teams. It's based in San Francisco, and they were raising their Series B and their series C round. So it's a little bit later than what I normally invest in. But when I saw what they were doing, I could not help but invest. And what they do is they provide and I'm going to go back and what I said, social media platform for people with chronic illnesses who are surrounded by people who don't know what it's like for them to live with those diseases. So whether it's Crohn's or breast cancer or they have 28 different diseases fibromyalgia, autism, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, diabetes, eczema, so 28 different diseases, maybe it's up to 29. And so what these people can do is, is share information in a safe place to get access to potentially information about drugs or homeopathic or clinical trials. So it really gives them a great resource so that they can take control of their lives and the diseases around it and feel less like victims of the situation or lost without resources. In this day and age, we have to become our own advocates with our health care.

Terri Hanson Mead:
The second one I invested in was sandstone diagnostic and it was early stage and they have a home sperm count kit for couples who are trying to get pregnant. And it's a digital health solution. So it is a medical device, but it has a software component where you can track and trend your sperm count over time. And it gives suggestions like don't wear tighty whities, don't go into hot tubs, try to lose some weight. And so what you can do is you can track activities and associate it with the change in your sperm count. So that one, I was like, this absolutely needs to happen in the world. Fertility issues are 50% male and 50% female. So this was giving, well, couples actually a tool so they wouldn't have to go into a lab which is uncomfortable and awkward and expensive, and they could do this in the comfort of their own home. The next company I I invested in was a company called Zoom. It's also based here in the Bay Area and a female founder on this one. And it's on demand and scheduled rides and care for for kids ages 5 to 15. So ten and one half years ago, the reason my husband had to stop working as a police officer is because we couldn't find a nanny.

Terri Hanson Mead:
We couldn't find anybody to help us out when our kids were little. And so I just saw in Zoom, I was like, if this had existed, my husband would have continued to work. Because the thing that's great about this is you can schedule it in advance or it can be a very last minute thing. They can take your kid to, let's say, a karate class or a gymnastics class, and they can actually wait there rather than, you know, calling a Lyft or an Uber, which you don't want to do with your six year old or your seven year old, or if you need someone to stick around at your house for just a little bit longer until you get home. They they provide this. And I was like, this is something the world needs. And that's a question that I always asked with my investments. Is this something that the world needs? Does the world need my health teams? Yes. Did it need sandstone diagnostics? Yes. Did it need Zoom? Yes. One of my favorites too. It's Tomboy X and I don't know if you've heard of it, but it's it started out as undergarments for women who didn't want to be shopping in the men's department for things.

Terri Hanson Mead:
So it was a primary lesbian market initially to a lesbian couple out of Seattle started this. And it has really a much broader appeal. I mean, my my daughter's been wearing the the boy briefs for a couple of years because they're incredibly comfortable, they're stylish, and they now have swimwear. They now have loungewear bras. They have all sorts of things. And it's incredibly comfortable. So if you don't want to shop in Victoria's Secret, it's garments that are made for every body. I like investing in companies where the founders had a lived experience and so they were creating something from their own experience. And I think it makes it much easier to build those kinds of companies when you can directly relate to whatever it is, whoever your end consumer is going to be. I invested in a tactical haptics company, and the reason why I invested in that, because it seems a little bit odd. I did go through a little bit of a VR kick at one point, but I saw it because it's a it's a haptic feedback controller for VR, but where I see it great potential is in surgical training. So really from an educational perspective. So it ties into my desire to. Invest in companies that help have something that help improve people's lives.

Fei Wu:
As a woman or as someone. Doesn't matter. Men or women who want to invest in these companies or to do what you do. What are some of the suggestions you have for them, such as, You know, you should have X amount of dollars in saving and to be able to safely invest in, you know, X percentage of that. So I think people ask these questions all the time. All the time. I'm sure I want to I'm sure in your mini episodes coming up for your show, those ten minute episodes, you go into a lot of the details, which I encourage my listeners to check it out. But for now, while they're listening to this, what are some of kind of high level advice that you would have for for that?

Terri Hanson Mead:
Okay. So so first of all, if you want to invest as an angel investor, you generally need to be an accredited investor. And if you Google accredited investor, you'll be able to see their specific rules around it. It has to do with whether you're married or single. It's it's either based on your income or your assets, including your or excluding your house. And so you have to meet a certain threshold. What was interesting is a couple of years ago, Obama passed, I think it was called the Jobs Act, which made it so that non accredited investors could invest up to And I'm not going to say it was like maybe up to $100,000 or certain percentage of something in startups. And there are platforms like seed invest out of New York City, enable non accredited investors to be able to invest something like Angel List. You have to be an accredited investor to be able to invest in their, you know, through their syndicates. If you're interested in getting started in angel investing, I really recommend reading Jason Calacanis book, Angel Angel The book and what you can do actually say is I literally just wrote this post today on Medium is you could just include the link because I include that book Venture Deals by Brad Feld. There are a bunch of podcasts that I recommend listening to just to get familiar with terminology and understand.

Terri Hanson Mead:
But I think Jason talks about in his book, Angel, I think he talks about allocating a certain amount, setting aside because startups, it's a really high risk asset class and for the most part you, you kind of have to assume that you're writing a check and you just never expect to get it back. You hope that you get it back, but you have to know you have to be comfortable with potentially never seeing that money again. So when I started angel investing, I allocated a certain amount. I figured I was going to do it for two years. I was calling it my real life PhD. I invested twice that amount. I've now set a new limit and I'm doing what's called an evergreen fund, where I'm only going to invest up until that amount. And then when I have exits, then I will take that money and then I will reinvest that. And that way I can preserve the rest of my portfolio and not continue to erode into my kids college funds as I find interesting startups to invest in. So that's going to take a little bit of discipline on my part. But Angel, the book is probably a great place to start. I don't Jason and I disagree on a couple of things in terms of the types of investments and our our value systems are a little bit different, but really, really great information in that book.

Terri Hanson Mead:
And I would start with that book and there's the 20 Minute VC is a great podcast that Harry Stebbings does. I listen to it religiously for at least a year and a half until I realized he didn't have enough women on that. And I pushed back and I was like, Come on, get some more women on here. And he said he tried. So I only listened to the episodes with women on there, and that's a really great one. If you're an accredited investor. I would look into Angel list, into potentially investing through the syndicates just to because you can do small dollar amounts without, you can do $2,000, you can do 5000 and you don't have to write 50,000 or 100,000 checks. I think there's a misunderstanding, misunderstanding and thinking that to be an angel investor you have to write 100,000 checks. My average text size is 10 to 15000. So and in some cases I've doubled and tripled down. So my investments in some companies are more than ten or 15,000, but not huge, huge amount. And you asked about the percentage that's really going to have to do with what your portfolio composition is, what your risk tolerance is, and you have to decide what that is.

Terri Hanson Mead:
There are I think Jason has in his book, I think he's got some rules of thumb, but the good news is that there's no single path into angel investing. And that's one of the things that I really want to make sure is really clear for a lot of women, especially who are generally not big risk takers. And the problem is, is that. We need to be bigger risk takers from a financial perspective to be solid from a financial perspective later on in life. We need to take more of those risks that men have traditionally taken. Sallie Krawcheck talks about this in an a lot of the stuff that she she talks about. And I really do agree with her that we need to set aside some part of our asset class into higher risk assets, invest intelligently so we can have the potential for bigger outcomes, because simply putting stuff into a mutual fund or putting stuff into a bank account is not going to grow our wealth. And if we get paid 73, $0.75 or $0.78 on the dollar for every man, we already know that we're behind the curve for later on. So we have to start taking more risks.

Fei Wu:
Hi there, It's me again. I want to thank you very much for listening to this episode, and I hope you were able to learn a few things. If you drill what you heard, it will be hugely helpful if you could subscribe to the Feisworld podcast. It literally takes seconds if you're on your mobile phone, just search for Feisworld Podcast in the podcast app on iPhone or an Android app such as Podcast Addict and click subscribe. All new episodes will be delivered to you automatically. Thanks so much for your support.

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