Emily Hickey, Hashable, Woman Entrepreneur
If you hang out in the tech industry long enough names continue to pop-up and of course after awhile I become curious and want to meet them. Emily Hickey is one of those people. What I didn't know is that she was around during the 1.0 phase of the Internet explosion in NYC and worked for someone who I knew and had become friends with but our paths never crossed. We finally met just recently and made plans to get together this past Friday night. We probably could have spent the whole day together just gabbing. We parted afer having a glass or two of wine knowing that our conversation will definitely be continued.
Before I start on Emily's interesting career, I just want to say that Emily is a very cool girl. She is smart, insightful, artistic and if she wasn't in the tech industry, she'd definitely be a rock and roll chic. Her brain got the better of her. Sorry all you rockers out there.
Emily grew up in St. Louis and left to go to school at UNC Chapel Hill. After graduating from college, like many young graduates, made her way to NYC. She got a job at Anderson Consulting, it was 1996 and it was a crazy time to be in NYC if you were doing anything in the tech industry. Emily worked with People Soft while at Anderson Consulting and happened to learn how to write code while she was there. Certainly an added bonus. She hated the job and after a year left to go to Hot Jobs.
Emily was the 14th person hired at Hot Jobs. The company consisted of sales people and engineers. Emily worked with Lucent to create a recruiting piece to the job board at Hot Jobs. Working at Hot Jobs was like riding a rocketship. I remember when Hot Jobs, that was growing like wildflower, spent over a million bucks to run an add on the Superbowl. Any person in the tech industry with some experience under their hat definitely took pause when that happened. How the hell did these companies grow so damn fast in less than a few years to put an ad on the Super Bowl?
Three years after Hot Jobs was launched there was an IPO. The company was doing over $100 million dollars in revenue and there were 800 employees. It was 1999. She was VP of Products and stayed for a few years after that IPO even going out to San Francisco to help turn around an acquistion the company had made but the atmosphere in the company had changed and people were jumping ship. It was time to leave.
Emily bought a small house and her brother moved out there and together they started a band. She needed time to regroup. Her father had died when she was at Anderson Consulting which had left a big hole and after the last 6 years it was time to chill out. She took 18 months to relax.
Emily took a job after 18 months working with WildAid, as the assistant ED, a non-profit that worked on stopping the trade of illegal wildlife by helping to enforce protection in forests around the world. The USA has laws as well as a forest service that does this but in many foreign countries they do not. She stayed a few years and found herself going back and forth from SF to LA doing her music too. Deciding she needed a change, she took the GRE's and applied to Stanford to get her MBA and got in.
The next two years were spent at Stanford where she met a guy who had a bunch of patents that wanted to commercialize them. At the same time, she met her husband. Her boyfriend (husband to be) got into the Tisch program for the arts and her business partner wanted to be back in NYC so off they went. She was beyond thrilled to leave SF.
She worked on an app that could detect if you were lying through emotions. Think of a mood ring for an app. Way before its time. Nobody was even using apps then. Emily got together with some tech people who she worked with at Hot Jobs and they launched Photoshelter. She took the role of COO. They raised 6 million for the business. This was 2007. They ramped up the business to 30 people and realized after spending 4 million that the model wasn't working. What is truly impressive is that they took the last 2 million, pivoted some of the ideas, barely took salaries and rebooted Photoshelter into a new company and marketed it like crazy. They got the business profitable within 12 months, with revenues in the millions and growing almost 100% annually with roughly 20% net margins. The business continues to build the revenue stream annually.
Ideas kept flowing through her head and she joined Tracked.com and with the group of guys who were there they began to focus on the idea of Hashable which they launched as a separate business. Hashable is a networking app. Emily was critical in making that pivot and single handedly launched Hashable. It was launched this past Labor Day and they were off to the races. The group refers to themselves as co-Creators which is absolutely perfect. The other co-creators are Teddy Jawde and David Sebag and Mike Yavonditte.
Emily has had a really interesting career. Although she might not have been the one singular person with the one idea that she built a company around, she has been part of entrepreneurial teams and has grown businesses from Hot Jobs (being the group of 5 that literally built the business ) to Photoshelter to Hashable. Married with a 2 year old ( she was pregnant during her time at Photoshelter ). There are so many incredible women out there who are product developers. They are integral parts of growing a start-up and without them the company would never get to where it needs to go. These people, like Emily, make sure the business vision gets executed. They are critical. Emily is one of those people and she is a leader in the tech community and as far as I am concerned, a very cool woman.
Joanne thanks for this generous and awesome post, which mainly just reflects how cool YOU are – it was so fun to hang out finally, and thank you for being such a great role model and important leader in the NY tech scene. Rock!
I love this profile of you, Emily. Bummed we didn’t get to meet last time I was in town, hope we can change that some day soon.
This was fun to read and I learned some new things about you!
Daryn thanks! Actually I was going to reach out to you and Dave this week – I think we might be Seattle-bound, I’d love to get your thoughts on it!
That’d be awesome – shoot me an email: [email protected]! We’ve gotextra desks and wi-fi, and will happily provide anyintros/recommendations.
Awesome thanks! I’ll take it to email 🙂
Emily Hickey is amazing – everything you said and more. She’s also got a great heart and is hilarious. I would punctuate this with a joke about her love of Birkenstocks but this is her moment, so I will let it pass.
Thanks Rach – #Birks 🙂
+1 for “a very cool woman”You rock, Emily.
Thanks buddy. #Alpaca! Can’t wait to see you guys next week —
L-O-V-E Emily. She is not only brilliant but a great person. Glad to see her profiled by another equally as awesome female innovator!
Thanks Kell!! Joanne’s the bomb and we need to all get lady drinks v soon!
Great profile of Emily Hickey.[Joanne — Are you using “intrical” as a joke? If not, you might want to change it to “integral.”]
Thanks for pointing that out. I will change it. The command of the englishlanguage has never been my strong suit
Emily is one of the most energetic, capable women I know. A real role model.
I am thoroughly impressed!
Majorly back atcha Lauren – you are rocking it –
I met Emily when I joined the board of PhotoShelter. She rocks.She is a role model that we should hold up for woman entrepreneurs – gets stuff done, never complains, leads by example.
she definitely seems to be a woman who gets shit done. I didn’t know youwere on the board of PhotoShelter. Everyone is one degree of separation
we need to grab Shri after her semester wraps up and force her out for beers!
Back atcha times a million 🙂 The original woman entrepreneur product role model – Sean and I are coming to the screening btw – psyched – congrats!!
Emily “Rocks” in whatever she decides to play. Growing & building companies, creating impact and even nurturing a family along the way in a truly successful and “Wonderful Life”. Bravo! Encore! <applause, applause,=”” applause=””>
emily is no doubt a total winner at every level. looking at the praise forher as a person from all these comments is fantastic.
Emily is one of those people you meet and instantly love. Joanne, thanks for the write-up. Emily, you’ve done some amazing stuff. Even more in awe, if that’s possible.Thrilled you guys got together!
Erin, you’re the best, thank you so much! So when are you back in town so we can finally all get together?!
Always impressed with Emily’s advice and clear vision of what a product needs. She offered me great company advice through SLP that I still reference.Great to learn more about her path to the present. Keep shaking things up!
In addition to all the other reasons to like and admire Emily, let me add that Emily is one of those “tech people” who gets both “tech” and “people”. A rare combo of abilities.
So proud of you Em!!
@emilykhickey:disqus , I love to hear about other successful women who grew up in St. Louis. (I promise I won’t ask where you went to high school!) Congrats on your businesses.I am an accidental entrepreneur… my co-creator & I recently signed with a literary agent who will turn our humorous blog, http://www.quirkout.com, into a book. I came across this article about you while researching other women entrepreneurs. So glad I did! I think Hashable will be a huge help.The very first thing our agent tasked us with was beefing up our social media presence. I run into people all the time who want to find our blog, or follow us on FB or twitter. And while Quirk Out is, by design, easy to search, I can’t always count on someone’s memory. An iPhone app that lets me email the business card on the spot? All they have to do is tell me their email address and I am done?? Love it! It keeps the momentum & engagement of the face-to-face interaction and carries it to the opportunity for them to actually click “like” or “follow” when they get to their computer or the app.The Hashable app is on my phone now, and I can’t wait to see how I can use it.Good luck!Cary [email protected]:[email protected]:twitter
Emily is the smartest and most ambitious person I’ve ever known. I met her shortly after moving to SF in 2003 when she accepted me, a 20 old ADHD afflicted punk rocker from Albany, NY into her band based on a 2 am impromptu drunken jam session with her guitar player, John. At the time I wasn’t aware of her accomplishments but was amazed at how she could present a new song to the band and sell it in such a way to make us want to give it our all. The best part of all this is how she got the band to see and understand her vision; using passion and excitement instead of her rank as band leader. She brought out the best in me and I still consider the record we made together to be my best work. There’s no doubt that her ability to bring out and tap into the potential of her team is the key to her numerous successes. I’d love the opportunity to work with her again.
she is also a supreme bad ass.