Falon Fatemi: A Rising Entrepreneur Who is Redefining the Image of Young Innovators — and How We View the Web
In the competitive world of high-tech, next-generation startup companies, most people typically have the following image of the innovators who are behind such promising enterprises: reclusive (usually Caucasian) young males who are scary smart, and who arrive at their company think tanks each day dressed in faded jeans, t-shirts, sneakers and hoodies — while boasting degrees in engineering or computer science from some of the nation´s most prestigious universities.
Now meet a successful young startup entrepreneur who is shattering such conventions. ¨My name is Falon Fatemi,” she says matter-of-factly.” Let’s get the basics out of the way: I’m a woman. I didn’t attend a ´top 5´ university. I’m not an engineer, and I didn’t ace my SATs (though I did just fine). I work hard, but I value time with my friends and family. I take care to dress like a more traditional professional. In short, I’m on no one’s shortlist when asked to picture the ´typical´ entrepreneur.”
Falon has reason to be proud. At a young age, her talent, coupled with her engaging yet highly ambitious characteristics, have already garnered her both notable accomplishments and national attention in the challenging realm of high-tech business innovation.
She began at Google as a full-time employee when she was just 19 years old (and was then the youngest of the company´s 3,000 employees). At Google, she developed the strategy for its entrance into much of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa and built strategic partnerships at YouTube, and later worked full time consulting with dozens of startups.
Almost two years ago she founded the San Francisco-based startup called Node, where as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) she leads a team of talented ex-Google tech employees who believe the future of the web isn’t search—it’s about proactive, personalized recommendations. Says Falon: “Instead of organizing the web by webpages and keywords and treating important entities (such as people and companies) as metadata like we are doing today, Node is reorganizing this information on the web by focusing on the people who actually use it.”
Adding to its success, Node has already received investment backing from such prominent venture capital firms as New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Avalon Ventures, Canaan Partners, and Mark Cuban (the billionaire entrepreneur who is best known as the owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, Magnolia Pictures, and Landmark Theatres, and as co-host of the hit show “Shark Tank”).
What does she attribute to her success? “Like many things in life,” Falon says, “my path largely stems from my upbringing.” Her parents escaped the Iranian Revolution and came to the U.S. in the 1970s, and through education and hard work, her father and mother built a successful life for their family as serial entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley.
“My parents’ experiences helped me recognize that my ability to choose my path was a blessing and not to be taken for granted. From elementary through high school, my parents had two rules: First, I had to study a year ahead in math and science before I could participate in fun summer activities. Second, I had to get a job (and not just any job—one that furthered my career) and work for every dollar I wanted to spend. So instead of working service jobs with my friends, I studied patent cases. Not a fun experience but the mentality of career-driven employment has stuck with me today.”
In addition to her business pursuits, she is an online contributing writer for such high-profile tech and entrepreneurial publications as Forbes, Venture Beat, Entrepreneur, Wired, Fast Company, Tech Crunch, and Re/Code. Through her writings and public presentations she also serves as an advocate for exploring constructive ways to bridge and eliminate the gender gap in Silicon Valley and in other areas of high-tech startup careers and development.
For more information, please visit https://www.node.io/