Lolita Taub, who grew up as the daughter of immigrants from Mexico, grew up too poor to afford a computer. It wasn’t until her third grade teacher Mr. Magat bought her a computer that her love for technology blossomed.
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Since then, Taub has worked at IBM selling enterprise tech, traveled to 18 countries to interview 100 female founders, and invested with Backstage Capital. Now she has made her way to Catalyte, a workforce data science company, as its chief of staff.
In the second installment of this season’s Proust Goes Tech, Taub tells us about her favorite tweeters, her issue with “disruption,” and what punches her in the gut.
The interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
What would you otherwise be doing right now?
I would be going through TSA precheck—I’m actually sitting right outside now doing this interview.
I want to invest in funds that are run by the people who have the same vision of the future, where capital and making money is of course a must-have, but also considerate of humanity. I can’t imagine not investing in the future and figuring out ways of helping people reach their American dream as I reach mine. My dad slept on the dirt floor in a rural area in Mexico, and I’m an executive at a company growing really fast.
Your main fault?
Precrastinator. It leads to workaholism; it’s very counterproductive.
The quality you most desire in a tweet?
I love tweets that spark curiosity. That teach me something. If I see a tweet that teaches me something and makes me want to look something up, I love those kind of tweets. Two of my favorite tweeters are Brianne Kimmel and Elizabeth Yin. Brianne is always about insight and curiosity and business itself, and Elizabeth is so good at being honest about the business, and she speaks to the human element.
Your idea of misery?
My misery is being bored. I cannot live a life that is not intentional—I have tried.
What do you appreciate the most in your friends?
Honesty. Just real honesty. Someone who can say, “Hey Lolita you could do this better.” Just be critical. I think some of my best mentors, in fact, are also friends, and what I love about them is they’re not afraid to say you could do this better. Just that constructive feedback is really important.
Your chief characteristic?
I make things happen. I’m a big mobilizer. You give me a task, you give me a goal, and I’m very good at breaking it down. It probably has a lot to do with my background in sales where I had to be very results oriented.
What skill do you wish you possessed?
Humor. I think I could be funnier.
Your most impactful book?
One of the books that really changed my thinking was that The Alchemist. I think it’s one of those books that impacted me personally as a human being. In terms of work impact, Never Eat Alone. The first book taught me it’s worth looking for more, and Never Eat Alone taught me how to do that.
What defines success?
It’s knowing that my family has a good life, that we don’t have to worry about a roof over our head—food on the table—and that my family and friends don’t have to do things because of survival, but because there’s an opportunity to thrive.
When is confidence lost?
I definitely have to say that it sucks when you know your stuff, and you have someone explain it to you or belittle you, for no good reason other that you don’t look like the pattern matched profile that people had in mind.
I’m a short woman, petite and ethnic and it’s definitely a punch in the gut when someone questions my knowledge or experience or background. I don’t lose confidence, it sucks, but this is why I’m doing this. But yeah, it’s definitely a punch in the gut.
Which buzzword is exhausted?
Disruption. I think so. Everybody uses it. The other word that comes up is authenticity. Like, what do you mean?
What virtues do others have that you don’t?
Patience and moderation. I like things done yesterday, and I’m either 100% in or out. It would be nice to give time, time, and to live a life that’s more work and fun balanced.
What impact do you want to leave behind?
I want to leave behind hope and prove that, even if you come from a marginalized group with nothing to your name, you can achieve your dreams with integrity.
What’s the biggest problem tech is failing to solve?
Preparing for a minority-majority world where inclusion is a must to succeed.
Illustration Credit: Li Anne Dias
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article stated that Lolita Taub was a director at Backstage Capital. She was a principal. A correction has been made to reflect this change.