Wednesday Wisdom from Cynthia Rubio, President & CEO of Radiant RFID
We’re halfway through the week, and it’s time for a boost of inspiration to keep us going. Our #WednesdayWisdom blog series taps into the minds of industry leaders and disruptive visionaries who are working to build the future of entrepreneurship.
We sat down with Cynthia Rubio, President & CEO of Radiant RFID, to discuss the state of women in tech, the benefits of being a momtrepreneur, and the future of Latino startups.
How has being a woman entrepreneur in the tech world changed since you launched Radiant RFID in 2004?
I don’t know that it has changed a whole lot, except that I’m older now! There still aren’t a lot of women tech entrepreneurs and very few that get funded. One thing that I do notice is that there are successful women who have now become investors. Women helping other women can have an enormous impact on our collective future. While the number of women in tech fields hasn’t risen substantially in the 25 years of my career there are more STEM programs for young female students and I’m hopeful that over time it will give women the opportunity of choice.
How have you made sure that your company stays cutting-edge amid the rapid advancements in technology over the past decade?
Staying on the forefront of technology is a company effort; it requires everyone staying informed on new technologies and coming up with new ideas on how to apply what we are seeing and hearing about. It’s about constant improvement in every solution.
As someone with a technology and engineering background, what are your thoughts on women entrepreneurs launching startups with no tech background, especially when it’s critical to their company?
There are many pieces to the entrepreneurial puzzle; technology is only one of them. It doesn’t matter if you are male or female you are not going to be an expert or even well trained in all the areas that it takes to run a company. If you are launching a startup you’re probably motivated and capable in your field. Find capable people to fill in the gaps; if technology is a gap, fill it, if legal is a gap, fill it. But don’t second guess yourself because you don’t have a tech background. You’ll be surprised at what you learn along the way.
You started your company as a stay at home mom. What were the benefits to that, and the challenges? What advice do you have for stay at home moms who have a burning business idea?
The benefit of starting as a stay at home mom is that you are not tied to financial compensation because you’re not being paid, so it’s not as risky. When I was an at home mom my kids were young and our schedule was flexible. The challenging part is that people may not take you seriously, or think of you as ‘mom and pop’ when you have visions for something bigger. My advice to everyone is that we should be doing things that we enjoy; you can enjoy your family and your personal interests, no matter what they are and staying at home can provide you flexibility until you can put more time into your business.
How do you think your business would be affected—positively or negatively—if it was located in Silicon Valley instead of Austin, Texas?
It would have been very difficult for us had we been in Silicon Valley 12 years ago, particularly because we did not have any outside funding. SV salaries would have been challenging initially. Not having lived in Silicon Valley it’s hard to really say, it’s a powerhouse for startups and that probably would have been something positive. There are always trade-offs.
You spoke this year at SXSW about the future of Latino Startups. What are some important things happening in this space?
Similar to what we are seeing with women investors; we are also seeing more Latino investors, and Latino investment groups. Additionally, I believe there are Latinos who have risen through the corporate world and decided to venture on their own.
For an extra dose of #WednesdayWisdom, read our interview with Caroline Ghosn, Founder & CEO of Levo. We discuss the importance of mentorship, navigating the unwritten rules of the workforce, and how you can be a good role model to others.