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January 25, 2024 - By Barron Rosborough

Rhythms of Resilience: Ann Miura-Ko’s Melody from Pianist to Venture Capital Virtuoso

A tale of tenacity, a symphony of grit, and a masterclass in defying the odds. Today, we dive into the world of Ann Miura-Ko, a name synonymous with unyielding determination and groundbreaking success in venture capital. On this episode of HawkeTalk, we peel back the layers of Ann’s extraordinary journey, from her early days echoing the disciplined rhythms of piano scales to the high-stakes arenas of Silicon Valley. Sit back, as we unfold the story of a woman who not only faced her fears but danced with them, who turned every challenge into a stepping stone, and who redefined the art of making a mark in a world resistant to change. Get ready to be inspired, to learn, and perhaps to see your own potential challenges in a new, invigorating light.

Ann Miura-Ko’s narrative begins with a reflection on the value of discipline, a theme that weaves through her life. She compares her experiences in learning piano to the broader concept of perseverance, noting, “There are days where you only do boring things and that’s discipline… but you practice scales, you practice arpeggios, and at the end of it, like your fingers are just getting stronger” (Ann [00:00:00]). This analogy serves as a foundation for understanding her approach to challenges: consistent effort, even in mundane tasks, builds strength and skill.

In high school, Ann faced a significant personal challenge: her fear of public speaking. Her strategy to overcome this fear by joining the speech and debate team showcases her determination and resilience. Despite initial setbacks, her commitment to preparation and practice led to remarkable success. She emphasizes this by saying, “The person who really loves the thing… can actually out prepare literally anyone” (Ann [00:12:05]). This part of her story underlines the power of facing fears head-on and the importance of thorough preparation.

Ann’s academic journey took an interesting turn in college. Initially inclined towards medicine, her passion for math led her to pursue electrical engineering instead. This decision reflects her willingness to follow her interests and strengths, even when they lead her down less conventional paths.

A pivotal moment in Ann’s career was her chance encounter with Lew Platt, the CEO of Hewlett-Packard. This opportunity, which she seized, opened her eyes to the tech industry and eventually steered her toward venture capital. This experience highlights the impact of mentorship and the importance of seizing unexpected opportunities.

In discussing the founding of her venture capital firm, Floodgate, Ann provides insights into her approach to evaluating startup founders. She looks for ‘super builders’ and ‘super thinkers’, highlighting her focus on passion, grit, and a touch of talent in potential investments.

Lastly, Ann touches on the theme of nonconformity and the importance of not being a people-pleaser. She advises, “It’s okay to go against the grain. And I fortunately got that lesson early in life.” This perspective is particularly meaningful for women and underscores the importance of self-belief and independent thinking in personal and professional growth.

In summary, Ann Miura-Ko’s interview with Erik Huberman on HawkeTalk presents a multifaceted narrative that encompasses discipline, facing fears, following one’s passions, seizing opportunities, and the power of nonconformity. Her journey offers valuable insights and lessons applicable to various aspects of personal development and professional success.

Download the full episode on Apple Podcasts or listen on Spotify!