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Quickfire at Collision with Hayley Barna of Forward Partners

Maeve McQuillan
Published on April 28, 2016

Hayley Barna has a lot to be confident about. She’s the co-founder of the wildly successful Birchbox, a health and beauty subscription service.

During her talk on Collision Center Stage this afternoon, she chatted about how to instill confidence in female founders and problems the tech world needs to face. Problems like the fact that only 10 percent of seed funding currently goes to women.

Hayley’s short-term tip? Take out your phone and text a female founder. Tell ‘em they’re great.

After her talk, we caught up with Hayley Barna for some Quickfire at Collision.

Hayley backstage at Collision after her talk

What book do you give people and why?

The startup book that I really love is the Hard Thing About Hard Things. I think it’s one of the best descriptions of what it feels like to be in a CEO seat. I try not to give it to people when they’re just starting, but as they are scaling that’s a great one.

What’s the worst attribute an entrepreneur can have?

Selfishness doesn’t go very far because so much about building businesses is about giving to your customers and your employees. Another one is being lazy. Too much lazy can get dangerous!

What are you most afraid of?

I place a big premium on productivity and making a dent in things. So losing the ability to do that would be really scary.

Who’s the one person in the world who deserves a slap in the face?

Right now? Trump, for sure!

What’s your biggest waste of time?

I really enjoy wasting time on Snapchat lately.

What’s one trend you want to see die?

These are very aggressive questions I don’t feel that strongly in a negative way towards anything right now. What are other people saying?

Mikko Hyppönen said Snapchat, Nico Sell said selfies.

That’s so funny I enjoy both! I enjoy using Snapchat to take selfies with dog filters!

What is your fondest childhood memory and why?

I think it’s a mush of the feeling of togetherness. Being with my family outside, whether that’s in the woods where I grew up or when used to ski.

Who’s the most inspiring fictional character? Why?

The Sasha Fierce side of Beyoncé. She does what she feels and she does it with gusto.

Which Disney character would make the best entrepreneur? Why?

Probably Aladdin. He can work the streets. He’s got hustle.

East Coast or West Coast?

East Coast, if I had to choose.

OC or Gossip Girl?

Gossip Girl – that’s sort of like East Coast/West Coast again!

Pizza or burritos?


Stones or Beatles?


Jay Z or Nas?

Jay Z.