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53 Shan-Lyn Ma – The CEO of Zola on Staying Paranoid

53 Shan-Lyn Ma – The CEO of Zola on Staying Paranoid

There’s always one year in everyone’s life when nearly every weekend is spent attending a wedding. For Zola co-founders Shan-Lyn Ma and Nobu Nakaguchi, that year was 2013. In addition to celebrating their friends and family, they both found themselves buried deep in outdated, inconvenient, and impersonal wedding registries. Shan felt uninspired, and Nobu was reminded of how cumbersome planning his wedding was a decade earlier.

Today we’re talking with Shan-Lyn Ma, who together with Nobu Nakaguchi, built Zola, the startup that’s re-inventing the wedding registry online for modern couples. Previously, she was Chief Product Officer of Chloe + Isabel and prior to that, the General Manager of Gilt Taste. Shan-Lyn joined Gilt Groupe in 2008, when she started as the first Product Lead tasked with defining and evolving the core Gilt.com experience.

On today’s episode, Shan-Lyn goes through how she started Zola, from her initial inspiration and development of the idea, to the implementation and fundraising for the business. Shan-Lyn’s story is an amazing model of how having a passion to solve a problem can help make your idea into an incredible startup.

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“Now we’re really focused on not just continually improving and innovating in wedding registries, but also how we can serve couples throughout their entire wedding planning journey.” – Shan-Lyn Ma

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“I think I took a very different journey than than some people who say, ‘I just want to start something. I’m just going to go and do it and learn on the job.’. I purposely learnt on other jobs before doing this one.” – Shan-Lyn Ma

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