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Lindsey Allard of PlaybookUX: “Connections”

Women in business have always needed to be extremely thoughtful with everything they say and do throughout their career. We have always needed to come to the table with more than the average work product to gain recognition. Therefore, we’ve been forced to be more thoughtful and analytical. Those are very important qualities in a […]

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Women in business have always needed to be extremely thoughtful with everything they say and do throughout their career. We have always needed to come to the table with more than the average work product to gain recognition. Therefore, we’ve been forced to be more thoughtful and analytical.

Those are very important qualities in a founder. Taking the time to think through decisions is a strength many women have. As a founder, you’re faced with hundreds of decisions each week.


As a part of our series about “Why We Need More Women Founders”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lindsey Allard.

Lindsey Allard is the CEO of PlaybookUX, a video-based user feedback software. After seeing how time consuming and expensive gathering feedback was, Lindsey made it her goal to create a solution to streamline the user feedback process. Previously, Lindsey ran the product team at three innovation based startups.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

I love building things. I’ve worked in product development for a few years and I love the idea of taking something from 0 to 1. My co-founder and I started PlaybookUX because we recognized the need for a comprehensive, affordable user research solution. Once we did our own user research with other product managers, designers and researchers, we realized how many people felt the pain of manually conducting user research.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

My first job out of college was in ticket sales at Madison Square Garden. It was one of the best learning experiences I’ve had. After a year I thought “I’m done with sales”. However, when I started PlaybookUX years later, I took so many lessons from my first job in sales.

As a founder, I’m always selling. I’m selling all day long, even if it isn’t directly selling a customer. If it’s customer success or hiring an employee — at the end of the day it’s sales.

I used to wonder how selling tickets would relate to founding an enterprise software but it laid the foundation for selling our product.

When I graduated from college, I met with an alum for career advice. Something she said stuck with me through all of these years. She said “it’s easy for me to look back on my 20 years in the working world and connect the dots from why I made that career move and how it led me to the next career move. However, at the time it wasn’t so tightly wrapped up in that way.”

That gave me the confidence to learn a bunch of different skills, instead of specializing in one area. I knew that I would be able to connect those dots in hindsight.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

So many! As a first time founder you just make so many mistakes. I’m someone who likes to learn from their mistakes and move on. In hindsight, my most “2020 mistake” was not getting a Zoom virtual background earlier. When we first started our startup, my co-founder and I were working from our studio apartment. When I would call into sales demos, I had to find the one small section of white wall as a background so customers didn’t think they were dealing with the smallest company in the world. I wish I just had the green screen and experimented with the virtual backgrounds from day one!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I have to say my dad.He’s successfully founded 4 companies and has had a huge impact in my life. He’s one of the most intense people I’ve ever met but he truly knows how to bring out the best in people. He always pushed me much farther than I thought I could go and forced me to spend time thinking about decisions.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

I love the book “Principles” by Ray Dalio. His culture of transparency resonates with me. As a former division 1 athlete, I understand how important it is to thrive under pressure and have great communication. In previous startups, there has been a lack of communication between senior leadership and employees. I noticed how much that demotivated people so I’ve always made great communication my goal.

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life or your work?

“You don’t know what you don’t know.” That quote drives me to seek out information constantly. When you think you know everything, it’s dangerous because you’re likely missing something.

As a first time founder there’s so much I don’t know. I can’t be the expert in everything. My job is to seek out the information from experts and apply it to my business.

While this quote is very important as a founder, it’s also very important to the world of user experience in general. Most companies or websites don’t have any clue what their users or customers are thinking when they land on their website. Conducting research allows you to uncover those unknown and then fix them.

One of my favorite things to do is work with companies that are just starting to conduct user research because the results have such a high impact. By speaking with their customers they can uncover insights that have a large impact on their bottom line. It’s such a rewarding feeling.

How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

We’re passionate about helping non-profits build great experiences that improve the fundraising and volunteering experience. We’ve worked with many non-profits such as groups who specialize in California wildfire relief to breast cancer awareness. It’s amazing to see the impact user research can have in the non-profit sector. Often nonprofits have tight budgets so their ability to conduct customer research is limited. When they can get direct feedback from their user base, they can make big changes like increasing donations or sign ups — just by making their experience more user friendly. We love being a small part of that.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. According to this EY report, only about 20 percent of funded companies have women founders. This reflects great historical progress, but it also shows that more work still has to be done to empower women to create companies. In your opinion and experience what is currently holding back women from founding companies?

Exposure to other female founders. I’ve met a ton of amazing founders since starting PlaybookUX, however most of them male founders. I love learning and growing from male founders but you really need to seek out the female founder perspective. Being a female founder comes with a host of different obstacles that men may not necessarily face. I think that it’s so important to connect with and support other founders.

When you don’t meet other female founders, it’s hard to picture yourself succeeding.

Can you share with our readers what you are doing to help empower women to become founders?

It’s important for everyone to know their strengths and weaknesses and what they bring to the table. I love to mentor people. I love to talk with women who are looking to start their own company or looking to make a switch their career into product or UX.

This might be intuitive to you but I think it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?

Women in business have always needed to be extremely thoughtful with everything they say and do throughout their career. We have always needed to come to the table with more than the average work product to gain recognition. Therefore, we’ve been forced to be more thoughtful and analytical.

Those are very important qualities in a founder. Taking the time to think through decisions is a strength many women have. As a founder, you’re faced with hundreds of decisions each week.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Can you please share 5 things that can be done or should be done to help empower more women to become founders? If you can, please share an example or story for each.

1) Connections. Networking can be hard and finding the right people to build your company with isn’t easy. I’m very lucky because my co-founder and I have known each other for a long time. It was just always a dream of ours to work together and build something from scratch. However, finding a co-founder as a single female founder is tough. If we could find a better way to pair up female founders from diverse backgrounds, it would inspire a lot of innovation.

2) Forums for women. There are some great platforms, like Elpha, that do a great job of being a go to space for asking questions, and empowering other women. I’ve learned so many things by searching those forums such as how to hire, negotiate and network.

3) Startup weekends are amazing for many reasons. Many colleges and organizations encourage fun startup weekends. I love the idea of taking a problem, brainstorming, and building a fast solution.

When we were starting out, my co-founder and I used to spend hours talking about a problem, researching what currently exists and testing out quick viable solutions. The more we did it, the more confident we became. I think more startup weekends, specifically focused on women participation, would be a big step forward and help a lot of women learn the fundamentals about being creative in the startup world.

4) More content about women founders. Exposure is so important. When you read an article or a book written by a female founder, it’s empowering. I’m a big fan of content on founders that talk about their experiences.

5) Celebrating success. Sharing company milestones is important to motivate founders and boost confidence. I love Indiehackers — so something like that but specifically for women to share milestones.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Great question! If every month, you could have a 30 minute call with another female professional — it would create a massive ripple effect. Too many times have I gone into conversations needing an outcome — a job, a sale, a recommendation — instead it would be two people talking and exchanging knowledge and experiences.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

I’m a huge fan of what Sallie Krawcheck has done with Ellevest. She’s empowered women to have financial literacy.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Visit www.playbookux.com to learn more about our journey.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

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