blankYour Name: Paola Moretto

Business Name: CloudyDays, a service for cloud-based application maintenance

Type of Business: High Tech

Business Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

Website www.cloudy-days.com
Twitter @TheCloudyDays, @paolamoretto3

Reason for starting
I have worked in the corporate world for almost twenty years and I had a successful career. Until… I became a mother. I had children late in life (after 40) for the simple reason that I wanted to first build a career and then focus on the family. This strategy clearly backfired. I encountered the so-called “maternal wall”, strong bias against motherhood and high profile career. I was pushed out of important assignments. I felt I could do more for myself and for my career but I was clearly clashing with corporate culture. When I left the company I re-discovered my passion for high tech, for making something new that is going to change the world. At the same time, I wanted to do it based on my own view of the world. I want to be able to set my own rules. A friend of mine said: “As you talk to investors, don’t say you have kids.” I reflected on that and thought “No thank you. Being a mother is nothing to hide”

How do you define success?
Success for me implies working with a small team of highly talented people, creating something new, and having fun while doing it. Success also means continuous problem solving. As a startup moves in its journey from an idea to a better defined concept, to a business plan and a team, to a prototype, the founders are faced with a continuous set of challenges. Success means overcoming these challenges one by one. It’s an accelerated and exhilarating learning process. Also, success implies navigating the ups-and-downs, the emotional roller-coaster associated with starting a company: the highs have never been so high, but the lows have never been so low.

Biggest Success
My passion is working on technologies that could change the world. I have always taken this direction in my career, and used this principle as my “North Star” that helped me decide what is important to me at any given time. My biggest successes are related to technologies that made big changes possible. I am proud to have led the Centrino effort: high bandwith Wi-Fi made connectivity everywhere possible and clearly enabled new ways of buying, interacting, working. I led the first WiMAX solution ever delivered to the market. And previously, I have worked for several years on cellular technologies that found their home in today’s current smartphones. Today is the cloud, on-demand pooled computing resources that drive tremendous acceleration, among other things, in business creation. As such, I am proud to be part of the cloud revolution and excited about what the new technology will make possible.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
In starting this business, one of the top challenges has been finding the right co-founders. Building a team has its own alchemy: like a recipe, you need the right ingredients in the right amount. It also needs chemistry, that unquantifiable element that makes working together smooth and aligning your passions easy. It has proven to be a challenge. As in many cases in life, a series of coincidences brought me back to a lifelong friend, who just so happened to go through a career transition at the time. We had in the past, shared the same love for the outdoors and climbed two “fourteener” together. We also arrived together as expats in the US and faced the numerous challenges of reinventing a life and a career in a foreign country. We had written our first resume together. She has a similar background, and a gift for interpersonal relationships. What else could I ask for in a co-founder?

Who is your most important role model?
As for many other budding entrepreneurs, Steve Jobs represents a role model to me. He embodies a lot of the traits that I deeply admire in innovators: strong leadership, independent thinking, non-conforming approach, and a complete and utter trust in his own intuition. For somebody who has spent her entire career in product development, Steve Jobs lessons and modus operandi highly resonated with me: obsessive attention to details, importance of design, creating trends and not following trends.

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