The tech industry has a culture that’s all its own -- from the lavish perks to the outsized budgets. And 28-year-old Liz Fosslien is highlighting all the funny and outlandish trends with her satirical comics.
“The tech industry is totally insane sometimes,” Fosslien told CNNMoney.
By day, Fosslien works as chief of a staff at Parliament, a new firm that helps connect authors, researchers and companies with startups. She previously worked at Genius, helping them rebrand and work on diversity inclusion.
Fosslien said she’s been drawing comics for four months, but has been illustrating for much longer.
So far, the reception has been good. “Marc Andreessen retweeted one of my comics … I thought that was really exciting.”
What about your job most excites you?
The people! I work at Parliament, a learning + doing community of Silicon Valley thought leaders, bestselling authors, and Fortune 500 executives. Beyond their impressive resumes, the people I work with are very down-to-earth. It’s wonderful to meet highly accomplished individuals who are also both interesting and interested, kind, and eager to learn.
What excites me most about drawing comics -- my side hustle -- is the perfect pithy punchline.
How many hours do you sleep?
I aim for 7 to 8.
What do you eat for breakfast?
I’ve had the same breakfast for four years -- half a cup of coffee and a Nuts and Chocolate Luna Bar with plain Greek yogurt. I’m very angry because Trader Joe’s recently stopped stocking the Nuts and Chocolate flavor but kept Peppermint??
If you could pitch to one person, who would it be?
I would pitch Drake on dating me.
What’s on your home screen?
The weather app is front and center. I love checking the weather. Next to it is YouDoodle, which allows you to doodle directly onto photos. When I’m bored I doodle additions (hats, burritos, ball gowns) onto my friends’ Facebook photos. Last holiday season I sent 41 people their Facebook profile picture with a Santa hat, beard, and outfit. The responses ranged from tepid to confused.
How often do you exercise?
I would run all the time if I could. The fitness aspect is nice, but mostly I find it comforting to force my mind to submit to my body.
What app can’t you live without?
I’m not really into apps. I still only use Venmo on desktop and I check my personal Gmail on mobile with Safari. I try not to be on my phone very often. I think it is an unnecessary distraction during important in-between times (train rides, walks, waiting) that should be used for thinking. If you let your mind wander instead of plugging in, you may stumble upon some great ideas.
What's your favorite city and why?
Berkeley to live and Atlanta to visit. For the former, I like that I can work in / easily access the tech world but still spend a significant amount of my day among artists and gardens and goats. I like San Francisco, but coming back to the East Bay is so relaxing. Atlanta is the MOST relaxing.
What’s the most important company we’ve never heard of?
shop.fosslien.com ... cute stuff!
Are there any social platforms you refuse to participate in?
Foursquare. I don’t want everyone to know where I am. That said, I try to at least dabble in all social platforms for the joke material!
What are you reading right now?
r/askReddit and the New Yorker. I’m about to start reading Creativity Inc., which is about Pixar. And I’m always re-reading Lockhart’s Lament.
Do you think there’s a tech bubble?Why or why not?
Best piece of advice you've been given?
“The worst thing we do is bravely step out of the mold but then stupidly use someone else’s rubric to judge our own lives every day. If you're going to forge your own path, then do so without judgment. It is a beautiful thing to want something for yourself that originates from you.”
What keeps you up at night?
If you could tell your 18-year-old self one thing, what would it be?
There are more career options than doctor, banker, lawyer! Be weirder, it is ok! Be you, the right people will like you more for it, and life is too short for the rest.