Diana Tan

Which is your home chapter?

Describe what your company does in 25 words or less.
Brief helps emerging startups and businesses understand contracts, fast.

Why does the world need your company?
Because opportunities are disproportionately divided against those understand their rights, risks and obligations and those who don’t.

If you were a hero/villain, what would be your origin story?
Born to Chinese immigrants in the bustling city of Guangzhou, I discovered my extraordinary abilities when a freak accident infused me with the power of instant creativity. With the ability to shape products at will, I honed my abilities into an unstoppable force, creating intricate and powerful AI that walk the fine line between hero and villain, navigating the moral dilemmas of power and responsibility.

What has been the biggest win for your company?
We helped one of our users save $7000 on legal fees on one of their contracts.

What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made along the way?
We were inexperienced with hiring the right candidates with the level of experience and commitment we needed and ended up letting go half of our team very quickly.

What do you like most about being a founder?
I love meeting people and hearing their stories and their pain points.

What is the hardest thing about being a founder?
Being a founder is a story of constant rejection. My co-founder says its a lot like being rejected on a dating site, constantly.

What has been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome as a founder?
Reconfiguring my mindset from constant doom and gloom to confidence.

What’s your favorite hack for dealing with the demands of running a startup?
I set a goal to read 100 pages of a book before I go to bed. Sometimes, its a relevant startup manual or business book and sometimes it isn’t. It forces you to take your mind off of your startup for an hour each night.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned as a founder?
The most important lesson I’ve learned as a founder is to listen to feedback, no matter how difficult it may be to hear.

What advice do you have for aspiring founders?
Find a problem that you’re passionate about solving and that you have a unique insight into.

If you could go back in time, what would you tell yourself when you were first starting out?
It’s going to be harder than you think, but it’s going to be worth it.

What’s the most common misconception people have about being a founder?
That it’s glamorous and that you make your own hours. It’s actually the opposite.

How do you stay motivated when things get tough?
I think about the impact our product can have and the people it can help.

What’s your vision for your company’s future?
My vision for Brief is to make it the go-to platform for contract understanding and negotiation for startups and small businesses.

What’s the one thing you hope to achieve this year?
I want to secure our next round of funding and grow our team.

What’s been the most surprising aspect of your entrepreneurial journey?
The most surprising aspect has been how much I’ve had to learn and adapt. I thought I knew a lot before starting, but this has been a whole new level.

How do you balance your work and personal life?
It’s a constant struggle, but I try to make time for exercise and spending time with friends and family.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received as a founder?
The best advice I’ve received is to keep going, even when it gets tough. Persistence is key.

How has Startup Haven helped you on your journey?
Startup Poker has helped me navigate the Seattle startup community and build relationships with other founders.

What superhero power would help founders most?
The ability to stop time so we can get everything we need done.

What do you need… what’s your “ask”?
I’d love to practice pitching and fielding investor conversations with others as we go into our next round. To me, its all about getting reps in and I’d love to hone this as a skill.

What help can you offer to other Startup Haven member founders… what’s your offer?
I have a MS in Human Centered Design from UW and would love to offer feedback and support on building a prototype or integrating UX design.

What question didn’t we ask you that we should have… and what’s the answer?
You didn’t ask what was my team’s favorite prize from Startup Poker and the answer was 3 bottles of wine and liquor that were bounties from sponsors.

If you were to found another company (after you exit your current company) and you could choose any real person living or dead to be your cofounder, who would it be?
I’d probably still choose my current technical co-founder, Andrew. As much as I would like to say Bill Gates or Sarah Blakely, I think finding the right co-founder is all about chemistry and Andrew and I have been friends for almost 20 years. As much as I admire the entrepreneurial greats, that history and relationship is irreplaceable.

What company would have been your company if it didn’t already exist, and why?
Fitbit. When I was 19, my co-founder and I invented a medical bracelet that tracked your heart rate while doing exercises and connected to your phone or internet to alert loved ones in case of emergency. We held a patent on it with a bracelet similar to Fitbit but the technology wasn’t there at the time (i.e., Smartphones/the iPhone App store wouldn’t be available until years later).