At Terbium Labs, we believe in asking the right questions. A few weeks ago, at DC’s Wonder Women Tech Global Summit, we asked everyone who came to our booth, “what would you most hate to lose?” In trying to understand what people most appreciate, we asked what people to envision a life without something critical—and the results were thought-provoking (see image below!). “Family” was by far the most common response and some of our favorites were:

  • Nothing!
  • My cat, Boris
  • Authenticity

We found that many people interpreted the question in personal ways, despite general answers: a person who wrote “the internet,” really meant losing a connection to their family and friends. There were also several answers that boiled down to something like “freedom”–freedom to think for themselves, freedom of movement, or freedom of expression. Once, when we stumbled over the question and instead asked “what would you most love to lose?” some quick-thinking attendee responded, “My debt. I don’t need to be carrying that around.”

Wonder Women Tech is an international organization that aims to celebrate and educate women and the underrepresented in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) industries. At the first of their three conferences this year, the organization hosted dozens of speakers, workshops, and a Career Fair on the Exhibit Floor with thirty booths representing everything from government agencies to Fortune 100 companies to brand new startups.

Many candidates, accustomed to approaching large organizations, tend to approach startups the same way. Our Chief Research Officer, Munish Walther-Puri, advocates a different way to engage startups, especially early stage. By simply asking about open positions, a candidate is only limited to learning about immediate opportunities. Instead, he recommended to several attendees: ask a startup where it plans to grow over the next three to six months—an indicator of both company trajectory and hiring priorities. Lastly, even if there are no roles of interest, candidates can still research the product and pitch their ideas about how to sell, build, or develop it in a new way.

(Photo: Mayowa Ojo)

Between our question and questions from summit attendees, the day was filled with excellent conversations. Several attendees mentioned that they had seen news coverage of our “infant fullz” discovery, which was a welcome familiarity with our work. We got some awesome photos courtesy of a friendly neighbor (thanks, Mayowa Ojo!) and came away with a lot of food for thought about questions, answers, and conversations. To everyone we met—we hope to see you again soon and we promise that we will have even more questions for you.