My favorite city is: Tokyo My dream dinner guest would be: Hitler (so I can convince him not to do the things he did)
Empowering the new wave creator economy
UNAFRAID TO BREAK THE RULES. Lucy Guo has always had a rebellious nature. Growing up in the Bay Area, she says her Chinese immigrant parents were "very, very strict" and pushed her to do well in school; instead, she would get into trouble for selling her classmates everything from stationery to Pokemon cards. And when the school banned that, she upgraded to making money through other offbeat channels, such as online gaming and building fake TV streaming websites.
In many ways, Lucy's childhood reflects the internet's Wild West era. By the time she was at Carnegie Mellon University, she had gotten into hackathons, which she frequently won, and gravitated toward the startup world. Still, her rebellious spirit couldn't be tempered: she dropped out of college to pursue the Thiel Fellowship, but eventually pulled out. "I did it partly because I knew it would piss off my parents. Call me immature, but it worked out!"
Despite being electrical engineers, Lucy's parents didn't want her to pursue a career in tech, believing the industry was too difficult for women to succeed in. Regardless, she continued in her pursuit, and her rise was fast and furious, landing a job at Facebook and later roles at Quora and Snapchat as a Product Designer.
In 2016, Lucy made the leap to startups and co-founded Scale AI with Alexandr Wang, a friend she met at Quora. The platform, which delivers high-quality training data for artificial intelligence applications such as self-driving cars and robotics, was a near-instant hit. Lucy left in 2018 but still owns shares in the company, which today is valued at $7.3bn. In 2022, Forbes named Lucy the richest self-made woman under 40, after Kylie Jenner.
Lucy says a "division in culture and ambition alignment" caused her to part ways with Scale AI. After embarking on several passion projects, including PokéCrew, a widely used assistant app for the Pokémon GO game, in 2022, she floated a new business idea to her friends. "Within 48 hours, I had raised $3.5m, and shortly after that, I had $8m of funding committed."
REALIZING THE NEXT OPPORTUNITY. The company, Passes, is building tools to empower the creator economy. "The idea is to bring a utility to NFTs because right now they have a bad rep, but they can be useful for many things. You get ownership of fans, more data, and you can see what's happening in the wallet of every single person who has owned your NFT, and creators get royalty fees on resells."
As someone at the forefront of the tech startup world, Lucy believes that in the future, people will only become more creative as AI evolves. "AI trains off people's creativity, but something within us will always be deeply connected to human creativity and connectivity. No one wants AI to write a pop song or comfort you after a serious medical diagnosis. However, AI is really good at almost everything else, which is going to push people to jobs in the creative field. The cool thing about that is we'll see the world moving towards everyone being an entrepreneur."
Reflecting on her accomplishments so far, Lucy admits with her success has come harsher scrutiny, particularly on social media, where she expresses herself unapologetically. And when she came out to her followers as bisexual, the negative noise became even louder. "Ever since I made more noise about being bisexual, I have noticed a change in the hate level, especially from men. Yes, I might tweet more than I used to, but my personality hasn't changed. I have a lot of attractive female friends and female relationships, and I'm proud of that!"