Office Hours: I'm the founder of an Andreessen Horowitz backed startup and a best selling author. I was the first marketing hire at Atlassian East Asia and ran music and influencer products for Facebook.Featured

Hi everyone! I’m Xiaoyin Qu, Founder and CEO of Run the World, an a16z backed startup building the simplest virtual event platform that helps anyone create highly engaging online events through plug and play templates. I am also the Chapter Lead for China with Women in Product, contributor at Forbes, and columnist at In 2018, I published a book on building world-class products that reached no.5 in the Management Category on, the largest online bookstore in China. Prior to founding Run the World, I ran music and influencer products for Facebook, including Rights Manager, Sound Collection, Creator initiatives and Music products. I also led products in search and growth for Instagram. I worked at Microsoft as a Program Manager as well as Atlassian as the first hire in marketing and BD for its business in East Asia.I have a bachelor’s degree from Pomona College.Ask me anything about product, writing, startup building, events, community, and more!
Thanks so much for joining us @xiaoyinqu!Elphas – please ask @xiaoyinqu your questions before Friday, November 20th. @xiaoyinqu may not have time to answer every questions, so emoji upvote your favorites 🔥👍🏾➕
Hello @xiaoyinqu!You have an amazing story. 🙏 for reaching to others. If you had to state the 3 things that you believe you have, you nurture or you do which makes your difference, what would that be?
1. I am very optimistic 2. I like to just try and see what happened3. I don't mind doing things that are unpopular
It’s wonderful to learn about what you used to do. I’m just curious to learn more about Run the World. 1/ What’s your target audience? Would the product be more for large corporations? Influencers? How about small businesses? 2/ How do you get to know your audience and grow the community?Thanks in advance.
Hi Pik thanks for the question! RTW is different from all the other enterprise-facing events platform. We want anyone and organizations who want to forge communities around events virtually, giving influential personalities and organizations a better way to harness their following through creative, social, engaging virtual events. We have many inbound interests and launch strategic partnerships. Our product & team help first-time RTW organizers design the best format for their events. We are a platform partner with TEDx globally.
Thanks for your reply. It sounds wonderful! I wish you all the best.
Hi there and thanks for doing this! I love the concept of Run the World - very very cool.I'm publishing my first book next spring - a pocket guide for first-time people managers and I'm not sure exactly what to expect. Can you tell me how your life and priorities changed after your book? And any tips on getting to best seller status? :)
After my book, i got a bunch of speaking gigs. My priority now is still on my company as I am not looking to be a full time author any time soon so not that much difference.
Hi XiaoYin! I am the founder of a fashion marketplace mobile application. May I ask what would be your suggested strategies in the digital events that can drive a sense of community and most important, FUN, and interaction? I would like to also try out Run the world's platform. Thank you!
Hi Jeanie! The key is to use tools and formats that encourage participation from your audience and make sure people can stay in touch even after the event. You should def come check out RTW. (Shameless plug haha) We design features to enable more connection building and community building. Choose a platform that looks creative, fun, and different from traditional web meetings.
Hi Xiao Yin! Appreciate the reply. I like your platform I had a chance to look at it, we are planning to run our first digital event on the platform ( i am all about trying out new tech and get on the best software possible )for our local new comer audiences! Can we connect on linkedin I am Jeanie Lau!
Great! Looking forward to connect!
Hi @xiaoyinqu what have you learned at Facebook as an SPM that you still apply being a founder?
Hi @xiaoyinqu , thanks for your time this week! I see you're also China's chapter lead for Women in Product. :)1.) How did you get your gigs at Atlassian and Facebook? Did you apply directly, did an employee refer you, were you recruited?2.) This is actually my first time participating in Elpha's "Office Hours" and I'll likely ask the same question to everyone, but here it goes: I've contributed to roadmaps, but I've never built them from scratch. Once I get to know engineers, I'm great at determining "t-shirt size" and I generally have no issue prioritizing the backlog. Before you get to know engineers, how are you supposed to build out a roadmap? I've asked this question to product managers occasionally and the majority say it's tentative/you need to talk to the tech lead/etc. but I'd like to hear your take.Thanks in advance!Lauren
1. Atlassian was very small when I joined. No one knew the company back then. Facebook I got after working at Atlassian and Microsoft. Past experience helped! 2. I think you can always get to know the team first, figure out what problems and how success is being measured before roadmap.
Thank you! Understood that Atlassian was small and it helped get your jobs at Microsoft and Facebook, but were you recruited, did someone internal refer you or did you actually apply via ATS?
Hi @xiaoyinqu! I've lead product, market and growth strategy for early stage tech start-ups and have accumulated a lot of knowledge in new tech systems and processes but still deal with imposter syndrome since I'm not an engineer and dont know how to code. As you navigated your career did you ever face this and how did you deal with it?
I was very bad at coding. I think the best way to deal with it is to try talking to engineers and succeeding at a project, no matter how big or small. That always gives me more confidence!
Hello @xiaoyinqu!Curious how you provided product market fit in your pitch? What are best practices?
For us it was early traction on # of events and $$$.
Hi Xiaoyin!Can you give what you think is the minimum needed to get started on building a startup out of an idea? What are the first things you would make sure we're in place?For example, I have done some user interviews (so know I have a market need) and have identified a target audience.I am an Engineering Lead by profession. Do I need a business partner? A lawyer? What are the basics to work on before working to get funding?Thank you!
Hi @xiaoyinqu, congrats on all your success! How did you prepare to pitch to a16z? What do you think are the top 3 reasons why they came onboard?
I got very lucky. i have some mutual friends and I know someone before. my angel investors also helped a ton!
Very cool!
Congrats! Thank you for joining Office Hours. I would like to learn a few things about your experience. What is your experience like with Andreessen Horowitz? Did you pitch them? What stage were you in? Why do you believe AH backed your startup?I also have to add that I have attended a virtual event on Run the World and enjoyed my experience. Great platform.
Very cool!!!
Amazing! So happy to hear!!!!
Hi Xiaoyin, I'm building a team collaboration tool ( and this is my first company. Although I'm an engineer and have worked as a software engineer for 2 years, it's been 4+ years since I wrote code. I got back to learning again recently, but I can't build at a good pace cause I'm looking for a technical co-founder right now. a. I've not been hands-on for years. b. I'm focusing on product ideating, prototyping, designing, marketing, content writing, user research, investor calls, etc. My question to you-a. Did you build your product on your own or did you have someone else calling shots on the technical front. If so, what was your experience like, and what's your advice to me?b. To impress someone like a16z what does it take? What are they looking for a company they would bet on?
I am a great technical cofounder from FB. I think our early traction did help with a16z. That changed the fundraise dynamic.
How did you get to be so awesome?? Seriously I have no idea what to ask because all your experiences seem so light years away from where I am and what I’m doing. So I guess I’d want to know how you got started and what would you consider your big break or the realization that pushed you to take the steps to start you down the path you’re on?
+1 on this question - I have the same one :) - Xiaoyin Qu, what was your big break when you realized you could scale the mountains? Was it getting a job at Atlassian? what was the core self-belief moment and how did you get there?
I tried many things. Most of them I failed. Some of them I hit. I think it's the experience of failing at something, trying again but working out, that makes me confident that I will be fine no matter what. That sense of safety is an awesome feeling for me to try more things .