MY OPERATING SYSTEM FORERUNNER VENTURES’ KIRSTEN GREEN
She’s invested in cult brands including Glossier, Warby Parker, and Outdoor Voices, and her firm just closed its fourth fund with $360 million in capital commitments. Forerunner Ventures’ founding partner takes our career questionnaire.
42 FASTCOMPANY.COM FEBRUARY 2019
What’s your best habit?
I’m deliberate. I always have a
plan—organization ( 1) is important to me. Not only mentally but
physically as well. I throw out
everything old, and I don’t keep
anything I don’t need.
What’s your worst habit?
Going online before bed. After I
put my two kids to bed, I inevitably end up on my email instead
of, say, reading a book, and then
my mind gets going. One hour
turns into two . . . maybe three . . .
When you’re stuck
creatively, you . . .
Seek alone time outdoors. I live
in the Bay Area, so I usually leave
my house for a walk. I use the
calming scenery to sit and think.
do you most admire?
Howard Schultz. Starbucks ( 2)
has stood for the same thing
since it opened, but it has also
evolved to appease and align
with the modern consumer.
Howard leads with principle and
integrity, and he upheld such
profound company culture—the
root of any great company.
What business buzzword
Disruptive. When people first
started using the term, they
meant a business pushing for
change while delivering something new and different. Now
we use it indiscriminately for
What’s the best mistake
you ever made?
My first investment loss. I initially walked away from that experience feeling vulnerable and
defeated, but soon I realized the
benefit of a tremendous amount
of learning. That misstep gave me
knowledge I leverage to this day.
What’s always in your
bag or pocket?
My eyeglasses ( 3). Sadly, I can’t
see without them.
What advice are you glad
“Don’t marry your high school
boyfriend (and prom date) ( 4)!”
All relationships require work,
but when you need to not only
grow but grow up together, it
can be an even larger challenge.
Now I have a true “lifetime” life
partner. We know how to wholeheartedly support each other.
What was your career
fork in the road?
At a former job, I was playing by
the rules and getting the right
promotions. Suddenly, after a
merger, I was out of the job. In
that moment I realized I could
take other people’s lead, or set my
own agenda. Now when I have
setbacks, they stem from choices
that I’ve made and can own.
What’s your work uniform?
No uniforms! I love fashion and
use it to express and set my
What’s your favorite object
in your office?
I have a print by photographer
Melissa Ann Pinney that features four girls climbing a tree.
She’s a Guggenheim Fellow and
known for her photographs of
American women and children.
It offers playful perspective on
female identity and brings me
What’s your favorite form
Go-to food for fast fuel?
Green juice ( 5). The greener the
ILLUSTRATION BY JACQUELINE OAKLEY