Andrea Loubier, Co-Founder of Mailbird, About Favorite Books
The book-talk you’re going to read next is with Andrea Loubier, one of the top female entrepreneurs in Asia, CEO and co-founder of Mailbird.
French born, Andrea grew up in Jakarta (Indonesia), relocated with her family and lived for 13 years in America, and then moved back to Southeast Asia, to Bali (Indonesia), where she launched Mailbird.
She started her professional career right after college, working in a market research firm, and, six years later, left and joined a software company. While in the U.S., Andrea realized there are many opportunities for entrepreneurs (especially tech businesses) in Asia. That’s when she decided that she wants to build her own tech company, while also being able to travel.
Through mutual friends, she met her two Danish co-founders and, in 2012, Mailbird was born. Their mission? To completely redesign email experience, by unifying information management with email.
Mailbird allows you to manage multiple email accounts, contacts, communication and productivity apps that you already use. With more than a million accounts, it’s now one of the most popular email software clients for Windows.
Read on to find out Andrea’s favorite books, why they influenced her, what lessons she learned from them, and whose words she’d recommend to those who want to follow the same career path.
What’s your favorite book and why? Business and non-business, if possible.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz, because it’s real, and empowers you to think big and prepares you for the worst when pursuing entrepreneurship. Having started my first tech startup called Mailbird – The best unified email and productivity platform – this book was invaluable in its lessons of what pitfalls to avoid and also about embracing failure and knowing that the struggle is part of the startup journey.
For non-business I just read It’s Snowing in Bali which is about the drug underworld on the exotic island of Bali. There are some interesting entrepreneurial lessons in there surprisingly, but the people in the book were crazy and it was more interesting since I live on the island and that this book was based on a true story.
Was there a moment, specifically, when something you read in a book helped you? Can you tell me about it?
A book called Design to Grow studies the difference of large corporations who have scale versus small startups who have agility. As the CEO of Mailbird, a small tech startup looking to take on email domination for the world, there were some valuable lessons to learn from how big corporations like Coca Cola learned to design their systems, localize them and iterate to scale their business going from a cola company to an all beverage company.
What books had the biggest impact on you? (perhaps changed the way you see things, dramatically changed your career path)
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future as this was still in the first couple of years of me starting my own company, Mailbird (learn more at www.getmailbird.com) and it was inspiring and visionary. It helps you go from a small voice in a big corporate company, to thinking big and voicing your wild opinions and creating plan to work towards it.
What books would you recommend to youngsters interested in your professional path? Why? (no number limit here)
The 10% Entrepreneur and Girlboss. Both empower people to create a strategic plan and risk-taking that are needed for considering entrepreneurship. A lot of it is experimenting, learning and just doing. I did this with Mailbird. There were a lot of things I didn’t know before starting Mailbird, but I just did it, some things failed, but I learned from them and tried a different approach. In the end experience is what gets you to where you want to go with your career.
I’m interested in finding out more about your reading habits. How often do you read? In what format?
I read about 1 book every two months. I will read before bed, but most commonly when traveling. Long flights are boring, so it’s a great opportunity to dive into a story or learn something relevant to you.
How do you make time for reading?
Before sleep and traveling or during relaxing activities where you are waiting or sitting in a natural environment.
Do you take notes or have any other technique for conquering the torrent of information?
Yes, I’m a big note taker. It’s how I remember things and how I organize my thoughts and ensure I have takeaways from what I read.
How do you choose what books to read next?
I like to balance business, development and stories that are wild, adventurous, dangerous or exciting. Usually I’ll ask for recommendations from my friends or colleagues since we tend to be like-minded. I’ll also just browse in bookshops to see what might stand out to me. Sometimes I do some research online on topics or types of books that sound interesting to me and see what the latest ones are and also look at the reviews of the books.
Do you prioritize those recommended by certain people? Is there anyone that you consider a book-recommendations guru?
No not really.
Last question: what book are you currently reading and what are you expecting to gain from it?
Probably Idea to Execution: How to Optimize, Automate, and Outsource Everything in Your Business because it’s by Ari Meisel who interviewed me on his podcast in 2014 on the topic of “less doing”, where I also talk about Mailbird‘s growth and how we do things efficiently. Will be interesting to learn more about automation too, as I’m always looking for ways to optimize my time, similar to the popular 4 Hour Work Week book by Tim Ferris. Automate and optimize your time.
Links where you can follow Andrea Loubier or find out more about her and her projects:
- Andrea’s LinkedIn profile
- Andrea’s Twitter account
- Andrea’s articles @ Forbes
- Andrea’s interview @ Asian Entrepreneur
- Andrea’s interview @ NomadList
- Andrea @ The Less Doing Podcast with Ari Meisel
- Mailbird takes flight: 1 million customers and counting! (LadyBoss.Asia material)
- Forget Silicon Valley, meet Silicon Bali (BBC material)
Books mentioned by Andrea in this interview:
- The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz
- Snowing in Bali: The Incredible Inside Account of Bali’s Hidden Drug World by Kathryn Bonella
- Design to Grow: How Coca-Cola Learned to Combine Scale and Agility by David Butler, Linda Tischler
- Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance
- The 10% Entrepreneur: Live Your Startup Dream Without Quitting Your Day Job by Patrick J. McGinnis
- #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso
- Idea to Execution: How to Optimize, Automate, and Outsource Everything in Your Business by Ari Meisel, Nick Sonnenberg
- The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss