She might be the CEO and co-founder of Polyvore, one of the most fashionable tech companies around, which bases itself on the premise of mixing and matching endless style variations, but Jess Lee "wears a uniform".

 

"You will always find me in black pants and black boots. I am fairly monochromatic. This [pointing to a green khaki jacket] is a bit unusual," she said laughing when speaking to Fairfax Media in Sydney on Wednesday morning. "I like to switch up accessories. I like scary-looking, spiky jewellery, but it is pretty consistent."

 

Although it might sound quite contradictory being head of Polyvore, a site that prides itself on being a one-stop shop for stores' inventory, the Stanford University graduate with a degree in computer science has, unsurprisingly, a pretty compelling reason for her consistency.

 

"It cuts out the decision making in the morning," the 33-year-old started out. "I have read studies [the science of simplicity] that there is supposedly a finite amount of decision-making capacity that a person has in one day, so I like to reserve it for work and other important company stuff.

 

"It also makes it very easy in the morning to assemble an outfit quickly ... but I still want to look stylish," Lee noted, and that she certainly does.

 

The idea of wearing a uniform seems to be a trend among the tech Gods of Silicon Valley in San Francisco with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg known for his grey T-shirt and hoody combination, while the late Steve Jobs was almost never seen without his black polo-neck, jeans, and white trainers.

 

She might be the CEO and co-founder of Polyvore, one of the most fashionable tech companies around, but Jess Lee

 

Image: gold bridesmaid dresses

 

There is no doubt in the faith in the company that was acquired by Yahoo last July for a rumoured $AU295 million.

 

Polyvore has 20 million monthly users and 400,000 in Australia and New Zealand and while its Down Under market might be its fourth largest, they haven't put a concentrated effort into it until now and the plan is to make it "flourish".

 

"We want to grow the audience and with that there is the hope we attract more advertisers and retailers," Lee said.

 

When it comes to Australian style, she said it was "definitely a step-up" from that of Silicon Valley where slogan T-shirts are the daily, while she singled out Aussie men for their astute taste.

 

"People are a lot more casual back home, it's much more fashionable here," she said.

 

Sexist industry

 

Well known for its diversity problem, as a female CEO in Silicon Valley, Lee represents the minority with a 2014 report revealing only 11 per cent hold executive positions.

 

Lee, who got her start in Google, is positive that times are changing for the better and has some sound advice for women who want to shatter the glass ceiling.

 

"The best you can do as a woman in tech is a good job, be a good role model, so it starts to change and shift that perception," she said.

 

"Google was very egalitarian, it had a lot of female leaders and role models," she added, including current Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer, who Lee is thrilled to be back working alongside.

 

Her mother was also an entrepreneur, teaching English from their home in Hong Kong, where Lee grew up.

 

"It never felt unusual for me as a woman to run my own business," she said.

 

"I also try to help women get into computer science and coding, because they are great skills to have, and encouraging more women down that path is generally good."

 

Lee has had a mostly positive experience working in the male-dominated and, reportedly, sexist industry. But she recounted an experience about attempting to raise venture capital - a time when she felt unequal to her peers.

 

"The VC community is even more male-orientated, so I would be pitching to men about a product designed for women," Lee said.

 

"I would be telling them, 'Imagine you can shop all of the time and it would be so fun'. A lot of men don't like shopping so they were like, 'What? Why would I use that?'

 

"It is difficult to pitch a product to people who are not the users. It made it harder for them to imagine and so it made it harder for us to raise money because there were not as many female VCs who understood the global position of the company.

 

"Since then, there have been more women. Men are also starting to realise that women make up 80 per cent of purchasing power," she laughed.

 

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