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In their interview, Kate let Jeff in on her secret to success: “Be nice and network.”

Here's what else Kate had to say:

• Being a smart, successful tech professional doesn't always mean coming up with the most perfect solution to a problem. Kate advises, “There's the right solution, and there's the right solution for right now.” Kate remembers the first time she entered a startup and realized creating the perfect code wasn't the best solution, it was finding the best strategy for the situation. “You can build successful businesses on ugly technology.”

• Where could you find Kate Matsudaira on a Friday night in college? The computer lab. “Data centers are one of my favorite places to sit and listen to the hum of the servers. There's so much going on, so much electricity and power.”

• Kate's keys to startup success? “Some people might say luck, but I don't believe in luck,” she says. It takes a solid team with open-minded professionals who can see problems and warning signs on the horizon. Hard work and commitment are essential, and so is optimism. “I don't see anything as impossible.” Oh, and pay attention to your data too.

• The takeaway from Kate's interview is remembering to connect with people while you work with data. The tech field is full of smart people who want to be right – all the time. In any tech situation, there are a hundred ways to approach a problem, and being right may come at the cost of hurting professional relationships that could have paid dividends to you for years in the future. “That has helped my career more than anything else,” she confessed. Successful leaders know the right questions to ask of their team to get them to create the most powerful solutions.

About Kate Matsudaira

Kate has spent her entire career working on amazing products with brilliant people. She has worked as the VP Engineering/CTO at several Seattle startups - including SEOmoz and Delve Networks (acquired by Limelight). Prior to joining the startup world she spent time as a software engineer, tech lead, and manager at Amazon and Microsoft. Kate has hands-on knowledge and experience with building large scale distributed web systems, big data, cloud computing and technical leadership. Kate has a B.S. in Computer Science from Harvey Mudd College, and has completed graduate work at the University of Washington in both Business and Computer Science (M.S.).

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