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Cristina's full bioAnita Borg

1 How did you get into this field?

2 What is the most important factor in your success?

3 Are there barriers to women in your field?

4 How has the software industry changed in the last 20 years?

5 What are some requisites for companies you are considering?

6 Growing up, did you always have a desire for technology?

7 What kind of leader are you at Chase H&Q?

8 Is the sorcerer's apprentice model a unique approach in the investment banking industry?

9 What differences will a 90s MBA Grad see when looking for a job compared to what you saw in the 70s?

10 How would a typical Silicon Valley entrepreneur describe you?

11 What's the biggest mistake technologists should avoid in looking for funding

12 What's a common mistake young investment bankers make?

13 Who would play you in a film about your life?

14 What's your all-time favorite software?

15 What things help keep you motivated and focused?

16 What's your secret to surviving as an investment banker?

17 Did you have any setbacks in life that you used as a stepping-stone?

18 How do internet business models impact traditional business models?

19 Do you see a difference in entrepreneurs today compared to what you saw 2-3 years ago?

20 When you look to funding, do you gravitate to a certain type of company?

21 Is there a significant moment in your career that you wish you could have avoided?

22 How do you keep up morale and competitive spirits at H&Q?

23 If you retired tomorrow, what would your first day off be like?
Cristina Morgan, Managing Director and Co-director of Investment Banking, Chase H&Q
Our special guest today is Cristina Morgan, Managing Director of Chase H&Q, Ms. Morgan is responsible for all of the company's investment banking activities, and since 1992 she has also had responsibility for all of Chase H&Q's electronics and technology equity financings. In her own practice, Ms. Morgan concentrates primarily on companies in the software industry where she has served on the Board of Directors of Frame Technology and Visigenic Software and currently serves on the Board of Evoke.

Moderator: Ms. Morgan has a BS and received an MBA from Arizona State University and has been recognized by "Working Woman" magazine as one of the Top Ten Women in Technology.

We are honored to have Cristina with us today. Welcome, Cristina we are glad to have you with us!

Cristina: Thanks, Kristine.

Moderator: Before I take a question from the audience, can you tell us how you first entered this field?

Cristina: I joined H&Q in 1982 as a research analyst covering the software industry. I had worked at Memorex, Itel and Qume Corporation for 5 years in financial planning/strategic planning before that. I transferred to the investment banking division of H&Q in 1985 because I found that my skills were best practiced on the corporate issue side as opposed to the institutional market side.

guest-Diane asks: What do you feel has been the most important factor in your success?

Cristina: Liking what I do and working hard.

Moderator: Well that seems simple enough. But we know better!

guest-Roberta asks: Do you see any barriers as a woman in your field?

Cristina: No - it's a producer's world. If you are successful in bringing in business and sound in your judgment of quality companies, you are successful.

Moderator: That's encouraging to all those wanna' be girl geeks out there.

Cristina: It doesn't really matter if you are male or female - results are everything in this business.

Moderator: Very true

guest-dengy_berrengy says: How has the software industry changed In the past 20 years?

Cristina: Well, first of all, when I started covering the industry, there were less than 20 public software companies.

Moderator: Amazing.

Cristina: There are probably thousands by now. And of course the internet has transformed the industry and accelerated the growth exponentially.

Moderator: And it sounds like you have been at the forefront, have seen many changes, and have some remarkable perspectives.

guest-dengy_berrengy says: What are some requisites for companies you are considering?

Cristina: Triple' digit growth, huge markets, sound management teams with vision and commitment, great backers - all the usual.

guest-Adorable says: When growing up did you have a desire for technology?

Cristina: No- I thought I was going to work in the theatre. Surprise surprise.

Moderator: The theatre?! What happened? That is fascinating.

Cristina: I wasn't good enough.

Moderator: As an actress?

Cristina: Or a singer, or a set builder.

Moderator: Well, I have mentioned that you remind me of Katharine Hepburn's character in "The Philadelpha Story"!

Moderator: But for GirlGeeks sake, we are glad you are a technologist!

guest-Zelda says: What kind of a leader are you? How do you set the culture of those that you work with/around at H&Q?

Cristina: I'm a big believer in the "sorcerer's apprentice" model. I just do what I do and invite people to come with me. We have a great bunch of clients and we learn as much from them as they do from us.

Moderator: Is that a unique approach in the investment' banking industry?

Cristina: I don't think so - although the bigger firms are much more bureaucratic and don't let the junior people anywhere near the clients. We're far more inclusionary and it trains people to think on their own much earlier.

Moderator: Yes we agree that this approach works well!

guest-Zelda says: Describe the differences (in your opinion) between a 1999 MBA graduate looking for a job and when you first got started pounding the pavement.

Cristina: 99 MBA's have more choices - everything is much larger and more robust today. Even venture capitalists are hiring MBA's now - they weren't in the mid-70's. Also, everyone seems to be starting their own business even before they get out of biz school.

Moderator: Too true!

guest-dengy_berrengy says: How would a typical Silicon Valley entrepreneur describe you?

Cristina: Helpful, funny, straightforward...I hope.

Moderator: That is certainly how we would describe you here at GirlGeeks as well.

guest-pscrosby says: What's the biggest mistake most technologists should avoid in looking for funding today?

Cristina: Realize that most VC's have hundreds if not thousands of business plans to sift through. If you want to get to the top of the list, you'd better have a personal connection with someone. You can't just send it in and hope for the best.

Moderator: Yes, you have to be remarkably persistent and resilient.

guest-dengy_berrengy says: What's a common mistake young investment bankers make?

Cristina:Thinking that the best investment bankers and the ones that make the most money. The best investment bankers are the ones who know a good company from a bad company and there aren't very many of those.

guest-Zelda says: Who would play you in a film about your life?

Cristina: Susan Sarandon

Moderator: Great!

Moderator: Cristina, we took a poll here at GirlGeeks and Susan Sarandon to play you won hands down!

guest-dengy_berrengy says: What's your all-time favorite software?

Cristina: Probably Siebel's sales automation software — we're using it here at Chase H&Q now and it's a big help in a complex business. But I love all software that builds great companies.

guest-Adorable says: What were some of the things that helped keep you motivated and focused?

Cristina: There's no problem with that - in this business you can't do anything else but work so I have nothing to distract me from that.

guest-pscrosby says: Investment Banking has a reputation as a very hard lifestyle that few people can survive let alone thrive in long-term; what's your secret?

Cristina: I don't do anything else - no kids, no dogs (right now anyway), no hobbies, a self-sufficient husband. Also, my clients are often my friends, so that's fairly efficient. And everyone is right about the hard lifestyle - that's why most people don't last.

Moderator: You certainly are focused!

guest-Jazninja says: Did you have any setbacks in life that you used as a stepping-stone?

Cristina: Sure - I was a military kid and moved all the time so was always the new kid - taught me that you can succeed anywhere even though it seems awful at the time. Also, in 18 years of investment banking, there have been plenty of wrong bets on companies. Every mistake you make in this business makes you a better investor in the long term.

Moderator: You learned to adapt then at a very early age. And coming from a military background, what inspired you to go into theatre?

Cristina: I was in a play and musical in school. I thought I could make a living at it. I was wrong. So I stopped worrying about it.

guest-Zelda says: How is Internet business models impacting traditional business models in your field?

Cristina: On the brokerage side, it will impact it significantly, but the origination side is still a very personal business. Naturally, all of the advances in interpersonal communications and the increased access to information make life both better and worse. As I'm sure everyone's noticed, the more available info there is, the less free time you have.

Moderator: Yes, we have noticed that around here!

guest-coco says: Do you see a difference in the type of entrepreneur that you see today compared to what you saw 2-3 years ago?

Cristina: In general, they're younger, although there's a huge trend for the 27-year-old CEO's to bring in some gray hair to help them and in some cases replace themselves. They're still smart, hard working and will eat dog food before they will fail.

Moderator: Oh that's priceless. dog food!

guest-coco says: When you look to funding, do you gravitate to a certain type of company?

Cristina: Same as above - huge growth rates, huge markets, huge gross margins (or possibility to get there) and people you can trust, like and live with for a long time.

guest-Zelda says: Describe a significant moment in your career that you look back on now and wish you "would have known then".

Cristina: I actually have been fairly lucky. Even my tough situations have ended up teaching me something valuable. There are a lot of companies I should have backed and didn't and some I did I shouldn't have, but it's sure hard to complain from here.

Moderator: Can you mention any examples?

Cristina: Did Informix instead of Oracle, did Gupta instead of Power soft - turned down a number of successful IPO's - again, nothing to whine about.

Moderator: Good attitude!

guest-Zelda says: How do you keep those working with you as competitive and focused? How do you determine the culture of the people you choose to work with you? Keep the morale up, so to speak?

Moderator: I believe Cristina had to take a phone call...we'll be right back!

Cristina: The people who apply to this business are extremely competitive and focused - it's a self-selecting business. They either love it or leave it.

Moderator: Very true Cristina! Well, we are just about out of time, one last question before we ask Cristina for parting words...

guest-Zelda says: If you retired tomorrow...and were banned from Investment banking, technology and the corporate world at large...what would the first day after you retired be like?

Cristina: I'd sleep.

Moderator: That got a laugh! Thanks Cristina for joining GirlGeeks Chat today. We know you are busy and appreciate your time. A Special Thank You to Cristina Morgan for chatting with us!


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