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Featured on Jan 04, 2011

Suzanne Xie

"Life is an occasion. Rise to it. "


I'm working on a new startup in social health - called Lollihop. Before this, I started which was acquired by and then Google. I really like what I do, and listen to a lot of techno while I'm doing it.

Your current startup, Lollihop, is in social health, which is quite a change from your previous company,, which focused on fashion  Can you first explain to us why you chose to get into the social health space this time around and second, can you please give us a brief overview of Lollihop?

My parents have a running joke that I like to work on things that I personally need the most help in - ie. my fashion sense being their prime example, hehe. When it comes to my current startup, however, my inspiration goes back to my personal experiences with type 1 diabetes which I got back in college after a case of the flu (type 1 is an autoimmune disease, unlike type 2). This experience encouraged me to pay attention to my own health, as well as consider the health of those around me more carefully, of which I'm grateful for. What became more clear the more I learned was the increasing desire for people to take control of their health, yet their decreasing ability to do so, especially without a solid support network. And while the system is broken in so many ways, I wanted to work on something that would encourage people to manage their health in the simplest but most effective way - through the help of friends. So we started building Lollihop as a way for friends to (hopefully successfully) lose weight together. We believe the social element on Lollihop is what will drive positive change, whether it's driven by friendly competition or peer encouragement. 

You often say that you’re passionate about making the world a better place.  Besides your own, are there any startups (or people) here in NYC that you think are working on something that will truly make the world a better place?

Good question (and thanks, I hope that what we're working on will make the world a better place). There are lots of people and startups in NY working on awesome things, so it's hard to single them out. But in efforts not to give you a cop-out answer, I'm really excited about Charity: Water, Breadpig, Kickstarter, Hunch, and of course Albeit in very different ways, they are all doing things that "make the world suck less."

What are the first three sites you typically check each morning?

Aside from gmail, twitter and facebook? If I'm feeling the need for some additional e-caffeine to get my day started, probably tumblr, techcrunch and instapaper. I'll usually throw in a music site like hype machine for good measure.

When you’re not working on your startup, you’ve stated that you enjoy photography, traveling, and hiking.  What are some of the best places that you’ve found both inside and outside of New York to relax and/or have fun?

In NY, there are usually a few cafes that I tend to frequent in the village - like Argo tea and Think Coffee - for their food and wifi. But if I don't have my laptop on me, I like to wander around the city on any neighborhood really. I really love traveling, but don't like planning or booking tickets, so usually end up travelling on whim or when a friend gets married, which is why I was lucky enough to visit India, Japan, Sweden and the UK this past year. Photography and hiking have been put on hold since I moved back from the bay area in 2010, but if anyone has any suggestions for good places to hike in the area - please let me know!

You committed code for the first time back in September.  What programming language was in it and do you remember what the code did? Also, Git, Mercurial, or SVN?

Yup, it was RoR and Git. I don't even remember what the code did since I was so excited to have committed code. More recently, I've started to learn the basics from the beginning, but I'm still a newbie!

 Pretend like you’re meeting someone for the first time at a tech event.  Could you walk us through how the first 30 seconds of that conversation would go? 

Aw, that's no fun. Come over and say hi for real! I ask a lot of questions.