Why Polyvore?

Last week I quit my job at Google to join a small startup called Polyvore. A lot of people have asked me how I discovered Polyvore and why I decided to join.

My friend Thai showed me Polyvore back in October. “Check out this site my friend Pasha is building,” he said. I instantly fell in love. It was like a combination of online Photoshop and Flickr, but for art instead of photos. I was fascinated by all the cool things people were creating using Polvore — fashion, interior design, artistic self-expression, caricatures, logos, postcards, etc. I started making my own sets and was surprised by how quickly they got comments and “Likes” from the user community. I ended up winning Polyvore’s Halloween contest.

I got so excited about Polyvore that I sent a long email full of comments, suggestions, and complaints to Pasha, even though I had never met him before. After a few email exchanges, he asked me if I wanted to join Polyvore. I’ve always wanted to work at a startup and felt like Polyvore was a good fit — great team, great product, just the right size (3 people at the time), healthy growth, etc. It also happened to fall at the intersection of many of my personal interests (tech, art, shopping, fashion, user-generated content). Although I was pretty happy working on Google Maps, I felt like I wasn’t learning as much new stuff anymore, and I knew that a startup would have a really steep learning curve.

Some of my friends thought I was crazy to leave Google, but I thought back to the advice my former boss Marissa had given me to always take the more challenging, more risky path (this was the advice that made me choose a job at Google over a job at Intuit), and decided to follow that advice once again. So I decided to take the leap.


#1 Patrick on 03.24.08 at 5:58 am

Congratulations. I guess you’ll have to update your “About Me” now, huh? :)

#2 Jim on 03.24.08 at 8:37 am


#3 Google Adsense Tips & News » Blog Archive » On Joining Polyvore on 03.25.08 at 12:17 am

[…] employee Jess Lee at her blog wrote about why she left Google to join Polyvore. When she first saw the site, she instantly fell in love, she says. After a quick […]

#4 mary on 03.28.08 at 11:34 am

i love polyvore! i discovered it through iqons.com sometime last year and quickly got addicted.

haven’t had much time for it lately, but it’s still on my top bookmarks list.

congrats on the awesome new job!

#5 Zelnox on 03.29.08 at 9:05 am

You will not regret this. Or you won’t regret regretting? O_o

When the opportunity came for me to work at a startup, I was so happy. But it was incredibly hard to leave the previous employer. Couldn’t sleep for a few days. A startup with the right team is awesome sauce.

#6 isabella on 04.15.08 at 8:33 pm

wow!your one of my contacts on polyvore and i was so happy for you when you were still working at google….and now your working in polyvore,i’d have to sayi’m more happier for you!btw i love your sets! especially this one….

#7 annemarie on 04.17.08 at 4:30 pm

Hi Jess-

I came across your linked-in profile, which led me here to your blog- and I realized you recently joined a cool start-up. It seems to be right up your alley from what I got out of your blog post. I was initially looking at your blog in hopes I could talk with you about product management openings we have at hi5, a social networking site, but it looks like I just missed my window of opportunity. I also should tell you how cool it was to read your blog and see what your thought process was on why you left Google, what about polyvore drew you in and what you think you will get out of this new change.

So, now that you are probably thrilled with your situation, I’m writing to ask if you perhaps know of anyone from Google or Stanford who may be in the same boat – looking for a bit more of a challenge, looking to make a bigger impact on the company and the products, interested in a fun start up environment, etc.

If you have any advice or could offer any help, I’d appreciate it!

Thank you!
Annemarie Mogan

#8 mandi on 08.05.08 at 7:17 am

I’m so happy for you! Polyvore is so amazing! :) My name on polyvore is
✄☼ツMeɘlon✌✄☼ *ONLINE NOW* and you are one of my contacts. You’re sets are amazing!

#9 April on 08.01.11 at 1:49 pm

“always take the more challenging, more risky path” – I needed that today! Thanks! :-)

#10 Let’s Hear It For The Women! (Who You Probably Haven’t Heard Of) | FACEBOOK on 03.08.12 at 8:33 pm

[…] Jess Lee left her job in Google in 2008 for start-up Polyvore, a fashion community, social shopping and virtual styling site. […]

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#14 Zesipho Mncwango on 01.14.14 at 1:44 pm

Hi Jess,

I wanted to tell you how amazing what you’re doing is,but everyone beat me to if, go figure.

I have an idea for an African fashion collab I think is (beyond) cool that I’d like to pitch to you.

I have no idea how to get hold of you, this is a longshot, and boy,am I hoping it comes through.

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