She may manage a portfolio of 70+ startups, but Suzy Ryoo, venture partner and VP of technology & innovation at Atom Factory – the entertainment company that deals in music, media and tech – still appreciates the small things, like a well-placed emoji (see below for her favourite). Ryoo also believes in musical out-of-office messages and is your go-to for travel app recommendations.
We recently caught up with the startup wiz (she’s worked with Uber, Lyft, Dropbox and Spotify), to pick her brain about travel…
When you’re on the road, what’s your favourite smug ‘office’?
I’m usually very much on the go from place to place, rather than sitting all day in one location. I love exploring inspiring spaces and meeting friends, colleagues and teams in their daily environments. For example, over the past 18 months I’ve stopped by Genius HQ in Brooklyn, NeueHouse in Manhattan and Mother in Shoreditch. That said, work days this summer with inspiring women (hi Rachel and Assia!) at the new Soho House in Malibu have been such a treat.
What’s the most off-the-grid travel experience you’ve had lately?
I visited Mumbai at the top of this year for a good friend’s wedding. The celebration lasted three nights and three days, and it was out-of-this-world spectacular. After the wedding and on the last day of the trip, I found out on Instagram that my friend Victoria from the UK was wrapping up a month-long sabbatical throughout India. We chose a meeting location, had a juice and spent an analog afternoon/evening exploring the city via tuk-tuks with no help from devices or the internet. The coolest visit that day was the Haji Ali, a mosque and tomb built on an islet off the Mumbai coastline in the 1400s.
Akin to Super Bowl winners saying, ‘I’m going to Disney World!’ after the big game, what’s the one destination you immediately think of as a reward after a big launch?
There’s not one place, but I am renting a car via Skurt next weekend (I gave mine up three months ago) and heading to Palm Springs as a reward for one year of long-distance relationship success with my favourite person. So excited!
Finish this sentence: I would switch to a middle seat for… a family that wants to sit together.
Do you have any favourite travel hacks?
Get an Ostrich Pillow Light by Studio Banana Things.
What are your thoughts on out-of-office messages? (Leave one? Skip it? Keep it simple, or make it poetic?)
I think they are necessary. My personal preference is to include where I’m at as well as a Spotify playlist inspired by that city (something the company launched recently). For example, this is from my latest trip:
Hello from NYC!
Please bear with me as I am currently traveling & have limited access to email through July 18. Will return your email as quickly as possible.
Check out my New York City-inspired Spotify playlist here.
Do you have a go-to vacation emoji?
Sparkles! I use the twinkly stars always, vacation or not.
What’s the best in-room technology you’ve seen at a hotel?
First thing that comes to mind is reading ‘Welcome Suzy’ on the television screen in my room at the Ace Hotel in NYC earlier this year. Simple.
Slightly off topic, during a work trip a few months ago, I tried an app called Recharge that let me book a room at the Grand Hyatt by the minute. I stayed for 45 minutes in between a meeting and an evening event. It cost the equivalent of five or six lattes, but I did enjoy the quiet time working from a comfortable room (ie the bed). Not sure when I’ll use it again, but I think it may be beneficial to some customers and could create an alternative revenue stream for hotels around unused room inventory. It’s only available in SF at the moment.
Any favourite travel apps?
All-time favourites: Foursquare and Swarm for accessing the best recommendations globally and for keeping a diary of where I’ve been across 9,000 check-ins over six years! ‘Search your history’ is my favourite feature within Swarm.
Over the past two months, I’ve been enjoying a new app called Simple Habit, which features five-minute meditations curated for specific situations and times of the day. It’s like a daily vacation for your mind. I’ve done 17 sessions thus far, and the app shows me which days of each month I have or have not meditated.
Also, I recently signed up for Gyroscope, which is a quantified self-health dashboard across web and iOS. It integrates the data tracked across multiple iPhone apps, including my Swarm check-ins.
For more interviews with travel-savvy entrepreneurs and techies, check out our Founders Series.