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Parts of a Whole: Adriana Letorney on Internet Structure and Content

Parts of a Whole: Adriana Letorney on Internet Structure and Content

An audio magazine exploring creative culture and rooting into purpose even when we’re out on a limb.

In Conversation with Adriana Teresa Letorney

Today, a story about how personal history and cultural heritage shape everything we do. Ioana Friedman sits with Adriana Teresa Letorney, the founder and CEO of Visura Media, to talk about diversity, media literacy, and how visual storytelling changed after the digital revolution and the economic crash of 2008. This is a story about feeling vulnerable, owning it, and turning it into empowerment and a way of connecting deeply with people — professionally and personally. This is how Visura was born.

“From a tech perspective, we always have a choice. Do we want to foster respect, integrity, kindness, and unity, even when we differ? And there might be emotions. Allow for that space to happen and not take it and sensationalize it. And I always will choose that.”

— Adriana Teresa Letorney

Resources

Visura

New York Photo Festival

powerHouse Books

Salt Institute

Be Here Now

Tao Te Ching

Credits

Music: Ben Tyree

Producer: Leslie Askew


Transcript, edited for length and clarity

Ioana: I’m so happy you’re here. 

Adriana: I’m really happy to see you too. It’s been how many years? 

Ioana: I want to say at least ten years.

Adriana: 2007 

Ioana: Is that when I left powerHouse? Yeah, and you stayed on for a little longer, and you did the Walt Whitman-inspired exhibition.

Adriana: Song of Myself. It says, “I sing to myself, and what I assume you shall assume for every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.”

Ioana: It’s beautiful. Can we share what you’re doing now? 

Adriana: Today, I’m the founder and CEO of Visura Media. It’s a tech platform that works to empower visual storytelling found online today.

For reference, Visura means to be seen in Latin. And in 2008, when I incorporated, I found the word in a dictionary. And I thought, “Oh my God, this is perfect. It’s going to take a while for people to pick it up.” But I thought that was part of what brought value to our mission because the internet is so fast, and this word makes you pause. 

Ioana: What brought you to start Visura?

Adriana: I was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where the profession of photography and media existed at the time, but there was minimal infrastructure for those who were interested in entering that realm to access direction and opportunity.

So I studied anthropology, combined it with comparative literature, and then went on to law school. I mean, deep inside, I knew that I wanted to be a visual storyteller or a storyteller per se, whether I was going to write or I was going to photograph because I already had a camera at the time.

And I knew that I wanted to learn about other people’s voices and serve as a platform so that they could also tell their story through me or through whatever medium I was eventually going to pick up on. 

Because photography and media were such a distant reality to me, I went into law school. By the second year, I realized it was not for me. Speaking of vulnerability, I had to come to terms with that, knowing that it would disappoint many people, starting with my family. 

So what I did was I just took the money that I had to pay for my tuition, and I used it to buy a ticket to fly to New York. At the time, you know, naturally, my parents said, “This is a big switch, and if you’re going to do this, then you’re going to have to figure this out on your own.”

And so when I moved to New York and for the next ten years, all I did was figure it out. Not realizing that many of the struggles and challenges I was going through were challenges and struggles other people were facing when they moved to the city or when they were trying to figure out how to become a photographer, get into journalism, and become a photographer photojournalist.

I thought that my reality in Puerto Rico was because I was in Puerto Rico. I did not understand that this was a reality across the board because the industry itself lacked an infrastructure that empowered the content producers with access to direction and opportunity once they realized that this is what they wanted to do. Especially minorities, whether because they didn’t have the funding to put support themselves during the process of figuring it out and entering the industry, the business, or because they didn’t know anyone and what schools to go to. 

As I lived the experience that I then thought was unique, and slowly as I started to enter the industry—whether because I interned at a fashion photo studio or because I attended School of Visual Arts—I began to realize: A, I wasn’t alone. B, many gaps in that process slowly exclude potential talent that could easily contribute to elevating media literacy worldwide and is not doing so because they lack access to direction and opportunity due to things outside of their control. When I realized that I wasn’t alone, I became obsessed with solving that problem, and that is how Visura was born.

Ioana: What internal resources allowed you to thrive through that change? 

Adriana: Fear of disappointing. 

Ioana: And what allowed you to convert that fear into something positive? 

Adriana: Knowing that other people were experiencing the same things I was. Understanding and empathizing with the fact that it was not fair and feeling a sense of responsibility. 

And yeah, at first, I felt anger. Then I felt frustration. Then I couldn’t just stay in the anger and the frustration because that’s not who I am. And then there has to be some madness inside me that made me believe that I could embark on this mission to try to change it. And I became obsessed. 

My guiding force throughout all of these years truly has been the Visura community. All the members that join give me purpose, accountability, and they give me a sense of, you have to go on. You have to keep doing what you’re doing. Had it been all just me? I would have given up.

Ioana: Absolutely. It’s bigger than you, and people are relying on you at this point. 

Adriana: I mean, I remember eating sandwich bread, or my best friend Charlotte doing accounting in Vermont, and sleeping two hours a night for five years. I was obsessed from six o’clock in the morning to four in the morning, just figuring this out. Reading, failing, and failing again and again. It wasn’t just about what tangible solutions I could offer. It was the combo of what solutions I could provide within a platform that could also be sustainable on its own as a business model. So it was tiered the challenges we were facing, and there’s a lot of failing in that process.

And the one thing that kept me going was the members who were signing up and trusting that I would figure it out. 

Ioana: What role did the digital revolution play in your development? 

Adriana: It was circumstantial. Me and the television, we struggle. It’s not that I’m this connoisseur of technology or software.

In 2008 when the economy crashed, I left powerHouse to produce the international pavilion at the New York Photo Festival — something I did until 2013. During that time, because the economy had crashed, the job market was …

Ioana: Caput 

Adriana: True. There was nothing out there. And so we were working for free with the promise that this may lead to a paid opportunity. And I got very lucky that at powerHouse, I met Graham Letorney, who had become a UI/UX designer while working with his family’s company in Vermont starting at the age of 14, so he already knew about the internet.

And here’s Graham, and we become really good friends, and we’re working together all the time. And then I leave powerHouse, and I’m producing the New York Photo Festival international pavilion, and then all of a sudden, I think it was in 2009, the economy’s crashing. I’m not getting any job opportunities. I get super frustrated. I turned to Graham, and I said, “We have to do something.” And it was kind of, for selfish reasons.

Ioana: It was survival. 

Adriana: And survival like, “I can’t give up.” Again, giving up was not an option. I had left everything, my family, my home, a career in the legal profession to enter the photography, journalism, and media world. And by then, I had graduated from the School of Visual Arts.

I had interned at Harper’s Bazaar, Rolling Stone Magazine. I had worked as a lighting assistant. I had worked at Bruce Silverstein Gallery. I mean, I had assisted Donna Ferrato, Sylvia Plachy. I had done all these things, and literally, there was not a single call. Again, fear, vulnerability, frustration, anger, and turning that and saying, “Okay, no, we need to do something.”

So for me, the solution was to start a magazine. And of course, it had to be online because even though I didn’t know anything about it, it was free at the time. All the resources were free. WordPress was free, and Graham knew how to use it. And I had done the Song of Myself show at powerHouse, I had already done my first year at the New York Photo Festival, and I had previously worked with so many photographers in editing, in addition to interning at these different institutions. So again, the madness in me thought, “I’ve got this.” That’s when I launched Visura Magazine, which was the first online iteration.

Ioana: I remember, it was great. 

Adriana: And it was self-publishing. It featured personal projects by photographers. Larry Fink, Nina Berman, Lauren Greenfield, Charles Harbutt, Alex Webb, the list just kept going and going. There were so many, I think, over 130 photographers at the time. 

When I started the magazine first, it was a practical thing. I couldn’t pay to commission someone to do a story, and second, because we couldn’t get a job, I was genuinely wondering, “what are you doing now that the job market is dropping so significantly?” 

And that’s how I learned, “Oh, we’re working on this personal project.”

And so I asked them if they will cover it? And at the time, that wasn’t something people were sharing. So they said, “Yeah, of course.” And I asked them to write about their projects, and I would edit with them. Because it was personal, it was more of a collaboration than me selecting for them.

So then we started with the first issue, and I mean, within a month, we had 40,000 readers. And that’s when he began to realize, “Oh, wow, something’s happening.” Many readers were photographers interested in sharing their projects because they, too, had started personal projects while waiting for a job opportunity. Because what else do we do? 

Ioana: You gotta keep those creative juices going. 

Adriana: You have to produce. And then, I started receiving emails from photo editors, reaching out. And that’s how I slowly began building relationships with photo editors from all over the world and from major publications.

And so, as Visura grew as a magazine, it was free. It had no advertising. I started getting connected with the industry, photo editors, and a lot of professional working photographers. I started getting many letters from aspiring students and aspiring professional photographers who were investing in education to join the industry. And they too were facing the same problems only now they were also indebted. 

Because of the name Visura, I feel like I was lucky to connect with people from all over the world very quickly. And I would look at the work and be like, “Oh my goodness, this is really beautiful.” And then again, the combo of fear, anger, vulnerability, madness. There is a level of madness that played in all of this. I call it madness because I look back, and I pause.

Personally, by then, Graham and I are married. What started as a collaborative, artistic, creative, but also professional relationship, I think because, in essence, it stemmed from so much love, it was bound to become a union on a personal level too, which has been a guiding force. Regardless of what we do or where we stand because we have been friends, we have been lovers. We have been married. We have been divorced, we have been parents, we’ve been individuals, creatives, artists, designers, entrepreneurs, all of that together. 

So at the time, we never thought of this as a business. We never thought it would evolve into what it is today. We just were trying to figure it out, both professionally and personally. 

As Visura grew, I encouraged Graham to go to Portland, Maine, and he entered Salt Institute. He received a full scholarship, so that was kind of great. So we go, and while I’m there editing and working on Visura, I’m receiving all these letters from students and aspiring professionals that weren’t necessarily the right fit for the magazine. Still, ultimately, they were all facing the same challenges. I realized that sustainability was a real thing. It was really scary. Not just to live from month to month, but living at $500 a month, making $1,000 a month. It was real. 

Ioana: Also, at the whim of other people’s infrastructure. 

Adriana: Yes. And add the fact that you’re not living near a city. You’re not attending these schools that allow you to funnel into the industry a little bit easier. There’s an economic crash that’s happening worldwide, and it’s affecting everybody. You know, people who may have been able to pay for an education to travel abroad, to come to the U.S., and study photojournalism are now deciding to stay home and go to the university of their hometown. Ultimately, there’s nothing wrong with that. I studied in Puerto Rico, and it was the best thing that’s ever happened to me.

But somehow, we’re taught, or we think that we have to go elsewhere to become empowered. But then you realize, you know, your foundation builds the essence of your vision and the work that you’re going to build upon.

You have to believe in that. You have to trust that, and I understand that we have to step away from it. I did that, but in everything that I do today, I recognize more and more how my story, my history, where I’m from, the history of my people, and my community in my hometown of Puerto Rico are part of the story that made Visura.

Ioana: There’s no escaping our roots.

Adriana: No, it’s all interconnected. No one person acts alone, and no one vision is built on its own. So it’s not just the personal journey; it’s also the history that comes with your journey. All the parts that make you who you are. In my case, as a Hispanic woman. 

And the challenge is when you apply it in visual storytelling, which interconnects with so many realms, like media, journalism, the nonprofit world, causes around the world, education, and health. What makes content producers unique is acknowledging our history, understanding our past, and accepting our present while maintaining a separation the moment we produce. Especially those in journalism and service tunnels, where you ought to let go of all of that so that your implicit bias doesn’t tarnish the story you’re trying to convey. In addition to the professional skills you develop as you’re learning the technique of the medium you’re using.

But I think the current infrastructure in our industry ignores the self, which explains why so many content producers are not making a sustainable living. And because it is not spoken about enough, it affects the value of the content when you look at it from a bigger picture.

Ioana: Why do you think that is? 

Adriana: It’s a deep philosophical conversation, and this is what I’ve learned. From a very practical perspective, let’s talk about royalty-free images, which are worth zero…and that being the biggest market. Hopefully, it’s changing.

What does that say about the value of the person that is producing that content? How society values the people creating that content when it is acceptable to say that it should be uploaded online for free and distributed for free, whether through social media or stock agencies. What does it say about the respect we have for the individuals producing that content when we are not even thinking about sustainability?

You know, are these content producers in a safe working place? Are the content producers making a sustainable living? We’re talking about professionals. Are they able to develop their professional skills in a way that elevates media literacy? So that we can empower visual storytelling to foster empathy, kindness, and inclusivity? Inform from a place where it can bring unity within our industry and the viewership level.

It all interconnects to such an extent it’s like saying it’s okay to eat anything served in front of you because it’s free and not ask yourself how it’s made or where it came from. 

You know, from an organizational perspective is still a trillion-dollar industry. An average of 6.4 billion pieces of content is uploaded daily to the internet. 

Ioana: It’s mind-boggling. 

Adriana: On average, 500 million people go online to connect with other people and access information. It’s pretty simple. All these organizations are profiting from that because it is an industry. The internet is a business from an economic infrastructure.

Organizations controlling how information is uploaded and disseminated, how people connect, and how data goes from one place to the next should prioritize understanding the value in the content uploaded to the internet rather than the format or medium. No matter how much money they’re making. Start identifying, studying, strategizing, figuring out ways to separate quality, empowering content that can inform in a way that fosters empathy, kindness, and inclusivity from the trash.

Because if so many people are connecting online and relying on what they find online, the experiences they have online, then we need to think about the impact that exchange is having on their mental health. 

Ioana: Yeah. Planet wide, not only at the individual level. 

Adriana: And we cannot ignore the fact that it is a trillion-plus dollar industry and reality and that there’s accountability and responsibility.

We’re a startup. We’re very small in comparison to most companies out there. I mean, this is a startup led by a Hispanic woman. You know, my first job in New York was cleaning for free. I could say that I wrote for The New York Times for free. I wrote for The Huffington Post for free. I interned at Harper’s Bazaar for free. I grew, and I’ve learned so much, and I am so grateful from that perspective. From an intellectual and an educational perspective, I’m so thankful. 

But from a personal perspective, the reality is no one can live like that, three and five, and seven years. That’s not sustainable, and it’s not fair, and it doesn’t support inclusivity or merit-based opportunities. It doesn’t promote better representation in media and create an enabling environment where people can develop professional skills without feeling that they will be left behind because they don’t have the money to stay on the track.

And if we think the excuse is it’s competitive, that’s not a competition when everyone starting is starting from different positions in life. And I will face all my fears, insecurities, and flaws, which are much more than my virtues, to contribute to that conversation.

Ioana: And there are people with different points of view. How do you regard that? 

Adriana: I’m coming from a place where I’ve always defined myself as the other. So when I speak about advocating for inclusivity, I think from a place where I see myself as a minority in more than one way. 

I want to create a place where there’s more diversity, where we can grow in the difference. When I think about fostering empathy, kindness, and inclusivity, I think of a safe space where we can have conversations that will include or consist of perspectives. It will be built upon points of view. And those perspectives are malleable. I mean, that is always going to change from a deductive to an inductive perspective.

I cannot change or control, nor do I want to, how people behave. I’ve learned throughout this journey that what I can do is create a place online where, as a company, we can identify tools that allow a safe space for different people from all over the world with different perspectives to engage without tearing each other apart.

From a tech perspective, there’s no interest in manipulating those conversations and accentuating the differences through algorithms, filter bubbles, and strategies that take moments where people differ and build upon that to foster conflict, despair, and pain. When we think about how we identify and design the user experience, we think about it from a place of understanding that there will be people that will differ. So how can they differ in a safe place while maintaining a sense of respect and integrity, not just for the other but also for themselves? Which is key. And three, make sure that none of the strategies we use when those exchanges happen cultivate hate or anger.

Viewers and content producers, people who upload online, need to learn and understand and question the platforms they are signing up to. Because from a tech perspective, we always have a choice. Software is software, but how we implement that software when the platform fosters community, how we cultivate the engagement that will transpire as people use that software, from a tech perspective, we have a choice. Do we want to go the route that will foster respect, integrity, kindness, and unity even when we differ? And there might be emotions. Allow for that space to happen and not take that and sensationalize it. And I always will choose that.

Ioana: What support have you brought on board to build Visura?

Adriana: I truly believe that we cannot lose the self in the name of whatever we choose to do in this life.

Being that I was the girl that everyone said, “You’re not that smart. You’re not talented enough. You don’t stand a chance here. You didn’t go to Columbia University. You didn’t do this. You didn’t do that.” I’ve never won an award. You know, I can talk about failing forward. And if that is a reminder of anything is not to look at just the work. So when I scout talent, I’m not just looking at the work. 

Authenticity for me is key. Being grounded and kind. If I sense any ego, I don’t have time for that. If you’re not honest with yourself, it will be hard for you to be honest with other people. 

I call it parts of a whole. In everything that we do, we should try to do our best in the most honest way possible. That means that you will be vulnerable, and you are going to be scared, and you are going to tune into what makes us human in that sense, you know?

Ioana: We’re vulnerable anyway. 

Adriana: That’s what I mean. And so if you can own that. And not be afraid to share that. You know, I remember at Harper’s Bazaar, my boss, who ended up hiring me, asked me two questions. She said, “Well, who is your inspiration? And tell me one thing about you,” and she had two minutes to talk.

I told her who my inspiration was at the time, which was Richard Avedon. And then I said, “About me, listen. I don’t know anything about the magazine world, the editorial world. I don’t know anything about fashion.”

I was wearing overalls, hadn’t brushed my hair in 10 days, you know, nada.

“But I’m a hard worker, and I’m not going to give up.” And I think I also said I was going to do my best not to hold her back. She gave me the job right there. And I remember, when I thought, “This is my truth, I just got to say it.” I remember having that thought, “There’s no way she’s going to hire me.” But it was my truth. 

And I’m lucky. I’ve always been the girl that falls over. At The Washington Post, I was going to give a talk, and the director of photography MaryAnne Golon had set up a TV and everything. I walked in, and she said, “Okay, just cross the desk.” And as soon as I crossed it, I took all the cables, the whole thing just fell. And that was my introduction. 

Ioana: You got it out of the way. 

Adriana: Well, but that’s like the story of my life that I’ve never been that girl that comes in and can smooth her way into anything. 

Ioana: You’re not a performer…you show up. 

Adriana: The gift behind that, to all the people out there that can relate, is precisely what you just said. You get it out of the way from the beginning. Yes, I’m insecure. Yes, I’m scared. Yes, I’m very vulnerable. You know, I don’t wear makeup cause I barely have time to get dressed. I don’t have the best answers. It’s tough for me to make decisions on a human level, so I’m not trying to figure out the entire world. I’m just building one little thing at a time and hope that somewhere along the way. I can do something good with it.

And in a way, the internet protects me because I don’t show up at events or galas. I’m not this social butterfly in that sense. And so the internet is like what my hair used to be for me. My hair was always something that I used to protect myself from my vulnerabilities and insecurities.

And the internet gave me a little bit of distance to produce and go through this entire journey and be super authentic. But then, at the same time, I also recognize that it’s not perfect because I’m still hiding behind the internet on a human level. 

Ioana: There are always layers to uncover. You never fully arrive.

Adriana: In the end, there’s no perfect answer, and there’s no perfect anything. I mean, in the end, there’s always a contradiction, and there’s still something that you could have done or didn’t do. What I’ve learned is that it’s okay, breathe, and start again. 

When I’m in doubt, first I shower, which is very practical. And I walk, I walk a lot. But, on an existential level, when I’m in doubt, I surrender to my doubt. Because, when I think about love, I used to think I knew what it was and how to define it or describe it or what it felt.

And, now I feel like when it comes to love, I think love is living. Everything that happens in between, I try to surrender to it and accept it. The reason is I’ve been blessed with so much emotional support in my family, who today is incredibly supportive, and with Graham, who never left my side. And then Gabriel, our son, you know?

So I acknowledge that, and I am so grateful to it, you know? And I’m so thankful to the Visura community that has always been so kind to me. They’ve been kind to us. We’re a startup. We have made mistakes. We’re trying to figure it out. And that thousands of people understand and are willing to walk the path with us because we are interconnected and trying to solve some real challenges—I mean, that’s amazing. 

I’m also very aware that that’s not the reality that many people live in, right? My way of maintaining the equilibrium, my feet grounded, my way of understanding that whatever resources that I have been given in this life, whatever access, it’s not just something that I’m grateful for. It’s something that also I am accountable for. Not only because I would’ve never survived this journey without that support, but also because from that foundation is how I can then build. Also, from an ethos perspective, I expand that energy as much as I possibly can. Without judgment, without hierarchies, without entitlement, or righteousness, or all of that. Because ultimately, we’re all one. 

Ioana: And it’s hard to remember that all the time. 

Adriana: Yeah. We’re just parts of a whole, you know, and in this universe with this galaxy, we’re only stars. 

Ioana: I find so much freedom in that. Nobody truly knows anything. We don’t know why we’re here. We’re spinning in space at God knows what speed. Who is here to tell you how to live? 

Adriana: It’s a complicated question. I mean, I think structure is essential. Parameters are important. At the same time, I disagree with hierarchy, and I disagree with punishment, and I believe in accountability and when it comes to society. But again, it’s so complicated. 

Ioana: It is. I grew up under a dictatorship in a family of dissidents. All my grandparents have been under house arrest or in jail. I mean, I remember growing up, you know, with my grandfather, he was under house arrest. The state police followed me to school. So I fully get that not everybody has the freedom to choose. My point is more on a philosophical level. There is freedom in realizing that we are one. Nobody truly knows the better. 

Adriana: Like man’s search for meaning. Yes. And one thing that’s beautiful about what you’re saying is, I think about the word surrendering, right? There’s freedom in surrendering because you’re surrendering to the word.

You know, you’re surrendering to language. You’re surrendering to all that can be objectified, emotions. I mean, the essence of Taoism stems from, if you can name it, it is no longer eternal. That was the first page of the Tao Te Ching, which is a book that changed my life when I was younger. I was supposed to read the whole book. I can’t get past language. 

Ioana: I read it in high school, and it changed me forever. That and Be Here Now by Baba Ram Das. The Daring is coming out of those roots of equanimity, thinking outside yourself, and trying to do good things.

Adriana: Well, Visura, if you look at the V, I asked Graham, who designed the logo, to take the tip of the V and cut it almost as if it’s like leaving or coming in. And it stems from the idea of being a part of a whole, which is the essence of Taoism.

I believe that every one of us can contribute to the universe and that we do. If we understand that, maybe we can create awareness as to how. We can build upon that. 

There was a turning point in my life. I was living from a place of, I call it, “Me, Myself, and Irene,” where I was always the center of the universe. And so the question was always, why did this happen to me?

And then one day somebody asked me, “Do you want to build a hundred holes one time, or do you want to be the kind of person that builds one hole and digs it a hundred times?” And I said, “That’s what I want to do.” And the person said, “Well, then focus on that.” 

What that has allowed me is to peel an onion. Because I started a company and through that company for years, I’ve been trying to solve this challenge in different ways. That experience has led me to understand that you can enter one room, identify a problem, attempt to solve that problem, and then you might stay in that room forever, but you know, let’s say you get lucky. You solve that problem, you walk out of that room, and you enter another room, and it’s the same repeat within that space. When you start tangibly seeing that pattern, you start realizing that it’s not you. It’s not about you. 

Then I came to terms with the fact that since it wasn’t about me, it was all about my attitude towards life and how I decided to walk into any street or home or anything. Or walk out. That’s when I learned there’s no excuse. If you want to foster empathy, kindness, love, unity, respect, integrity, you can. 

Ioana: You know what you made me think of? Even though the world is not about us, our actions, however small, impact the world and reverberate through every person we touch, and they touch, and so on. So, your actions have an impact and weight, and meaning. 

Adriana: It’s not that we don’t feel anger is not that we are not cynical, but choose silence before putting it out there…

Look, I’m not saying, “Don’t get angry.” I mean, I’m angry. I’m tired, you know? Of course, be you. I’m talking about professionally. When you are in a working environment, be respectful and be kind. Aspire for that. Have that self-awareness, and don’t give up on yourself when it comes to that. 

Ioana: You can always be better. 

Adriana: You can. That said, if you’re angry, figure out a way to channel it that can be constructive. I go biking, and I go up a mountain, and in that process, no one wants to hear what I say when I go up that mountain. I send it to the wind. 

I identify things where I can channel my anger. I can channel my frustration. I can channel my pain without hurting people out there or the earth. 

Ioana: You know what I tell my kids? Feel your feelings full force, and if you need to throw things around and punch things, I understand. Your room is a safe place. Throw anything you need to throw in there.

Adriana: Go for it. I love that. 

Ioana: It’s about creating a safe space for expression. Because if we don’t get it out, it’s cancerous. You go biking. My kids throw pillows. 

Adriana: Yeah. And then that empowers you in a great when you go to work. Now, people do yoga, and there are all these different resources that organizations are building and offering their employees to manage their time and stress, and emotions. Public health and mental health is a big thing. 

When I think about Visura, and I think about us growing, it is like a home. When people go to work, I want them to feel empowered. I want them to know they have the resources and the tools and access to what they need so they can, as individuals manage their time and life in a way where it’s okay.

That is what we put out to the world. And I’m thinking more from an organizational perspective and as a founder of a company. Everything that we do, that’s what goes out to the world. What I give as a human being, engaging with the world, is very little compared to what Visura is doing and its impact. 

So from my perspective, I need to make sure that I’m okay so that when I go to work, I’m producing from a place of love, of kindness. And even when I’m angry, I’m expressing anger utilizing the resources I have, so anger doesn’t escalate into something that could create pain.

I hope that as Visura grows, that is an ethos that we can maintain operationally for all of the employees. 

Ioana: Working within the internet industry, which moves so fast, how do we create an organization that can slow down and allow room for failure, which is inevitable? How do we cultivate that tolerance and that self-awareness? 

Adriana: It’s when all of us with companies building the internet infrastructure think about effectivity rather than looking for viewers and engagement to happen 24/7 to monetize.

What is best for the world is to build from the ethos that viewers, readers, and buyers should spend the least amount of time and money possible on the internet so that they can be with their friends, family, producing work, and doing whatever it is that they mean to do.

Ioana: So it’s not about keeping them online. It’s about giving them the information and the community they need in the most efficient way possible so that they can go out and live life tangibly like a human. 

Adriana: Like a human being. 

Anyone from the internet supply-side could shift from “what could I gain from this” to “what is the best way to contribute to society.” And in doing that, take into account education and health and public health, mental health, the environment. 

New platforms would flourish, and there will be a shift in the ethos of the internet today. That’s what we work for every day. And we’re not the only ones. 

For the most part, the predominant organizations that serve on the internet and reach the masses, their ethos stems from wanting to monetize by having people stay online as long as possible. 

My hope is that the new generation of kids, who are so much more aware and vocal and active, can see through the branding and the marketing strategies to keep you online, and they will look for alternatives that are mindful and respectful of their time. Especially the impact being online all the time has on your mental health and the environment. So my hope is in the future. 

Ioana: You’re an optimist. 

Adriana: I am. I believe in love above all. I just don’t like to talk about it. 

Ioana: Is there anything else we haven’t touched that you want to talk about? 

Adriana: I will say one thing. For all the women out there who have an idea that could potentially solve a challenge in this world, you’re not alone if you experience any sense of exclusion, unfairness while you’re figuring out how to build a sustainable business model around this. Know that it is not you holding back the company or the idea. 

Four percent of women receive support when trying to build a company, whether for-profit or NGO.

It is not you. It might not be the idea, either. You might have an amazing idea, and you might be an extraordinary leader. When it comes to the entrepreneurial world, that realm is behind when it comes to inclusivity, diversity, and supporting equal and merit-based opportunities.

Therefore, I don’t know about tomorrow. All I can say to you now is you’re not alone. It is not you. And for as long as you can keep moving forward. 

Ioana: Even if it’s baby steps. 

Adriana: Even if it’s baby steps. Yeah. Because you can, and we always think the change has to have such a big impact. That’s not the case. Change can be one day at a time, one step at a time, one breath at a time, one act of kindness at a time.


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