At 26 years old, I was forced into the tech sector. I had transitioned from the world of print media, and south Florida living- to the rough and smelly streets of the Upper UPPER West Side (also known as the Dominican Heights).
Within a month of living in NYC, I had become “app oriented”. I wouldn’t go to a restaurant without a plethora of positive Yelp review, and/or a ton of friends and acquaintances checking in on Foursquare (obviously if others are spending money there, the bagel being sliced and smeared is good). I discovered this magical app called Google Maps, that helped me navigate the subway system- and figured out that if I update my HuffPost app before going underground, all of the new content would be accessible without wifi).
Eventually, I broke down, and I downloaded MeetUp and Craigslist- desperately trying to find ways to meet other women, interested in learning, growing, exploring and teaching. This was a bad idea: I felt out of place at all of the events I attended- and paid for. I found each new person I met, had one goal: to be the best of the best, its why they moved out of their familial comfort zones, and moved to Manhattan- no one wants to go back to where they’ve come from as a failure.
For the last 300 years, the world has focused on the Big Apple as the place to temporarily relocate to, to succeed, take wealth, resources, learn, and return from! People do not stay here- they only come to make “it”, and when they haven’t reached this “it” pinnacle, they either take a job in another city, or return to their roots. The people that move here are vivacious, intelligent, punctual, creative, eclectic, savant-like, looking to make money fast- and through any and all means possible. Some people come to Silicon Alley because they truly believe that they are the next Mark Zuckerberg- and their idea, tool, API, invention, formula, algorithm, or product is going to change the way we communicate, talk, express and work with each other. Inevitably, the influx of the startup business sector isn’t revolutionary: they are trying to reinvent something someone else already did.
I want to modify a minor problem you have with your website: I am pitching for $650,000.00 in venture funding, and have secured a bus to drive around SXSW- wrapped in their experimental logos, that redirect the audience to a LaunchRock signup page.
It takes me forever to sift through the startups that approach me- now more than ever before. I didn’t realize that ABC’s Shark Tank would cause me SO many problems. I haven’t been on the show- and I don’t want to be. My nightmare is being a “nerd celebrity”: to only be known for getting technology exposure means all the hard work I’ve done in crowd raising, and social demographic marketing, is obsolete- because I have gotten a bazillion YouTube views. I don’t want to be pegged into a cliched corner.
I’m a lot more than an online persona, and fear my identity being fused with social media sites, permanently. I don’t want to be famous- I want to fix problems, and find solutions to bigger issues. It’s taken a long time to focus my attention- and hone my skill set around what makes me happy, and gives me a purpose. I no longer waste my time on projects that are trying to compete in a very “noisy” space (if you are trying to create a new HootSuite, show me that you have Series C funding raised, in your pocket). I don’t like “working” for people- I want to work with you, and help others through my own umbrella’d network.
Unfortunately, I have no reference guide to go to, and ask “what do I do when someone comes to me, and I can’t help them, and they keep coming back- because they are focused more on being successful and reaching a financial goal, than their physical product, its functionality- and its revenue model?” I’m horrible at rejection. At another time, I was more likely to help you until I fixed your problems- than throw in the towel after you agitated me 1 time. I rarely walked away without a fight…now I’m second guessing myself- when I get up, and walk out. Not because the idea I am walking away from is a waste of my time- but because I am potentially hurting my own karma-energy: after all, this career fell in my lap…who am I to tell someone that their electric bicycle with a tv set and wifi hub is a bad idea?
Purple and Nine @GanglySister are children with a purpose: they provide positive female role models, pushing the envelope in their worlds: inquisitive to their cores, and determined to make stuff happen. Ideally, it’d be great if the Gangly Sister production team could put together a manual to guide women in the technology space, helping us fix the problems we see- but regulating our community, keeping it a happy and functioning cog! We need to remember that the only way our world will improve is if we work together- to create new things, that will help us in the future. We need to be less focused on being famous for creating a camera feature that turns your face upside down, and more assertive! We must create new tools to fix the problems we have- not add to the problems.
Purple and Nine is a show about two girls who just want to solve their everyday problems. They try quirky, cutting-edge solutions to fix things around the house, keep themselves awake in class, help friends overseas, and babysit Purple’s twin brothers. Technology is an integral part of our lives, say the founders, and the technologies shown in the series are cutting-edge technologies that either already exist or are under development.
Gangly Sister was founded by Rebecca Rachmany, CEO and Miriam Lottner, COO, two entrepreneurs who have been in business together for several years. As a founder of multiple technology startups, I find it incredibly important for more young women to enter the fields I’ve succeeded in, too. Over the last few weeks, many women have come forward in the STEM communities, endorsing the Gangly Sister initiatives:
“I love the vision and creativity of ‘Purple’ and ‘Nine’. Kids using 3-D printing to solve problems and save the world, learning and having fun along the way, is awesome and inspiring!” Jenny Lawton, President, MakerBot
The pilot is self-funded, so the Gangly Sister founders have created an Indiegogo campaign to raise money from the fans. If they reach over $100,000, they’ll be able to produce a full season of 12 episodes. They say it’s no different than purchasing a DVD, or a music album, and they offer prizes for contributions as low as $4, so even children can be part of the campaign. Purple and Nine is translated to Chinese and Spanish, to align with the vision of reaching as many girls as possible.
Founder, StartupChicks NYC @kallikallikalli