Discovering My Inner Techie

Artists. Social Workers. Gamers. Writers. These are all people who should be interested in computer science. In college, there were so many things I wanted to major in, it was hard to manage. I even started out in pre-med. That was misguided, but that’s OK. I ended up in the art department, with a concentration in photography, on the eve of the digital revolution. One major I never  considered was computer science. Looking back, my reasons were pretty stupid.

I thought I knew exactly who should major in computer science. I had a few classmates who knew all about computers. And most, though not all, were guys. They were friendly and often helped us when computers behaved badly. Although I gave myself permission to learn everything else from scratch, (I’d never taken photography before), I thought I already had to understand computers to learn about them.

Back in 6th grade I thoroughly enjoyed a class most kids hated: graphic arts. This class moved beyond Logo Writer (a brilliant program) to an ancient version of Adobe Illustrator. I noticed that my enthusiasm for this class set me apart. It was fascinating to discover how different brushes could create different looks. I was quite proud when I recreated a Degas painting in the computer. Since I grew up to work as a graphic artist and photographer, I sometimes wish I could find these files. Sadly, they’re lost in time. I noticed it was unusual to enjoy this class that combined art and technology.

Since college, I’ve worked as a professional photographer, taken courses in communications and earned a Master’s Degree in International Relations. But I’m not done. Living in St. Louis, I had the opportunity to join a group of people interested in learning programming. I finally figured out that loving video games, always having new ideas for apps and wanting to make the world better mean I should learn computer science. It’s relevant to all the fields I listed above.

And it’s been awesome. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard. But everyone thinks it’s hard. I’ve almost stopped saying I’m bad at math, because it’s irrelevant. There is a little bit of conceptual math in programming, but it’s more like a language. It’s about problem-solving. And anyone interested in anything will find it beneficial. I think of computer programming as an extension of literacy because it connects people to ideas and tools. It’s a type of reading and writing that opens a world of possibilities for those who learn to participate.

Here are some free resources to get you started:

  • Turtle Academy: Turtle offers a great way to create amazing shapes using a simple programming syntax. Click on “Free Lessons” to get started. You can start creating shapes with no prior understanding of programming.
  • Code Academy: They offer a fully interactive learning environment. The instructions are easy to follow and you get to see your code in action as you learn. You can use your FaceBook account to create a free Code Academy account and start learning quickly. Code Academy offers full courses in HTML/CSS, Javascript, jQuery, Python, Ruby, PHP, and APIs.
  • cs50: This is not for the faint of heart – tackle this one with a group of dedicated students. If you’d like to do a little exploring and access some of the free resources first, consider clicking the “Live” or “Seminars” links in the left navigation bar.
  • An amazing combination of original and currated learning content. They even offer a section called unplugged, where students can learn computer concepts without the need for a computer or internet connection.
  • techli: Techli delivers innovation news and in-depth editorial on the technology, businesses and ideas that are changing the way we live, work, and play. They have a great selection of written and video content on everything from what’s happening in the startup community to internet culture.

Photo by Nirat Sthapit 

TechReads: Creative Intelligence

My friends and I like to good-naturedly lament that when we say we’re Computer Science students, the response is often inevitably, “Oh, great! Now I know who to go to when I need to fix my computer!” I can see why we get this response. The majority of people are users, not creators, of technology – and any time that technology needs troubleshooting, users turn to the “IT guy” or the “IT department” and this is probably the first experience that they associate with the words “Computer Science” (availability heuristic, anyone?).

Interestingly, the next top two variations of responses I tend to get are rather opposite:

  1. “That’s cool! Technology keeps changing so much; you could create some pretty neat things.”
  2. “Really? I don’t think I’d have much fun with a bunch of logic and rules.”

Yes, technology is constantly and rapidly changing. Yes, this means there are people who are driving that change. Yes, Computer Science is built on logic and there are rules. What’s the difference between someone who puts those facts together and thinks “Cool!” and someone who asks “Really?”

The difference is whether or not you realize that some of those rules and their uses are not set in stone – that you have the potential to make new rules, or use logic in a new way to come up with a friendlier user interface, a more efficient system, or a video game world where portal guns are definitely a thing and definitely under the category of “some pretty neat things”.

In the book Creative Intelligence, author Bruce Nussbaum explores our preconceived notions of what it means to be creative, how we can deliberately foster creativity and why creativity is a key skill which Nussbaum argues is essential to the development of the economy. Although Nussbaum writes about how creativity applies to a number of fields, many of his examples are technology-related.

My Top 5 Favorite Tech Examples in Creative Intelligence:
On Amazon: Creative Intelligence: Harnessing the Power to Create, Connect, and Inspire

  1. How did some of Apple’s earliest computer designs end up being inspired and solved by visiting a jelly bean factory?
  2. How has the recent surge in social media affected the way we engage with content, consuming versus creating it?
  3. What did a Portland, Oregon company do to help Lenovo create tech products that would appeal to its Chinese consumers and compete against foreign, better-known brands?
  4. How did ideas originally applied to create robots that could search for victims of disasters eventually lead to the development of the Roomba, the first vacuum-cleaning robot?
  5. How do games like Re-Mission, a video game for young cancer patients where the player wages battle against cancer cells, actually physically improve a patient’s health?

I would rate this book a 4 out of 5. I loved most of the examples and I find it rewarding and inspiring to explore how other people have found creative success. However, I am a little wary of believing that there is a set formula for creativity given its very nature.

Additionally, calling creativity a type of intelligence (Nussbaum also calls it “CQ”) still grates on the part of me that learned in Psychology class that there is no empirical evidence for any types of multiple intelligences. Granted, Nussbaum wrote this book mostly for a Business audience and not a Psychology one.

Overall though, this is the kind of springboard book that introduced me to new authors, ideas and companies that I would love to learn more about.

How do you use creativity in your work? What does creativity mean to you? Leave a comment below!

This article is the first of a series called TechReads, my new ongoing series of technology-related book reviews. If you would like to suggest a book for a future TechReads article, please leave a comment below – and if you’ve read Creative Intelligence, I’d love to hear what you think!

Image by Matt Katzenberger

creativeintbookOn Amazon: Creative Intelligence: Harnessing the Power to Create, Connect, and Inspire

Making Minecraft Tasty

Minecraft is a classic sandbox game that many people young and old seem to enjoy. It’s great for creative people who love to build and explore. It’s also a great time-killer! It’s not quite as time-sucking as Skyrim, but it’s pretty close in my opinion.

After having dumped more hours than I can count into the game, I started to get a little bored. I found myself running out of things to do; wanting to discover new territories on new worlds. Then it occurred to me – I was still running vanilla Minecraft and there had to be some flavor out there. If you’re wondering what I mean by vanilla, it means that no mods (modifications) have been installed.

Luckily, when it comes to Minecraft, there’s a plethora of mods available. I decided to give the Technic Launcher a try and I’m finding it’s pretty dang awesome. It currently has 7 official modpacks filled with dozens of different mods to add some spice and extra entertainment to your game. From portal guns to modular power-suits, these mods have it all. One of their most popular packs, “Tekkit” is my personal favorite. It gives you the opportunity to travel to the moon – and even mars – and set up little bases in blocky-space. It’s perfect for space nerds like myself!

Here are a few links to get you going:

I have to admit, it gets pretty addicting. Even if you somehow get bored with all 7 modpacks available, there are more than 4000 user-created packs! It’s a never-ending black hole of procrastination, but it’s so worth it!

Image By BagoGames

When should you email someone twice?

When should you email someone twice, if you don’t get a response?

Almost always.

I’m collaborating with someone on a project. On Sunday he sends me an agenda over e-mail. I see the e-mail, but get caught up with other work. On Monday, he follows up with a facebook message. Please confirm. Is that too much? No.

Would I have done that, though?

Last week, I signed up for an online dating site. There’s one guy who looks interesting – studying astrophysics. In his spare time, he travels with Engineers without Borders. We exchanged a few messages. Then I stopped replying. So he messaged me again. Twice.

Would I ever do that?

I don’t think girls like to ask twice. We’re supposed to be mysterious and alluring. Attract, don’t apply.

That’s all well and good, in an English town in the 18th century. It’s not the way business works. Actually, I’m pretty sure most of life today won’t work like that. You need some hustle!

And I think women in particular have a difficult time sending those follow-up messages. A reminder: it’s not personal. And hey, if it is personal, you have nothing to lose anyway.

If an e-mail requires an action, such as a thoughtful response or the composition of an agenda— and you are not a paying client— it’s very likely that I’ll make a mental note to respond later today. And we all know how that goes.

So, ready to up your follow-up game?

Try these three e-mail plug-ins to make it easier.

Do I even have the right e-mail address?

Rapportive solves that problem. If you have the right e-mail address, the person’s profile will pop up in the right side bar.

Did they get my e-mail?

Boomerang will send your e-mail back to you if no one replies. So at least one person remembers. Great for casual use.

Yesware lets you know if and when someone opened your e-mail. It is a bit too intense for your personal life, but if you’re running business development or sales, it’s key.

Now, how much is too much? Three times.

Most things are worth following up on once. New business contacts are worth following up on twice. But if someone isn’t interested in what you are saying after three attempts, let it go and focus your energy elsewhere.

 Image By:Horia Varlan

You’re just a girl, you wouldn’t understand

HayleeIt’s funny how often I hear things like “You’re just a girl, you wouldn’t understand” when I try to join in a conversation about techie things or video games. It’s frustrating when I hear a group of my guy friends talking about a game that was just released or the good ol’ “Xbox vs. PlayStation” argument, and when I try to join in, I just “don’t know what I’m talking about.”

Well FYI, when I’m designing video games later in life, I’m going to make a character just like you and kill them off. You’re welcome.

There are plenty of girls that are interested in the same things as me. Unfortunately, they’ve been so pressured to be society’s perfect version of a girl, that they’re worried about being ridiculed to show their true selves. How girls are treated when they aren’t into the same girly stuff as everyone else is really frustrating. My dream is to see a world where girls don’t have to feel bad for what they’re interested in, just because people think it’s only for boys.

Why are there thousands of men pursuing careers in supposed “girly things” like fashion design, and they generally don’t get a whole lot of crap about it? Yeah, their friends might tease them a little but their talents are never questioned. The minute a female decides she wants to pursue a career in computer programming, or mechanics, she “won’t be successful” because she “doesn’t know anything about it” and should “try getting into something more her style.”

Ah – the sweet, sweet sound of men’s fear of being emasculated because their interests are no longer just for men. Beautiful. Brings tears of joy to my eyes.

I guess my main point is, I thought the gender discrimination thing was supposed to have ended a long time ago. Unfortunately, it’s still causing girls to have a fear of expressing themselves, even at a young age. One day girls will no longer have to worry about being themselves. I’m tired of this idea of a “perfect girly-girl.” I’m ready to be confident in what I want to pursue, and I’m ready for other girls to be confident, too.

Image by Ed Yourdon

The Many Ways to Waze

The world of smartphone applications is a varied and confusing one.  But so is the world of LA traffic.  That’s why I use Waze.

 Surprisingly, not a ton of people have heard of it. For me, the consummate commuter, it’s a life-saver.

Which Waze should I go?

Purchased by Google in June of last year, Waze is a GPS application formulated as a game that updates your traffic route in real-time to give you the best and fastest possible route from one point to the next.  It gives you route options and an estimated arrival time that’s usually on target.  If traffic changes and the route Waze gives you starts backing up, it updates with alternative options.  All of this is performed by a voice navigation system that gives you step-by-step directions.  
You can elect to use toll roads (or not), find nearby gas stations, food, and other facilities in relation to your location.  Users can also report police sightings, accidents, construction, and debris.

It Don’t Run in Our Blood – So We’ll be Waze Royals

The most interactive part of the application is that users garner points if they report information, and their level can increase based on how much they report.  The levels, ranging from Waze baby to Waze royalty, are represented by increasingly hilarious avatars, and the higher the Waze level, the more the user has an ability to edit maps.  Waze can sync with your Facebook events and give you directions to the location, give you live location updates from your friends, private message, and can do hands-free voice updates by simply waving your hand in front of the screen.
So, if you’re not using Waze, get on it.  Unless you’re a conspiracy theorist thinking the government is spying on you with location satellites.  Then don’t.   (They probably are.  Hi, NSA.)  
Contributing Source:

5 Groups For Women To Learn Code

The movement for better representation of women in technology has been spreading fast, which also means all sorts of support groups and communities have been popping up that are part of the change and teach skills like programming.

If you’re looking to pick up some new skills, especially computer programming, you don’t have to feel alone and overwhelmed with these five groups aimed at teaching young women how to code. Or, if you’re already proficient in programming, you can still show your support for these groups by spreading the word or pointing friends to these amazing resources.

Ladies Learning Code
With their extensive classes and resources, Ladies Learning Code has become a de facto source in helping young women and girls technical skills in a supportive, collaborative environment. From events on teaching HTML and CSS to the WordPress basics, do check them out!

The amazing ladies behind she++, pronounced she-plus-plus, started off their community as a women in tech conference at Stanford. But the support and outpouring was so great that she++ has become a place to empower women in computer science and spreading the word on learning technical skills, too.

Girls Who Code
Most of the disinterest in science and technology in young women starts in school, which is why Girls Who Code has made it their mission to help high school girls break up stereotypes and get interested in code. If you’re in high school and want to learn a very valuable skill or know a young women interested in technology, this is a invaluable resource and community.

Women 2.0
This group is for the career women looking for a supportive community and resource on technical skills and start-up advice. They provide a job board, meet-ups, and everything you need to be a power player in the tech scene.

The PyLadies
Okay, this isn’t general knowledge on programming but is instead learning a certain language, in this case Python. PyLadies helps women learn about the open source programming language that can be applied to all sorts of applications and technical projects in a friendly community.

There are several other groups out there helping women kick butt in technology, but this is a great list to start with. Are there any recommendations you would add to the list?

Adventures at the Northwest Regional Women in Computing Conference

AlexandreaYoong Co-Writer: Alexandrea Yoong
“Alexandrea’s goals are to pursue an MS degree in Computer Science and work to program games and more widely accessible educational software or applications that encourage younger students, particularly girls and underrepresented minorities, to explore and pursue STEM careers.”
NicoleLewey Co-Writer: Nicole Lewey
I am a Computer Science major with Mathematics and Music minors. I am Vice President and co-founder of the Women in Computer Science Club. I participate in multiple choral ensembles, one of which I will be directing starting Fall 2014.LinkedIn

Hi, we are Alexandrea Yoong and Nicole Lewey, President and Vice President of the Women in Computer Science Club (WICS) at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon. Our club’s mission is to foster a community which promotes equal opportunities for women in computer science by helping to create professional development opportunities and by advocating for more women to enter and contribute to this dynamic field. We were really excited when our advisor, Shereen Khoja, told us about the Northwest Regional Women in Computing Conference in Portland, Oregon. Given that we formed our club very recently in February 2014, this conference was our first chance to interact with other aspiring computer scientists and professionals.

We knew that the conference would take place on April 12, 2014 and that we had the option to sign up for mock interviews and resume reviews. We also learned that our university’s Career Development Center prints free business cards for students and thought this would be useful. To prepare for the conference, we made sure our resumes were updated and thought about questions to ask the people we would meet.

GLaDOS of Portal was born as a senior project!

When we arrived at the conference, we knew that the morning keynote speaker, Kim Swift, had worked on the game Portal. What we didn’t know was that she and her team of fellow students at DigiPen Institute of Technology had developed the concept and first version of Portal (under a different title) as their senior project. Even more astonishing is that while showcasing this game at a convention, Kim Swift and her classmates were invited to present their game to developers at Valve, and then offered their first jobs on the spot! Kim Swift was down-to-earth but spoke about how it was important to look for opportunities and also create them. It was motivating to see someone achieving her goals at such a young age.

Next, we participated in a speed networking session. There were 21 colleges and universities represented, as well as a number of professionals. Our business cards came in handy, and we also learned that many people utilize LinkedIn profiles to build their professional image and further their networking. At this session, I [Alexandrea] met Ron Tenison, a retired professor and strong advocate for women in computer science. Later in the day, the club reconnected with him and learned about how to form a student chapter with ACM-W (Association for Computing Machinery – Women). I [Nicole] found it interesting to talk to other female computer science students who have had similar experiences.

Breaking the Ice with Angry Birds

For a fun icebreaker and group activity, we divided into small groups with people we didn’t know and spent 45 minutes engineering our own real-life version of an Angry Birds game. It was a fun way to meet new people and appreciate the amount of creativity every person brought to the table

At lunch, a diverse panel of four women talked about building your personal brand. One of the key takeaways from the panel was that recruiters rely heavily on LinkedIn to find potential employees. One of the women talked a lot about advocating for yourself, having the self-confidence to know how to pick your battles, and knowing when to confront an unfair work situation. It was also neat to see how Claire Francis, a high school freshman, was able to take her passion of health/fitness and develop her personal brand by using a blog and other social media – all without a formal degree.

There were three afternoon talks after lunch. The first was by Jennifer Davidson, a PhD candidate from Oregon State University, who researched how to involve a greater number of older adults in free/open source software communities. As women in computer science, something that stood out to us in her presentation was that only 1% of open source developers are female. This was also relevant because Open Source Development is a special topics class being offered at our university next Fall semester.

The afternoon keynote speaker, Reena Agarwal, spoke on the topic of innovation. We liked that she thought of innovation in little steps; she approached each day practically, explaining that she didn’t get up in the morning saying “I’m going to be innovative today!”

The third talk was given by Franziska Roesner, a PhD candidate from the University of Washington, who talked about privacy and the companies that track users online. A main point that she made was that many people don’t realize how extensively they’re tracked and that many of the tools currently used for privacy are much less effective than users think.

More than Digital Connections

During the career fair portion of the conference, I [Nicole] met with a woman from HP for a mock interview and resume advice. One piece of advice was to format the resume so that the most important components stood out just by scanning the page. We then went over some common interview questions and she gave me feedback about my answers. This was especially timely since I had interviews the following Monday and Tuesday for potential summer internships. One of the questions I learned to think about is how to describe the way I work within a team – I was asked this question at five different interviews.

Another benefit of the career fair was that we got to connect with Ron Tenison and learn how to form a student chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery – Women (ACM-W). I [Alexandrea] also networked with Coral Cotterell at the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and learned about various activities and other resources that we could use for outreach to elementary, middle and high school students. It was encouraging meeting so many people who were equally passionate about computer science education and supporting women in the field.

All of our Women in Computer Science club members walked away from this conference very excited about how we could pass on our positive experiences to other students. We were energized and inspired by the stories we heard, the people we met, and the ideas we shared. We encourage all of you to check out similar conferences and resources in your area!

Alexandrea and Nicole

How women are taking over social media

Thank you Alex Hillsberg for this awesome article and Infographic!

Recent independent studies made by Pew, Nielsen, and Burst Media told us what we already suspect in our list of friends and followers: there are more women in them. But that’s not just the point of these studies. Buried in the data are two significant trends that may set the future of social media, as dictated by women’s whims.

But first, the facts. Women outnumber men in using the top social sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and Pinterest. In Facebook alone, among all online women in the U.S., 76% said they use the top social network, while among all online U.S. men it’s 66%. Moreover, women use these social networks several times more often daily than men.

Using data from these studies, an infographic published by provides a quick comparison of men and women in social media not just in numbers, but in many ways.

More women access their social networks via mobile

We can see an influx of social apps dedicated to mobile, the next growth area of social networks. Interestingly, it’s women who are driving this growth. Online women are 46% more likely to access their account via smartphone compared to 43% for men. Likewise, women are 32% more likely to use a tablet to check their social networks; for men it’s 20%. When we hear industry observers harking the future of social is in mobile, and that the top Internet activity is happening in these channels, they might as well say the future of social media is in women.

Women set the trend towards the visual web

Women dominate the use of visually oriented social networks such as Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr. These are the three fastest growing social networks today, garnering ten million new users each in one year. The rapid growth of these sites is expected to spawn similar sites and set the trend toward the visual web. Pinterest best illustrates that women are driving this trend. Among all U.S. women online, 33% access this network, whereas among U.S. men online it’s just 8%. Yet Pinterest is now the toast of investors who believe the visual web is the future.

Content consumption and brand interaction

Women also use social media in critical areas such as content consumption and brand interaction. Among U.S. online adults who consumed news, 58% are women compared to 42% of the opposite sex. Likewise, 53% of online women in the U.S. access deals, while for men it’s only 36%. Women also tend to show more brand support, provide feedback, and like a brand page to keep updated.  

Clearly, women are setting the pace in social media and we expect more content and brands to tap this influential demographic. More importantly, where social media has played a crucial role in molding public opinion, we can only hope women’s influence go beyond social media and into real social issues about their plight.

The InfoGraphic


Women in Tech – It’s a Media Problem

CooperHarrisMaybe it’s good luck; I’m not sure. I’ve only been in the content creation game for a short time and the people I’m meeting are pretty amazing. Cooper Harris is no exception and was exceptionally fun to talk to. She was kind enough to sit down with me between events at the AT&T Developer Summit. I really enjoyed learning a little about her company; getting her thoughts on women in tech; and getting inspired by her excitement with the combination of entertainment and technology.

Entertaining Tech

iGirl: You were sitting on one of the panels and mentioned that you were transitioning from entertainment to tech. What happened that prompted the change?

Cooper: I’ve been acting professionally since I was twelve and really never considered that I would be in tech whatsoever; it never crossed my mind until about this past year. I just found that I was no longer feeling fulfilled by entertainment. I wanted to become an actress to tell compelling stories that were life changing and would help people. I found that I was getting kind of the same roles; the damsel in distress seductress type.

That’s really only one side of what I can do. I wanted to show the side of me that’s a tech CEO and runs things and makes cool apps that help people. That’s when – about a year and a half ago – I had the idea for my startup. Then, about a year ago I made the decision to put everything aside  and dive completely into tech.

Too Many Clicks – Resolved.

iGirl: Tell me a little about the startup.

Cooper: It’s called Klickly. We’re basically a big optimization platform for mobile. Companies are paying a lot of money to tweet and post about their products on Facebook and Instagram. I found that it was very difficult to actually follow through on a mobile purchase from one of these companies. There are just too many clicks. They send you to the website; make you click through the shopping process and it just took much too long to accomplish. Klickly has developed the tech that makes the whole process of purchasing on mobile – from social – much easier for the consumer.

iGirl: So, what got you started with going to hackathons?

Cooper: Getting into tech, I realized there’s this whole world I don’t know anything about – and that it’s really fascinating and it’s creative. People don’t realize just how creative it is. I found that hackathons are a great place to use my story telling talents.

I’ve found that I can be a huge asset  to these teams of magnificently talented developers by helping them tell the story. I get really passionate about whatever we’re creating and I think that tends to put us over the top. I won the last AT&T hackathon in LA and that was really cool. It’s not something most people thought I would do; they were like “why is this actress doing hackathons?”

Women in Tech – It’s a Media Problem

iGirl: I tweeted the prize from Ericsson yesterday for women in tech and received an overwhelming response. There’s a big issue with the lack of women in tech right now; what are your thoughts on that?

Cooper: I go to tech events in LA and I’m the only woman there; or one of three – and the others are recruiters. I’ve honestly run into a couple of situations where I’ll be asked to meet and talk about my company and have found that the guy actually wanted a date. I think if there were more women in tech the perspective would change and this might not happen.

iGirl: What do you think we can do to encourage more women to be in the tech industry?

[Tweet “I think Ericsson has exactly the right idea. You give a prize to women who are willing to make that leap and put themselves out there.  “]

Cooper: I think Ericsson has exactly the right idea. You give a prize to women who are willing to make that leap and put themselves out there. Let’s be real – it’s not something we’re encouraged to do from a young age. Maybe there’s more of that happening now; but when I was growing up you were an actress or singer. Those were the prestigious and valued images of women; pretty, sexy and in front of the camera.

[Tweet “I think it’s so important to show young women that – yes – they can absolutely be…”]

I think it’s so important to show young women that – yes – they can absolutely be a beautiful actress; but they can also do all of these other things. It’s all available – it’s not like someone is stopping us anymore. But when you don’t see something; you don’t know that it’s there or gravitate towards it. When it’s not celebrated you aren’t going to be compelled to do it.

I want to show young women that you can be young and hip and in tech as well.

iGirl: Do you think the education system is part of the problem?

Cooper: To some extent – maybe. But I would say that it’s more a media problem. I think celebrities need to come out and say  – I’m a fan of science. I know that – as I was growing up – I saw boy and girl toys and I was to play with the pink toys. That’s hurtful and problematic. I really want to take the focus off of women playing dress-up – not that it’s bad. I just think it’s important to champion other stuff because it’s way out of balance right now.

Nerds at Sundance

iGirl: You’re doing a hackathon at Sundance of all places. It sounds like a cool combo of entertainment and tech.

Cooper: That’s my main goal – to kind of bridge that gap between entertainment and technology. And, to do it in a smart-cool way that increases the liveliness of both. I’m producing the first ever tech and innovation summit; I’m really excited about that. Literally, the first hackathon at Sundance; with the first Pitchfest with VC panels and female entrepreneur panels.

My end goal is to blend the smartest minds in the nation in tech with the best story tellers of entertainment. Because that’s what I’m doing in a microcosm in my life. I feel like I’ve been trained as a good storyteller and I want to surround myself and become a tech innovator.

I think when we blend those two together we have the best of both worlds and we can achieve really cool things.

In Closing

I really like the concept of combining storytelling with technology. Heck, the gaming industry has been doing that for a very long time. It’s obvious that with her passion, drive, and perspective that Cooper will make some significant inroads in the tech community. I’m looking forward to seeing how she furthers her passion of combining the two words of techertainment.

I will close by mentioning the research I did – after the show – on women in tech. There are a ton of resources that are trying to fit this need. However, the media issue that Cooper talked about is definitely a problem. I think that when we start portraying more women in tech in our cultures media; only then will the balance shift properly.

Inspiring Women in Tech!