Yes We Code Chat 32: Hybrid Entrepreneurship

Yes We Code Chat 32: Hybrid Entrepreneurship

For entrepreneurs, hustling is a way of life. Some of us have gotten to the point in our careers where our side hustle has become our full time gig, while others are still holding down another job full time while working towards a bigger entrepreneurial goal.

Welcome to Hybrid-Entrepreneurship: it’s all about working a full time job while building a business part-time. The philosophy is that you’re going to leverage your job in a way that helps you in your business but will also help you at your job.

During the next #yeswecode chat, we’ll discuss hybrid-entrepreneurship and how to transition from your full time dreams to running and owning your own business.


Join us!

Some questions to think about:

  1. Is it worth our time to pursue hybrid entrepreneurship?
  2. What are the benefits/challenges?
  3. What are some alternatives?
  4. On Shark Tank they are fond of pointing out the diff between a real biz and a hobby. Responses?
  5. Has anyone here been successful at it? Pls share your success stories?
  6. How did you finally make the transition from hybrid entrepreneur to full time entrepreneur?
  7. What lessons have you learned along the way?
  8. What advice would you give to others who want to make their side hustle into their full time entrepreneurial gig?
#YesWeCode Chat 27: Global UX & The Future of Tech Innovation

#YesWeCode Chat 27: Global UX & The Future of Tech Innovation

This week, Apple announced the new iPhone release for later this month. Around the world, customers will line up in Mexico City, Lagos, Lisbon and Manila to purchase Apples latest artistic release.In a world that has more mobile phones than toilets, it’s clear that global ad diverse customers make our products more profitable and valuable.

Isn’t it time we represent our world not just as consumers, but also as creators?

As tech innovators, how do we create user experiences that factor in the needs, desires and worldviews of global population?

Do we have a responsibility to innovate with a focus on global user experiences?

I think we do! As a UX Designer, I’m always thinking about how my Nigerian, American, Swedish, Mexican and Jewish family engages with the products I create.

How do I factor them into my design process?

The conversation about diversity in technology often centers around bringing diverse ideas to the table for the sake of inclusion, but the need for inclusion goes beyond fairness and equality. It also allows for better user experience, better design and more innovative products.

Stepping outside our comfort zone is not only necessary for self growth, it’s also good (no great) for business. The future of technology will focus on creating products for the more than 7 billion people in the world (4.5 billion have mobile technology) who look like less like the 19 year old white male Stanford grad and more like a kaleidoscope of ethnicities, languages and cultural contexts.

We are the answer to the question, “who will be best positioned to come up with products and services that will win in the global market.”

I think it’s time we make sure global centered UX is at the core of our tech diversity conversations and design innovation.

Questions to think about:

  1. What does global UX mean to you?
  2. Do you practice it?
  3. How has it impacted your design experience and perspective?
  4. As consumers, how would global centered design impact your user experience of a product?
  5. As creators, do we have a responsibility to “think globally?”
  6. As outsiders, do people of color have an advantage in the global market of tech products?
  7. If so how can we promote that?
Yes We Code chat 26: Startups, Company Culture & Diverse Teams

Yes We Code chat 26: Startups, Company Culture & Diverse Teams

When it comes to building and sustaining a company, culture is key. From startups like Amazon to Airbnb, startup culture conversations are at the center of current conversations.

Discussing startup culture might be a key part of engaging the issue of tech diversity.

Recently, President Obama hosted the first ever Demo Day at The White House. This event generated a conversation around tech diversity and the lack of it as a cultural issue. Regardless of what you believe on this topic, company culture does shape what is accepted and acknowledged as appropriate within a tech company.

I think it’s really important to ask ourselves about the cultures we’re trying to create and what roles we as founders play in supporting or dismantling certain assumptions and behaviors within our companies.

How does the culture we create impact the future of our companies? Does it matter? How do we make room for all of us? The single mothers, the full time parents/techies and everyone and anyone who might not be seen as a cultural fit in an industry that lacks diversity in almost every way.

Join us for the next #yeswecode chat to discuss startups, company culture and the tech culture we’re trying to create.

Questions to think about:

  1. How do we make diversity part of our company culture/DNA  from the beginning?
  2. Which company culture elements are most important to you.? Why?
  3. Do startups founders have a responsibility to positively shape company culture from the beginning?
  4. What tips would you give to company founders about creating inclusive culture?
  5. How do we expand the conversation about startup culture to include everyone?

See you there!

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Yes We Code 25: Why The Tech Diversity Conversation Needs A New Narrative

Yes We Code 25: Why The Tech Diversity Conversation Needs A New Narrative

#YesWeCode chat #25: Why The Tech Diversity Conversation Needs A New Narrative
Sunday 8/9/15

Two recent events influenced this Yes We Code chat topic. Last weekend was James Baldwin’s birthday and I celebrated by writing about the lessons I learned from him, and his take on how to go after what you want and actually get it. In his historic “Rap on Race” conversation with Margaret Mead, he talks about how he needed to “change the narrative” of what was expected for his life in order to change his life.

During #YesWeCode chat #24, we discussed the assumption/expectation of minority startup founders to create businesses focused on social good. While that wasn’t every founders experience and we didn’t come up with an answer, we did conclude that maybe we need to rethink how we view the following conversations within the tech diversity:

  •  Social good can also be profitable.
  • Minority entrepreneurs can create companies that are profitable.
  • The solution towards more tech diversity isn’t about one solution, but addressing the whole pipeline.

What if the way to really achieve tech diversity is to change the internal and external narratives we tell ourselves about what that means and what it will take? What if in order to engage this topic we need to know and understand the real underlying issues and concerns?What if we refuse to accept that lack of minority CS majors is at the heart of the lack of diversity in tech? What if we choose to rethink the expectations and assumptions we put on ourselves? What if, in the end, we need to “change the narrative” we’ve either created or accepted about what’s possible in the greater tech diversity conversation.
This Sunday, we’ll talk about this and more.

Questions to think about:
1. Is there a consistent tech diversity narrative?
2. What does it say?
3. What assumptions about tech diversity impact how you see yourself and your work?
4. If there are many tech diversity narratives, which ones do you think we need to change? Why?
5. How can we create a new narrative that includes the needs of youth, entrepreneurs and tech startup entrepreneurs?

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How A Great Startup Idea Can Come From Unexpected Moments

How A Great Startup Idea Can Come From Unexpected Moments

I thought I was just planning a wedding

Like many women, I was happy to get engaged and plan an amazing day with my husband. We didn’t know this wedding would change us forever, but it did. For our day jobs, we worked in web development. Peter has been a software developer for more than 20 years, and I’ve spent the last 10 in tech focusing on everything from Content Strategy to UX Design. We didn’t know it at the time, but we were our target customers: Tech savvy modern couple with friends and family flying in from around the world.  There are many methods to coming up with a great idea, but we started with solving our own problem because it inspired us to actually stick with it and build something useful.

We never found the magic wedding planning website or app.

We searched extensively online for that app or website that would do three things: 1. Connect our guests with each other 2. Allow us to assign tasks to them and ask for help 3. Put everything in one place so we wouldn’t be using 10 apps for our wedding.

The magic wedding website or app didn’t exist, so we had to build it.

What we did find was even more interesting: Despite how busy we were, we made the time to build what would become wedOcracy, the virtual wedding planner for couples and guests. Sounds crazy right? We were working full time, planning a wedding full time and trying not to lose our minds full time. We soon found out that our most creative idea came from our own experience.

Since then, I’ve realized a few things about why the best startup ideas come from personal experience:

1. When you build something based on a personal need, you can focus more on your MVP because you’re often building it quickly to solve an immediate problem.

2. If it’s a problem for you, it’s also most likely a problem that others might be experiencing.

3. You also discover that your industry might be behind the times (hello, a shocking number of people are still planning weddings with binders–ouch), and your idea may be the solution.

4. It’s also a great opportunity to weave your “how and why we built this” story into your branding, and helps keep your story authentic. Also, the press loves great startup founder stories!

Oh, and I forgot to tell you that we not only built wedOcracy for our wedding, we also built it for our Nigerian-American-Jewish wedding in Mexico, so we factored in several scenarios: friends flying in from around the world, travel accommodations, accessibility to fun activities and more.

Conclusion: The biggest lesson I learned is to be open to where your next great idea will come from. Say yes to the journey! Maybe it’s about getting married or opening up a coffee shop or traveling through Asia with your best friend. The best ideas come from a very personal need, so say yes to life’s experiences because you don’t know where they’ll lead you.

Now it’s your turn:

What life experience led to your startup journey/idea? Hit me up in the comments!