I grew up using electronics. I remember the Atari Pacman battles with my mom before “we all” went to bed, and vividly recall the day that I was allowed to have my first TV set- in my bedroom: this was also the same year that my parents bought me a Sega Genesis (and the mandatory Sonic the Hedgehog games). I still hear the modem dialing in to America Online, and recall my original screen name (good ‘ol KalliCheer (at) AOL.com is no more, and part of the virtual graveyard of avatars and online ID’s I’ve used throughout my lifetime). I miss the days of LiveJournal and ItsyKalli on NOLEWeb, MY OWN micro-online communities, at least at the time- to me. Little did I, or anyone else know, that there would be aMySpace, Facebook, and Hashtag culture- permeating all aspects of our lives.
Inevitably, now that I’m an old lady- at 30- in social media optimization and network growth: I can still say that I am part of the first online generation- someone on the “Oregon Trail” of app development, fording the rivers of technology. YES! We are a weird age group; we don’t get this whole “Tumblr’ing” thing, and yet use this site- because we are ALL convinced that reaching the younger demographic really does mean acting like a 13 year old online, too! We are more likely to re-pin a recipe, than actually make the crockpot chicken, we STILL found the time to virtually bookmark! We are taking photos of the food served to us at restaurants- and making sure to add the appropriate #foodyhashtags, yet ignoring the homeless guy outside the cafe- begging for our leftovers, or leaving an adequate tip for the servers- living their lives on our gratuity.
I cannot say that there were NO women in my life inspiring me to change the world. My grandmother was the first female controlling officer of the American Museum of Natural History– and my other grandma was a Librarian and outspoken political wife; my mother and aunts are highly educated women- all leaders in their business verticals; and my multiple (amazing) female cousins are either medical care professionals, or leaders in their career field- I always knew that there was a bright light at the end of my awkward childhood.
Yet, I wish there had been a positive “techie” female role model, for me, as a 10 year Kalli (who looked 7). Yes, I had my grandmothers, mom and aunts, as well as my older cousins and babysitters- women that provided me with the attention I needed, but I lacked this “nerd chick” mentor- solely interested in computers, gaming, and online culture. As a pre-teen, all I wanted to do at sleep away camp was the Audio Visual activities- I was consistently the only girl learning how to edit video, and shooting footage. If there had been a way to stay in the film rooms all day- I would have. I didn’t care if I made a lanyard, or painted rocks with glitter, used the go-carts, or jumped on the blob (catapulting into a lake)- all I wanted to do was scream “cut”, and DIRECT a group. It feels like yesterday when I fell running on the gravel- trying to catch up to my cabins mandatory bunk activity (I look back now, and wonder if my parents, the camp or my counselors ever noticed that I’d rather have chilled in the back of the cafeteria all day long- learning how to use voice over controls).
As the Founder of StartupChicks in NYC, I’ve learned that I’m not alone. There are so many other women building apps, platforms, sharing their API’s, raising funds, being incubated, accelerating through government and educational funding- and most importantly, using technology to change the world; we are all like my new friends “Nine” and “Purple”.
I embody everything there is to know about “Nine” at 10 years old; big unmanageable hair, pre-full-time glasses wearing (*only wearing when reading and at school, watching TV, using the computer, or playing video games*), and a fury of ideas- comments- concerns- and bold statements, all generating positive energy towards the use of technology, the Internet- and learning about other people, and ALL things.
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 l0ve 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.
Indiegogo Campaign: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/purple-and-nine-web-series-for-tween-girls
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