Thanks for encouraging me to enter the pitch competition for Girls in Tech. One thing led to another. I never thought I would submit my entry to the contest nor go to the actual competition in San Fran. But here I was at their annual competition. Here are 10 things I learned from these extraordinary women in tech:
1) Our generation is vastly different from our parents’. It used to be that life is divided in 3 phases: Education, Work, then Leisure/Retirement. Now all 3 things are happening in our generation. We learn, work, and play for a balanced life. Advice/observation from Catherine Lee from GoDaddy.
2) All winning entries have an element of contributing to society. A woman created the first tablet for blind people. Only 1% of the world’s books are converted to Braille. They are too heavy to transport and too expensive to make. These tablets will open a whole new world to blind people. They are schedule to release by Christmas.
3) A woman developed a portable lab that could be hooked up to an iPhone to test for cholera in water. The regular process usually takes 21 days, but she has shortened the process to 10 minutes with an accuracy of 91% versus lab accuracy of 71%. She could stop the spread of cholera in third world countries more effectively.
4) I’m most amazed by the woman who created Vive Voice, to give a new mode of expression to the voiceless: People who are intelligent, but trapped in bodies with disabilities. She developed eye glasses that recorded their eye movements, so they could select letters/words; then amplify their voices at a touch of the button!
5) In LaunchLab, I was never clear with my expenses, revenue, and need for financial help. I have to say that each of the contestants was very clear and passionate about how much they need, what they already have, and how they will go about to raise funding. I still have a long way to go. But it was inspiring to see how clear numbers could be even to someone who is not good with business like myself:)
6) Everyone had a great story. A girl created an app to help undocumented immigrants to apply for DACA. She was a DACA recipient as well and wanted to make the process less cumbersome for others like her.
7) Another woman came from Syria. She created a platform for displaced workers so they could find work and get paid. Refugees have no financial stability. Many have to share toilets/showers with 70 other people. If they could have financial stability. They could get out of poverty and perhaps help others to do the same.
8) I was saddened by how Uber & Lift displace workers like cab drivers. Some cab drivers committed suicide due to a lack of work in New York. I think startups are great, but it would be even better if they could incorporate displaced workers. That way, they will not be left out in the advance of technology.
9) I was not the only crazy one who flew from LA to San Fran to attend the competition. I met one other girl who did the same, from North Hollywood.
10) My idea to promote creativity & learning through 3D technology doesn’t seem so important or pressing in the grand scheme of things. I also need to give my project, BridgeArt more time, as all the projects I saw were fully developed. Some had a team of 10 people from Stanford professors to doctorates from MIT.
Thanks so much for LaunchLab. A lot of terminology I heard throughout were second nature to me. I connected with the people when they mentioned prototyping, revenue models, etc. I’m so glad I took a day from work to go to this competition.
Thanks for everything!