All Articles Tagged "technology"

Blavity Co-Founder Morgan Debaun On Creating A Digital Platform For The Black Community

August 20th, 2014 - By Rana Campbell
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Who said young Blacks aren’t making their mark in the tech world? Morgan DeBaun, co-founder of  recently launched tech startup Blavity, is on a mission is to empower minority creators, inspire self-expression and connect people to content that reflects their culture. Blavity users can visit the site daily to check out the top videos curated by their preferences and what their network has been watching or sharing. Morgan talks about what inspired the platform, the power of black consumption habits, the challenges of being a Black female startup founder, and her future plans for Blavity. Check out the interview below.

MadameNoire (MN):  You launched the platform in July 2014. What inspired you to start Blavity?

Morgan DeBaun (MD): There was this moment during my freshman year  at Washington University in St. Louis where I was like, “I know I go to an all-white school, but I only hang out with Black people.” We had this term called “blavity” which is black + gravity. How did we all find each other?  That’s where we got the idea of aggregating and bringing together different perspectives of diversity of Black experience into one platform.

Living in Silicon Valley, my business partner Jeff and I were always baffled as to why there is no platform  geared towards solving our problems when we  are a huge population of consumers. We were passionate about building a platform for people to discover new things and for creators to build their audience  and to be powered to be their own brands.

MN:  A 2013 Nielson report showed that African Americans are aggressive consumers of media and have unique buying behaviors different from the other major consumer groups. How is Blavity going to change the Black consumer marketplace?

MD: Look at Black Twitter. It’s bringing together people virtually over what’s happening and is relevant in our community. We’re killing Instagram. People  love seeing other people’s experiences.  With Blavity, we want to continue to empower the population to create those shared experiences.

Blavity uses a mix of Lean Startup practices where  you’re asking, “What is the core root  problem that we are trying to solve?” “How can we solve that problem the fastest and cheapest,  get it to market and get feedback from our customers?” And  “How we are going to build something substantial that is unique and proprietary and give us a competitive advantage?” What you see today is the first bucket but we are working behind the scenes on the second  bucket.

MN: What were some of the challenges you faced to get Blavity up and running?

MD: The first thing was putting a stake in the ground that said we are building this community for the Black diaspora. This totally influenced everything else. We knew if we focused on solving this problem for a specific group of people, there’s so much opportunity. The second was figuring out who are we prioritizing.  The creators are the lifelines for Blavity. We spend 65-75% of our resources and our time towards helping these creators be successful.  Right now we are starting to thinking about venture capital funding.  The first time raising money is a huge barrier for a woman of color with a minority product. It’s like we are a triple whammy: A woman, a Black woman founder, building a product for Black people. It’s a cool challenge to have. I am confident that our team can make it work.

Computer Love: How Technology Changed The Dating Game

December 17th, 2013 - By Madame Noire
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From HelloBeautiful 

The folks over at sparks & honey have completed studies of dating in the future and explored how we will date, have sex and break-up in the next decade by looking at three “macro” trends including: how technology is speeding up how we interact; that unconventional relationships are becoming more accepted; and that kink is going mainstream.

It’s no secret that the online world is changing how we do everything, especially dating. Technology has completely changed what used to be so simple. Boy used to meet girl, flirt with her, get her house number, call her and patiently wait until they connected with that girl and they would then take it from there. Dating is different. Sex is different. Break-ups are different.

Check out these trends that effect how we will date, have sex and break-up in the next ten years:

Technology Is Speeding Up How We Interact:

Technology advances continue to shape and speed up all aspects of dating, falling in and out of love, communication and sex. People volunteer their date willingly and apps generate that information, pulling from preference settings. Technology has become a distraction from our daily lives and created a new type of love triangle.

These days, technology has turned our culture into a microwave society and we’re too impatient when it comes to anything, especially dating. Well, let me speak for myself. I want things QUICK! If I text a guy and he doesn’t get back to me that day or even within that hour, I think he’s just not that into me and I don’t consider him a potential any longer. And don’t get me started online dating. Forget sites like OkCupid and, the apps that allow people to meet by simply swiping, proclaiming their interest or non-interest in someone have created instant gratification that is unrealistic in the “real world.”

How will technology continue to influence dating? Read more at 

Tech And The City: Startups Are Attracted To NYC

November 16th, 2013 - By Lauryn Stallings
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via @MadeinNY

via @MadeinNY

Once upon a time, being a techie and launching a business meant adapting to the warmer climate in California after graduating from MIT or dropping out of Carnegie Mellon. Young developers and designers, hopeful inventors and ideological innovators descended upon Silicon Valley starting in the late ’60s. And up until the past few years, not much had changed.

Now tech startups are sparking in cities across the country, but none so much as New York. Brand new micro corporations are settling in the Financial District, illuminating Chelsea, running Lower Manhattan and invigorating all parts of Brooklyn. The same talent pools that once fled to the west coast are sticking closer to home and saving on rents by headquartering in the city.

However, it’s more than cost-savings drawing technological hopefuls to the five boroughs. Initiatives from the city, such as We Are Made in NY, are already in place to offer a support system to emerging businesses. Mayor Bloomberg, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and NYC Digital launched the Digital Roadmap, enhancing accessibility and education. Not to mention AT&T’s $1.6 million investment into the homegrown well of expertise.

New York City has made a point of highlighting and investing in the tech industry. So have its businesses.

Quirky, headquartered on 28th Street, helps innovators prototype, market and sell new products. Cooperatives across the city provide work space and tight communities for tech-minded makers to collaborate. Startups around the city start small and grow from the input and programming provided by others.

Exhibitions are a factor, too. The companies showing at the first Engadget Expand New York were given unprecedented access to interface with future consumers beyond Kickstarter campaigns. The show allowed inventors to gauge interest in their products, beta test, promote and chat with investors and peers in the industry. The fact that Engadget holds an annual competition that invests a total of $25,000 in startup enterprises is no small thing either.

But more than anything, what appeals to these new companies is its flagship market status. Technology is flocking to the city for the same reason fashion does: New York City gets it first. Innovators are using robotics, cloud computing and apps to make everyday life easier, save money and generally just do better. Today’s tech companies are lifestyle brands, and there’s no greater location to introduce them to the world. New York’s all-embracing environment is making it possible to get everything from energy conscious powerstrips to calorie counting scales. If this keeps up, the newfangled things we thought were just fantasies for The Jetsons and Back to the Future aren’t too far away.

They’re already making plans for the hoverboard.

Rotten Apple! Users Report iOS 7-Related Sicknesses

September 27th, 2013 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Whether it is modifications on Facebook or phone updates, we all have become sick and tired of the changes technology puts us through. No really. Some of us have literally become ill.

According to the New York Daily News, users of the iOS 7 Apple software updates have experienced nausea and headaches. They have also stated that while looking at apps on their iPhone or iPad they have experienced symptoms of car sickness. The iOS7 zooming animation is the cause of the problem.

On an Apple support forum, a user wrote, “I had severe vertigo the minute I started using my iPad with iOS 7, Lost the rest of the day to it… And not happy at all.”

Unfortunately, there is no way to downgrade an iPhone or iPad operating system. Users who became sick decided to buy Apple products that had older versions of iOS installed.

Check out the report out of Cincinnati, OH below. Has this been happening to you? Separately but related, what do you think of the new operating system?

15 Tech Skills Every Business Woman Should Possess

September 25th, 2013 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Black Enterprise asked a number of entrepreneurs about the must-have tech skills other up-and-coming business people should have.

Question: What is ONE baseline tech skill all entrepreneurs should have a good handle on before starting up?

Know How to Wireframe
“Being able to wireframe a page is an incredible important skill for technology development. It’s critical for being able to properly and ideally communicate with your technical and product teams. While not a coding skill per se, it requires understanding how sites or apps are designed, and the more advanced wireframing can involve complex software. Be sure to develop this skill before starting up.”

– Doreen Bloch | CEO / Founder, Poshly Inc.
Managing an Inbox
“It sounds basic, but most people drown in email without any skill for how to manage, delegate, and reign it in. If you aren’t careful, email can take your entire day. Use tools like filtering, auto-forwarding, labeling and auto-responders to clear out your inbox quickly so you can get on to the business of actually running your company.”

– Laura Roeder | Founder, LKR Social Media
How To Learn New Tech Skills!
“The most important tech skill that you could learn is the ability to learn new ones. That might seem like a hard skill to acquire, but it’s actually pretty simple if you practice learning and researching new things using search engines to find solutions to problems. Try it now: find a solution to one of your tech problems, and you’ll be on your way in no time!”

For more, click to

‘Fibbing Is Finished:’ Aisha Tyler Talks Sex Scandals And Why Lying Doesn’t Work In The Age Of Technology

September 19th, 2013 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Aisha Tyler

Source: WENN

It seems like now more than ever, people are being exposed for their dishonest deeds, and not just celebrities and public figures either. We probably have advanced technology to thank for this, which has made it possible for anyone to find out almost anything.  The Talk host Aisha Tyler recently shared her thoughts on new media and why lying no longer works, especially in relationships.

“I actually feel sorry for Anthony Weiner. Not because he lost his job in Congress after he tweeted photos of his boxer-clad erection to women who were not his wife, and not because he may lose his bid for mayor of New York City after tweeting photos of his boxer-freeerection to other women who were also not his wife. Not because he has an overinflated sense of his sex appeal, an even more overinflated sense of the appeal of his junk, and the world’s worst impulse control. I feel sorry for him because, through all that frantic sexting—all that career-incinerating, marriage-threatening, life-destroying correspondence—he seems to have thought that even in our high-tech, Wi-Fi world, he could actually get away with it. It’s so gullible it’s almost cute,” Aisha wrote in her blog post.

The 43-year-old beauty went on to say that deception is no longer an option.

“Here’s the cold, hard truth, ladies and gentlemen: Our days of deception have officially ended. From mendacious blood doper Lance Armstrong to greedy womanizer Tiger Woods, from street worker-patronizing Eliot Spitzer to private part-parading Anthony Weiner, prominent men—and women (witness the ham-fisted3 cover-up and tumble from grace of one Paula Deen)—are finding it hard to pull a fast one. Lying. Is. Over.”

“No more secret sexts; they live on the servers forever. And no more trysts in dark restaurants, where every diner with an iPhone is a potential filmmaker, ready to make you famous. We are triangulated, photographed, cookied, and pinged at every turn—computers know more about us now than we know about ourselves. It’s no longer a question of if you’ll get caught in a lie—it’s a question of when,” Aisha continued .”It’s time to accept that fibbing is finished. This is a bitter pill to swallow…”

While taking the spotlight off of men by adding that women are also deceitful, she encouraged readers to try being more transparent.

“Now, many of you may be smugly imagining a world free of two-timing boyfriends and dirty-dog spouses. (And yes, that would be awesome.) But while it may feel like guys are doing all the bad stuff, women stray almost as much as men: 19 percent of us cheat on our partners, compared with 23 percent of men. And when it comes to lying in general, the genders are actually tied.”

“Before you fling your Android into traffic, consider the idea that transparency could be good: Lying’s exhausting. Even a tiny fib requires energy—the fabrications avalanche in an attempt to cover the first one8. And often the lie is worse than the crime.”

“While we’re a judgmental culture, we’re also forgiving—America loves a comeback. Apologize and we’re right there with you, ready to move on. (We even forgive liars: Just ask notorious stomp-around Tiger, now dating Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn.) But for those who do persist in cheating, stealing, and manipulating without compunction or regret, your day of reckoning is at hand. (Cue evil laughter.) So here’s my radical suggestion: Tell the truth. All the time. It may be painful at first, even foreign. But with all the evidence out there in the ether, honesty has never been a better policy.”

 Read Aisha’s full blog post here. Would you agree? Is fibbing finished? 

Sexist Presentations Disrupt The TechCrunch Disrupt Conference

September 10th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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TechCrunch Disrupt is an annual tech conference that aims to introduce the latest startups, provide a platform for tech leaders in the making, and provide an opportunity to mingle with others in the tech space. Unfortuntely, two sexist presentations have caused widespread outrage for their outright tasteless content.

Australian techies Jethro Batts and David Boulton started with their new joke app called T*tstare, an app that takes a photo of the user while they’re staring at a woman’s breasts.

“Did you know that looking at breasts is directly linked to a good, healthy heart?” Boulton said to Batts. “So, what’s the problem, Dave?” Batts responded. “Well, women just aren’t that warm to it,” said Boulton. The pair went on to say that male life expectancy has decreased in the past few years because women have been covering up their cleavage. The presentation was supposed be a joke, but it left many offended.

And it didn’t stop there. There was also a presentation for something called the “Circle Shake” app. While the app’s concept isn’t offensive — it is a game that tests how fast you can shake your phone in a given amount of time — the presentation was. The clip above, via The Huffington Post, is what those in attendance saw.

“Many were particularly upset because 9-year-old Alexandra Jordan was in attendance, since she was presenting an app she created,” reports HuffPo.

TechCrunch apologized for both presentations, first via a tweet, and then in a blog post titled “An Apology from TechCrunch.”

“Normally our hackathons are a showcase for developers of all stripes to create and share something cool,” TechCrunch co-editors Alexia Tsotsis and Eric Eldon wrote on Sunday. “But earlier today, the spirit of our event was marred by two misogynistic presentations.”

Tsotsis and Eldon promised that every presentation will be getting a thorough screening going forward. “You expect more from us, and we expect more from ourselves. We are sorry,” they wrote.

This is not the first time sexism has been an issue for the tech industry. In March, developer evangelist Adria Richards, attending the Pycon programming convention tweeted a photo of men who were sitting near her, calling them out for what she felt were sexist comments. “One of those men ended up getting fired from his job. Richards was threatened repeatedly by people online, and was eventually fired from her job at SendGrid as well,” reports HuffPo.

She has been largely quiet for the past six months, but tweeted about the need to combat sexism in the industry after the Disrupt event. Women are avid tech users, so companies may find their wallets affected if behavior like this continues.

Need To Get More Done At Work? These Productivity Apps Might Do The Trick

August 29th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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Do you find you are often distracted at work? These days, what with social media lures and bantering around the office, there are many ways to get off track during the business day. Well, according to The Los Angeles Timesthere are some productivity apps that claim to come to the rescue. If you’ve used any of them, please let us know if it worked.

Pocket: If you are like me, you love to read a few articles or watch a few videos when you sit down to the computer. But this can lead to a lot of wasted time. Pocket Android and iOS Pocket apps lets you save directly from your browser. Then you can return to it later–once you’ve done all your work for the day.

“The free app was made to help you stay organized, save ideas and improve your productivity,” notes The Times.  Pocket syncs across all platforms, including your phone, tablet and computer and you can view it anytime on any device–without an internet connection.

Dunno: Don’t you love the name of this app? Dunno is a free iOS cloud-based app that does research for you while you wait.  Sort of like a Google search, every time something grabs your attention, you jot it down and the free app gets related research and notifies you when it’s done, reports the article.

Pomodoro Timer Lite: If you literally need a timer to keep you on schedule, this is an app for you. “The Pomodoro Android app is a productivity timer and method of working, in which you work for 25 minutes, then take a three-to-five minute break, and then continue working for another 25 minutes,” reports the newspaper.

The work intervals are referred to as “pomodoros,” which is Italian for tomato, and is based on the popular tomato-shaped timer.

Bump: This is kinda cool. Bump is a free cross-platform sharing iOS and Android app that lets user to share information like contacts, photos or files just by bumping two phones together. And it doesn’t matter if one phone is Android and the other is iPhone.

Make me: An app for procrastinators. It  actually pushes you to get things done. “The whole experience is gamified, so there’s an element of fun peer pressure to make sure you don’t get off track,” reports The Times.

Would any of these work for you?

Are You Ready For The First Firefox OS Smartphone? You Can Buy It On EBay

August 13th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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via ZTE press release

via ZTE press release

Seems like every week there is an announcement about new smartphone. Smartphone maker ZTE announced it will soon sell Mozilla’s first Firefox OS smartphone on eBay–they just haven’t said when.

The ZTE Open went on sale last month in Spain, Venezuela and Colombia. It will now be sold in the U.S. for $79.99, reports The Los Angeles Times. The phone will be sold unlocked and will be able to work with all cellular networks, according to the Chinese manufacturer. It has  a 3.5-inch-screen smartphone with a single-core 1GHz processor.

“Firefox OS is a new operating system developed by Mozilla, the maker of the popular Firefox Web browser. Mozilla says it is releasing the new platform as a way to give consumers more choices besides Apple and Google,” reports the newspaper.

The smartphone market is a saturated one, with new iPhone devices coming in a few weeks, Samsung taking top spots in sales, and brands like HTC and BlackBerry, which is now up for sale, struggling to get a share.

“The ZTE Open offers customers a smartphone experience at an incredible price point, making it ideal for cost-conscious consumers or those looking to upgrade to a smartphone for the first time,” Dai Wenhong, ZTE vice president, said in a statement. So that sounds like it’s proposed niche. Will it work?

Exactly When Did New Media And Modern Technology Suck The Fun Out Of Dating?

July 26th, 2013 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

“Technology changes the pace, pattern and scope of human interaction, communication and behavior,” my professor proudly recited over the podium during the first day of my Media, Culture & Society class. Although at the moment, I rolled my eyes and released an exasperated sigh, mentally tossing the quote into my pile of hot air sayings that professors dish out on the first day of class that have little or no relation to the information that we will be covering for the duration of the semester, I didn’t realize that this exact quote would haunt me for weeks to come.

Allow me to start by saying that I love modern technology and new media just as much as the next girl. I swear by my MacBook Pro. My Samsung Galaxy may as well be permanently attached to my hand. I thank God for my tablet on the regular. I love the way that Facebook allows me to connect with friends and family members that I don’t get  to see often. I enjoy sharing dialogue with new and interesting people on Twitter. I cherish my ability to offer pals a glimpse of the world through my eyes via my Instagram page. However, I’ve got to admit that when it comes to dating, the very inventions that I praised just seconds ago, I loathe with a passion. As an early 20-something-year-old woman, I can’t say that I’ve been in the grown-up dating arena for long, but I can say that in my opinion, these inventions have put a huge damper on the whole process and is slowly taking the the thrill out of getting to know someone new.

For one, I believe that the overexposure to a person that new media provides seems to make many of us lazy. We don’t really have to put forth the effort to get to know a person because their Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram pages make snapshots of their lives readily available to us. His zodiac sign, birthday, alma mater, place of employment and so on can all be learned with the simple swipe of a finger. Remember the days when you had to actually call and ask your love interest how his day went? These days all you have to do is pull up his Facebook page or Twitter timeline, which will more than likely provide you with an instant play-by-play regarding all of the highlights of his day. If you’re lucky, while scrolling through your Instagram feed you may even be privileged enough to feast your eyes on a beautiful brightly filtered image of what he had for lunch.

Then, there’s the immediate access to a person that new media provides. Owning a cellular phone means that you’re never alone, never apart. When was the last time you missed your love interest?  I mean sincerely missed him?  Text messaging makes that nearly impossible! I don’t know who said texting a person all day was romantic, but I’d like to meet that person and give them a piece of my mind. If we’re constantly shooting back and forth SMS messages about the menial details of our days, what’s left to talk about on the phone? Or better yet, in person? Where did mystery and excitement go? Text messaging also greatly diminishes the emotional connection that usually comes with communicating with a person. Call me crazy, but I sort of miss the days of not being able to speak with someone all day and anticipating getting home so that I could call them. I even miss calling a person’s house and hearing that they’re not home. The immediate access the new media provides has left me feeling rather smothered to be quite honest. Too much, too fast, too soon.

I met someone recently and I can honestly say that he was one of the most interesting people that I have met in a very long time. I looked forward to getting to know him. Following our initial colorful and mentally stimulating conversation, I eagerly anticipated that more would follow, but after just one date we fell into the never-ending text conversation. You know, the one where you fall asleep, wake up and pick up wherever the conversation left off? After a few weeks I was totally over it and had to ask myself how something that showed promise of being so exciting got dry so quickly? As I scanned through our text history, I instantly felt cheated. Information that would’ve taken weeks worth of phone calls and a handful of dates to learn about looked back at me from my cell phone’s illuminated LCD screen. I fell into new media’s sticky web… again!

Technological advancements, especially when it comes to communicating, have made life so much easier in various different ways. But when it comes to human interaction, just maybe they’ve made life too easy.

What do you think? Has new media helped or hurt us when it comes to dating and relationships?

Follow Jazmine on Twitter @jazminedenise.