All Articles Tagged "technology"

Update: #ProjectDiane Kickstarter Campaign, #RewriteTheCode Hits $25,000 Goal In Less Than Two Days

June 12th, 2015 - By Janel Martinez
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RewriteTheCode_image

 

Original Report By Janel Martinez- 6/2/2015:
Women (and several men) gathered at Etsy headquarters in Brooklyn, New York last Thursday for the kickoff of Digital Undivided’s Innovation Thursday series with Etsy’s Director of Seller Development Kimm Alfonso. The intimate conversation touched on various points, from Etsy’s education programs and creating an engaged network to going from seller to Etsy staffer and the company’s IPO.

In addition to the evening’s conversation, Digital Undivided’s Managing Director Kathryn Finney had an announcement: The social enterprise would launch its Kickstarter campaign for Project Diane on June 1.

Named after Civil Rights leader Diane Nash (she was co-founder of SNCC), Project Diane is an initiative designed to disrupt the long-standing issue of pattern matching within the technology industry by identifying diverse founders of startups and tech companies. Initially, Project Diane’s goal was to identify and capture data surrounding women founders of color and, ultimately, promote and connect this growing demographic within the space. Now, however, Project Diane has entered a new phase, #ReWriteTheCode. This includes a Kickstarter campaign to help create a documentary film on intersectionality in tech.

“We started off just collecting the names, and we still are, of Black women who are founders or co-founders of startups,” Finney, who credits 2014 FOCUS Fellow Brit Fitzpatrick for putting the initial stages of #ProjectDiane in motion, told MadameNoire. “Then we started to do some research ourselves trying to find people.”

The results have been very interesting, says Finney, who started DID in 2012. Of the 300 companies that’ve submitted themselves into the database, the majority are not technically considered startups, which is an interesting challenge for the Black and Latino community. (The term startup, while often debated, refers to a company designed to scale very quickly. For example, consultancies aren’t seen as startups due to their lack of ability to scale fast.)

The initial data also shows that less than .1 percent of all venture funding in the past five years has gone to a Black woman. More so, only one Black woman, Pathbrite founder and CEO Heather Hiles, has raised over $10 million.

“That’s problematic for us because we need that revenue to go to the next level,” said Finney.

In order to “limit bias in our data collection and to find founders who may be ‘hidden,’ we needed to look at the gender and racial makeup of startups in popular databases like CrunchBase and AngelList,” wrote Finney in an email. “Once we started to do this, we realized that no one had ever looked at the race and gender makeup of the startup community. We were creating the primary database. So what started as a simple solution to a discrete problem became a big solution to a very big problem.”

Project Diane is raising $50,000 to complete primary research on the gender and racial makeup of the 60,000 strong startup ecosystem and will use that data to create a comprehensive gender and racial mapping of the global startup community.

For more information on the Kickstarter campaign, click here.

Update By Lauren R.D. Fox- 6/12/2015:
Project Diane’s #ReWriteTheCode Kickstarter campaign hit its goal of $25,000 without any media promotion in less than two days. “People do care. People do want to hear our story. It’s given people something to believe, particularly women of color, who were starting to feel almost abused by the tech world. They were really feeling like there was no hope, and nothing we could do,” creator Kathryn Finney told The Huffington Post

Project Diane has a financial goal of $50,000. Currently its #ReWriteTheCode campaign has raised $41,012. Click here to donate.

Behind The Click: Digital Media Pro Shauna Graham On Launching Her Beauty Tech Solution

April 14th, 2015 - By Janel Martinez
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shaunagraham_AboutMeName: Shauna Graham

Favorite read: Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman | The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield

Recent read: The Path with Heart by Jack Kornfield

Favorite websites: Huffington Post, Upworthy and Vox.

Favorite apps: Uber, Snapchat and Wake.

Goals for 2015:

  1. Expand my team.
  2. Launch a new app called Reco Me.
  3. Re-launch Hair Decoded.
  4. Gain larger private and government contracts for technology.

Most inspired by: Creativity and the passion to create.

One quote that inspires you: “Expand Your Fear Horizon.” – Me

Twitter handle: @theshaunagraham | @hairdecoded

Shauna Graham has turned her love for tech and multimedia into cool innovations and a profitable venture. The former model taught herself to code in between casting calls, which led the New York-based digital media technologist to found The Alfam. The full service digital media development and consulting group has expanded since its 2010 launch, working with a bevy of clients such as Armani Exchange, NBC and VH1, to name a few. While powering her own business, Graham created Hair Decoded, an interactive social community for hair enthusiasts, in 2014. App Crawler, Bloom and Glamour, Curls Understood and StyleBlazer have recognized the app, and Graham and team are gearing up to re-launch the beauty and lifestyle app.

MadameNoire caught up with Graham to chat about how she got her start in the digital world, teaching herself to code and what’s next for The Alfam and Hair Decoded, as well as her latest project.

MadameNoire: How did you get your start in the technology space?
Shauna Graham: I built my first website on Frontpage when I was in high school. My then-boyfriend was making a lot of money creating commerce stores. He challenged me to create my own, so I started created a few commerce sites from scratch using Dreamweaver teaching myself. I then started making money doing websites for other people, which prompted me to start my own business.

MN: What inspired you to create Hair Decoded, a mobile social app that allows users to track and share hairstyles?
SG: I have/had a blog called Vissa Studios. Most of the visitors were interested in viewing hairstyles as inspiration. I was away on a retreat and it kind of just came to me. Granted there are other similar apps, but Hair Decoded has its own take on a social community for hair enthusiasts.

MN: When you first had the idea to create Hair Decoded, what steps did you take to get it off the ground?
SG: After drawing out my idea on a piece of paper, I did a design mock up. We then designed the graphics and started programming when we got seed funding. It was a team of four of us to get it going. The entire process took about six months to a year from ideation to launch. Through word of mouth, my team expanded from four to 12. I am so grateful I have such an amazing team.

MN: I’ve read that you taught yourself to program and code. For anyone looking to learn to code, what tips would you provide them?
SG: You can mostly learn how to program and code online for free if you want to learn how to code like Code Academy. There are so many more resources now than ever before. Just jump on one and get going. Once you become a little more advanced, I would suggest going to Full Stack Academy. It is a free academy that helps the growth process in the technology world. Or, you can just go to meetups to learn from peers and the programming community.

MN: You also have experience in digital media and creative production, and founded an agency called The Alfam. Your company has worked with big name companies such as Bacardi, Bose and Dove. What has been your biggest lesson in working with brands on creating innovative content?
SG: Create a timeline that is conducive to your lifestyle; that is balanced and healthy. In the beginning, you want to pull overnighters and establish yourself as a fast and hard worker.  Once I came to the realization that I was not superwoman, I was able to balance work by creating proper deadlines.

MN: What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received or given?

SG: Received:

  1. Communicate, communicate, communicate. If something is good or bad. Doesn’t matter, just communicate.
  2. Give yourself extra time just in case you run into glitches.

Given:

  1. Understand and get to know your client to create an amazing working environment.
  2. Be on top of the latest and newest trends.
  3. Honesty works.

 

MN: What’s next for Hair Decoded and The Alfam?
SG: Hair Decoded re-launch this summer with some cool partnerships. Can’t wait!

The Alfam is working with some cool partnerships and launching another app. We are excited with our projects now and for new and bigger ones that are to come.

Call Me, DON’T Text Me: How Technology Has Put A Damper On Our Dating Lives

March 18th, 2015 - By Liz Lampkin
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Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

The 21st century has brought about many changes in the way we live everyday life. A lot of the changes have been great, others not so much. But nonetheless, life as we know it has evolved. With the many things that are new, exciting, and seek to make life easier, there is one thing that has altered our lives in major ways. Yup, you guessed it. Technology.

There are so many man-made devices that help us cook faster, eat healthier, park without parking or even drive without driving! A majority of us use some form of technology to make life easier, but there is one area in life where technology can hinder rather than help. Surprisingly, communication is the one area where technology seems to be failing humankind, particularly in the world of courtship and dating. With the many ways people can say hello, send a friendly smile or deliver an e-card, there really doesn’t seem to be a need for people to connect with each other the old-fashioned way. However, I believe that communication, connections and relationships were a lot better and more fulfilling when people actually took the time to get to know a person.

For instance, when you went on a first date back in the day, you were excited to get to know a person by asking as many questions as you could. Today you can Google a person’s information before you meet them and tell them a few things that they didn’t even know about themselves! Researching someone before a first date can hinder the conversation and make the date boring. Not to mention that it’s a little creepy.

And let’s not forget how people rarely pick up the phone to call one another.
Not too long ago, a man would call a woman he was interested in to hear her voice and wish her a good day. She would anticipate hearing his voice, and such gestures would bring them closer. Today we exchange quick and impersonal “good morning” text messages that have been saved and sent to others. And when we send a text, be it to greet someone or bid them farewell, people don’t take the time to even check their spelling! There’s nothing more impersonal and annoying than reading a text message from a person who’s supposed to be interested in you, yet they didn’t take the time to make sure their message for you was clear.

The Internet, social media, and other forms of technology have cheapened the art of courtship to the point where people rarely go out and meet others. Why take a chance in meeting and sparking up a conversation with someone when you can rely so heavily on dating websites? And even when people do go to mixers to “meet people,” if they’re not immediately approached, they flock to their phones.

Getting back to old-school loving is something people don’t want to do, but I think doing so will benefit the communication skills of generations to come, as well as the present ones. It’ll teach them how to listen to others, how to approach a woman with respect, how to respond to a man’s advances and know the proper way to court one another. But in order to do so, both men and women must establish simple standards for themselves in order to enhance communication with each other and not rely so heavily on technology.

For instance, women should make it mandatory for men to call them at a reasonable time of the day in order to have a meaningful conversation. If you’ve made this request and they can’t do something as simple as this, then they’re not worth your time. Another thing people can do is not become friends or followers of people on social media sites until they’ve actually taken some time to get to know that person. We all know that often, people aren’t who they say they are on social media, and you shouldn’t let any ol’ body have access to all of your personal information. While technology has advanced our world in a number of ways, it’s best not to depend on it so much, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. Don’t be so dependent upon technology to communicate for you, because at some point you’re going to have to step away from it and show the world who you really are.

Liz Lampkin is the Author of Are You a Reflection of the Man You Pray For and an advocate for single women. Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Lampkin.

White House Puts $100 Million Into Tech Worker Training And Hiring

March 10th, 2015 - By Ann Brown
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Image Source: WENN

Image Source: WENN

President Obama has announced a $100 million federal government grant program to improve training and hiring of high-tech workers, which is great news for individuals interested in the field. Tech employees can earn much more than the average American worker; according to the White House,  high-tech jobs pay 50 percent more than average private-sector American jobs.

According to Obama, the U.S. sorely needs tech workers in order to keep up with the rest of the world. “If we’re not producing enough tech workers, over time that’s going to threaten our leadership in global innovation,” he said.

Did You Know Televisions Can Listen To Your Conversation?

February 17th, 2015 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Shutterstock

Shutterstock

Most of us jokingly say “Big Brother is watching” when we talk about the government and technology corporations monitoring people. However The Takeaway reports, your new smart TV may actually be doing just that. New televisions are equipped with a microphone that it is used for voice recognition (a similar function to the iPhone’s Siri). The use for voice recognition helps consumers navigate televisions without using a hand-held remote. A half century of  progress for the television has The Takeaway drawing correlations between these technological advancements to 1984 and Animal Farm, George Orwell’s predictions that people would start to give up their privacy, unsuspectingly. For example, the media outlet noted Samsung’s policies state:

“Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition.”

If a person tries to alter the microphone settings on their televisions, they may face felony charges due to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This law prevents people from tampering with copyrighted pieces of technology devices.

Michael Price who serves as counsel in the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYC School of Law says in order for people to opt out of being monitored is by turning off the internet and disconnecting the television. Consumers won’t be able to have their privacy and enjoy the nifty updates to their favorite devices because corporations collect data from each consumer to “cater” to their likes and for advertisers to specify the needs of the companies who hire them.

“It’s really easy to turn the internet off. You can disconnect the TV in that way,” he says. “But it presents a really unfair trade off: You get to either use all these really nifty new pieces of technology that you bought and paid for, or you can have your privacy. But right now, it doesn’t seem like we can have it both ways. That’s what has to change.”

To understand other ways how your television may be collecting data from you, listen below.

Behind the Click: Kelechi Anyadiegwu Merges Fashion & Nigerian Culture To Create Zuvaa

January 26th, 2015 - By Janel Martinez
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Welcome back to “Behind the Click,” the column in which we profile Black women in STEM professions. Want to pitch this section? Email tgarcia@madamenoire.com.

Kelechi_Anyadiegwu-40

Name: Kelechi Anyadiegwu

Favorite read: Americanah by Chimamanda Adichie

Recent read: #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amouruso

Favorite apps: Goodreader and Read Later

Most inspired by: “The women in my life who don’t take no for an answer.”

One quote that inspires you: “Fashion should celebrate women, and I’m glad that I grew up in a culture that celebrated them.” – Alek Wek

Ultimate goal for 2015: “To create more opportunities for designers in the African fashion industry.”

Twitter handle: @KelechiUjuu | @shopZuvaa

The best innovations are born out of sheer frustration or to solve a problem. For Nigerian-American entrepreneur Kelechi Anyadiegwu, that problem was finding fashionable African-inspired designs. Instead of waiting on it, Anyadiegwu went out and created Zuvaa, an online marketplace for African-inspired fashion and accessories. With more than 29,000 Instagram followers, rapidly growing social media presence and a loyal community, Zuvaa is gearing up to transform the e-commerce space.

We caught up with the technology entrepreneur to discuss how she started Zuvaa, her tips for starting a successful online marketplace and why community has taken her brand to the next level.

MadameNoire: How did you get your start in the technology space?
Kelechi Anyadiegwu: I’ve always had an interest in technology, since my parents bought me a computer as a small child. I naturally found myself attracted to online communities (chatrooms, The SIMS, neopets, etc.) and building things (websites, avatars, digital Barbies, etc.). These were interests that really shaped my career aspirations going into high school and entering college. I loved digital design and I loved creating content. Everything from the yearbook club to creating layouts, or putting together short media clips. I loved it all.

MN: What inspired you to create Zuvaa, a premier marketplace for African-inspired fashion and accessories?
KA: This inspiration grew out of a personal problem that I had. My family is of Nigerian heritage and I grew up in the States. I grew up constantly going to Nigerian-themed parties, events and family functions. So African prints and textiles were always a part of my life. As I grew into young adulthood, I started to realize how difficult it was to find modern and trendy African-inspired designs. And it shocked me, because these prints were so beautiful and so much could be done with them. And anyone who knew me knew I loved fashion, especially eccentric and vibrant prints. So using my background in marketing and design, I created an online marketplace that I would personally shop at and I knew others would shop as well.

MN: When you first had the idea to create Zuvaa, what steps did you take to get it off the ground?
KA: I just dove in. The minute I told myself I was going to pursue Zuvaa, I bought a domain, signed up for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and started building the community right away. I knew right from the beginning that having a strong community that believed in our mission would be essential.

MN: Zuvaa is an online marketplace, but it’s also community focused. Why did you feel it was important to build a community within the platform?
KA: Building an online marketplace, community had to be a core part of my mission. Culture is something already so inherent in African communities, it only made sense that it would be the core of my marketplace for African fashion. I wanted the women who wore pieces from the marketplace, to feel like they were part of a bigger movement. Not only were they supporting small business owners and the African textile industry, but they were showing the love they had for African beauty and vibrancy through fashion. I wanted women to feel that personal connection to all the pieces they bought from the marketplace.

MN: What are your three tips to running a successful online marketplace?
KA: -Build a great community – Can’t emphasize this enough and the impact this has had for Zuvaa.

-Understand your customer – Don’t make assumptions. I made a lot of assumptions early on and did not do enough testing. I could have saved a lot of time and money, if I better understood my customer from the beginning.

-Patience and perseverance – E-commerce is hard, especially in fashion. There have been so many days I wanted to quit because we got no sales; then, the next day, we are featured on an awesome blog and sell out of an item that day. Running a company has taught me so much in what it means to never give up.

MN: What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received or given?
KA: Focus, focus, focus. Don’t try to do too much at once. Become really strong at one thing and then branch out to others, once your core is set. When I first started Zuvaa, I wanted to start designing my own pieces, I wanted to have a showroom, I wanted to do so many things. But my advisor, humbly told me, to focus on one aspect of the business and do it really, really well. Then I could branch out to other things. She said, “Black women, we often feel like we have to do all these things at once to prove we are 10 times better than the competition. But you don’t have to do that. Go at your own speed and things will fall into place.”

MN: What’s next for Zuvaa?
KA: Continuing to grow our community. We have such an amazing community of fashionistas who have really been pivotal in the growth of our company. These women are funny and engaged and supportive of the work we do at Zuvaa. We’re working on some amazing new projects and initiatives to further engage our community and our designers.

Based in New York City, Janel Martinez is a multimedia journalist who covers technology and entrepreneurship. She is the founder of “Ain’t I Latina?” an online destination geared toward Afro-Latinas. You can follow her up-to-the-minute musings on Twitter @janelmwrites.

New Gadgets, Tons Of Announcements: Here’s What To Expect From CES 2015

January 6th, 2015 - By Janel Martinez
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Techies, industry analysts, journalists and gadget lovers alike are turning up in Las Vegas, Nevada. Not necessarily the typical turn up you’re thinking about (although there’s some of that, too), but a tech-infused turn up comprised of numerous announcements on the latest gadgets and trends, celebrity appearances from the likes of Nick Cannon, Shaquille O’Neal, Ryan Seacrest and many more, and vendors showcasing tons of consumer electronics on showroom floors.

Starting on Tuesday, January 6, the International CES is the place to be to hear firsthand what’s coming down the pipeline in tech and consumer gadgets for 2015. While Monday was reserved for press, several announcements caught the eye of techies already on the ground such as Samsung’s release of new 4K televisions, particularly its gigantic 105-inch bendable TV (release date and price not set); and Sony’s new 4K action camera, which is available this March, which records point of view videos in full 4K resolution and pinpoints the best clips for you.

With the official opening, there’s a lot of speculation on what will be revealed during the four-day event. Here are three trends you’ll see more of this year:

Wearables – Wearable tech became more accessible in 2014, but expect more this year. You won’t hear much from Apple and Google in this respect; however, keep an eye on companies like Fitbit, Jawbone and Pebble, to name a few. You’ll see wearables going beyond fitness and tapping more so into health and safety.

High-tech home – Smart devices aren’t new to the market, but they are getting better by the year. Let’s take Samsung’s Flex Duo, which allows you to cook two meals at once, even if they’re at different temperatures. Also, you can do something similar—as in wash two loads of laundry at the same time — with LG’s Twin Wash system.

4K TV for everyone – CES would not be complete without larger television sets and greater resolution. This year, consumers will get their hands on 4K resolution. We mentioned Samsung’s unveil above. Well, Sharp took it there, announcing a “Beyond 4K” TV that approaches 8K. It’ll be available next year, according to the company. We’re sure to see more on this front.

CES runs until January 9. You can follow second-by-second updates by following the hashtag, #CES2015, or the official Twitter account, @intlCES .

Are you following CES? Let us know what you’re hoping to see this year in the comments section below!

Based in New York City, Janel Martinez is a multimedia journalist who covers technology and entrepreneurship. She is the founder of “Ain’t I Latina?” an online destination geared toward Afro-Latinas. You can follow her up-to-the-minute musings on Twitter @janelmwrites

The Phat Startup To Host Hip-Hop & Entrepreneurship Conference, Tech808

November 6th, 2014 - By Janel Martinez
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phat startupTechnology entrepreneurship offers an extensive amount of opportunities. But flip through most magazines and websites that delve into the space and, at times, it seems as though the content isn’t speaking to you, more so at you…and in another language. It’s a concern that The Phat Startup (TPS) team—Anthony Frasier, James Lopez, Jesal Trivedi and Jahde—recognized and aimed to disrupt.

Influenced by Lean Startup methodology and hip-hop culture, The Phat Startup is an integrated media company that develops premium content for new to serial entrepreneurs. Known for their well-attended NYC events, where they’ve brought tech heavyweights such as Reddit founder and serial investor Alexis Ohanian, VaynerMedia founder and social media expert Gary Vaynerchuk, and Ben Horowitz (a.k.a Nas’ bestie), co-founder and general partner of the venture capital fund, Andreessen Horowitz, the Phat Startup is entering a new chapter, hosting their inaugural Tech808 conference on November 21 at New York University. The conference, which is in partnership with the Clive Davis Institute, will explore the world of entrepreneurship through the view of those who are grinding and hustling to make power moves.

MadameNoire caught up with The Phat Startup co-founders to discuss tech entrepreneurship, starting your own venture and why Tech808 is a must-attend conference.

alleywatchThe Phat Startup merges Eric Ries’ Lean Startup methodology and hip-hop principles. What inspired you to create The Phat Startup?

Lopez: I was inspired to start TPS because I noticed that the similarities between hip-hop and lean were a perfect way to educate aspiring entrepreneurs that resonated with the hip-hop culture. Buzzwords are cool, but if you don’t understand them you cant learn from them, or apply those lessons.

Frasier: What played a big part of me jumping into The Phat Startup is being constantly asked questions about becoming an entrepreneur. When I got together with James, and we began to see we could use the culture as a way to get entrepreneurs interested and informed, it was magic.

How did The Phat Startup go from an idea to a platform to a movement, which entails events and now your conference, Tech808?

Frasier: The blog was the first step. The content was the second. The content played a huge part in our journey. When we wrote resource guides and conducted interviews, we weren’t talking to a white kid at Stanford. Sure, anyone could relate and benefit from our content, but we had a certain demographic in mind. We wanted to ask questions a single mother in Newark, NJ could relate to. I wanted to create a guide that a college dropout in Oakland would vibe with.

As a result, it helped us gain a following. The largest reason people follow us is because we present the same resourceful, quality information you would get anywhere else, but with a cooler voice. It’s less intimidating, and people love that. We love hip-hop, so when we wave our flags we do it like any hip-hop movement would. We wear our T-shirts; we make sure the logo is visible on our products. It makes people want to join the squad and be part of something. Hip-hop taught us that.

What can attendees expect from your inaugural conference?

Lopez: For Tech808, we decided that having people talk about the come up wasn’t as valuable as them telling you how to create your own come up or movement. We wanted to get off the usual background information and have all speakers leave the community with executable advice that they can start implementing the day of in a TEDx style conversation.

We want to educate our community, so Tech808 is pure executable advice, no self-promotion.

Talk to me about the inspiration behind the name Tech808

Frasier: The Tech808 name came from our founding members: Jesal Trivedi and Jahde. The 808 is the most famous bass sound in hip-hop. It has a boom to it that is unmatched. Bringing tech together with that represents the convergence of the two cultures. It also means we not playing games out here!

How will Tech 808 be different from a lot of the other technology conferences happening in other tech hubs such as San Francisco, Austin, Atlanta and New York?

Lopez: Tech808 is different because we wanted to focus on the lessons learned from founders in the trenches right now. People like Mark Zuckerburg are super special, but the tactics they use now can’t be used by a company that is just launching. All of our speakers are building their empires from an early stage and their tactics are the ones our community needs to implement now.

Frasier: I agree with James. What also makes us different are the same reasons we were able to attract our audience. It’s the culture. It’s the comfort level [of] people asking questions and not feeling dumb, or left out. We are for the people. You don’t get that vibe when attending a larger, more popular conference.

For those aspiring to be tech entrepreneurs, what advice would you give them about starting a business in the tech space?

Lopez: As Nike would say, just do it. There will never be a perfect time to start. Start now and learn how to overcome the obstacles that you’ll face. There isn’t a blueprint to follow, but you can learn from how others over came adversity. Do that and grind!

Frasier: My biggest piece of advice for aspiring tech entrepreneurs is to learn and build as much as you can. Learn how to code. Don’t have the time to learn how to code? Learn how to prototype! Learn how to build wire frames. Learn how to communicate your vision to a technical person. But, as much time as you spend learning, you have to start building and making mistakes. Making mistakes is how we get better and, trust me, you will learn to love making mistakes in the tech world. Making mistakes is actually better than reading articles and books.

Based in New York City, Janel Martinez is a multimedia journalist who covers technology and entrepreneurship. She is the founder of “Ain’t I Latina?” an online destination geared toward Afro-Latinas. You can follow her up-to-the-minute musings on Twitter @janelmwrites.

Amateur Detectives: Your Guide To The Latest Gadgets For Catching Him Cheating

November 5th, 2014 - By Meg Butler
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How far would you go to catch your man cheating? Once upon a time, you had to follow him around. But today catching him in the act is as easy as downloading an app.

Gadgets For Catching Him Cheating

Image Source: Shuttestock.com

Key-Logging Software

Upload these programs onto his computer and they’ll track every keystroke he makes: porn websites, deleted e-mails to his mistress and flirty Facebook messages he sent to his old high school crush.

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

August 20th, 2014 - By Rana Campbell
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morgan-blavity

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.