Blog Archives

Wearable Tech LA

EsZhvGyO

Because I tend to do things just to try them out, I decided to apply to run social media for the Wearable Tech LA conference in Pasadena this week, and got the job! (You can read my posts here)  This meant I ran the twitter for the entire day and tried to build hype and keep people engaged.  It was a pretty exciting experience, and the conference itself was also pretty incredible.

10494563_10152703149900572_4563996109361489814_n

The concept itself of wearable technology is absolutely fascinating to me, because although we may not be cyborgs with robot arms and bionic eyes, we are most definitely becoming a hybrid of organic and machine.  People have  tethered themselves to their smartphones without even realizing it as they start to perform functions such as data recall and reminders we once relied on our memories for.  Wearable technology is simply a name for the trend that is growing out of the fact that smartphones have made technology natural in our daily lives.  Fitbits, Google Glass, and smartwatches are just the start of wearable technology, and the field is growing as innovative designers figure out new ways to incorporate technology and augment the way we function as humans.

In the future I’ll be sure to include more of my thoughts on wearable technology (trust me, I could talk forever), but in this post I mostly just wanted to show off all the cool stuff that I got to see at the event.  Learning to track the hashtag, reply to everyone, retweet the relevant posts, and keeping our audience engaged was quite the challenge, but I found out that I actually really enjoy livetweeting events.  There were a group of girl scouts who showed off their wearable tech fashion creations, a man who was colorblind and attached a sensor to his brain so he could ‘hear’ colors, wearable tech for fitness, fashion, and relaxation, as well as much more.  It was exciting to see all the panels and watch the excitement build in the room, and I hope it happens again next year.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Technology and Startups: How to Network Los Angeles (and Pasadena)

contactus

So, as a young professional in Los Angeles, one of the skills I always try to perfect  is networking.  Now, networking can often happen by chance or through colleagues, but my favorite form is finding specific events and mixers in LA where I can find people who are passionate about the same subject as me (most often startups and technology).  I find these events through friends, google searches, and pure chance, but one of the wonderful things about the internet is that it is always trying to organize itself and make information more accessible.  Through my haphazard exploration of the internet, I discovered my four favorite ways to find networking events and communities are LinkedIn, Meetup.com, Coworking spaces, and Websites.  If you have any additional website/methods to add, please comment below.  I am hoping others can use this article as a resource for their own networking efforts.

logo-linkedin

Linkedin

LinkedIn is seriously one of my best friends.  Most people use it to keep track of their network, but it is also helpful in expanding it.  It has a series of groups that you can join for a variety of professional fields.  Your best option is to look at profiles of people similar to you and check out what groups they are following.  Be careful of groups that are just full of ads, and never feel bad for leaving one.  Most of the ones I follow are too specific to post here (such as social media), but two you might want to follow are Innovate Pasadena and Digital LA.

meetup

Meetup.com

Meetup.com is fairly new site, but one that is quickly growing and becoming a valuable resource for all communities, not just tech and startups.  The ones I pay most attention to are LA Tech Happy Hour and Friday Morning Coffee, but you can find ones for your own tastes just by using keywords (ex. tech talks, Los Angeles).

coloft

Coworking

Now, obviously coworking spaces (open offices filled with individuals from a number of startups working next to each other) are good for networking because that is one of their main purposes, but what is not as commonly known is that they often host a variety events open to the general public.  You can either search meetup.com for a list of events, or check each individual site, ex. Kleverdog and Coloft, or use Yelp to find more spaces.  Each site has a calendar, and the events range from simple networking, to programming, to startup advice.

sbLA

Websites

Websites are one of the hardest sources to find because they are not part of one platform like LinkedIn or Meetup, but I personally appreciate the resources they provide on top of networking events.  Some of my favorites for LA include (and you should tell me if there are any I should add to the list):

Mindshare LA: Mindshare LA holds monthly workshops, salons and movie screenings that gather hundreds of Angelenos for evenings of inspiration and interaction.

Bixelexchange: Bixel Exchange helps technology entrepreneurs thrive. We do this by combining the power of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and L.A.’s dynamic tech community with the resources of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Center.

Silicon Beach LA: Your Personal Tour Guide And The Home Of The LA Tech & Startup Community.

Innovate Pasadena: The vision of INNOVATE PASADENA is to create a vibrant ecosystem of technology and design innovation in the greater Pasadena area that supports sustainable economic growth.

Women 2.0: Women 2.0 City Meetup creates an inclusive community for anyone working, innovating, or investing in technology. Women 2.0 City Meetup is open to both women and men.

Techsparks: TECHSPARKS aims to spark innovative new ideas by providing a social forum for entrepreneurial minds. Our events include networking, games, raffles and pitch opportunities to encourage interaction and collaboration.

Silicon Beach Young Professionals: Helping tech businesses grow with local networking events

Pasadena Young Professionals: The Young Professionals of Pasadena is a social and business networking group for people ages 21-40ish who live work and thrive in the Pasadena area.

Now, this obviously is not a comprehensive list, and if you have any other suggestions on finding networking groups or websites to check out, feel free to comment below or shoot an email to alicenlewis@gmail.com. I am always looking to improve the list!

Feminist Dialogue on Technology (FemTechNet) Final Project

So, I needed to make a digital manifestation of my final project for FemTechNet, and just to warn you, this is about to get artsy.

1481285_10152190836940572_2063285417_n

For my project, I chose to use the keyword ‘Transformation’ as well as the keyword ‘Bodies’. It was inspired both by the article about a site that posted nudes of women, not even nudes that women had sent to their lovers, but nudes that were downloaded off of hacked computers (here); and my own keyword video about digital corruption and compression artifacts.

My first plan was to take naked photos of myself, burn them to cds, break the cds into pieces that were unreadable, and make art out of it. Unfortunately, even if you save the photos to your own computer, if it is connected to the internet there is always a chance someone may find it. Even if it is not connected to the internet, deleting a file is never truly ‘deleting’ it on a computer, there are often ways to recover it. I found this an interesting concept, especially after I took film photography last year. In film, if you were to cut up your negatives, there would be no possible way to retrieve them. Also, if you want to shrink a photo, the original itself does not change, whereas if you accidentally save over a file as a smaller file, it chooses which parts to distort the most, although you usually can’t tell with the human eye unless you try to expand it again.

Since taking nude photos of myself was a stupid idea due to the permanence of the data of a digital photo, I burned nude photos from a modeling site called Suicide Girls to cds. I chose Suicide Girls because it is (supposedly) an empowering site, an ‘adult lifestyle brand that redefines beauty with our unique pin up girls and active, smart online community.’  I found this an interesting experience because unlike when we work with physical media and make collages, burning the files felt strange in that it was adding files/code to a disc, code that would still need to be read by a program on the other end, that could not just be viewed on its on like a photo could. I then broke the cds into pieces, making many rainbow fragments. In this way I transformed a viewable image (with the right programs) into something completely useless and inaccessible. Unlike with the digital data on the internet, this was unreachable forever. I transformed code to a physical medium, then made that medium inaccessible.  I thought this was an interesting concept because women’s bodies are so easily controlled by shaming their nudity, so that even if an actress is accidentally photographed with a nipple slipping out, it goes viral.  Technology is now used to spread wide-spread shame, a way to control women even more efficiently.  The breaking of cds was meant to signify reclaiming power, (although in reality the photos still exist online and affect the females in the photos).

The second part of my project related to compression artifacts. I placed a mirror inside a frame, but glued the bits of cd to the surface of the mirror. In this way the cd was somewhat reflective, but not truly able to give an accurate reflection like a mirror does. I was hoping to represent the distortion of compression artifacts in real life.

One of my favorite parts about this writeup is the fact that I can’t truly express what the object is like through images, for mirrors and rainbows are so dependent on the observer.  All I can show is one particular moment photographed from one particular angle.  I found the parallel between feminism’s focus on context and experience, and the fact that my project needs to be experienced, not just seen, to be very interesting indeed.

Women, Pedagogy, and Technology: A Talk at Pitzer College

1454629_10201635101252277_913614117_n

The Women, Pedagogy, and Technology talk was an event I heard about in my Feminist Dialogue on Technology class, and I was absolutely thrilled to attend.  It started with Alex Juhasz talking about the need to cross the lines dividing us, including campus lines (this was a 5C event).  Then, the President of Pitzer discussed the need to temper digital interactions with human interactions.  After their speeches, I was lucky enough to sit with President Klawe of Harvey Mudd (a woman who has done wonderful things for women in STEMs and who I look up to as an inspiration).  Some of my first words to her were ‘Something something Lean In, although that’s not a movement I agree with or am fond of’, to which her response was ‘Oh, why?  Sheryl Sandberg is a friend of mine’.  Luckily she honestly wanted to hear my opinion on it (long story short, I don’t think Sheryl Sandberg is radical or deconstructivist enough, and rather supporting and playing into the patriarchy), to which Klawe responded that she was once as radical as I was, and understood where I was coming from.  We talked extensively about education, women in tech, and leveling the playing field.  She seemed interested in my efforts with Scripps Women in Technology, and offered to be a speaker.  She is honestly someone I look up to and would like to emulate in terms of her efforts to works towards increasing representation of women in stems

The next part of the program involved breaking into groups to discuss mentors, networks, or teaching.  I chose the mentor group, where we talked about the pros and cons of serendipitous mentor/mentee pairing, structured pairings, and solutions/compromises between the two.  Serendipitous usually means better dynamics between the mentor/mentee because it’s not forced and controlled, but often leaves out people who don’t have initiative or luck.  Structured gets more of the shy individuals, but even then participants can feel alienated by being forced to meet at certain times, do certain things, even if they don’t particularly mesh with their mentor.  What might be a possible solution is training potential mentors to be more out about their identities/things mentees could empathize with (socioeconomic, sexual orientation, race, culture, etc.) so that mentees can find them, as well as training mentees how to find mentors, and what they should ask from their mentors.  As I am only a junior, I remember all too well what it was like to be a first year, and to feel that everything I did was an imposition, regardless of the fact that the colleges tried to put together so many support options for me.  In our group, we talked a bit about impostor syndrome, which to me seems a very possible reason so many people have trouble finding mentors.  Unless mentors are outright explicit in their desire to mentor, potential mentees may feel like the mentor is just being nice at that moment, rather than the mentor wanting to form a long-term connection.

Finally, we all headed to the Pitzer auditorium to listen to different speeches on various parts of technology and education.  It was a wonderful lunch and discussion, and the powerpoint presentations in the auditorium gave me a lot of food for thought.  I hope Pitzer/the 5Cs continue to create events like these, and look forward to how much more I have to learn.

Girl Geek Dinner

la

On Thursday, September 26, I went to KPCC’s Girl Geek Dinner event at the Crawford Family Forum.  The venue was filled with women from the tech industry chatting, so I decided to try to join one of the conversations.  One of the women seemed to be around my age, but once we started talking I found out she was actually Stacy Ferreira,  Entrepreneur and Founder of mySocialCloud, a girl my age who dropped out of college and went on to found a business that has already been purchased, is now working on another, and was featured on the cover of 17 magazine.

sev-october-pretty-amazing-cover-lgn

She talked about how lots of people try to ask her to be their mentor, but the real trick is to just throw yourself out there and ask people you admire for specific advice, rather than for a general mentorship.  Angie Chang, Director of Growth at Hackbright Academy and founder of the Girl Geek Dinner’s Bay Area chapter, chimed in that this was very true, and also gave me advice about not underselling myself (something I had already read about in Lean-In, but was glad to hear again).  Although I didn’t realize it at the time, these were two of the five people who were going to be up on stage later that night, and I was lucky to have met them for one-on-one advice.

1383101_10152029334055572_1658880346_n

After food and networking with a few more people, I went into the auditorium where Skylar Jackson from the Entertainment Industries Council skyped with us about increasing women’s presence in media.  I was able to get in a question about how YouTube fit into the grand scheme, and she was actually pleased about my inquiry and talked about the Entertainment Industries Council’s efforts to include YouTube as media as well as television and movies.

600840_10152029334165572_1965470949_n

Finally, it was time for the main event, where Angie Chang (from earlier) was moderator, and Stacy Ferreira (also from earlier), Jan Sanders, Pasadena Director of Libraries and Information Services, Talulah Riley, Brittish Actress/Writer, and Alex Schaffert, KPCC Director of Digital Media talked about being a woman in the tech industry, their ‘Lean In’ moments, and advice for the audience.  It was very inspiring, and I’m excited to put their lessons to use in my own professional development.

Scripps Women in Technology

Untitled-2

I’ve started a Scripps Women in Technology club.  It will be a club dedicated to creating a community where students of all tech levels can work together, learn from each other, and grow.  We are hoping to have weekly workshops where students can cross train each other on different tech related things, networking events for tech-minded students to find each other, bring speakers to campus, and just generally help Scripps students become more proficient in technology by creating a safe and supportive tech community.  Wish me luck!

THATCampFeminismWest

I am now a fellow with THATcampFeminismWest, which is going to be hosted at Scripps College  on March 15 and 16.  *cue uncontrollable flailing and squeeing*

 Now that I’ve managed to get the glee out of my system, many of you are probably going ‘what the heck even is a THATcamp?

THATcamp stands for The Humanities and Technology Camp, and is an unconference (a conference that avoids being top-down designed and corporate sponsored, and rather aims to be a participant driven space for open communication and discussion).  I am thrilled to be included in such a fascinating experience, and look forward to both offering my own voice as well as incorporating others’ opinions into my idealogy.  It will mostly be focusing (obviously) on the Humanities, Technology, and Feminism, and will include people from all ages and walks of life.

If nothing else, I hope this conference forces me to defend my ideas, and I also hope I have the flexibility to bend when other logic prevails.

(also, I got over 100 hits on my blog yesterday, yaaay 😀 )