Tag Archives: Tumblr

Want to increase diversity in tech? Make it cool. TechCool.org

Ethnicity in tech US

There’s been much ado about the diversity gap in tech.

The big dogs, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Twitter, EBay and Apple, have all released data, showing how much of their respective work force is made up of minorities and women.

Needless to say, the stats aren’t encouraging.

For the most part, tech is a white male dominated field.

Depending upon where you look, there’s anywhere from a 70/30 to 90/10 male to female ratio in tech.

From an ethnic perspective, the stats are far more sobering.

Generally, tech in the US is 58% white, 34% Asian, 2% Hispanic/Latino, and 2% Black (and 2% “other”).

The diversity gap stems from the fact that hiring in tech companies isn’t proportional to population.

While Blacks make up approximately 13% of the US population, they represent only about 2 to 3% of the technology workforce.

The disparity is palpable, especially when you think about the billion dollar valuations of tech companies like WhatsApp, Instagram and Tumblr, and how few people of color are up in the cut.

As a self-professed Black techie, I see this disparity every day.

In the majority of the tech circles I’m in, there are very few Black/brown faces.

We need more color in tech.

But how do we get there?

It’s one thing to know what the problem is.

It’s quite another to solve it.

Tech firms have begun recruiting at HBCUs and asking colleges and universities to recommend qualified Black students at job fairs.

But in my opinion, we’ve got to start earlier.

Obviously, exposing our youth to technology and fostering a love of math and the sciences is key.

Growing up, my father encouraged me to be an engineer.

I can still hear him in his thick Nigerian accent saying, “Chibuzor, you are going to be a engineer.”

That was his thing.

His first son was going to be an engineer, by hook or by crook.

Despite his aspirations for me, I simply wasn’t interested in joining the geek squad.

I fought him tooth and nail and I got an economics degree instead.

Today, I’m scraping together a meager existence and engineering jobs remain unfilled – or filled by white and asian men.

I could kick myself.

Who knew that Uneze had such foresight?

Why did I resist so vehemently?

Was his delivery so suspect that I gave it little to no weight?

Or was I just not checking for an industry I found to be so square?

Tech simply didn’t do it for me.

Looking back, it makes me wonder how many Black parents wanted their children to go into math and the sciences, but couldn’t instill any excitement in them to take it up?

All the Neil deGrasse Tysons of the world, much like Uneze before him, aren’t turning urban kids on to science.

My first proper experience with tech was cool.

I helped launch a Harlem-based start-up called DigiWaxx.

DigiWaxx was an online digital music promotions company that created a digital platform which made sending physical copies of records to DJs obsolete.

While it was primarily music and artist promotion, we pioneered what became the standard in digital distribution of promotional content.

The technology we employed was very rudimentary (at the time), but it was still tech.

And it gave me a glimpse into the myriad of non-traditional opportunities that existed in tech.

It also exposed me to the some really progressive folks on the leading edge of technology – most of whom were Black.

Folks like Russell Simmons and (360hiphop.com and Global Grind), had whole teams of Black techies, who simply did not fit the stereotype of tech.

Today, I’m steeped in technology helping brands to build mobile websites, mobile and tablet applications, and immersive interactive experiences.

I’m also spreading the message about how cool tech can be to Black and brown kids to help overcome the diversity gap.

How?

Well for one, I’ve started TechCool.org.

Well, I haven’t actually started it.

I just copped the URL yesterday when I was thinking about writing this blog.

And roped my man into creating a logo for me (soon come).

But that’s besides the point.

What tech lacks is the cool factor.

When most of us think tech, invariably we think nerd (sorry Neil).

We don’t think rockstar.

But tech is full of rock stars, and I’m focused on bridging the diversity gap by helping to put the cool into tech.

If you’re the parent of a young Black kid, you know they emulate the rock stars.

Well not rock stars literally, but cats in the public eye.

Roll out a phlanx of sports or media superstars, and your kids are wide-eyed, imitating their moves on the court, pantomiming their videos or reciting their lyrics.

We’ve got to elevate tech to rockstar status, to excite kids about the possibilities.

I’m starting an organization whose primary mission is to encourage young Black kids to take up technology by exposing them to the superstars in the space.

My plan is to partner with celebrities as a catalyst to spark interest in tech, and do it in a way that inspires them to explore tech professions in the future.

I did a pilot of this program a few years ago with the Police Athletic League of NYC, called the Digital University, where we gave youth first hand experience with audio and video production, web development and social media management and marketing.

We brought in DJs to teach them how to mix, VJs to show them video mixing, gave them cameras to shoot video, video editing software to create movies, and brought in a celebrity or two to keep them inspired.

The kids loved it and we opened their eyes to the numerous possibilities which existed for them to explore tech-based professions.

Although PAL ultimately opted to teach a cooking class instead of continuing to offer the program – because home ec is more important than tech..duh! – we were able to establish a proof of concept that the right program taught by the right people, with the right level of cool could connect with kids in a meaningful way.

That experience has inspired me to go all-in and form a not-for-profit singularly dedicated to rebranding the tech industry to make it more enticing to our youth.

So stay tuned for more updates as I bring TechCool.org to life.

It will probably start off with a blog, and then some speaking engagements, before I’ve got bonafide programming and a formal offering.

But I’m committed to giving tech a facelift and helping to close this divide.

Feel free to share your thoughts on my plan and hit me up if you’re interested in being a part of the TechCool movement!

 

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under advocacy, digital advocacy, technology

New Rainmaker. Now you really owe me.

cb-rainmaker

If you’ve ever heard the expression “pay it forward,” then you know that if someone does something kind or altruistic to/for you, you’re supposed to do the same thing for someone else.

Hence, pay it forward.

Today, someone put me onto something that promises to revolutionize the way we look at DIY site building.

And since I’m learning front end web development, I probably shouldn’t hip you to a tool that will potentially make my new found knowledge obsolete, but…

It’s called New Rainmaker and it’s a one-stop-shop for building a high performance website for your business or brand.

You probably know a few free or low-cost site building tools: SquareSpace, WordPress, Tumblr, Web.com, etc.

But if you’ve used any of them, you’ve probably encountered some roadblock or hurdle, that made it less than it was cracked up to be.

Maybe there was no eCommerce component.

Or social sharing was a hassle to implement.

Perhaps creating columns required advanced knowledge of cuneiform.

Rainmaker promises to change all that.

Per the New Rainmaker website:

Introducing Rainmaker, a hosted turn-key online marketing and digital sales platform designed to give you everything you need to build your business by building an audience. It’s not just everything we use on our sites (such as Copyblogger and StudioPress), it’s exactly what we use on our own sites … ready for you to make your own.

Now I can’t actually tell you anything about the platform, as it hasn’t been released quite yet.

What I can tell you is that it’s built off of WordPress, and allows you to take advantage of all the plugins and widgets natively – that is, without having to call up or install anything individually.

It’s also built on HTML5, so it’s fully responsive.

That means it will be optimized for whatever screen users are viewing your site from.

Building your site using Rainmaker’s platform is also supposed to be dummy-proof.

Simply select the options you want via their wizard, and the Rainmaker Platform does the rest.

At the end of the day, Rainmaker is supposed to make setting up your site and running your online business a cinch.

Supposedly, it will make building sites using SaaS offerings like SquareSpace and WordPress feel like learning Chinese.

We’ll see.

StephenChukumba.com is a hosted WordPress blog.

So whenever Rainmaker does turn on the switch, I’ll be one of the first to convert my existing site to their platform.

And I’ll give you a blow-by-blow assessment of how easy (or difficult) it was to get set up, as well as my impressions.

Oh yeah.

The reason I feel like I’m paying it forward, is because there is a limited window to sign up to join the Rainmaker trial.

If you sign up at NewRainmaker.com/Platform, you too can register to take their platform for a test drive.

In addition to having first dibs to Beta test their platform, you’ll have access to the Rainmaker knowledge center, complete with podcasts, webinars, reports and video presentations from industry veterans and experts.

Now if you’re happy with your site (and it’s performance, conversions, etc.) then you can ignore this post altogether.

But if you’re looking to start a new business or website, and want just the right tool, then Rainmaker may be the thing for you.

Leave a comment

Filed under digital advocacy, technology

Like to blog? Get Blogsy.

It’s been a while since I reviewed any apps.

So today, I decided to take a look at the apps I have on deck and talk about one of them.

Checking out the apps on my iPad, the choices are many.

I’ve got them arranged (roughly) by category: productivity, social networking, entertainment, finance, etc.

Since I find myself opening up my social networking dash quite often, I figured I’d write about one of them.

I’ve got nine apps designated as social networking: AIM, Facebook, Blogsy, WordPress, Find Friends, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn and Hootsuite.

Now which to write about…

With the exception of Find Friends, each of these bad boys gets run.

And since I’ve already written about WordPress on at least one occasion, that brings us down to seven.

Hmmmm…

I guess I’ll do this scientifically.

Eenie, meenie, miney, mo…

Blogsy it is!

So Yoda put me up on Blogsy a minute ago.

If you’re not up on it, Blogsy is a blogger’s dream app.

In one spot, you can create blog posts, tag them, drag & drop photos and video, and post to virtually any blogging platform.

Sounds too good to be true right?

But it is!

Blogsy has a powerful dashboard that lets you access any of your supported accounts, including YouTube, Vevo, WordPress, Tumblr, Instagram, Picasa, Flickr, and Facebook, all from within the app.

You can configure all of your accounts in Settings, and access them in the handy drawer conveniently tucked away on the right side of Blogsy’s main window.

In addition, its got a built in browser, that lets you find and grab content from the Internet and drop it right into your post!

I initially started this post in WordPress (force of habit) before switching over to Blogsy to complete it.

What better way to demonstrate how something works?

So here is a shot of me launching Blogsy in the built in browser.

And here’s a preview of this post inside of Blgsy.

And here’s a video from YouTube.

In addition to being able to grab stuff from virtually anywhere, you can also publish directly from Blogsy to any of your blogs.

Case in point: I published this right from my iPad.

Or save your drafts locally or in your platform of choice.

It’s really a complete, well thought out and super convenient app, and I highly recommend it if you’re a power blogger like me (not really).

Not that there aren’t some glitches.

For example the drop and drag function is a bit wonky.

Placing an image or video exactly where you want it to go can be…challenging.

Your text goes all haywire and its hard to know where your image or video is going to end up.

If you’ve got multiple blogs, like I do, figuring out which one you’re in and making sure you’re posting to the right one is a chore.

And getting around the app take a bit of getting used to at first.

But I found that messing around a bit will help you to not freak out and figure out how things work.

Anyway, I dig Blogsy a lot.

And I think you will too.

So get out there and blog(sy)!

Note: I am not being paid by Blogsy to endorse their product. But if anyone from Blogsy wants to cut a brotha a check, I’d be much obliged.

3 Comments

Filed under apps, iPad, technology

Best of the Best. The Webby Awards.

The Webby AwardsDid you catch the Webbys?

You know, the annual award show that celebrates excellence in the internet?

Well not excellence in the internet, but excellence of the internet.

Actually, it’s not just of the internet.

It’s websites really.

And interactive advertising and media.

Also online film and video.

Oh yeah, and mobile apps too.

And social web, I think.

Let’s try this again.

The Webby Award honors exceptional work on websites, interactive advertising and media, online film and video, mobile apps and social web.

The New York Times calls The Webbys “the Internet’s highest honor.”

I think this means it’s a big deal.

In it’s 17th year, The Webbys brings together some of the most innovative and creative minds to pay homage and acknowledge some of the tremendous work being done in the online, social media and interactive space.

For we geeks, it’s like the Oscars of the online and interactive world.

Win a Webby and you are somebody.

This year’s Special Achievement honorees include Steve White (“JIF” not “GIF”) Frank Ocean, Kevin Spacey, Grimes, Obama for America 2012, Chris Kluwe and Tribal DDB Worldwide, among others.

And nominees ranged from Funny or Die to The Onion, Mashable to Tumblr, Google to Ted Ed – and everything in between.

If you’re unfamiliar with The Webby Awards, it’s all good.

It is a thing of geekdom.

And unless you’re into the internet, mobile, apps, advertising or social media, you probably don’t care.

And that’s cool.

But if you’re interested, The Webby’s gives out over a hundred awards each year, to the best and brightest among us.

Yes. I included myself in the running for “best and brightest.”

Don’t trip.

Each year, two awards are giving out  in various categories: The Webby Award and the People’s Voice Award.

Winners of The Webby Award is selected by the members of The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.

While the People’s Voice Award winners are selected by the people, via online voting.

Now if you visit the site, you will be overwhelmed.

There are over one hundred different categories and the page of the website listing the winners and nominees scrolls endlessly.

So here are my faves:

Mobile Advertising

Best Use of Social Media

Media Streaming

Best User Experience Tumblr

Web Services and Applications

There were infinitely more categories and winners.

And as I was going through them all, I realized that it was better to simply give you the link to check out the full site, winners and nominees for yourself.

I know, I know.

I originally said that you’d be overwhelmed if you visited the site.

But I was getting overwhelmed, and we can’t have that.

I’m just saying.

There are loads of videos, memes, and content galore, so give yourself a chunk of time to go in.

It’s taken me two days to get this out, just because I took such a deep dive.

And I couldn’t figure out what to write about.

It was all so compelling.

Especially all the mobile stuff.

Nerdy right?

Whatev.

So, if you want to know what the most amazing web, online, social media and interactive stuff of 2012 was, peep The Webby Awards site.

If not, kick rocks!

Leave a comment

Filed under digital advocacy, social media, technology

Blogging by iPhone (on the commode). WordPress is the truth!

blogging_from_my_toilet.jpg

I’ve been blogging (on and off) for about five or six years now.

Sometimes more than others.

But now, I think I’ve hit my stride.

And it’s all because of WordPress.

I know this sounds über dramatic, but hear me out.

When I was first bitten by the blogging bug, I tried out Blogger, the blogging platform from Google.

Since I was already using Gmail, it was nothing but a chicken wing to start using Blogger.

But I found the interface flat and there were too few template options available for me to personalize my blog.

Even though it was customizable, I wasn’t terribly technical and coding HTML or CSS simply wasn’t in the cards.

I posted a few times and that was it.

Not long after, someone told me about Tumblr.

They were new to blogging, like me, and had a similar experience with Blogger (being flat and boring).

So (on their recommendation) I tried it out.

Tumblr was much easier to use, had several interesting templates, and before long, I had set up and posted my first blog.

I noticed, almost immediately, though, that my blog posts weren’t showing up in search engines in Tumblr as rapidly as they had with Blogger.

What Tumblr made up in overall ease of use and simplicity, it lost from an overall SEO perspective.

I was creating far more, but seeing far less traffic.

If a blog gets posted in cyberspace and no bots crawl to it, does it make a sound?

Demoralized, I abandoned Tumblr for another free blog platform contender, WordPress.

Cue the angelic music and blinding white light.

WordPress combined the SEO dominance of Blogger, with the ease of use, simplicity and design sensibility of Tumblr, and a few other smoking features to boot.

And with a clean UI and dashboard, WordPress soon became my go-to platform.

But what MADE WordPress for me, were the apps!

Ever since I got the WordPress iPhone and iPad apps, I’ve become a prolific blogger.

Prolific is a tad extreme, but I have authored over 250 post on WordPress, and at least half of them were on my iPhone or iPad.

Whenever an idea for a blog comes to mind, I simply whip out my iPhone, dial up the WordPress app and start typing.

Once I save it, it’s automatically uploaded to my WordPress account and synched whenever I pull up WordPress again from any of my devices.

So if I start it on my iPad, I can pick it up later from my desktop or iPhone.

I can tag, add pictures or video, select categories (or create new ones) all from within the app.

My girl Aliya King issued a 30 day blogging challenge to her blogging peeps, and the WordPress app has kept me on task for the past two weeks.

I’ve been able to post from virtually anywhere: trains, the office, the toilet (yes, I blog on the toilet), from the convenience of my iPhone.

I’ve been so impressed with WordPress that I’ve turned a butt load of my clients, friends and associates on to the platform.

At the end of the day, I’m really enamored with WordPress because it’s enabled me to find my voice AND get it out hassle-free.

So if you’re thinking about starting a blog (I’m an inexhaustible source of inspiration – I know), give WordPress a try!

And ‘no’ I am not a paid spokesperson for WordPress.

But if anyone over at WordPress wants to cut a bro a check….

1 Comment

Filed under apps, iPad, iPhone, mobile, opinion

I’ve got no Klout? Gimme a break!

I’m like a gangsta without a gun…I’ve got no Klout!

I just created an account on Klout and was appalled to discover that I had an influence rating of 10.

10!

Mind you, the Klout measures influence on a scale from 1 to 100.

So you can imagine my shock to learn that I had the influence of a kumquat.

In my professional self, I regularly discuss influence as measured by services like PeerIndex, Twitalyzer and Klout, as points of reference for how individuals and entities can assess the impact of their social media.

But I hadn’t thought of the type of influencer I was.

I publish a blog for chrissakes!

True. I haven’t published very regularly since April…

And I’ve completely fallen off the wagon on Facebook…

Can’t recall the last time I pushed a flick up on Flickr either…

But of course I have influence!

I’m registered with virtually every social media platform (of significance) under the sun.

When I signed up with Klout, I registered my Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, WordPress and Instagram accounts.

Even though I’ve got a Blogger and Tumblr account, I left those ones out because I rarely use them (but perhaps I’ll go back in an add those too….hmm).

And every so often, folks comment on my blog posts, retweet my tweets, share my Facebook updates, watch my videos and generally seem to respond to my virtual ramblings.

But clearly not enough for Klout to feel that I have real influence!

Damn you Klout!

Now I’m not really smarting about my dismal Klout rating.

Yes I am.

But it does present a compelling case study for how influential one really is online.

Prior to registering with Klout, I had received numerous requests from friends and associates (via Facebook) to join Klout.

To me, it was yet another app fracturing my attention online, that I would have to show some love.

Unless, it’s one of those truly useful apps, that runs in the background, without you having to log in and actually do anything, and actually provides value, I’m sure it will go the way of many of the social media platforms/applications vying for users/user attention, and fall into obsolescence once the sheen wears off.

But who knows, I may find Klout truly useful and have a change of heart.

I doubt it.

The relationship with Klout has already started off a bit too rocky for my taste…

…an influence rating of 10…

Klout you’ve got some m*tha f*ckin’ nerve!

PS If you’re within the sound of my blog, please throw some K’s on a bruh!

Leave a comment

Filed under branding