Category Archives: tech

Woman in Tech of the Week: Sam Beckbessinger

Woman in Tech of the Week: Sam Beckbessinger

Name: Sam Beckbessinger
Designation: Writer, Money Dork, Entrepreneur
Company: Phantom Design

What do you do every day?
I am trying to build a world where money isn’t a complex, opaque thing, but is something that we all understand and can use to fund our most audacious dreams. I wrote a book about this, called Manage Your Money Like a F*cking Grownup, and I run a company that helps to build apps and tools that make finances easier to deal with. We’ve built everything from smart credit cards to apps that show you where your money is going to cryptocurrency exchanges, and more.

How did you get into the tech space?
In my heart, I’m a writer, which means that I am fascinated by human beings and how we’re making the world. I started out writing about tech, and then realized that it would be more fun to also start making some tech products of my own.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
The stuff that makes you weird is what gives you the power to change the world. Not everyone’s going to like your weirdness, and that’s fine.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector?
Tech is about building a new vision of what the future can look like. It’s far too important to leave to only one narrow type of person. Don’t assume you need to have studied computers at university or have been a gamer since you were 5 to have a successful tech career; you just need to pick a project you care about and start making something. We need people with a background in the humanities, in social science, in biology, in business, in ethics… in everything. We need you: come and join us!

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday?
My cat sitting on my face and demanding to be fed. But also, my work is really fun, so getting out of bed is easy.

Who do you want to be when you grow up?
No idea. Only boring people make long-term career plans.

Twitter: @beckbessinger
Website: http://likeafuckinggrownup.com/
Blog: https://medium.com/@greenhamsam
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sambeckbessinger
FB: https://www.facebook.com/likeagrownup/

Do you know an inspirational women in tech? Please get in touch with Robyn (robyn@kato.global) to get her featured!

Do you want to sponsor Women in Tech ZA (our research, website and events around South Africa)? Please get in touch with Robyn (robyn@kato.global).

Do you want to advertise to the  Women in Tech ZA network? Please get in touch with Robyn (robyn@kato.global).

Bernelle Verster

Woman in Tech of the Week – Bernelle Verster

Name: Bernelle Verster
Designation: Water Maverick, Shit Stirrer
Company: indiebio
What do you do every day?
Writing, mostly. Sometimes growing things – bacteria, algae, plants, fungi, animals (like flies, worms). I am trying to learn how to play with hardware like Arduino and getting better at data driven visualization to help communicate my work.

I work in beneficiation of diffuse pollution through biology. This includes wastewater treatment, but I’m also moving into urban waterbodies like urban estuaries. I like interfaces, connecting the dots to fill in the gaps. So much of my time is spent translating between what, for example, engineers say and what ecologists say and try to find a way that both can be accommodated. Or, what the public perceives and try to communicate all the trade-offs and complexities. At the moment I am trying to see how to coordinate bottom-up, DIY type behavior with the efficiency and economy of scale that engineers prefer but that comes with environmental trade-offs.

How did you get into the tech space?
I wanted to become a vet, but then fell in love with biochemistry in first year of university and stuck with that. Then I realized the cost of biotech is way too high and needed to learn some tech and engineering to make the biology work better. I’ve sortof just stumbled along with things, there wasn’t ever much direction or specific support.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Do what you can with what you have; and you will always be someone’s dog (in other words, don’t expect to come out ‘on top’ and then all your issues are over. That just doesn’t happen). The advice I never listened to was ‘it’s time you stop dreaming and get a proper job’.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Dream. Big, small, doesn’t matter, but don’t lose sight of reality. Prototype, play, fail fast. Look at what is – the current reality, even if it is uncomfortable. Ask the tough questions, listen to what people say. You don’t have to believe them, but they are coming from somewhere, interrogate what they say. Don’t underestimate the value of incremental change.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday?
Frustration. Having a big goal is nice, but really it’s the frustration of ‘if only this small thing can work better!’ Generally I wake up thinking, I’m going to go at it from this angle, maybe that works today. I think the real value I add to society isn’t through my big dreams and passions, but the little itches and irritations I try to smooth out along the way. Connecting people who can help scratch 😉

Who do you want to be when you grow up?
A whole person. Not a whitewashed darling on a pedestal.

Twitter handle @indiebio
Website: indiebio.co.za
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/indiebio/

Continue reading