It’s Time for Women to Shine Like Diamonds in the Digital Economy
This blog was guest-written by Juliette Gimenez, Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer of Goxip.
According to Moore’s Law, the number of transistors in dense integrated circuits will double every two years, meaning computing power will also double or improve in that time. This exponential increase is making it easier than ever before for anyone to afford faster, smaller, and more sophisticated computers.
Today’s devices are no longer toys for the wealthy or rich, but convenient tools for the general public; everyone can leverage technology to do amazing things. It levels the playing field, where anyone can be a global problem solver no matter their race, gender or age. With digitization comes the freedom for people to focus their efforts on creating innovative solutions for the problems they most care about.
This is, in fact, something we witness every day on the news; an 18-year-old girl designed tiny devices that can charge your mobile phone in 20 seconds and a 19-year-old boy developed an ocean array to remove 7,250,000 tons of plastic from the world’s oceans. Obviously, age is not a barrier for people to create, innovate and solve problems, so why should gender or other biases stop them?
Extraordinary people can tackle many different issues, from health care and pollution to water scarcity and climate change. What are the problems that matter to you, and how can you solve them?
It just so happens that my passion is fashion and beauty, which led me to discover the inefficiency of today’s e-commerce industry. I knew I wanted to create an easier solution for consumers and sellers to buy and sell their products, and I knew it started with technology.
To make things clear, I am co-founder and CEO of a mobile focus technology startup called Goxip. Our tool allows people to snap a photo of any fashion item and find the exact or similar item online, which they can instantly purchase with our image recognition technology. Despite my title, I know very little about coding and networking.
Working in the technology industry does not mean you have to be an expert in programming, and I’m a perfect example; a woman with no coding knowledge who worked in the e-commerce industry for over 10 years. I quickly learned it takes more than the latest technology to make a business successful. Of course, technology is the crucial foundation of most companies, but success also requires the collective efforts of departments like marketing, business development, and manufacturing.
We started Goxip as a tiny, three-person team, and given my lack of expertise in technology programming, I knew I had to find a co-founder and colleague with a background in design and coding. I started by looking through my contact list and pitched my friends a crazy idea; to leave their stable careers and join me in the startup world. Luckily, my plan worked, and soon, we turned my dream of Goxip into a reality.
After long days and nights the next few months, with only a prototype, zero users, and zero real-world testing, we applied for a startup exhibition and competition called RISE, hoping for the best. To our surprise, we won the contest, which helped Goxip gain widespread acclaim. Eventually, that exposure helped us raise US$1.62 million in seed funding, one of the largest totals in Asia Pacific history.
This story may sound simple, but that is far from my own reality. Asking two friends to quit their comfortable careers and join you can place an enormous burden on your shoulders, especially if you are a female founder in Asia. Goxip’s struggles were real, as we faced many challenges together in making our first prototype.
From arguments over user experience to finding a suitable market for our product, I often questioned why I pursued my dream in the first place. I learned quickly, though, that chasing your goal means facing challenges you can’t dodge or avoid like an everyday employee.
That’s why your passion and your beliefs are so important, because, without them, there is no drive to continue. Without them, there is no drive for you to push your limits and keep your dream alive. Passion kills fear and forces you to jump through hurdles you never imagined you’d face. Passion keeps you going, even when giving up is an easy option.
Don’t be afraid. Find a problem you’re passionate about solving. Don’t doubt yourself because you don’t have the technology or networking background of your peers; anyone can be a global problem solver. You can be an expert in your own right, and there are always ways to overcome your obstacles.
The more I work in technology, the more I see women doubting their abilities to make a real difference in the field. What they don’t see is that it takes time, effort and hard work to get to your end-goal; that they can make unique contributions toward the problems they’d like to solve.
A diamond is the most beautiful rock on Earth, but it takes billions of years to become so stunning. And like diamonds, great innovations often take years to form into real-world solutions. I ask you to be patient and work diligently toward your passions; I’m sure it won’t take you a billion years to excel and shine like a diamond in today’s digital economy.
Join us as we profile three young female entrepreneurs who are shaking up the tech world across Asia Pacific. Sign up for Women Rock-IT today! To learn more about Women Rock-IT events visit our website.
Our support of the Cisco Networking Academy is one example of how Cisco is harnessing the power of the digital revolution to accelerate global problem solving, enabling people and societies to thrive in the digital economy. Our goal is to positively impact 1 billion people by 2025.