Friday, June 21, 2013

Thursday Thoughts: Black Girls Code

Black Girls Code swag. #changetheratio

I am a big fan of Black Girls Code and its founder, Kimberly Bryant (@6gems). This is really a beautiful and exciting movement to educate the next generation of girls and people of color to innovate and create technology. I was fortunate enough to attend a viewing of their documentary short. I watched it after seeing a tweet with a link to the video a few months ago. There is a stark dichotomy of watching the fifteen minute documentary on your laptop and seeing it with a roomful of black women.

Mind blown. 

There were a few non-black attendees and a guy or two, which is great because this space needs as many supporters as possible. Out of all of the recent events I've been to, from pitch competitions to networking happy hours to conferences, I have never been in a room where the majority of the attendees were brown people.What a refreshing feeling to be in a space where others look like you and are interested in technology and innovation! I was thoroughly annoyed that I got lost trying to find St. Franis College and missed the networking portion of the program but I was more than satisfied with just getting there.

One of my Startup Institute classmates, Danie, was there too. I forwarded her the Eventbrite ticket earlier in the afternoon because I know the event would be a good fit for her as a web developer. She seemed so pumped to get a New York chapter going and I really hope she connected with the right individuals to do so.

I had another engagement to attend later in the evening with some of my other Startup Institute classmates and employees at Lean Startup Machine at The Randolph near Little Italy. I really like the work that Lean Startup does all over the world. LSM is innovating and changing the way ideas are conceptualized and proven. Plus, one of colleagues from Mason works there. Shoutout to Sirfaraz (plus Sam + Rafael)

I am definitely looking forward to more tech and startup related events in New York City. Now, if only I can reduce my propensity for getting lost...

- Ijeoma

Monday, June 17, 2013

Tuesday Tweets: Learn to Do

I have been in New York for exactly ten days now. The program is coming along and I expect it to get more intense. Unfortunately, I have extremely limited Internet access at my aunt's house in the Bronx AND there is limited Internet capabilities at the Startup Institute office. I figured that I would post during my lunch break. To check out all the comings and goings, I recommend following the #learntodo hashtag as well as my handle @Lucky_IJ, which I will be changing soon, stay tuned. In the meantime, below are a couple of tweets from my classmates:

I suggested "Roses & Thorns" (Google it) and the group activity ended in a kumbaya group hug. I'm not in the picture because I was taking pictures, go figure.

Cameron, as he likes to be called, is in the technical marketing group like me. He's a fun guy who loves cars.

Danie is the only female web developer in the entire program! She is really easy to talk to and has a passion for social good. Definitely connect with her!

More tweets and Twitterness to come.

- Ijeoma

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Whatever Happened to Wednesday?

"I thought about how easily we are all brainwashed by our society and culture to stop thinking and just assume by default that more money equals more success and more happiness, when ultimately happiness is really just about enjoying life."

- Tony Hsieh, Delivering Happiness, New York Times Best Seller

One of my books to finish this week is Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion And Purpose by the CEO of, Inc., Tony Hsieh. His last name is pronounced, "shay", in case you were wondering. It's been on my reading list for quite awhile. Thankfully, my sister-in-law had a fresh copy she picked up at an airport awhile back. Funny, I tend to buy business magazines when I fly but maybe I need to start purchasing books for long flights.

In reading this quirky, autobiographical business memoir I realized that I need to share more wisdom. Delivering Happiness is all about learning from past mistakes and offering advice from someone who has had many highs and lows, personally and professionally. It's an informal, fun read packed with gems of wisdom, the process of building a brand and living a purposeful life. 

I am more than half way through his story and I cannot wait to get to the end. I really appreciate his authenticity and willingness to live a happy life. Clearly his life is less stressful than most, since was acquired by Amazon a few years for over $1 billion. Someone's sitting pretty.

Regardless of his financial security, you have to read the book to respect his hustle and the lessons he learned along the way. It takes a lot of grit and a tad bit of craziness to earn the list of accomplishments he has on his resume.

Though I have not posted on Wednesdays because I have yet to profile a women entrepreneur, I am dedicating future hump days to "Wisdom Wednesday". From books, magazines, blog posts, conferences, interviews and everything in between, there is a lot of wisdom to share.

If happiness is about enjoying life as Mr. Hsieh states, then for me, imparting knowledge and wisdom to others makes me happy. To learn more about the book, visit

Let the wisdom building, wisdom sharing begin!

- Ijeoma

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Monday, June 3, 2013

Make it Happen Monday: Personal Touch

It's June already! This time two weeks ago, I was in New York City attending a conference. It was hot as Hades and I was really looking forward to going home. Little did I know, that my Megabus ride would probably be one of my worst. The details are not worth sharing. It certainly was not as bad as last time but it's one I would like to forget. Note to self: Bring plenty of water.

That particularly trip set the stage for quite an exhausting week, ending in me falling ill. All of my grinding came to a halt about a week and a half ago. My throat, more like my nodules, were uncharactersially sore and swollen. I attritbute my sudden bout of illness to stress and fatigue. It was bound to happen. It's been two weeks and I feel a lot better, especially since several of my projects and engagements were successful. More on that later. I am happy to be blogging again. Now, let's get back to business.

I've wrapped up a least one internship and a part-time job. I have a few more projects to conclude so I can focus all my energies on my big move to the BIG apple. Countdown check: 5 days.

Aside from making my life more manageable by sleeping more, I am spending today and tomorrow in snailmail mode. For many years now, I've made it a habit to handwrite thank you notes and letters of appreciation whenever I leave an internship, job, program or a similar opportunity. I am knee-deep in stationary at the moment but love every minute of expressing my gratitude.

I'm making it happen this Monday by putting pen to paper, literally. Emails are certainly faster and more convenient but sometimes the road less traveled is more meaningful.

- Ijeoma

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