FIRST THOUGHT: The Future is Now
I was super into the cartoon series The Jetsons. A robot maid who cleans up your toys? Yes, please! A watch that allows me to video chat? Sure, why not? A food replicator that creates any food I want? Uh, absolutely.
This futuristic technology seemed like a one-way ticket to fun town. What the Jetsons didn’t show about tech is all the irritating stuff, like incessant email spam or forgetting every single stinkin’ password.
What’s one piece of technology that you couldn’t live without?
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 1.1 Million
I’ve seen more men than women type with two fingers or jam a printer. Just sayin’. So why aren’t there more women in computing jobs?
According to the National Center for Women and Information Technology, by 2024, there will be 1.1 million computer-related job openings. But just last year, women held only 25 percent of professional computing occupations. Some say this gender gap is because women tend to choose low-paying jobs that are more fulfilling or because computers were marketed as a man’s machine early on.
But last time I checked, women do like to earn a decent income and are indeed computer savvy. The truth is the world of STEM—science, technology, engineering and math—is typically a man’s world, and computer science is no different. So, the next time you ask for the “tech guy” at work, think twice.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Mary Wolff, CEO and Co-Founder of Taptl
Even though Mary Wolff made success look easy by earning a law degree by the time she was in her mid-20s, co-workers wouldn’t take her seriously. At one point, her boss even told Wolff that she was “sexy.” Eww! These are just a few of the challenges of being a woman in the workplace that I’m sure many of you can relate to.
Wolff dealt with workplace sexism by exiting the corporate world for one of her own making. She left law in 2014 and teamed up with Jeremiah Patterson, the inventor of the world’s only stand-alone transparent LCD screen. Based on that invention, they co-founded an award-winning company called Taptl. Ladies, this thing is cool. It’s technology like you’ve never seen before (except maybe on The Jetsons). Wolff says it opens up endless possibilities. Now, any piece of technology, such as phones and tablets, can be completely transparent. You could look at a website on your window, your glass table or any elegant piece of glass. And Taptl hand-makes the transparent LCD screens in the United States, and the technology is meant to reduce the physical footprint, compared to a normal flat-screen LCD television.
At the time of the company’s launch, Wolff was living in Miami, which I assume is exactly like that catchy Will Smith song. When she was visiting family in St. Louis, she heard about an accelerator for women-led companies called Prosper Women Entrepreneurs. Wolff quickly applied. After being accepted into the program in 2015, she decided to relocate Taptl to the Show Me State.
In the Prosper program, Wolff learned how to advance sales, pitch for funding and lead a company. By the program’s completion, she’d developed her go-to market strategy and learned that if you’re advertising to everyone, your audience is no one. That’s why Wolff released the Taptl product with yacht owners in mind. They can watch the ocean and TV at the same time, all while being space- and energy-efficient. Sounds like the life!
But Wolff isn’t resting on her laurels. As recently as the end of last year, Taptl received an Arch Grant, which awards $50,000 to innovative and scalable startups located in St. Louis. It’s funding she says will help her company transition perfectly into its next growth phase.
Even though Wolff spent her education studying law, she found her purpose post-college and bravely followed her ambition. Now, her dreams go as far as the eye can see.
QUITE THE QUOTE
No doubt Wolff took the wise advice of Albert Einstein, who once said:
“To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.”
That’s all for now. Be sure to share this so more women can have a voice! Thanks for getting ready with us.