I’ve been asked many times in the last month “Why?”. Why am I doing this? I initially wanted to spout out all the functionality and features that iXMessage has, or will do, and how I think girls will love it. I got a little frustrated, before realizing I was doing a sales pitch, a boring one. And a bad one.
Pontificating on the features of iXMessage is not why I’ve build the platform, nor is it why I’ve been holding onto this project for most of my career, trying to get it to some version of done. I’ve been interrupted, disrupted, and self-defeating many more times than I care to admit. I would like to explore this question of why iXMessage, by first talking about why I’m writing this blog.
My niece, Heather, texted me a few weeks ago. She texted me, did not call. She was over-the-top excited about doing a blog and wanted me to help her set one up. Of course I would help her. Her teachers invited a professional blogger to present the business of blogging to her class. This idea really appealed to Heather as she has many talents and interests and wants to talk about them and help others learn to do things.
Who helped who here?
I never thought I’d ever need or want to blog about anything. The lightbulb went on, however, and I decided to create this iXMessage blog. I then re-discovered a video clip from a small design session I had 3 years ago with my two tween-age nieces, their neighbor friend, and my brother as “the parent”. During this session Heather just tossed out the idea for a blog feature for iXMessage, like it’s the most natural thing in the world. She explained why it would be a good feature, as well. This was three years ago, she doesn’t even remember it. I’ve since added the blog feature to iXMessage. So I’ve experienced this life-cycle of my 10-year old niece identifying a blog feature for a product I’m trying to build, forgetting that she even thought of it, then, as a teen with more freedom, she wants to create a blog on her own website for herself, and she also inadvertently gets me going on writing a blog myself.
Girls know what they want.
Core technology is computer languages, frameworks, operating systems, networks, and software design methodology, basically. I’m a coder, I program software, and I design software. I know core technology. I do not profess to be an expert in anything, but I know enough to have built the iXMessage Platform. I took my idea from 20 some years ago and built it, changed it, rewrote it a few times, and finally landed on what it is now.
My experience as a coder is not – NOT – represented in the public perception of what being a coder means. The stereotypes, sadly, have persisted, even to the point of sexism around pay and advancement in the workplace, and declining numbers of women pursuing careers in computer science. Knowing core technology allowed me to take breaks throughout my career. I’ve traveled for extended periods of time. I pursued film making at Pittsburgh Filmmakers, lived in the Silicon Valley as well as the beautify mountains of Colorado. It has been a creative and inspiring adventure.
Why did I build the iXMessage Social Media Platform?
Girls deserve a culture that supports choices, not stereotypes. Tween-aged girls, that’s around age 12, that appropriate technology as builders, not just buyers, are more likely to pursue careers in computer science. Girl coders can build and produce their own ideas without technical roadblocks. They are the brains.
Core knowledge ultimately affords women more freedom and choice, many creative endeavors, and many, many fun adventures.