Guest Entry: Marily of Geekettes London Chapter

Marily is finishing her PhD in Computer Science (focusing in Predictive Analytics) at Imperial College London. She has loved technology since a very young age and has been trying to motivate everyone around her to embrace it in the same way as she does. She is now co-running the London Geekettes chapter.

On technology and innovation

Last week, I came across a video ad online. The ad started with a student that was browsing books in a library on a large touchscreen monitor, then a car with a 3D GPS navigation system, then someone using a tablet at a beach, a woman having a video call with her family and finally a child browsing a massive list of movies on the family’s TV that he was able to live-stream. What struck me most were 2 words that appeared after each one of these features. In fact these words were so big that they covered the entire width of the screen.

“You Will”.

All the features that were in this video sounded pretty normal, right? Well… That video was from 1993… that is, an ad made by AT&T, 21 years before. Twenty- one. When I was just about to discover a book at my brother’s room that was explaining what a “Mainframe Computer” was.

The words that appeared constantly in this video “You Will” implied that the ad agency that created this video knew that the features presented must have come across as the most lunatic projection of the future, straight out of science fiction. A vision of the future as crazy as a virtual reality headset that allows a stereoscopic 3D view with excellent depth, scale, and parallax that presents unique and parallel images for each eye.. but wait, this already exists, it’s called Oculus Rift.

So, what is technoogy for you?
It’s my entire life. In 2012, I started running a group for women in CS group at my College where I met more women that shared the same passion as me. Over the weeks we became more and more and then our little group led to organising the first UK all women hackathon with Facebook London as well as to collaborations with various women’s organisations in the UK which have been actively trying to shape the career path for the next generation of women in technology.

Then in 2013, I was asked if I was interested to run the London chapter of this global organization that facilitates relationships between women in the technology sector, called the Geekettes. My good friend from Imperial, Claire, is running it with me.

What is the mission and how can people be involved?
The Geekettes believe that the more women get involved with tech, development and leadership, the more successful and diverse companies and products will be in the future.

We are actually community led. This means that everyone can follow us on Twitter @LondonGeekettes, talk to us on Facebook /LondonGeekettes and tell us what they’d like us to plan for them. We check our inbox, see what suggestions for events we get, and we find a way to make it happen.

For example, we are planning an all-women summer hack alongside another London initiative that supports women of all ages in STEM, the Stemettes next month. A few weeks ago we were asked to plan an event for startups, I called it “Start up Do’s and Dont’s”. We sent out a few emails to see who would be keen to speak to this kind of event, we looked for a room, and the outcome was 4 amazing speakers (from Twitter, Forward Partners, Entrepreneur First and Smarkets) and 180 attendees. How do you find the tech/startup/entrepreneurial scene in London?

I read somewhere that whilst Berlin and Paris are actively encouraging investment “London is the only comparable hub to Silicon Valley. It offers a wide range of support networks, capital infrastructure and diverse talent”, I totally agree. Every week there are numerous events in tech of all sorts, most of them free to attend. People can gain skills, be inspired/motivated by amazing people, find mentors, become mentors and come up with a cool idea for a personal project. At last month’s startup event, David Norris from Forward Partners mentioned that his company could take a single founder with an idea, provide funding and expert guidance and turn it into a successful business.

I really feel that the opportunities in London are endless.

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