Not a day goes by that I don’t read an article saying I don’t exist. Apparently, there are no women actually running start-ups, no Latinos in technology. No one outside of Silicon Valley is doing anything. Maybe I’m a unicorn. Or perhaps I’m invisible.

my daughterIf I were to actually exist, and if it was possible that I could have designed a game to teach mathematics, gotten a proposal funded to create a prototype, written part of it in Javascript, found a couple of terrific programmers to work with me to write other parts of it using Unity 3-D and PHP,  written code to analyze the data as it comes in and create reports for teachers and administrators, if that were at all possible, then I must look like this.

Because any female who actually does anything like that must be very young and attractive, and definitely, definitely not a Latina grandmother who could easily be mistaken for the maid. (It’s happened – maid, secretary, hotel staff – you name it. And, no, I am NOT polite about it. Now, I wear designer suits to conferences, meet-ups and any event where I might be meeting new people. )

Actually, the person above is my 14-year-old daughter who is going to be SO grounded if her Geometry grade doesn’t come up faster than immediately. Ironically, there are plenty of people who, if you gave them a photograph of her and of me would be a lot readier to believe that she actually created this game than that I did.

OF COURSE, there are terrific organizations like BlogHer who go out of their way to promote that women ARE here, hello???

They make up for at least a few of the times I hear that such-and-such group is starting a mentoring program for Latino youth in high school to learn to code, or there is program to bring more women into technology. Mind you, I am not saying that those are not good ideas, but what I AM pointing out is the invisibility of women and minorities who are already here. It seems that the assumptions of many of these programs are that women, and Hispanic and African-American women in technology, if they actually existed, would be always mentees and never equals, not ever.

Here is somewhere I did not mind being invisible, when the kids who were playing our game were so engrossed in it, they didn’t notice me watching them, didn’t hear us talking behind them.

WATCH THEM HERE

Overall, life is good.  Our game is in beta testing, as you can see, and it is going really well. There are 100 things to fix every week, and so maybe I am just tired and crabby after another 14 hour day. The good news is that we know how to fix all of those things, it is just time and money. So, we hammer away and make things better day by day.

I suspect that is why people like me are invisible. They don’t go to meet-ups or angel investor events. I’ve been to a few, met some nice people, but for now, I felt my time was better spent making something that worked – and then something that worked better.

I saw the special on African-Americans in Silicon Valley where Vivek Wadhwa said he got a young 6-foot blonde guy to be the front for his company. Maybe I’ll try  that. Do you think there is some agency that rents those guys out like props?  If so, text me their number.

 

Comments

4 Responses to “On being a start-up unicorn”

  1. Jon Peltier on November 6th, 2012 6:59 am

    There must be dozens of agencies in Hollywood that could provide your company with an “appropriate” front man.

  2. What’s Really Needed for Data Science, Start-ups & Life : AnnMaria’s Blog on January 21st, 2014 3:19 pm

    […] is not the first time I have been mistaken for a unicorn. Not only do I possess all of those skills, but I am also a Hispanic grandmother running a start-up. […]

  3. Alexa on November 26th, 2014 7:50 pm

    Hi Dr. Annemariea,
    Im 12. I love your blog and i am a huge fan of ronda. Ronda has help me overcome my bulimia and feel good about myself. I have dyslexia and ronda helped me have the streghn to stand up to bullies. I box and do judo. Rond inspired me two. I hope one day i can be in the ufc.

    From Alexa

  4. AnnMaria on November 27th, 2014 12:54 am

    Alexa, I’m really glad to hear that.

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