Tag Archives: Tech.co

ShearShare – App of the Week and Start-Up of the Year

ShearShare Founders Courtney and Tye Caldwell

Business success is about finding the sweet spot where supply meets demand. The right recipe mixing supply and demand creates opportunity. Thats is why ShearShare is the App of the Week and Start Up of the Year.

ShearShare is the brainchild of Courtney and Tye Caldwell. This ingenious couple created an app that allows barbers, beauticians, manicurist and stylist to find a space to work. An empty barber chair or hair station does not make money. But using ShearShare a shop owner can fill that spot and a barber or beautician can have a place to work, on demand.

ShearShare has exploded on the scene in 250 cities and in 11 countries and expanding to another 32 cities. ShearShare plans to be in every state where booth rentals are allowed by June of 2017. ShearShare was named Tech.co Start-Up of the Year for 2016.

One of things that makes this app so powerful is the fact that it solves a problem by using technology to address a changing industry. Stylists were no longer renting space for very long. Many stylist became more transient. This is where supply and demand became genius for this Texas couple.

Tye is the owner of  Salon74 by Tye.  Calls came into his Plano, TX salon from stylists seeking to borrow a seat in his salon for a day or two. These calls came in from local stylists and out of state. A good stylists or barber is hard to find and the good ones have dedicated and loyal clients. But people move. And smart stylists wanted to continue to service their clientele. Let me give you an example; former President Barack Obama flew his barber in from Chicago every two weeks.  Short term rental of salon space was not an industry practice but it was a good idea.

Tye saw the opportunity. “We were still trying to fill our empty salon suites the old way, by having stylists sign long-term contracts,” said Tye. “But we soon realized that we could make some money on our space rather than none. We said ‘let’s try it out, it can’t hurt.’ Then it kept happening over and over again. We were manually matching stylists to salons at first, but at state number 5, we thought there had to be something out there to scale this. There has to be an app for that.”

The result of this action lead to the creation of an app that allows mobile and home beauticians an opportunity to work for their clients in a professional setting while at the same time creating revenue for the shop owner.

ShearShare is available for Android and Apple devices.

 

Black Women in Technology Doing Their Own Thing – Stephanie Lampkin

stephanie-lampkin

Stephanie Lampkin, Founder-CEO Blendoor

Technology and diversity are not synonymous. But that is not to say that African-Americans and people of color are not making efforts and having success in the cyber realm.

Black people have a saying; “Step out on faith.” That means you believe in yourself and a higher power to succeed. These sistahs have knowledge and talent and have stepped out into the tech industry with new and powerful ideas that can change the world. Black women are breaking the mold and shattering stereotypes by making a difference in the tech industry. 

One of the biggest problems in the technology industry, and industry in general, is racial prejudice. It is common for people with so called “black sounding” names to be passed over for employment opportunities. One black woman has decided to fight back.

Stephanie Lampkin launched Blendoor to fight racial bias in hiring practices. Blendoor was one of the winning companies at Google Demo Day. Lampkin’s company also won Tech.Co’s Startup of the Year competition in 2015.  Blendoor is a recruiting application that shields the prospective job candidate’s name, picture and dates to help curtail racial bias in hiring. Blendoor is focused on providing candidates to companies based on “merits not molds.”

“It’s quantifiable,” said Lampkin. “We realized that hiding names and photos created a safer space. Women and people of color felt better sharing their information.”

Racial bias in hiring has tools. Ethnic sounding names and faces of color are often rejected and using the well traveled professional networks can be an obstacle. 

Lampkin believes women, people of color, members of the LGBT community and other minorities in Silicon Valley feel alienated by job search websites that reveal a candidates name and headshot.

Lampkin told Forbes.com; “I know a number of really successful, Ivy League-educated, African-American people between 35 and 45 who refuse to use LinkedIn out of fear of discrimination. These companies are founded by white guys. There’s a psychology I understand as a woman of color that’s driven how and why I’ve shaped the product the way I have.”

Lampkin 31, is an amazing story. She was born into a welfare household and her mother was at one time homeless while pregnant with her. Yet Lampkin over came incredible odds to become the CEO of a technology start up. She learned how to write code by the time she was 13 then went on to graduate from Stanford and MIT and worked for five years at Microsoft.

But Lampkin learned that was not enough. She was still ignored for jobs at major technology companies. As a black woman, Lampkin admits it was probably because she “did not look the part.” She just didn’t fit the mold of what tech companies are looking for. Deliberate or not it is commonly known as pattern matching. Lampkin states that often veterans and disabled people are also sifted out of the candidate pool.

Lampkin remembers advancing deep into the interview process for a prized job at a well-known tech firm in Silicon Valley. In the end she was told her background wasn’t “technical enough” for a role in software engineering.

“The recruiter told me a sales or marketing job might open up,” said Lampkin. She landed at Microsoft where she spent the next five years. Lampkin is nobody’s fool and understands that being a black women was not an asset in the tech industry. Repeated job rejections have taught her that.

Blendoor is not a one way street for companies looking to improve diversity in its ranks. Job candidates can also use the app to examine a company’s inclusion programs and diversity of its executive staff. 

The app will also collect data on who is applying to tech’s most sought-after positions and who is getting them.  “Blendoor wants to make companies accountable using data,” Lampkin said.

Now you know.