Category: Announcements

An Outsiders Perspective on the Women in Tech Movement

03/06/2017
During the month of February, Echo-Factory planned, promoted and hosted a series of Women in Tech panels at Apple stores in Old Pasadena and Santa Monica. These events, featuring major local tech players, including Renée LaBran, senior advisor to Idealab, Max Powers, senior vice president of business operations at TeleSign, Natalie Sun, creative technologist and founder of NextArt, and Anna Barber, managing director at Techstars, centered around the advantages women bring to the industry, along with advice for tech companies looking to include more women and for techy women looking to advance.

  

The Women in Tech Movement

Before attending these events, I hadn’t considered myself the right audience for Women in Tech. While I can get behind any cause that champions diversity, I’m not angling for a Google offer or prepping my resume for Facebook. Yes, I dabble in HTML and do a whole lot of SEO work for our Echo-Factory clients, but I consider those duties to be technical things I do in a non-tech job. I’m also living in a “fairness” bubble, working in a company with male and female owners, alongside men and women in positions of leadership, which has left me somewhat removed from the battle for inclusion that continues to be waged. However, I have come to find the Women in Tech movement is less about the field and more about the shared struggle women continue to endure to gain entry to sophisticated work environments.

The Women of Women in Tech

Both mornings, the Apple store felt closer to prime time rather than 8 a.m. on a Wednesday. The audience, made up of women and men, was alert and ready to engage our panel. As our speakers warmed up the crowd with introductions and personal anecdotes, I found more shared experiences than I had thought possible. The smiles and nods of knowing agreement around the room seemed to indicate that our audience did too. Despite discussions of obstacles, the conversation didn’t devolve into a man-bashing pity party. Instead, everyone exuded positivity, taking note of the good advice of our speakers. You could feel how excited we all were for the not-so-distant future of the tech world.

After a short Q and A, a back area was opened for attendees looking to engage the speakers in person. A surprising number of women swarmed our professionals, all with their own tales of assistant mix-ups and coffee requests, along with the techniques they’ve personally used to circumvent incidences like these and navigate male-dominated workplaces. In this arena, I met small business owners, entrepreneurs and techy women—all with the aim to shine, not in spite of their male counterparts, but because of a desire to do their personal best.

Secrets from a Panel Insider

After our Women in Tech series ended, I met with Dea Goldsmith, the moderator, Echo-Factory co-founder and chief creative officer (a titan herself), to discuss the events in more detail.

Traditionally, Echo-Factory has done more marketing-focused events. What made you want to pursue this topic?

We work closely with a number of tech companies, including those in the clean tech sector. Our job is to help them tell their story in a way that is relatable to those outside of the industry. My team and I work closely with technology to make this happen. Echo-Factory also works closely with Innovate Pasadena, a group that brings together tech startups and investors in the city. Having this exposure, coupled with my own history in a traditionally male-dominated and managed profession, made this movement feel very relevant and one of personal interest.

What was most surprising about these events?

Our tech panel had one major commonality: They entered the tech world without asking permission. They brought their own backgrounds, all of them non-tech, and became self-taught experts. They didn’t wait for the ideal job or until they had the perfect skill sets—they created their own opportunities. And, when they discussed their own moments of doubt, instead of buckling under fear, they developed strategies like seeking out mentors, books and any other constructive resources to help them surmount obstacles.

Our speakers also knew they were part of something bigger and, while that movement wasn’t always Women in Tech, having that larger goal really allowed them to push through difficulties. This has been an effective strategy I’ve personally used with great effect. When our goals are too small, that means they are often just about us. It’s easier to fight through a situation when you know you’re doing it for a larger reason.

What did you view as some of the best advice from our panelists?

I really loved the idea of creating your own seat at the table. Sometimes the elements that make women such excellent teammates and collaborators can leave them behind when it’s time to shine. These powerful women share many of the same fears and self-sabotaging habits as our audience—they’ve just figured out ways to overcome them. The advice from the panel on controlling negative emotions, their call for us to step out of our comfort zones and the importance of finding colleagues for extra support, seem so obvious now, but were a great reminder.

I also really appreciated the tips for those in positions of power. Creating a work culture that truly embraces diversity, not just in word, but also through active initiatives and critical evaluation, is the only way to ensure that, once women get through the door, they stay.

The Struggle Isn’t Just in Our Heads

After one of the events, a gentleman approached our group (a small mob had formed around Max Powers as she answered questions). He was concerned about her team management methods and, instead, suggested we treat others like our always beaming, coddling first-grade teacher. He thought it might be best for Max to return to more traditional methods of approaching the tech sector (you know, with cookies and a polite smile and a hope that those in charge might let us in). Max politely said she’d consider it (while it was clear she would not), and the group quickly worked to turn the subject back toward one of productivity. But his comments served as a good reminder of why this conversation needs to continue. In a room with predominantly likeminded people, it can feel like the discussion has maybe run its course. Clearly, there are still minds that remain to be changed, and there is work that needs to be done. Luckily, we have the women for the job.
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What about Men

02/07/2017
 

I was watching a completely factual documentary about Portland, Oregon the other night, and came across an inspiring song, dedicated to the struggles that men face in this country.

  It reminded me of several very important facts:  
  1. Echo-Factory is hosting a “Women in Technology” roundtable next week.
  2. About 90% of the people who have registered so far are women.
  3. Women already have about a 35% advantage in leading tech companies over men.
  4. If we (and by “we” I mean men) don’t show up and discover their secrets, that gap can only grow!!!!
  So, I urge you, my fellow men, to RSVP immediately.  Only by engaging with women in technology leadership positions will we be able to learn their secrets, and hopefully one day steal their powers of tech company growth and success.
women in tech                  

Women in Technology, The Latest Silver Bullet

Wed, February 22, 2017
8:00 AM – 9:30 AM PST
 
Apple 3rd Street Promenade
1415 3rd Street Promenade
Santa Monica, CA 90401
RSVP Here

Using Women To Your Unfair Advantage

01/27/2017
women in tech Here are some facts. Ninety-three percent of investor money goes to startups founded by men. Just 11% of Silicon Valley executives, 10% of directors, 10% of committee members and 8% of committee chairs are women. At Fortune 500 companies, things aren’t much better, with just 11% of the executive workforce made up of women.

Here are some more facts. Private technology companies that are led by women return a 35% higher ROI. Publicly traded companies with women in leadership roles in a broad range of industries have about a 27% performance advantage over companies that don’t.

There are lots of reasons that the tech world needs more women in leadership positions, but this is the stupid-obvious one: It’s a big competitive advantage.To put it another way, if your startup or tech company isn’t actively working to put women in leadership roles, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

Learn the Mysterious Secrets of the Female Tech Executive’s Mind

With these facts in mind, we’ve scoured the planet to bring together three, genuine, bonafide women who are in leadership positions at tech companies. We’re bringing them together at two round-table discusses hosted by Echo-Factory and held at Apple Stores in Pasadena and Santa Monica.

Our hope is that our panelists will help to answer two critical questions:
  1. What gives companies with women in tech leadership positions such a strong competitive advantage?
  2. Why, despite this advantage, are women in tech leadership positions still so rare?

Meet the Panelists

Our panel comprises three incredibly impressive individuals coming to us from within the tech industry and ready to share their own experiences and insights when it comes to women in tech.

Renée LaBran, Senior Advisor, Idealab Renée serves on the board of directors for Rustic Canyon/Fontis (a growth stage fund). She is also a top advisor to Idealab, a preeminent tech incubator in Pasadena, and serves as Gov. Brown's appointee to the Board of Trustees of the State Bar of California as a non-attorney public member.

Max Powers, SVP, Business Operations, TeleSign Max heads Client Services and directs the operational business team for TeleSign, a leading Internet security platform. She leads global routing and makes sure Client Services helps TeleSign’s worldwide customers optimize service workflow and solve immediate real-world security and fraud challenges.

Natalie Sun, Creative Technologist, Next Art Natalie is a digital creative consultant, VR producer and art tech curator who likes to “tinker with technology and design great experiences that allow people to share their stories.” She is also the founder of Next Art Night, a series of events that focuses on future-making experiments by artists working in technology.

Meet the Moderator

Dea Goldsmith, CCO and Co-Founder, Echo-Factory Dea is responsible for all things creative at Pasadena-based advertising agency Echo-Factory. She spends the majority of her time thinking about, strategizing and iterating new ideas with her happy team of creatives. Dea is a firm believer in harnessing the power of technology in marketing to deliver explosive business growth.

RSVP

February 22nd, 8-9:30 am
@Apple Store on 3rd St. Promenade in Santa Monica
RSVP HERE

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Rockview Farms – Our Newest Client

10/29/2015

Rockview Farms LogoEcho-Factory today announced that it has been named agency of record for Rockview Family Farms, a leading dairy products company operating facilities throughout Southern California and Nevada. Rockview owns its farms and cows and represents one of the last family-run and independently operated fluid milk plants in Southern California. The company offers competitively priced products with the highest quality ingredients and is set apart by its unique relational approach to customer service. (more…)

Let’s Argue Art & Technology

10/13/2015
Get Art out of Technology   Don't you hate it when you're trying to create art, and all these pixels and 1's and 0's get in the way?  It's like, "Come on! I'm trying to do some art here, not get jacked in to net pages and such!" So frustrating. (more…)

Echo Factory Participates in This Year’s Techsparks Cross Campus Tech Crawl

02/19/2015

More than 100 Innovators Toured the Echo Factory Office 

tech sparks tech crawl innovate pasadena Last Wednesday, as a featured business on this year’s Techsparks Cross Campus Tech Crawl, Echo Factory opened its doors to the Pasadena innovation community, welcoming more than 100 of the area’s brightest entrepreneurs for a tour, some socializing, a drink or two and some great discussion. As one of five tech-affiliated businesses on the crawl, we hosted four groups averaging around thirty people each. Making the rounds between Cross Campus, Ayzenberg, Central Desktop and Ableton, visitors toured the Echo Factory office and studio, had their photo taken on our EF step-and-repeat, learned about our business and viewed some of our work. Did we mention the drinks? And the robot cake pops? Delicious. Throughout the office, we set up a number of stations where visitors could learn about our tech clients, and the work we do on their behalf. Featured clients included: Mag-Lite Cloud Pets by Spiral Ray Products P-2 Precision Paragon Emergency ID We at Echo Factory had a lot of fun and really enjoyed meeting and interacting with members of the Innovate Pasadena community. Being new in town, the crawl was a great way to make some new friends and learn more about the innovation going on each day all around us. And, let’s be real, who doesn’t value a solid excuse to drink it up with a bunch of smart, well-spoken, good-looking people? Thanks to Innovate Pasadena and Tech Sparks for hooking us up with this opportunity, and thanks to all who turned out, had a shot and talked some shop. We hope to see you again soon. In the meantime, check out our portfolio, we're updating all the time.

Our newest client: Spiral Toys

02/07/2015
Entertainment Tech Company Spiral Toys announced that they've selected us to lead their branding and marketing effort, which began with the transition of the name and Stock Ticker Symbol to Spiral Toys (STOY) http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/marketwire/11G031568-001.htm Spiral Toys Logo Kids today are growing up in a purely digital age, a world where computers, tablets, game consoles, and smartphones have become an integral part their lives. Some five-year-olds know more about navigating the Web than their grandparents or even their parents. Where many adults a few years ago were trying to wrap their brains around connecting to the Web without an Ethernet cord, kids today can't imagine a world without the cloud and wireless technology. Technology has even re-shaped children's interaction with toys. cloudpets in a row They look like typical stuffed animals, but CloudPets are connected through the cloud to a mobile device application, allowing users to send messages back and forth between the toy and the app. Spiral Toys, a developer of innovative products in the mobile connected entertainment space that launched its Toy-Fi line last June, was acquired by Rocap, Inc. (formerly OTCQB:ROCP) last July. On Wednesday, the company announced the completion of the name and ticker change to Spiral Toys and "STOY." The company also said that as part of the re-branding effort, it has partnered with Echo-Factory, a full-service advertising and design firm. Echo-Factory has a pretty impressive portfolio, working with household brands, such as Mag-Lite and General Electric (NYSE:GE), and superstars like Taylor Swift as part of a promotion with Altura Credit Union. "Echo-Factory understands the space we're in, and they have the vision and talent to help us continue to build our brand so we can eventually own that space," commented Spiral Toys CEO Mark Meyers in a press release today. "We're excited about Mark's vision… and to be honest, the technology is just so cool, and that makes Spiral Toys a dream client for us," added Mike Schaffer, principal at Echo-Factory. Further, Spiral Toys said today that it has partnered with international toy distributor Jay@Play and On Demand Global to launch CloudPets on Direct Response Television on March 1, 2015. Jay@Play, a division of Jay Franco and Sons, is the distributor behind the popular plush animal brands "CuddleUpPets," "Hideaway Pets," "Seat Pets" and more, so the Spiral Toys look to be a natural fit for their distribution channels. Spiral Toys also says it plans to release CloudPets into mass retail stores across the U.S. this August. In a bid to gain exposure, CloudPets commercials will be airing on major kids television networks such as Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and Disney Junior. Spiral Pets has management with top-level experience in the business and has aligned itself with some marketers that can get the job done. Shares are moving the right direction in the past three months, from a low of 30 cents to 45 cents per share in Wednesday trading (up a penny on 14,000 in volume), equating to a market capitalization of only $18.6 million. Now, the company had better get some product in the warehouse.