“Taking the Time to Tinker”
Many great innovations began as toys built by individuals who love to tinker. In this talk, Poornima Vijayashanker tells us that she was introduced to technology, as a child, by her father who talked to her about ‘wafers and chips’. At home, she wasn’t afraid to take things apart; she even programmed the VCR, and installed the sound card in her family’s first PC. While people use technology, they fear learning how to code and building things. Machines are seen as a black box that should be left alone! In her talk she explains that we need to reignite people’s curiosity and imagination by getting back to engineering’s roots – tinkering and playing with things to see how they work.
Poornima has been fascinated by technology since she was 3. Her father a hardware engineer, made “chips” and “wafers”, which she thought were potato chips and cookies! Eventually her dad took her to his fab when she was 9, she sat and watched how chips and wafers were made and tested. Not disappointed at the lack of treats, she was utterly amazed by how everything was mechanized! Inspired by all that technology could do for humanity, she double majored in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Duke University. After graduating she moved out West to be in the heart of tech, Silicon Valley, where she was lured into startup land and entrepreneurship. She was a founding engineer at Mint.com. Since it’s acquisition she has gone on to start: BizeeBee, a CRM solution for fitness businesses, and Femgineer, an education company for tech professionals and entrepreneurs..