On February 12th, PowerToFly hosted an evening of networking and tech talks at San Francisco's swanky Monroe, featuring women tech leaders from two fast-growing startups: Logikcull and Ubiquity6.
After some networking time over wine, beer and light food, both Logikcull and Ubiquity6 presented short tech talks, diving a bit deeper into their missions, products, tech stacks and how they are growing their teams. After their presentations, Logikcull and Ubiquity6 opened the floor for questions. The evening ended with plenty of more opportunities to network while also allowing our attendees to pick up some sweet branded swag from each of our featured companies.
Greetings from PowerToFly in San Francisco!
The event was held at the beautiful Monroe.
Waiting for our guests to arrive.
Logikcull's swag table.
Ubiquity6's swag table.
Ubiquity6's tech talk.
Logikcull's tech talk.
Taking questions from the audience.
A great evening!
Below is an article originally written by Casey C. Sullivan at PowerToFly Partner Logikcull, and published on November 21, 2018. Go to Logikcull's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
Even the least technical among us can understand complex technology.
I'm proof—as are a number of other lawyers, professionals, and even children who recently completed a crash course in coding as part of Logikcull's annual "Family Day." The instructors: Arjun Banerjee Mulchandani and Nyan Prakash, 11 and 14 years old respectively, from Kids Teach Tech, an organization dedicated to teaching programming and technology to underserved children. In about an hour, they taught a group ranging from seasoned professionals to a seven year old enough programming to build a simple calculator.
Lawyers Learn Tech
You're never too old, or too young, to learn new technology. This is especially true for legal professionals today, as technology is increasingly having an impact on the law, modifying legal doctrines, and creating new sources of evidence. These developments are creating significant opportunities for enterprising professionals, as well as potential burdens for those who don't know how to, or don't have the tools to, handle growing amounts of data.
For attorneys, staying on top of technology isn't just a practical necessity, it's also an ethical duty. The ABA's Model Rules, for example, require lawyers to maintain competency, including as to "the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology". And a majority of state bar associations now have rules explicitly requiring technological competence. Indeed, as U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cole reminded us in a recent interview, both the bench and the bar need to remain technologically up-to-date if they are to handle today's increasingly high-tech disputes.
For lawyers, maintaining "technological competence" can take many forms. Florida, for example, mandates regular CLE training on technology. California has issued an ethics opinion on eDiscovery competency, recognizing that "attorney competence related to litigation generally requires, among other things, and at a minimum, a basic understanding of, and facility with, issues relating to e-discovery," and, in some cases, "a higher level of technical knowledge and ability." And a recent ABA ethics opinion highlighted the importance of encryption as a way to protect client communications.
Of course, staying on top of all the latest technology can seem like an overwhelming task. Few of us, for example, have the time or energy to review the risks and benefits of every new AI program, blockchain craze, or IoT data source.
But when it comes to learning technology, no matter your level of technological expertise, familiarizing yourself with the basics easier than you may think.
Which brings us back to Arjun and Nyan.
Kids (and Lawyers) Who Code
Arjun founded Kids Teach Tech when he was just 10 years old. The organization grew out of his dual love of technology and education. Arjun launched Kids Teach Tech by introducing Python to over 75 underserved high school students in Oakland. He was assisted by Nyan Prakash and Tal Lerner when he taught Python at Stanford University this spring.
Together, the three offer classes on programming basics in Python, an introduction to Scratch programming, and programming logic, including an hour-long class on "problem-solving using physical coding blocks to solve advanced puzzles [in] a quest to find a scientist's missing pets." They are working on new classes for more advanced students (in the Unity programming language) and more fun basics for younger children. Classes are offered to children as young as six years old and as old as—given our class—much much older than six.
Arjun and Nyan came to Logikcull to teach Logikcull's non-engineers and their children introductory Python. In under an hour, we'd mastered enough of the programming language needed to create a simple program.
The exercise was an important reminder of how intimidating technology (coding! math!) can be so easily demystified. For attorneys, legal professionals, and even children, often the first step to truly understanding technology can be a simple one.
Democratizing technology is not difficult, and it's never too early, and never too late, to start learning the basics—whether prompted by your ethical duties or not.
Kids Teaching Kids
Of course, Arjun and Nyan's typical audience isn't an Instant Discovery company, or even lawyers. Kids Teach Tech was founded to reach underserved children and focuses most of its educational work on making sure that kids of all backgrounds have access to, and understanding of, technology. After students feel confident about the basics, they can either utilize classes from the internet or take more advanced classes from Kids Tech Tech.
It's not just the students who benefit. Kids teaching kids (or kids teaching adults, as the case may be) is an incredible win-win scenario. The young teachers gain confidence and learn their subjects better, and the students feel more confident in learning since they are learning from another kid (who is also making it as fun for them as possible). Arjun learned this first hand in Oakland when, at just 10 years old, he had to muster enough confidence to instruct high school students. A 14 year old girl came up to him after his second class and said that she and her friend had thought tech was too hard for them, and were not planning to go near it. But with a 10 year old in front of them teaching it, they had no excuse but to learn and now knew they could do it! Which is exactly the goal of Kids Teach Tech - to ensure every child is confident that they can do coding.
Over the next few months, Kids Teach Tech will be partnering with Sunday Friends to reach underserved children in San Jose. They will also be returning to schools in Oakland and Richmond, California, and expanding to other districts across the San Francisco Bay Area. They are beginning classes for Girl Scout troops and hoping to teach at more organizations with underserved kids.
In addition to Arjun, Nyan and Tal will soon be teaching on their own. Nine recent recruits are also prepared to assist with classes. At Kids Teach Tech's first organization meeting recently, Soren Rosier, a PhD student in Education at Stanford University, gave them all a workshop on the best techniques for kids to teach kids.
If you know an organization, group of lawyers, or school (especially those including underserved students) that could benefit from such an experience, don't hesitate to reach out to Kids Teach Tech. And if you would like to support kids teaching kids teaching technology, Kids Teach Tech just launched their holiday fundraiser. More information is available at www.kidsteachtech.com/donate
Below is an article originally written by Laura Goldberg, the Head of Talent and Retention at PowerToFly Partner Logikcull, and published on June 4, 2018. Go to Logikcull's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
Michelle Price joined Logikcull in March as VP of Design, where she shepherds the company's product design and vision. An artist, designer, and entrepreneur, Price previously co-founded Intuit's QuickBooks Self-Employed product, growing it from a team of eight to over 200.
Customer empathy is the foundation of Price's work, where she seeks to make complex technology easy and delightful. We recently sat down with her to discuss her approach to design, how she puts together a team, and what inspired her to join Logikcull. A lightly edited transcript of that conversation follows.
Logikcull: Why did you decide to join Logikcull?
Michelle Price: Basically, I've rooted for the underdog all my life. I've always been motivated by the values of hope, humility, motivation, tolerance, the ability to stand up for personal convictions and face adversity, and the belief that people have value and that all things are possible. These values have guided me throughout my personal life, my career, and now to Logikcull.
I was excited by the idea that Logikcull can level the playing field in the legal world; the days of drowning the little guy or girl in paper in hopes that they won't find time or resources to go through them are over.
"I was excited by the idea that Logikcull can level the playing field in the legal world."
Another reason is that my husband works for a firm that does environmental legal work. His firm has been able to stop polluters, close down coal plants, and more. Logikcull routinely plays a critical role in helping his firm navigate and compete in discovery-heavy litigation, often against adversaries with deep pockets and substantial resources to bear.
My kids always say, "Daddy saves the world!" But daddy couldn't do it without this company.
Every job I've ever had has dealt with backing the little guy. I came from Intuit, where I helped build the whole self-employment product because I didn't want to just help the company, I wanted to help the person. In this respect, being able to help the team that might not be able to go through a case without having a product like this was a big reason I ended up here.
Logikcull: How would you describe the creative process when you're talking about product design? What are the skills that go into it? How do you accomplish things? How do you channel your creativity in that fashion?
Price: For me, it's always been about falling in love with the problem and not solutions.
It's my and my team's job to figure out the best way to help you do a task. The other day, I was looking through our customer messages and some of our users were suggesting that we make changes they thought would be helpful. But I wanted to understand their pain points first.
"I am a huge customer advocate and that's always going to be first."
I think it's super important to have empathy for the user and always come in with a natural curiosity for things.
As for vision, we're trying to make the most impactful decisions for our customers and for our business at this point, marrying those two particular things together. We're also thinking about what problems our customers will face in the future so the product can account for those as they emerge.
Logikcull: It seems like you're always putting yourself in someone else's shoes. How do you do that?
Price: As a product designer, you really need to be empathetic or you're just going to build a really crappy product. I think having that ability to hang out with the user and see what they do on a daily basis is important. If you're going to design a product for a stay-at-home mom and it has to be an app, you're not going to design it to be used with two hands; you need to observe people's behavior in the environment they're in.
"For me, it's always been about falling in love with the problem and not solutions."
I am a huge customer advocate and that's always going to be first.
Logikcull: As you're building a customer-focused product, what do you seek in a team?
Price: I have been lucky to be on a lot of amazing teams and see different organizational structures over the past 20 years. The two traits that I really keep coming back to are passion and natural curiosity. Those particular items really just instill the foundation of an amazing product designer, PM, or an amazing human being.
"That's what I'm searching for—a team that has a lot of passion, a team that really wants to take risks when it comes to testing out things."
I think the type of team that I'm building is one where everybody has to have that foundation. I'm looking for people that are visionaries. I'm looking for people that are more tactical. I'm pairing up strengths and different qualities to make a really nice team, because not everybody can do everything; you're not supposed to.
So, pairing up someone who's a blue-sky thinker with someone who's super detail-oriented makes an awesome combination. That's what I'm searching for—a team that has a lot of passion, a team that really wants to take risks when it comes to testing out things.
I also find it important to have the ability to throw out a ton of different ideas and feel okay if none of them happen. I was at a conference recently and a speaker said, "If you're not failing 50 percent of the time, you're not doing anything." That's an awesome motto because if you're not experimenting, you're standing still.
Logikcull: How would you describe your leadership style?
Price: I am definitely more of a diplomat, although I've had colleagues say to just put a stake in the ground and have everybody follow me. I find that doesn't work. I don't like titles like "Senior" and "Principal." I really want a level playing field. Regardless if you're an intern or you have 20 years of experience, you can offer something.
I've been fortunate enough to be in companies where I've had a voice as an intern and I've had a voice as the senior. Having that input at all stages makes a huge difference. It's one of the reasons why I mentor women starting businesses now.
Logikcull: Can you tell us a little about that? How did you get into it?
Price: I started my own business when I was 25. I ran it for almost 7 years. About halfway in, I realized I needed to have health insurance and all the basic things that as a small business owner you just can't pull together. So, I went part-time on my business and then I went to work for Halsey Minor, the founder of CNET. What I realized is I had so much passion around my business and such little passion working for somebody else.
I wanted to be able take all the things that I've learned and share them with others. I wanted to show them how to structure their goals from small to big—from guerrilla marketing to creating a good outreach letter to sourcing a manufacturer.
When I started, there was nothing on Google. There were business plans, but they weren't designed for startups. I wanted to make things more approachable for women who are thinking about stepping into that world because often all those documents about starting your own business don't resonate with early career professionals or startups.
Since starting, I've switched a bit from helping businesses to mentoring early career designers. I get a lot of them connecting with me through LinkedIn. People reach out and ask me to look at their portfolios. I would have liked someone to do that for me when I was starting out. So I do take time to make sure and go through and give them pointers and put them in touch with others who can help.
Logikcull: Tell us about your time here so far. What have you learned? What do you wish you'd known before coming in?
Price: I've been here almost two months now. I would say that the product is incredibly powerful and the people are amazing. You come here, especially from a corporate background, and it's a very different feel. It's very refreshing.
I was telling somebody I'm trying to recruit that there's levity here and it's levity that you wouldn't find in other places.
Below is an article originally written by Laura Goldberg, the Head of Talent Acquisition and Retention at PowerToFly Partner Logikcull, and published on August 28, 2018. Go to Logikcull's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
The Logikcull team is driven by our four core values, one of them being "do the right thing." This value has inspired many different corporate social responsibility initiatives including our most recent tree-planting initiative. As part of "doing the right thing," we've partnered with the National Forest Foundation so that, for every 100,000 pages of data uploaded by our users, Logikcull sponsors the planting of one new tree. Already, Logikcull users have planted thousands of trees and reforested hundreds of acres of land.
Here's a look into this this new initiative, with the Talent Acquisition Specialist who first proposed the idea, Tamara Okyere.
Logikcull: How did the tree-planting initiative and reforestation campaign begin?
Tamara Okyere: The idea grew out of a discussion with the entire office during our regular "All Hands" meetings, as we brainstormed possible events for Earth Day. Logikcull co-founder and CEO, Andy Wilson, asked everyone to guess how many trees we have saved as a company, based on the amount of pages uploaded into Logikcull, which, not too long ago, would have been printed out for review by most involved in the legal field.
Truthfully, I forget the exact number [Editor's note: about 200,000 trees this month alone.] but we were all blown away by the answer. It really gave us a tangible idea of the difference we had made. I made a crack to the room about Andy loving trees and half-jokingly turned to Andy and said, "You know, we should plant a tree on behalf of our users." Andy fired back with "You know, that's a great idea!" I love that Andy instinctively knew my half-joke was not a joke at all, but an idea couched in humor. I felt very heard and we moved forward from there.
Logikcull: What impact will this initiative create?
Okyere: We started in April, with the goal of planting one tree for every 100,000 pages uploaded into Logikcull. As of now, we've planted several thousand. We're hoping that number will increase to thousands of trees or more every month and hundreds of acres reforested by the end of the year.
Logikcull: Why is Logikcull focusing on trees?
Okyere: Well, Logikcull has always been eco-friendly and, as we grow, I think we all want to bring that way of thinking along with us. Earth Day was the beginning of a more extensive conversation. I think this initiative is going to be one of the many projects that we take on to benefit the environment.
Logikcull: How does this initiative fit into Logikcull's larger values and company culture?
Okyere: We have four core values: start with the why, do the right thing, put the customer first, and pursue powerful simplicity. This initiative definitely fits in with 'do the right thing'.
Logikcull: How did you make the decision to partner with National Forest Foundation?
Okyere: We did some research and went with the National Forest Foundation because they expressed a scientific approach to tree planting. They target areas where not only is there the greatest need, but also areas that are most hospitable to reforestation. The organization also focuses all of their work on National Forests—they're the official non-profit partner of the U.S. Forest Service—so the trees planted won't just be helping the global environment, they'll be accessible to everyone as part of our national forestlands.
Logikcull: What would you like Logikcull customers to know about this new initiative?
Okyere: It's not just because of Logikcull that we're able to do this, it's our customers as well. They are choosing to create a modern legal practice; they are choosing to use Logikcull. It's because of their choice that we are able to save as many pages and plant so many trees. So, cheers to our customers.
Logikcull is hiring! To learn more about our company culture and see open positions, visit our PowerToFly page.