Building Eco-Friendly Instruments, Paths For Women In TechOzy co-founder Carlos Watson tells host Arun Rath about a female tech entrepreneur aiming to attract more women of color to the field and a company taking an eco-friendly approach to crafting ukuleles. Watson also remembers the most magical hotel he's ever stayed in.
The online magazine Ozy covers people, places and trends on the horizon. Co-founder Carlos Watson joins All Things Considered regularly to tell us about the site's latest discoveries.
This week, Watson tells host Arun Rath about a female tech entrepreneur aiming to attract more women of color to the field and a company taking an eco-friendly approach to crafting instruments that usually require endangered wood. Watson, who has stayed in hundreds of hotels in dozens of countries, talks about an unforgettable stay in Hong Kong.
"Although she'd heard for years that the dearth of women, and particularly women of color, in Silicon Valley companies was due to a 'pipeline issue', she said, 'That's not true. There are great women out there who want to get involved.'
"And so she launched a conference last year called Focus 100. Low and behold, several hundred black women who were interested in launching tech startups showed up. And subsequently, she's built an entire company around it called Digital Undivided, that is helping, in a sense, to incubate, mentor and in some cases find investment for black female entrepreneurs."
"These wonderful, guitar-like instruments for years have required really fancy woods and other things. If you were building a classic Ukulele from the Acacia tree on Hawaii, you'd use something called Koa.
"But a guy named Joe Lutwack in San Francisco who is very environmental focused said, 'Is there a way that we could build a premium instrument, but do it in a way that was eco-friendly?' Consequently, [he] helped create a number of interesting materials, including one that he calls e-Koa."
"I've traveled to over 50 countries, from Iceland to Zimbabwe. I've probably stayed in, by my last count, some 500 hotels. But my favorite hotel in all the world is a space in Hong Kong called the Upper House.
"Absolutely stunningly designed hotel, with the most magical service ever. So I love to play basketball — I'm not a very skilled basketball player, but everywhere in the world I go I love to play. I was having the hardest time finding a court in Hong Kong, and I had been there no less than 12 hours before they found me a midnight basketball game packed with 50 other Hong Kong natives."