To continue our season highlighting Women In Tech, we’ve got an interview with the lovely Zoe Peden, Chief Juggler at Insane Logic– a tech company currently creating speech, language and communication tools for the very young and those with special needs. We love Insane Logic over here- I once cornered Zoe at a careers fair and told her at unprecedented length how great and how needed her product was- and we’re pretty sure you’ll feel the same.
The first thing you need to know is that Insane Logic genuinely helps people.
It’s probably not something you think much about, really: how often do you actually take stock of how amazing it is to be able to communicate what you want, when you want it? Think about it now, just for a second. It is amazing, isn’t it?
But there are literally thousands of people who can’t do that, not by themselves. And that is where Insane Logic comes in.
Makaton is a language made up of signs, and symbols. It combines speech with a series of gestures and images, to make a very simple language that can express complex thought. It’s an incredibly good idea, and an incredibly flexible one. It’s this idea that is at the core of what Insane Logic are doing- but Insane Logic are taking it technical.
“I used to work for The Makaton Charity, who own the language programme used in MyChoicePad,” explains Zoe. “I wanted to see if people would benefit from using Makaton in a digital and mobile way, so I left my job [there] to create MyChoicePad. It was the kind of business I wanted to build from my background and interests in both tech and charitable causes- it’s much more motivating and rewarding to build innovative technology that changes lives, than a pure tech business. It’s a merging of both ideological and technology ideals.”
Fairly excellent, no? But changing lives has got to take time- and it’s true that Zoe spends most of hers “doing the thing I love above everything else – my company. Building my company, the team and talking to customers is what I like to do best. I get adrenaline rushes. They make me happy.”
Let’s get down to brass tacks: how did she get the business together? “Together with my co-founder and CTO, Andrew Jackman, we bootstrapped the company for the first 18 months, before getting a grant from UnLtd, and then getting into Wayra. I like to see a real need (and someone willing to pay) behind a business.”
(Wayra, for those of you who don’t pay enough attention to this blog- WHY NOT?-, is a startup accelerator, as described here.)
And finally, what should we be doing to be like Zoe? We all want to change the world, of course, and it’s increasingly becoming obvious that they way to do that is through tech.
“Learn to code,” says Zoe. “Even if you find in the end it’s not for you -even a basic understanding, and respect for those who are good at it, will come in very handy when you are in a fast growing business, and you need to build a team and design new ways of using technology to help others.”
“Design and build a simple website and build a basic app – no need to spend any money, you just need time, determination and patience. Even if you want to work in marketing, this will make you stand head and shoulders above everyone else and provide a brilliant base to kickstart your career in tech startups.”
See why we think she’s great? She’s clearly great- and her product, should you be, or know, a person who has trouble communicating, is something we’ve been waiting ages for, I think. And here are some videos that will probably make you cry, because watching people have their lives changed is always pretty moving. Thanks, Zoe!
Name: Zoe Peden
Company: Insane Logic
Role: Chief Juggler (we think this is a nice way of saying CEO)
Advice: LEARN TO CODE. EVEN IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT, LEARN IT.
Where to find her: “No time to blog, so until then it’s Twitter. We don’t currently use our Insane Logic twitter handle, but when that gets active, we will share our tech stuff there.”
This blog is part of Enternships’ Women In Tech series, within our ongoing commitment to supporting ladies who work in STEM sectors. Want to be involved? Email [email protected] for more information.
Written and devised by Ella Risbridger