MONDAY = day three of International Women’s Week and time to get up to date with the funnest, sexiest tech site (really!) out there… We meet Grace Gould, CEO of SODA, plus WIN some must-have tech treats.
We hear a lot about how women are taught not to take up space. And so, instead of just having one token day dedicated to women, we’re having an ENTIRE WEEK, International Women’s Day is fine, but no thanks – we’re having International Women’s Week. So this week, we’re hosting a series of interviews and competitions, each celebrating women and featuring one amazing female entrepreneur.
Today we have Grace Gould: the CEO of SODA, AKA the School of the Digital Age. There’s a lot of talk around the lack of women in tech, but not so much about why retailing technology is so deeply unsexy, not to mention more than a little boring. Founded in 2016, SODA aims to ‘curate tech products that make sense for the world we live in – not some Silicon bubble’ – i.e. not technology made by men, for men. Grace’s background working at Apple and then VC firm Index Ventures has given her a unique understanding of technology and retail, and you’ll find a truly fascinating, genuinely fun range of products on SODA’s site. We spoke to Grace about the most inspiring woman in business. the tech startups you need to know about and the future of feminism…
What does feminism mean to you?
Working to reset years of male dominance in the legal, professional, personal, physical and digital spheres.
A woman who inspires you and why?
Sharmadean Reid. Sharma’s a great friend and an incredible founder. I’m constantly inspired by how she thinks about leadership, how she develops her team at Beautystack and what it means to be a startup founder. She reads constantly and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of business principles, management techniques and trends. Sharma lives and breathes the values of doing good while doing well, and she is part of a next generation of business leaders who succeed with profit and purpose.
What are you most proud of in your career?
Starting SODA. When customers say things like “I thought I was a technophobe until I found you guys” it’s so powerful. Technology impacts all of our lives and the architecture of the internet is being built by such a small group of people. SODA stands for School of the Digital Age and our mission is about making tech accessible for everyone – be it the best new products or tech news that affects us all.
Tell us about your favourite female-authored book?
It’s a controversial book now, but Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg was transformational for me when I was in my early twenties.
How do you feel about the future of feminism?
I’m inspired by activists like the Pink Protest team who are creating viral, issue-led content. What they’re doing around #freetheperiods and #girlswanktoo is removing hundreds of years of shame associated with being female. They’re turning to legislation now with their stop FGM campaign. Sadly there’s so much inequality both locally and globally. I’ve been lucky in the geography lottery, but we’re so far from global gender equality.
Three female-founded brands you’re a fan of?
Thinx – Thinx have developed a new technology for underwear which absorbs your period so you don’t need to wear any tampons etc. They also have icon which does the same thing for pee.
Dame – NYC sex tech brand who we stock in the UK. Founded by super smart MIT engineer Janet Lieberman who was working at Formlabs the 3D printing company before deciding to “end the pleasure gap” by making a range of sex toys.
Maven – Another NYC brand who are literally changing the face of the US healthcare system by providing an online clinic for female healthcare. Fertility, egg freezing, prescription. Hearing the founder Kate Ryder talk about her Herculean task of changing the US healthcare system through grit and determination is the most inspiring conversation I’ve had.
Favourite women in the arts?
Crystal Mahey-Morgan, the founder of OWN IT! a publishing house and literacy agency that has developed a new model of supporting emerging storyteller. And JoJo Moyes, a great writer and philanthropist supporting the Quick Reads charity which aids women’s literacy.
What’s next for Soda?
We’re opening a concept store in April with events, parties and workshops all centred around playing with new technology products. Details will be on the site shortly, and it will be at the Kings Mall in Hammersmith from the 5th to the 30th of April.
If women ruled the world…
SODA have a beautiful Bellabeat Urban Leaf fitness tracker to win, plus a super chic Bean vibrator too. How to enter? Follow Reading in Heels on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter – like the photo post and tag a friend in the comments – AND don’t forget to retweet/share the post hashtagged with #internationalwomensweek. That’s it! The competition closes Friday 15th March at MIDNIGHT.