Interview : Sandi Sein Thein, COO of Digital Kaway and Founder of GeekGirls

In this week we have chosen Sandi for interview. She is COO in Digital Kaway and one of the female Entrepreneur in Myanmar

Q. Talk about "yourself"

I am just a yogi who loves yogurt.

Q. "Ideas" come out to start-up your community 

This is a long story. I came back from Singapore in 2014 to work for ideabox (Initiative & Incubation Lab). It was a tough decision for me cause I quit my well paid job in Singapore & cancelled my work pass just because of my desire to try something new in home country. That time, ideabox was building the startup ecosystem, so I had to organise the tech events, talks & came to realise that there were very few women participating in geeky activities. Then we got the idea of doing something to promote tech industry with celebrities, but at the same time we were also thinking to promote with the real people from industry.( And my another experience is while i was helping out at the Hackathon, there were only 13 women out of over 100 participants.) So GeekGirls was born with the support of ideabox, started with Facebook page and invited our female tech friends to join the group.

Q. "Preparation" for accelerating community

This is a beautiful part to make GeekGirls visible & well known, I am so interested in small things like logo & colour as my background is Marketing & Branding. Because this is community which encourages the girls & women to gather for sharing their knowledge & networking. So the community should be something they really want to chase for updates & participate actively. So I chose the cute glasses that represent female geek and red colour for bravery. And the slogan is “ Geek is the New Chic!” that saying being geeky is the new fashion.

Q. "Factors" make you feel a unique community

Although we say it’s women community. Some men are supporting us as well. ( let me mention that David Madden (Phandeeyar) & Kaung Sitt (Digital Kaway) are the hardcore supporters along the journey :) ) I think, to make the community successful, you can’t do it alone, it needs lot of supports from members & the society. We can’t say it’s a unique community yet. But i believe its growing and happening one. 

Q. "Requirement" of building a community
  • Espirt de Corp
  • A good structure that can keep members motivated & participative
  • Clear mission & visions
#Q. "Challenges" that you faced

People think I do it for popularity and i got lots of negative feedbacks especially from men with the comments like GeekGirls isn’t geeky enough etc. But I’d like to say we are still bringing all these women to geek out together. It’s different from guys thing. Coz guys meet up just to talk about coding, gaming. but for girls & women, they don’t gather to talk about coding. So they need somewhere for sharing & getting to know each other. So GeekGirls is platform for them to put their knowledge on the table.
And its very challenging for me to get all the women along & to keep them interested in engaging in community. I think we still have some barriers about “ do & don’t” for women in Society. I can’t organise the event at evenings on weekdays as it is too late for them and they still have family matters, houseworks after work. At one of the evening events, we received only one attendee. So I have to understand the members’ behaviours & their needs as well. And I need to make them see that engaging in community is good for them.

Q. "Future improvement" of your community 

I am glad that we’ve come this far with a thousand of online members & a serie of activities. I believe we will grow more & reach out to all the women out there and of course we have our milestones to accomplish.

Q. "Other comments" for building community 

I think when you start something, you shouldn’t stop half-way. Not just enough to be initiative, but necessary to be accomplisher too. And the same goes to building community, Passion & Patience are essential since this is somehow related to some people's life and hope. You may not get paid well for doing this. But what you get is the happiness when you receive good feedback for members & you change someone’s life in a good way. Actually, I am neither a geek nor programer, but I ever wanted to build a Women Foundation and I feel so grateful that it happened with GeekGirls. 

Pixellion Creative

Pixellion Creative is graphic design studio, primarily based in Yangon, Myanmar. Pixellion is a fast service providing web, mobile app, identity and print design.

Yangon, Myanmar

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