Sarina Simon: Influences and Influencers | women in technology
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Tolaca Rocks, Won’t You?

13 Apr 2016, Posted by Sarina Simon in casual games, CD-i, Game Design, kids' media, Mobile App Development, Philips CD-i, Puzzle Games, women in technology

I used to play games of all kinds.  As a kid I loved board games, word games, almost any kind of competition – especially if I could win.  In recent times, videogames, computer games and mobile games have either been too violent, too time consuming, or too difficult for me to play. Of course, like millions of other people, I played Tetris, and I especially liked it when we licensed it for its first appearance on a CD.  I still remember the tagline we wrote for it.   TETRIS The classic becomes a legend on CD-i ! Too bad so few…

“The Big Short” – The Best Educational “Media” I’ve Seen In Long Time

26 Jan 2016, Posted by Sarina Simon in Advice for Edtech Aspirants, Children's Media, Distance Learning, Edtech, instructional design, Responding to RFPs, Software Engineering, women in technology

Years ago I worked for the Walt Disney Company in their Educational “Media” group.  Our mandate was to create workbooks, filmstrips (yes, filmstrips) and films for the school market. Our goal was to bring the Disney “magic” to learning and we had plenty of good examples to lead the way. Walt Disney was a master communicator.  He knew how to introduce complicated concepts to the average guy and make them understandable and appealing. Of course, he also had large budgets to work with and amazing actors (including Mickey et al) to deliver the “courses.” Our little group did not have…

Virginia “Ginny” Rice: Pursuing Excellence and Having Fun Along the Way

05 Jan 2016, Posted by Sarina Simon in Advice for Aspiring Producers, Advice for Edtech Aspirants, Distance Learning, Edtech, Expert Interviews, instructional design, Learning Science, women in technology

Ginny Rice is an accidental entrepreneur, researcher, problem-solver and designer of programs for education, museums, business, and public information. Her clients have included the National Museum of American History, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Newseum, NIH, Philips Consumer Electronics, and a hôtelier in Vietnam.     1. Your technology roots go back to the early eighties when you   co-founded Lunaria, an “interactive media” company. Can you tell us a bit about the company and how it got started? My partners and I were working at an R&D company designing medical simulations for a start-up. When the founder ran out…

How Much Work, If Any, Should You Do On Spec?

17 Nov 2015, Posted by Sarina Simon in Advice for Aspiring Producers, Advice for Edtech Aspirants, Bidding Process, Children's Media, Graphic Design, Managing Development Teams, Marketing, Mobile App Development, Responding to RFPs, Software Engineering, women in technology

I am varying from my usual format to share something I found very funny and highly relevant to the business of digital media. I recently came across this video from an ad agency in which they effectively mocked the ad industry’s  practice of expecting work on spec, also known as working for free. The ad agency, Toronto-based Zulu Alpha Kilo, released the video on November 2 and it has already garnered over 1 million views. The video suggests that no other businesses operate this way, but as developers we know that at least one more, ours, does.  (By the way my…

Jessie Woolley-Wilson: A Leader Who Inspires Others to Dream More, Learn More and Be More

01 Sep 2015, Posted by Sarina Simon in Advice for Aspiring Producers, Advice for Edtech Aspirants, Children's Media, Distance Learning, Edtech, Expert Interviews, kids' media, Learning Science, Online Math Learning, women in technology

Jessie Woolley-Wilson is Chair, President, and CEO of DreamBox Learning, Inc., the company that pioneered Intelligent Adaptive Learning™. She has 20 years of experience in K–12 e-learning and has held several leadership roles in prominent education companies. Before joining DreamBox Learning, Jessie was President of Blackboard’s K– 12 Group where she led the company’s growth for the virtual and blended online learning market. Prior to Blackboard, she was President of LeapFrog SchoolHouse where she established SchoolHouse as a leader in ed-tech and one of the fastest growing educational software producers in the U.S. Jessie also held leadership positions at collegeboard.com, the…

Joanne Roberts: Innovating and Leading the Way

21 Aug 2015, Posted by Sarina Simon in Advice for Aspiring Producers, Children's Media, Edtech, Expert Interviews, interactive television, kids' media, women in technology

Joanne Roberts is an entrepreneur, you might say a serial entrepreneur, who’s been working in the media business for more than 30 years. She’s created three successful TV series, run several businesses and worked in new media since 1995. Her focus has been creating programming for kids, teens and women and most recently, she co-founded Now Next Media, LLC with her business partner Peggy Doyle.  They’re currently 100% focused on growing WHAT NOW WHAT NEXT, a collaborative network for women entrepreneurs, 40+. Joanne is also the mom of a 16 year old daughter and spends her time juggling the full…

Ellen Bialo: Edtech Pioneer and Networking Guru

27 Jul 2015, Posted by Sarina Simon in Advice for Aspiring Producers, Distance Learning, Edtech, Expert Interviews, women in technology

The woman with the glowing smile is Ellen Bialo,  CEO, President and Co-Founder of Interactive Educational Systems Design (IESD), an educational market and product development research company recognized in K-20 publishing as a leader in research and analysis. She also founded the DOLS, a professional women’s organization that helps women who work in the business of education help one another.   1. I believe you began your career as a classroom teacher and later segued to the business of education. Can you explain how and why you made this transition? Yes, I was actually a middle school and high school math…

Cynthia Neiman- A Seasoned Marketing Executive Who Markets to Millenials

04 Feb 2015, Posted by Sarina Simon in Advice for Aspiring Producers, Expert Interviews, Marketing, social media, women in technology

Cynthia Neiman has spent most of her 30-year career in marketing, driving growth for Fortune 500 companies as well as internet start-ups. The majority of her career has been focused on consumer products & services that target families and kids.  And she has been very involved in technology including educational & video game marketing, web/e-commerce site development, and digital marketing. I believe that CEOs in many industries will tell you that one of the hardest hires to find is a great marketer.  Mattel, Ikea, Ergobaby and more have been several of the lucky companies to have found just that in…

Lina Chen—Innovator and “Strategic Hedonist”

12 Jan 2015, Posted by Sarina Simon in Advice for Aspiring Producers, casual games, Expert Interviews, Game Design, interactive games, Mobile App Development, women in technology

Lina Chen—Innovator and “Strategic Hedonist” Lina Chen is the Co-founder & CEO of Nix Hydra, which makes mobile games and applications for young women aged 13-28. The company has more than $5.6M in funding and made the hit virtual pet game, Egg Baby, which has about 11 million downloads.  Lina was recently named one of the top 50 People to watch in Southern California’s tech industry. Lina manages company strategy, people, and money. Previously, Lina negotiated international mobile deals for Grooveshark, a streaming music startup, worked at the William Morris Agency, one of the largest entertainment agencies in the world,…