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JAXenter's "Women in Tech" Series

In the JAXenter's article series “Women in Tech”, they present exciting and inspiring women, who have established themselves within the IT industry with a variety of successes. Today in focus: Naomi Owusu, CEO of Tickaroo. Click here for the original article.

The tech industry is dominated by men- so far, so bad. Yet slowly but surely this so-called Boys Club is starting to gain different kinds of members as more and more talented women are breaking onto the scene. In light of this shift, we want to provide inspiring and exciting women the opportunity to introduce themselves and to share how and why they chose their specific path into the tech industry. Topics like gender stereotyping, challenges, and support are of course discussed as well. Our Women in Tech: Naomi Owusu Naomi Owusu is CEO and co-founder of Tickaroo and is responsible for business-growth, strategic planning, and company scaling. Before founding the Regensburg-based company, she was a business consultant. Her emphasis was in production strategies of digital medias- primarily the planning and conception of mobile applications. The idea for Tickaroo came to her while she was involved with the development of a sports app. It quickly became apparent that there was a significant lack of quality tools that could be used for live-reporting. Motivated, goal-orientated, and true to the motto “Just do it!”, Naomi and her team devote themselves daily to expanding their product portfolio and optimizing their live content platform. What piqued your interest in the tech industry? When I was around 8 or 9 years old, an IT guy brought a Schneider computer to our home for my mother. I remember that he gave me a few disks with games on them, I think they were Bombjack and some other knight/werewolf game. I learned relatively quickly, what RUN BIN could do. I don’t exactly remember how my learning process began, but I enjoyed playing these games so much that after a while, activating these games was no longer a problem. I continued to browse through these disks and even tried out new commands along the lines of “trial and error”. From then on, there was always a computer in my house. Then came floppy disks and later color versions came along. As modems became available, I naturally couldn’t go without having one of those as well. One could say, tech has always been a natural and steady component in my life. In my youth, the computer was an entertainment tool. When I started studying psychology and pedagogy at the university, I was introduced to many topics, including usability. I took a course in programming, although my IT skills up until that point were limited to practical things that could make my studies easier. Before the course I hadn’t done any actual programming. Eventually I began to focus my studies on conceptualisation and project management. Role Models and Antagonists I don’t have a role model. I do often hear stories that strike me. When this happens, I listen very carefully and try to let myself become inspired by these experiences. At the same time, I have to admit that no one has ever hindered me. Or if they tried to then I didn’t notice or simply didn’t pay them any attention. A Day in the Life of Naomi I am CEO and Co-Founder of Tickaroo, a “Live Content Platform”. I ensure that our team executes our goals with precision and make sure that we are able to successfully reach them. I was, and still am, responsible for various projects, for which multiple developers, conceptualizers, designers, and product owners have to work together. For example, a project I found to be very interesting was when we managed to create a dynamic mobile app for a renowned restaurant guide purely from their printed data. Naturally the platform that we have built around Tickaroo is one of my most exciting projects. Nevertheless, as the CEO, there isn’t too much extra time for things other than strategic decisions related to our products. These processes happen relatively quickly- even without much programming experience. Challenges and Barriers I think women question themselves too often. “Can I do this?” or “Can I manage that? are some of the biggest questions one asks oneself. Maybe this is why their reservations may be bigger. I believe that gender specific tasks and skills don’t exist. In the end, cooperation is the most important thing in order to reach the best possible result. Every person has different skills and talents. For me everything isn’t a competition of who is better or worse. I’m allergic to this kind of attitude. I personally always had more problems associated with my age and how I look, rather than because of my gender. For example one time my boss was asked why he was bringing his 16 year old intern to such an important meeting. I was 25 and the project manager. This statement however, did not influence or harm me in any way. My father made it clear to me even as a child, that people will judge me based on my performance, and that in order to be taken seriously, I would have to work much harder than everyone else. He also made it clear that I would be able to sweep some prejudices away through my merit and hard work. I’ve used this as my motto throughout my life and have tried to act accordingly. Why aren’t there more women in the IT Industry? I’m not sure. I firmly believe that tech needs more diversity! The diversity debate will definitely not end for a long time and it will be a long fight. I wish that problem solving would come to the forefront and that people would see that through cooperation and collaboration many problems can be solved more efficiently, systematically and for the long term- regardless of the industry. At the moment, we are all very ego oriented. In my opinion that’s true of both genders. Tips and Tricks If a girl wants something, then she should do just that. We are all sorted into boxes, regardless if feminine, masculine, big, small, black, white, homo- or heterosexual, no one should let oneself be stopped by these things. We always receive opportunities. Some are born with opportunity, others have to work for these opportunities for generations. I definitely won’t let anything get in my way, and if I am convinced that I can contribute something to the tech industry, then I will look for ways and opportunities to make it happen. “Never give up unless YOU decided to do so!” This motto sounds super simple, but is actually really hard to do. Follow your goals and don’t submit to them. Your goal should go beyond simply making yourself as rich and famous as fast as possible. Ideally that would be an extra effect of your original goal. Make problem solving your hobby and ensure that your world everyday becomes more meaningful. Set your priorities and surround yourself with people that give you energy and inspiration as opposed to taking them from you!

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