Successful Women in Technology
From leading technical operations teams in an enterprise software company to helping women master technology as CTO of a nonprofit organization, Cyan has played many leadership roles throughout her career. And just for the right reasons, she finds the perfect place in this list of sexiest women in tech. She is Cyan Banister…the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Zivity, and also a contributing writer for TechCrunch. Born in a family of artists and brought up around paint, photography and music, Cyan naturally developed a life-long appreciation for the arts that eventually inspired the Zivity platform. This platform she created is a new way for artists to profitably connect directly with their fans in the rapidly changing digital media landscape. The revolutionary artist/fan interaction and monetization platform led by a team of internet leaders from PayPal and LinkExchange is certainly a new way to connect, and much credit goes to Cyan for setting this up.
Ø What’s been most exciting and rewarding for you in this process of the start –up of Zivity?
Meeting artists in our community both online and in-person. I never dreamed that we’d have such a wonderful group of people on the site and every day they astound and surprise me with what they can do and their capacity and passion for others and their art.
Ø What are you the most proud of? And where is the journey headed for?
Every quarter we cut artist cheques and the amount of money we pay out continues to grow. This is how I define our success – by how much we are paying artists online. Our goal has always been and continues to be to become the largest online art community with the highest payouts.
Ø A word of encouragement to young women entrepreneurs?
Take risks and don’t be your own worst enemy. I see so many women work against themselves out of pride. They will take the hard road just to prove to themselves and others that they can, when it isn’t always necessary and sometimes people don’t appreciate just how hard it was in the end. If people offer to help you, consider taking the help. You are, after all, stronger if you surround yourself with people equally talented or better than yourself.
Ø Your list of gadgets – smartphone, digicam, laptop, tablet and OS The next gadget lined up in the shopping cart?
The Lytro camera.https://www.lytro.com/camera - I’m very excited by this new technology. We’ve never lived in an era before where it was easier to become a photographer and take interesting pictures. The Lytro allows you to fix the focus of a photograph afterthe photo was taken, which is pretty cool.
Ø Which gadget according to you has revolutionized the way we use technology?
The iPad. Everyone scoffed at the idea of a tablet and people said it wouldn’t be popular. Our children are growing up with them and know nothing other than multi-touch interfaces. The future for them will be multi-touch. We won’t ever get rid of the keyboard, I don’t think, but people in the professional world will probably have two devices. The iPad changed how we consume media, play with games and surf web pages, etc. It has completely changed everything.
Ø A lot of young attractive women are enjoying a lot of success in Tech start-ups, or start-ups based majorly on new social-based technology. Your thoughts on this?
I don’t think about things like physical attractiveness when it comes to business. That is the furthest thing from my mind. I think about what people bring to the table other than a pretty face. At the end of the day that matters the most in the tech industry.
Ø How did the idea of Zivity come about? And how has the journey been so far?
I come from a family of artists. My mother kept art books around the house that I would study after school and I was drawn to anything and everything that depicted the human body as art. To me, the human body is just amazingly beautiful. Human beings are profound if you look across the animal kingdom. We often forget we are animals and we behave as if we’ve transcended being so in many ways, but at the end of the day we’re animals who build things and drive around in cars and if you think about it that way, it is just all very fascinating. The female human form, I would argue, is the most beautiful of all. We come in a wide variety of shapes and colors, from redheads to raven black hair, to bone pale skin to dark ebony and a beautiful woman captured in a painting or a photograph holds an incredible amount of mystery that leaves a lot to the imagination of the viewer. I have a hardcore tech background, so this is an odd thing for me to ultimately pursue given my career, but I’ve been thinking about it all of my life. I wanted to figure out a way to create a platform that celebrates this form of art and rewards the artists for their creations. I wanted to experiment with different monetization strategies and create a vibrant community around the content created. The journey has been amazing and the doors that have been opened because I took the risk in creating Zivity have made it all worthwhile. Even if we shut down tomorrow, I would feel satisfied that we changed the world for some people and we paved the way for more companies like mine to exist in the future.
Ø Some of the most used Mobile APP used by you in your Smartphone?
Uber – Town car on demand service. I use it sometimes 10 times a week and I take Uber cars in the place of a taxi. Instagram – I even have dreams about using Instagram where I take photos of my dreams so I can show them to people when I wake up, and I’m often disappointed that they don’t actually exist. Hanging with Friends by Zynga. It is a great way to have an ongoing conversation with your friends over time and do something fun together. Penn & Teller’s Magic App, which is a fun trick to do with friends and family. It works every time. Fab.com – A bit of an addiction for me. I look at it every day even if I don’t buy anything. It scratches some sort of design/art itch I must have.
Ø Any tech gadget/service you are looking forward to?
Artificial Intelligence. We’re a long way away from that though, so I would just say a search engine that just works would be something I’d love to see. Google seems to be asleep at the wheel.
Ø Given a chance, would you want to change anything in the current tech scenario?
I’d like to change the overall negativity and pessimism around people building smaller ideas. I think we are too focused on pushing people to “go big or go home” and having billion dollar ideas. There’s a lot of pressure to be the next Twitter or the next Facebook, but people forget that those ideas started out incredibly small or pivoted from other ideas that were not scalable. We need to be placing more bets on people instead of placing so much emphasis on the ideas themselves. The right people will find a product and market fit at the end of the day.
Ø 3 things you want to accomplish by the end of 2012 & 3 things by 2020
More profit, more speaking gigs (I’m really enjoying this quite a bit lately) and more exciting companies to invest in.In 2020? I just want to be alive and for those that I love around me to be happy and have good health.
Ø Name one person besides Steve Jobs who has inspired you?
Scott Banister. My husband. He’s the best mentor a person could ever have and I’m incredibly lucky to be married to him and to work with him. He’s the best business and life partner you could dream of having.
Ø How would you define “success”? What has been your greatest achievement so far?
Success is a job well done, no matter how big or how small. You can be a success as a janitor or as an entrepreneur. You can even be an entrepreneurial janitor. I also believe success, in the world of entrepreneurs, is creating a product that people want to pay for. You are creating value in the world when people are handing you money for it. That’s winning. My greatest achievement? Being a mother.
Ø Any special gadget you wanna come up with exclusively for the women?
I think there are few gadgets that we want that would be exclusively for us. Most gadgets are cross-gender. Most gadgets are for people.
Ø How important is social media networking? Do you think one day people will get Bored of facebooking and tweeting?
People are already getting overloaded on social media. It is a real problem and there are more ideas and more things to use and try coming out every day and we’re ripping apart at the seams with people competing for consumer’s time.