On Monday, at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, it’s going to be Digital Media Women Day! Great female entrepreneurs und tech-visionaries will talk about the topics and ideas that matter most to women (and men) in the media. One of the speakers is the writer and founder Leah Hunter who was so kind to answer some questions for this interview.
Hi Leah! Thanks for your time today! Can define yourself in 5 words for our readers who don’t know you that well yet?
Writer – Artist – Founder – Model – Mama 🙂
Your book about augmented reality is about to get published – and by O’Reilly no less! Why this topic and what do you see in it that sparks your interest?
I care about technologies that help humans. My deepest interest with AR is ensuring that the technology evolves in smart ways. My focus in this book is on the best examples of how AR is already being used in industry. It is saving huge amounts of money and helping people.
What are the hottest up-coming topics in technology according to you?
Mixed reality, artificial intelligence, soft robotics, space-travel, and synthetic biology/gene editing—the technology around how humans advance. Those are some of the hottest. Beyond that, MIT Tech review is a great resource for what’s up-and-coming.
Would you tell us a bit more about the TV show about creators you are working on?
YES! It is called “Created Here.” We are featuring artists and makers in 12 cities, showing their creative process and how they make the amazing things they create…with just their hearts and hands. I am very proud of what we are creating!
Talking about women and entrepreneurship, how is Europe perceived compared to the US?Are there more female founders, entrepreneurs or leaders on one side? Is the glass ceiling lower, are opportunities less numerous in Europe?
Ha! I don’t know the demographics on this one. What I do know is that I just interviewed a fabulous European founder for Forbes Women, Marie Schneegans from “Never Eat Alone.” She has a 16 million dollar valuation. She is 23-years-old. And she is one of the most positive, determined, effective founders I have met. She is also half German.
What’s your personal and/or professional achievement you’re the proudest of?
My daughter. Raising her while I build a huge, amazing, successful, global life on behalf of all of us. Also, my own inner transformation. I play and explore and appreciate the world – and keep myself lit up! Life is beautiful.
Finally SXSW ’17 – what are you looking forward to the most? Any ideas or startups you already strongly believe in?
I am judging and emceeing for the SXSW Accelerator – I’ll be onstage for the AR/VR category on Sunday. Since the accelerator is a startup competition and showcase, the companies are always of an incredibly high caliber. I look forward to that. I will also be talking with corporate sponsors for the television show; that will be fun! What I am looking forward to most, though, is laughing and loving and listening to music. SXSW has a very special place in my heart. I plan to take it all in and enjoy.
About Leah Hunter
Leah writes about the human side of tech for Fast Company, entrepreneurial women for Forbes, and innovation for O’Reilly Media. She wrote a book on Augmented Reality—being published by O’Reilly at the end of March 2017. She speaks on “How To See The Future” via The Lavin Agency. Formerly an editor at MISC Magazine and AVP of Innovation at Idea Couture, she has spent her career exploring the intersection of technology, culture, and design. She has created brand strategies and new products for everyone from Apple to Target to Sephora. She founded a textile art company. And she is currently producing a television show about creators.
When she’s not writing or producing, you can find Hunter: leading IDEATE, a camp of entrepreneurs and world-changers at Burning Man; judging for orgs like the SXSW Accelerator and the Roddenberry Foundation Prize; doing on-air journalism and emceeing events; modeling; or teaching MBA courses and workshops on wearables and ethnography/deep observation at California College of the Arts, CEDIM— Mexico, University of California Berkeley, and The Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.
And if you want to learn some more about Leah and her insights – here is another highly recommended interview!