Tag: Pigeonly

OPINION: Coding Is The New Black: Here’s Why You Should Care About Science, Tech, Engineering & Math

Woman on computer

It is no secret that many African-American women are not deemed to be very well-represented, or at the forefront in terms of publicity, when it comes to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) related jobs and advancements. Due to this “finding,” many companies in these industries, such as Google and Non-Profits such as MotherCoders have started programs and initiatives to aid women and minorities in the pursuit to learn coding.

I will admit, I am am not technologically savvy. The only thing I know about computers, technology, apps and coding, is that if I have a question about anything remotely pertaining to the previously mentioned, I ask Arisha Smith, Vice President of Marketing at Pigeonly, a tech startup in the downtown Las Vegas tech hub that got its start through the Silicon Valley-based NewMe Accelerator program.

As many business owners have leaned on the internet, apps and other new found technologies to build, increase and further their businesses, I still reach out to Arisha to gain an understanding of how technology can help not only my practice, but also the business ventures of my clients.

When I asked Arisha to explain the importance of women garnering an interest in technology and ultimately learning coding, she offered the following:

“Knowing how to code trains your mind to think logically and process bite sized tasks in order to achieve a larger end goal. Understanding the backbone of technology, which is programming, accelerates a woman’s path to leadership in organizations, especially in forward-thinking companies.”

She further states, “You’re able to get right to the point when directing or managing projects with cross functional teams because you eliminate the need for the tech guys to feel the need to ‘break down concepts’ for you. It also allows you the ability to call folks out on their BS and keep projects afloat.”

If you, or any young woman you know, are interested in learning how to code, click here for several programs that may assist you.

article by Rashida Maples, Esq. via hellobeautiful.com

Former Inmate Frederick Hutson Creates Tech Company Pigeonly To Help Prisoners Stay In Touch With Families

PIGEONLY FREDERICK
Frederick Hutson founded the company Pigeonly to help tailor technological products and services for underserved communities, such as the incarcerated and their families. | Pigeon.ly

Frederick Hutson was just 24 and living in St. Petersburg, Florida, when he was convicted on a drug trafficking charge. The Air Force veteran spent four years behind bars, serving out his sentence in eight different correctional facilities.

Hutson found prison life was isolating, no surprise at a time when one 15-minute interstate phone call could cost an inmate as much as $17. Isolation is an ongoing hurdle for prisoners and their families, as research has repeatedly shown that keeping inmates connected with loved ones and support structures on the outside helps reduce recidivism rates.

“[Incarcerated] people who maintain supportive relationships with family members have better outcomes — such as stable housing and employment — when they return to the community,” reads one study by the nonprofit Vera Institute. “Many corrections practitioners and policy makers intuitively understand the positive role families can play in the reentry process, but they often do not know how to help people in prison draw on these social supports.”

Such research, coupled with his own experience, gave Hutson a new idea. Today, that idea has transformed into Pigeonly, a $3 million tech company specifically tailoring products for underserved communities, particularly the incarcerated and their families.

Hutson launched Pigeonly in 2013 after receiving coaching and input from the NewME Accelerator in San Francisco, which helps support underrepresented entrepreneurs. Pigeonly’s products to date include Fotopigeon, a prison-friendly photo-mailing platform, and Telepigeon, a service that drastically reduces the often cost-prohibitive price of phone calls to and from correctional facilities.

“Most people don’t have life sentences, so the real question we have to ask ourselves is, what type of person do we want to release?” Hudson, now 31, told The Huffington Post. “Someone who’s isolated from everyone they know and lost touch with everyone who could support them who, when they’re back on the street, are way more likely to go back to the previous activity they were doing before prison? No.”

pigeonly office
Inside Pigeonly’s office in Las Vegas. The company recently expanded into a larger space to accommodate its growth. (Pigeon.ly)

The Las Vegas-based company says it has already had a great deal of success with its flagship products in a relatively short period of time.

Fotopigeon prints photos uploaded by a user and mails them to a prison on the user’s behalf, carefully abiding by the strident and sometimes confusing regulations that govern mail sent to prisons. The service already has a base of 80,000 customers who have uploaded over a million photos, at 50 cents apiece with free shipping, since the service began.

Hutson told HuffPost the company is currently shipping a quarter of a million photos a month.

“It’s something that has very high value when you’re isolated from everything you know,” Hutson said. “Think about how important images are in daily life on the outside. It’s crazy to think it’d be any different for the 2.3 million people in prison or the 20 million people who want to communicate with them.”

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