by Rebecca Merrett

Hackers, hipsters and hustlers – the dream team for innovation

Aug 13, 20143 mins
InnovationIT Management

When it comes to building innovative apps, websites and technology solutions, there’s more to making this happen than just a bunch of IT geeks.

This is the view of Tammy Butow, who recently left her job as senior digital strategist at NAB to move to New York and work with cloud provider DigitalOcean.

Speaking at the Go Girl Go for IT event in Melbourne this week, Butow discussed She Hacks, Australia’s first hackathon for women. Butow founded She Hacks with workmate April Staines. The event took place in March in Sydney and Melbourne.

Having witnessed how teams worked through this hackathon and the innovation that can come from the right mix of skills, Butow said the best teams are made up of “hackers, hipsters and hustlers”.

This is how Butow defines each role: Hackers are programmers who have the technical ability to executive ideas and know which tools and languages to use. Hipsters are people who have design skills and keep a close eye on what is fashionable or considered ‘cool’ in the market. Hustlers are business people who know how to best pitch the project, know the end user application and can market it.

“If you bring those three people together then you can create something really amazing because you all have different skills you can use,” Butow said.

“It was really fantastic to see 10 different teams of women [at She Hack] – who were hackers, hipsters and hustlers – come together to create these amazing apps online.”

Butow, who has a passion for creating opportunities for IT women to develop their skills, also co-founded Girl Geek Academy, which launched June this year. It allows women all over the world to access resources to learn new skills, mentor and teach others, and network with their peers.

“We also do Google Hangouts with women all over the world who can come together and share, teach, learn and grow. We’ve been really lucky to get Google as a partner, as well as 99designs,” Butow said.

“What happens with Girl Geek Academy is we have a different theme for every month. So in the first month of July we did pitching as our theme. We had a workshop where everyone decided to come together and learn how they could pitch. It’s a great skill to be able to learn how to pitch because it’s something that we do every day but we don’t even really think about it that we are doing it.”

The idea behind this academy is to encourage women to get interested in technology and help broaden their skills so that they are not only hackers, but also hipsters and hustlers.

“I also support a group called One Girl, which is a charity that believes every girl has a right to an education,” Butow said. “This year so far we have raised $3000 for One Girl, which has been really fantastic. We did that through running our hackathons, running workshops and running events,” Butow added.

Follow Rebecca Merrett on Twitter: @Rebecca_Merrett

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