Hey Hackers! I’m Susie and I’m the Brand Director at Luobu (that’s basically Roblox in China, and we’re a joint venture between Roblox Corporation and Tencent).
First of all, a huge thank you to the HackerNoon community and staff for nominating me for a 2021 Noonies award! I’ve been nominated in the following categories please do check out these award pages and vote:
Developer Defying Patriarchy (While Being an Awesome Developer)
As someone working to build the metaverse, I believe that cloud-based development/creation tools and blockchain are amongst the most exciting technologies of the present, as the democratization, decentralization, and accountable ownership of creativity and content is crucial to shaping an engaging and immersive digital universe. Learn more about my thoughts and opinions, and my journey in the tech industry via the interview below.
I’ve been working as a marketer in the tech industry for just over 4 years, first at Huawei, then OnePlus, and now Roblox. My passion is bringing great technology closer to the average person. There’s this sort of myth about the tech, which is that the product is the only thing that matters. But what you see is that people need more than just features and functionality - the why is just as important as the what, and more often than not you need marketing and emotional appeal to tell the story of “why”.
I also lead Ladies Who Tech in Shenzhen, a non-profit organization founded by a group of women aiming to foster diversity and inclusivity in the STEM industries. Despite what the name might suggest, we’re not a feminist group - we believe that technology has no gender. We work closely with corporates, government organizations, other associations, and inspiring individuals to promote new ideas and knowledge-sharing, enhance access to opportunities within tech, and improve soft skills needed for a career in tech.
I look for new ways to make emerging technologies interesting to the mass audience by helping brands and individuals leverage new tech to create innovative consumer-facing experiences (back when I was at OnePlus, I worked with Blippar to develop the first AR smartphone launch, which got over 6 million views).
I love exploring the intersection of technology, business, and culture, and that’s reflected in the content that I write. I enjoy analyzing the implications of new tech developments or corporate decisions on the future, and the (business) opportunities these could provide.
I was not a techie growing up - I graduated from Cambridge with a degree in Economics, and the career path that everyone in my world expected from me was one in finance. But in 2016 everything changed.
That year, I quit my job as an investment banker and bought a one-way ticket from London to Beijing - a city where I had nothing, knew no one, and no one knew me. I brought with me a single suitcase and a backpack, and I’d told no one that I was leaving the UK for good.
Unfortunately (or fortunately!) within 24 hours of landing, I realized that my Barclays debit card didn’t work in China - I’d just graduated and was still using my student account and the only credit card I had at the time was still linked to my dad’s. (I was definitely not going to use that, since I didn’t want my parents to know the groundbreaking decision I’d made before I could show them I could make a life for myself in this foreign country).
So, with just about $300 in cash, I started from scratch - there was this period of time where I was working multiple jobs (including waitressing and being a cashier) to make enough for rent. I took this as an opportunity to try out all sorts of new things - being a social media editor, an event manager, I was even the informal agent for a local band.
I ended up in technology almost by mistake. After about a year in China, I really wanted to see why everyone saw so much potential in Shenzhen. But as China’s “Silicon Valley”, most of the available jobs in Shenzhen were in tech, so I ended up taking a job at Huawei. And I haven’t left the tech industry since.
I love where I am today. I’m one of those people that seem to actively seek out chaos and disorder, and that’s exactly what the world of technology is - this turbulent, and absolutely beautiful landscape where nothing is for certain, and we’re just figuring things out as we go.
Materials technology. Materials science isn’t seen as a “sexy” field, but advances in materials has enabled the realization and democratization of countless innovations. If we wanted to build today’s smartphone back in the 1980s, it would cost over $100 million, require nearly 200 kilowatts of energy (compared to 2kW per year today), and the device would be 14 meters tall!
We have so many fascinating ideas and concepts for the future, and we can’t do that without new building blocks to play with.
I’m not really worried about technology - tech isn’t inherently right or wrong, it’s what we choose to with it that creates the opportunities and consequences. What worries me more is whether we have the right regulations and policies in place to make the most out of technology while not letting things get out of control.
Our lives are increasingly digital, but as humans we all have to eat. More land is being used for industrial and commercial purposes, and that’s already creating pressure on food production. I’d probably invest in agriculture and food technology.
With so many new crypto/de-fi/NFT projects emerging, it’s important to have a fundamental understanding of blockchain to be able to form your own judgement, which is why I’m reading extensively around this field. I’m also learning how to edit audio as I’ve been toying with the idea of a podcast.
Don’t think too much. Planning and strategizing is important, but I’ve noticed that overthinking tends to disincentivize action since you might set goals that are too big, create imaginary problems that seem impossible to overcome, or miss out on opportunities that are right beneath your nose.
“There is no fear for one whose mind is not filled with desires.”
Most of the time we’re afraid to try new things (that could be a new project, a new city, or even just date a new person) because we want some sort of ideal outcome, and results are definitely the hardest thing to guarantee. But more often than not, jumping out of your comfort zone usually yields unexpected gains - they just might not be the gains you predicted.
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