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Sunday, 19 October 2014

"Technology Has Levelled The Playing Field For Today's Entrepreneurs" -

Will-i-am is a musician mostly known as the front-man and founder of the singing group Black Eyed Peas. He is also a tech advocate, entrepreneur and a founding shareholder in Beats Electronics, the creators of Beats by Dre™ headphones. Below is a part of an article by from the Huffington Post. 

The reason I started and moved into the tech world is because of what the tech world is calling Wearables. The title itself says a lot - you are wearing things on your body but the tech world is not the expert in dressing people. This is the world of fashion and the fashion industry has been dressing people for hundreds of years. I saw a void and want to use this opportunity to fill a substantial gap that currently exists between the fashion world and the wearables space. My mission is to up the game in wearables, to create devices that step up and deliver in terms of fashion, features and functionality.

Through success achieved via my music career, and then venturing into consumer electronics, I have always carved out time for philanthropic activities at the same time. My message has not wavered: a good education is a gift, and that kids should take interest in science, technology mathematics and engineering (STEM). 

My "day job" as a musician is what got me to this point - made me famous and gave me a platform to be an advocate for what I think is important: a good education for every high school student, and even better, an education that is focused on STEM skills development. And now, my new venture in consumer tech and wearables gives me a way to demonstrate and justify why kids should take an interest in STEM education, to walk the walk vs. just talk.

Today's entrepreneurs and inventors have amazing resources at their fingertips because technology has leveled the playing field. Now would-be entrepreneurs with ambition and a fresh idea can learn to design items using a computer or tablet, bring a prototype design to life using 3D printing technology, raise money through crowdfunding, and offer items for sale online.

My experience as one of the founders of Beats Electronics showed me that I had the ability to take an idea and bring it to life. It took a team of experts with both design and STEM skills to create Beats headphones. And then it took another team to make Beats a fashion statement and a pop culture success. But the root of success at Beats was based on STEM knowledge.

I am not a freaking consumer electronics wizard, but I am dreamer with a vision and I spot gaps in the market. As I challenge my students that are part of the Foundation's after- school tutoring program to take an interest in STEM and learn associated skills, I want to set a good example for them. I am living proof that a good education and an interest in STEM skills can transform a life.

With some STEM knowledge and a vision, discipline, drive and a great "small but mighty" team at my start up company, we've accomplished something wonderful. I'm a creative person, but can honestly say that focusing on music alone has never tapped my potential in the same way that I am working right now. The merging of many functions required to create and deliver a fresh approach to wearables includes design, fashion, coding, app development, 3D printing, manufacturing and marketing excites me. I don't believe I've ever been this happy and satisfied with my life. It's a great feeling and I want to keep it going!

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