Cat Coode has made it her business to know technology. The University of Waterloo electrical-and computer-engineering grad spent 12 years at BlackBerry, many of them in management.
“I was an engineer who liked dealing with people,” Coode said, adding that she didn’t want to just write code after leaving BlackBerry. “I wanted to teach.”
Coode wasn’t exactly sure what her niche was other than sharing her love of tech. Coode’s a-ha moment came a few months after leaving BlackBerry.
Her two young daughters were getting interested in the online world. While Coode wasn’t ready to let them explore on their own, she knew she needed to decide what she would let them do.
As an early adopter and lover of technology, Coode figured she knew exactly what was going on in her online world.
“I thought, ‘I’m lucky to be so technical in an age where my kids are growing up on line,’ ” Coode said. “I like social networks. I’m on them and I can explain them to (to the children). And then I started looking into the social networks and I realized how little I actually knew about them and how bad my privacy settings were. And how public most of my information was.”
As she sifted through privacy policies, checking and rechecking her own settings and determining what she wanted to share in the online world, she had one consistent thought: “I can help other parents understand what their kids were doing.”
With that, Coode launched Binary Tattoo in 2013, a consulting business that teaches parents and their children, young professionals and businesses how to build and manage their online reputations.
She is a popular public speaker in the area, talking to students and businesses. She appears monthly on Rogers cable television, and books into large events, such as the Total Woman Show at Bingeman’s Feb. 7-8.
Last summer, Coode participated in Communitech’s Women in Tech entrepreneur bootcamp to test out the next stage of her business.
Coode currently manually searches to create a report for her clients, often parents and their high school-aged children, on their online presence. Instead of just a generic Google search, Coode digs into the results and thinks about how a potential school recruiter, or employer, might view the data. In her report she also offers suggestions on how to fix problem areas, such as risqué Instagram accounts or screen grabs of Snapchats, and explains the results and impact behind the actions and choices her client is making in the online world.
She’d like to automate the process and create a subscription-based app that would send regular reports to her clients.
“The bootcamp validated the idea for me,” she said.
It gave her the confidence to move forward and expand her business. She has spent the last few months building out the look and feel of the app, and sketching out how it should act.
Now, Coode is hunting for an artificial intelligence developer to bring the idea to life. It has been a challenge to find one.
“It’s like me saying, ‘I’m looking for a dancer,’ ” she said. “I may actually be looking for a tap dancer, but find interested hip-hop dancers instead. The hip-hop dancers may be able to pick up the tap, but won’t necessarily know all the steps.”
Coode is looking for a developer to build out her app while she continues to grow Binary Tattoo. She is a member of Communitech’s ASCENT program that helps social-cause entrepreneurs grow, and she stays in close contact with the other female entrepreneurs she’s met through Communitech.
She is continually intrigued by the conversations and connections she’s had in such an early-adopter-focused town.
“I was expecting to work consistently with parents and children or young teens,” she said. “Young, professional twenty-somethings are actually a huge growing market for me. They want to know what to do and how to build their brand.”
“Waterloo Region is such a tech-savvy town that it’s easy to forget how many people are not (geniuses in all technology)”
I see and hear that… tonight PyDrinks is hosting its monthly meetup, this time at Death Valley’s Little Brother, 84 King St. N.,Waterloo. Starting at 6:30 p.m. you can stop by for a coffee, or whisky, and chat about Python, the programming language… The Kitchener-Waterloo Poker Chicks are back at it with their monthly game. Register to attend January’s game at the EY office at 515 Riverbend Dr.,Kitchener. $15 covers your buy-in, snacks and wine. A free lesson is available at 7 p.m., then the game kicks off at 7:30 p.m…. This Friday, Leigh Honeywell, a security engineer at Heroku, will be talking to the University of Waterloo’s Women in Computer Science group. Honeywell’s talk is called “Trusting Your Gut: Adventures in the worst parts of the tech industry.” You can catch Honeywell at the University of Waterloo campus,Davis Centre, Rm. 1302. The talk begins at 5:30 p.m. On Saturday, Jan. 24, artists are taking over THEMUSEUM for The Brush Off, an annual fundraiser for THEMUSEUM that sees an audience watch a group of talented local artists compete in a live painting competition. The best part? The audience can bid on the newly created art. Tickets are $15 each for the 7 p.m. event… Finally, is one of your 2015 resolutions to read more? The Kitchener Public Library knows that. The KPL also knows that books are best paired with beer, and that not everyone wants to be part of a book club. PubLit is a “no specific book” group that meets monthly at the Firkin at the Tannery. On Tuesday, Jan. 27 you are invited to gather at the Firkin at 7 p.m. to chat about the latest book, magazine, comic or zine you’ve read.