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Guest Post

Checking In With Buddy Watch, Winners of Silicon Valley 2014

When Buddy Watch won AngelHack Silicon Valley last year, I wasn’t sure that it was really happening. Seven Red Bulls into my first hackathon, I thought I might be hallucinating.

How times have changed.

This morning we launched a Kickstarter campaign for Buddy Watch, and after a year of the startup grind, I have a lot more clarity following the all-nighter.

That’s not the only thing that’s changed. Buddy Watch is a smart personal safety application that automatically detects and responds to emergencies no matter where you are, even if you can’t reach your phone. No hardware required. I went into the hackathon knowing that I wanted to build a smarter application of a dead-man switch so that people in the middle of an emergency didn’t have to unlock their phones and hit a panic button. What we have now is much more sophisticated. We use GPS and accelerometer data to look for a series of triggers that actually tell us if you’re having an emergency.

Helping Women In Tech Through A Hackathon

The average hackathon can have an unbalanced ratio of men to women, with male participants outnumbering their female counterparts significantly. This can be discouraging to some women who are interested in participating.

In a way, this is a microcosm of one of the challenges that women in tech face each day in the workforce. In many technology companies, there are few female employees vying for respect and position in a company full of men.

This disparity tends to be even worse in the Asia-Pacific region, where the rate of women hired in technology positions has remained stagnant over the last few years, even as more and more technology positions are created. Change is needed in these areas to balance out the ratio of men to women in the workplace.