If you attend meetups and tech events around the Seattle region, you’ve probably spotted Jolene Jang at some point, with her glowing name badge and ever-present camera on a stick. And if you didn’t get a chance to talk with her, you might have wondered: Who is this person, and what is she doing, exactly?
Well, she’s our new Geek of the Week, and she answers those questions and much more in our Q&A below.
Who are you, anyway? I’m just your typical run-of-the-mill Japanese, Chinese, Swedish, balloon twisting, karaoke singing, swing dancing, gadget-loving Fun Specialist born with extra energy. I’m sort of a cross between 1980’s Punky Brewster, Inspector Gadget and Discovery Channel’s Mike Rowe. I’m sometimes referred as the ‘Data’ Wang gadget-obsessed guy from Goonies. I am a curious creature who loves to discover, learn, share and bring people together while having fun. The main theme in my life is maximizing everything (and I mean everything). Thank you to Mister Rogers for all of those factory assembly line visits showing us efficient project flow.
From the drug-led Favelas of Rio, to a roadless village in Saigon, to womanless souks in Dubai, to the skull lined walls of Catacombs of Paris – there is so much that I have seen, learned and experienced, and still so much more to do! I must share experiences; they are top of the heap, A number 1. Traveling the world is crucial for hitting my happiness scale. When you combine travel, people and sharing, you have a jolly Jolene.
What do you do, and why do you do it? I show and tell professionally. It was my favorite school activity and still is. I use this format to build communities through inclusion and fun. Mary Poppins uses sugar to make the medicine go down, I use fun (while filming and posting it.) My background is in event and meeting planning as “The Meeting Maximizer.” I have found that the more fun the experience is the more effective, memorable, enjoyable and repeatable the task can be.
My newest service is The Conference Reporter, providing onsite, real-time reporting and video interviews. I get to learn, teach and share information with others. Essentially, I am an embedded reporter and provide a constant online content stream featuring the conference’s key messages, leaders and attendees.
I sell and use a couple of gadgets to help me report and break the ice. Any time I wear my Flash Badge glowing name tag (which is always) and use my Personal Camera Crew Camera Stick (part of my anatomy), Bam! I get new friends. Why? Because people like to learn, discover and be social. My gadgets enable this to happen and my personality carries it. If I’m not having fun doing what I’m doing, then I abort mission and seek fun elsewhere.
Geek of the Week is a regular feature profiling the characters of the Pacific Northwest technology community. See the Geek of the Week archive for more.
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What’s the single most important thing people should know about your field? Technology can do wonders for bringing people together when it is done right. We humans want to feel connected to each other. With the “Seattle Freeze” we may act like we don’t want to meet others, but it just NOT true. People often feel like they don’t matter, no one cares about what they think. People do care and I give them a voice. As a liaison to the conference planner and attendees, I connect people and share information using technology in an entertaining, interactive way while also accommodating attention spans and respecting time. People want to be heard and they want to meet others, that’s why they attend the conference in person, instead of just viewing a webinar.
Where do you find your inspiration? Doing things differently, whether it is driving on a different road or choosing a different flavor — this helps me stay fresh and on my toes . By changing my perspective and mixing it up, I find new way to experience the old and new, through an engaged mind-not stagnant. When I see people being resourceful and taking waste and turning into a useful product like a plastic cd spindle container used for a bagel holder or pop cans tabs into purses, this gets my creativity flowing. For specific examples of where I get inspiration, traveling to a developing country is number one, but here are other sources. Pinterest, Fascinating places, Well Done Stuff, Ted.com, and the Discovery Channel.
What’s the one piece of technology you couldn’t live without, and why? My camera. I don’t know about you, but my memory isn’t 300 dpi. Without a camera my memory would be highly pixelated and sometimes unrecognizable. I dedicate my brain power for processing and to aid my memory with use of external documentation. If I am going to go on adventure that doesn’t allow cameras, I pause and think, should I do it if I can’t share it visually? If the adventure is just for me, I am not sure if it is worth it.
What’s your workspace like, and why does it work for you? The most important thing is the 30” monitor and 21” companion. I cannot imagine having to work on smaller monitors, ack. My souped up desktop is for massive video production and my other is for daily work.
Your best tip or trick for managing everyday work and life. (Help us out, we need it.) Develop systems, routines and processes. I make Screencast “How To” Videos to help myself and others. If I not sure when I am will access the software again, this will help me remember what to do . Plus if someone else needs help, I can help them easily without impacting my calendar. I also to timebox my tasks and use countdown timers.
Regarding photos, I have my photos from my phone auto upload to dropbox whenever I have WIFI.
Mac, Windows or Linux? Windows, I like to work hard for my results. Macs are too user-friendly and there are not enough buttons or choices.
Kirk, Picard, or Janeway? Seriously? Wonder Woman
Transporter, Time Machine or Cloak of Invisibility? Time Machine, I love period costumes.
If someone gave me $1 million to launch a startup, I would … I would start up my FunSpecialist.TV and interview people both locally in the states of their definition and examples of creative, low or no budget fun. Then I would travel around the world getting fun ideas from around the world. Why? Everyone should be able to have fun regardless of who they are or their socioeconomic status.
I once waited in line for … To see New Kids on the Block at Bellevue Square before they were a big deal.
Your role models: Oprah. She uses her influence for good and gives a voice to averages Joe’s and empowers tons. Mike Rowe, Tim Ferriss and Tosh 2.0 are organic and rock stars in what they do.
Greatest Game in History The basketball game, when I scored 20 points in 9th grade, or the 3 hour, 3 set tennis match with Mercer Island High School that I won, leaving my snooty opponent in tears of frustration because she was beaten by non-private club, scrappy player, me.
Best Gadget Ever: PersonalCameraCrew.com Camera stick. I can share anything all the time.
First Computer: TRS- 80
Current Phone: Galaxy S3 soon to add S4
Favorite App: IFTT, Glympse, dropbox
Favorite Cause: Sustainability
Most important technology of 2013: Everything cloud, except cloud atlas
Most important technology of 2015: Google glass contacts
Final words of advice for your fellow geeks: I am inspired by all of your creativity, dreaming and non-traditional ways of thinking. Keep geekin’ on.
LinkedIn: Jolene Jang
Photo credits: Mike Nakamura Photography … Tyler Pruitt.