Average to Savage
Average to Savage

Episode · 3 years ago

Christina Lila Wilson | Average to Savage EP44

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This is the forty-fourth episode of the Average to Savage podcast featuring entrepreneur Christina Lila Wilson. Paul Guarino talked with Christina Lila Wilson discussing her how she chose her career path, working at AngelHack, and the future of technology. Follow Christina Lila Wilson www.instagram.com/lilalive Powered by Current Wave Marketing www.currentwavemarketing.com

This is the average to savage podcast, with ball Greno, everyone in anyone, athletes, so e's and much more. Stop everybody, on back for another episode of the average savage podcasts or special guest today is Christina Leela Wilson. Christina has it going very good. Good to be here. Let's just jump right into it. Can you give us a brief background about yourself before I ask you some indepth questions? Sure. Yeah, yeah, I'm directing social innovation for Angel Hack, which is a global developer ecosystem and Hackason and accelerator company. Love it has together so many things I'm passionate about. Before that, I worked with a group focusing on investing in women and have worked for quite a few nonprofits around the globe to so really we're trying to kind of connect a lot of the social impact innovations with technology and start up. Yeahcha, and you went to Ucla for an Undergrad and you went to Georgeown for graduate school. Would you study there? I studied social and public policy at Georgetown and before that, an Undergrad, I studied of political science and religious studies. I was definitely still exploring, which I still am today. But yeah, I really enjoyed all those areas. So I going for those two degrees. What was your like gold like job buys or career wise? It's a good question. I mean, at this time I really wanted to be involved thin human rights and I thought the legal path would be really powerful for that. But then I was working in that field and I think I got a little disillusions. I worked, you know, wanted to go into the nonprofit industry after that. I thought that was the biggest way to make change and always had this passion kind of international issue. So I couldn't find like the perfect path that would combine all those things I always loved as a kid. I think for a while I wanted to be like a global spy or something, but not for I'm not for any government. So but I think empowering people in their dreams was always something I wanted to do. And then after after some time kind of being disillusioned with the numprofit industry that, you know, go focused on fundraising constantly and you know your hands are tied in a lot of ways to make big impact, I definitely had another iteration and my career goals and stumbles on this intersection of this amazing, like startup text community and how just lightning fast it was and how it was the space where people could experiment with all sorts of creative solutions to all societies problems and just it was so exciting and had this like fire and electricity around it when I started kind of getting into the hackabone and the text base. So I even after Georgetown, I ended up doing a tech boot camp just to kind of really dive in and get more exposure, and then that that led to this, which I totally didn't expect, that this is really, you know, creating a platform for people to come on and experiment and put their entrepreneur dream which I think, you know, I think a lot of us think we're in the age where anyone could do anything they want, but I think we're just at the very beginning of that. The potential that we have to go so much further. Yeah, for sure. I was just talking one of my friends the other day that has a daughter that's, I think, like eleven, and I was just like there and everyone's just going to be like way smarter just because all the technology. Yes, I mean we see it. So I'm constantly humbled at our hacks on a lot of time the winners are like fifteen or fourteen years old. They've literally like had so much experience. And I mean one of our winners. The investors are all grilling him and he's huge fourteen and they were likely, you know, what are you going to do if this thing you're presenting is actually successful? And you know, and he was. He had already sold two companies, so he was way ahead of so I'm very excited. You know, when that generation...

...is you know, the people that have had that passion took always learn to have resources humanity has never had before. So I think ran for some amazing surprises. The fourteen year old sold to companies. Yes, yeah, he and he he's a blockchain developer expert. He's just he lives in California. I think he's been back in school now like focusing on that, but a lot of the ones we talked to they feel a little held back by school. You know, we've definitely seen it all on. A lot of the ones internationally are from very poor backgrounds also, and it's just amazing to see what they've done to be able to keep to bring themselves the resources and how hard they fought always be learning. Yeah, for sure. Now going back to the UCLA and in George Own, so there's a two notable schools. Like what was the difference between like going to school on the West Coast and then coming back to the east coast and like was it a different like how different was the experiences and like the cultures are of like the colleges? I'm definitely I yeah, I grew up on the east coast and spent a lot of time in the west coast. I always had a love of both, but I do think they're very different cultures. I think for Georgetown I was really missing this electricity that I fell from the east coast around dream building and just, you know, people will loot at such a fast pace and be ready to go work on an idea, you know, on social justice, that was just contagious amongst all the people they would bring together. So I think I was very lit up by that. I definitely love you say that I loved this diversity at Ucla and I just got to be exposed to so many different things, but I was I was more in the political I was like at the time I thought politics was going to be the avenue. I wanted you know to take and I went through a few phases of dissolusion it. So, but it was very good. It was good for all the all the good debates and exposure to two different ideas. Yeah, definitely. And how did that all lead to you going to Angel Act or working for Angel that? It was actually through. I went through like the time I was disillusion with the nonprofit Shas. I really felt sad and I was like I just felt like wow, this you know, it was sad to see so many of the path I thought were going to have, all this avenue to do so much we're kind of fading away. So I definitely went through a time of like confusion and but I followed the things that I saw that were working and I was with a group that was literally organizing hackathons on as a volunteer basis and we would we would do them around global issues, like we did one around Pakistan issues, and you know, popstone has some of the worst problems in the world for corruption and it literally, you know, all sorts of poverty issues, so many endless things, and we would do hackasons building solutions to some of the specific problems and it was amazing. Like idea of people built prototypes in a weekend were able to be implemented in impact millions of people's lives and that, you know, I was doing that on the side while I was working for a nonprofit that that was helping women in entrepreneurship. So it kind of started coming together. And then the Angel Hack Group was trying to, you know, expand globally, which to me, I was always so passionate about, you know, the global aspect. To me it's it's like this beautiful part of American culture, like the innovation that we do. You know, have this great respect for the work ethic and that culture of even around Sulican Valley, I always felt like, okay, the whole world needs this and down so many communities. We see around the world they're just going ahead. Even in some areas like like, for example, the Arab world has more more women than soil come valley involved and the base like I think one at one and three companies have a female founder.

So it's amazing to see like the really high levels of adoption progress they're getting for innovation, starts, investment, all of that, like the the scene of just lighting up all over the world. In definitely it can you just give me like a brief summary of what Angel Hack does? Sure, yeah, so we started really just as this weekend competition around peck and people would come together and you know, it's focus on one problem or an industry and people would create their solutions, work all day Saturday. They were always over night. So people would something to stay up all night and then Sunday they would present to angel investors and by Monday at least one or a few of the teams would have investments really experiment with their idea. So that was that was the initial model back in two thousand and eleven. From there we've really expanded and you know, how do we keep a lot of these a lot of this magic that is sparked at the hack upon to encourage them to test and launch an experiment. So now we have an accelerator that is twelve weeks long that will, you know, take at least one of the winning ideas that put it through that so it has that longer term support. But it's been really amazing to enter some parts of the world that didn't really have a very strong scene and there's something very contagious about it. I've got it's fun. It brings that fun feeling back to that space, like you're working with such different people than usually would. I mean that used to be even the Edison's invention factory was like bringing you know people you would typically work with them. That's when you get that fresh thinking outside the box at different ages, different backgrounds, everything, and so you know, we've we've still evolved from there. Now we will run hackasons with partners around the world, always, you know, as different themes. We do it for governments that are looking to support new innovations or people looking for specific solutions in an industry. And then we have this tour that does about fifty cities every year. Competition and then start up investment. It's crazy. What's been some of your like favorite winners? Oh Wow, there's going to be tough. I mean we've had one winner two years ago that it's just kind of aimed at millennials, teaching them about really being smart with their money, manage sing their money and investing. Started in Spain and it's just become so popular. Their growth is insane. The number of Delmas were getting and we've had a few. We had one in Africa that I really loved that was getting people transvest in the environment. So you could go on their platform and like literally invest in different parts of African environment and you know, ultimately that's one of the best investments on how that pays off to every sector in the economy. We've had somewhere someone could, you know, in parts of the Middle East, they created something where women could report or get counseling or something for Carrabsman or domestic violence or whatever, and it just uncovered this huge need because a lot of women couldn't talk to the police. They could have talked to their neighbors. They they literally couldn't mention anything. So it like uncovered this huge shadow base that, you know, had no outlet before. So there's a lot of things like that that, you know, young girl wanted to build it and you know, it didn't require a lot of technology but have such an amazing impact. Yeah, so are most of these are like apps? Yeah, most of them are APP, some Web APPs, some for the phone, but yeah, all of our stuff is just peck enabled. God. So it's like kind of like changing through lifestyle almost with some of that, like in the form puts. Yeah, so, even I mean with someone in Dubai made something around depression, you know, getting more acts to wellness resources and mind from ess resources, or so many of the people that are working they are separated from family. You know, there's just it's amazing because we allow the participants in each of the participating cities to kind of determine the problems that are they're the most passionate about. So it's really it's fun to go see the...

...demo days because you're seeing just such, you know, fresh thinking around these problems that are just being ignored in a lot of ways. Like I mean, even when you look at the UN sustainable development goals of like, okay, these are the biggest problems humanity is going to have over the next ten years, you don't see investment going towards a lot of, you know, a lot of those kind of problems globally. So you know, we're trying to do that and allowing the use and a lot of these countries, where they're living in the problems, they have a lot of the best ideas that it's just a very smart investment like that has a high r line. Like we've even seen, for an, aid programs that pump so much money into you know, cookie cutter solutions or worn out solutions, and you know, the young. I saw one reporting pux one of like Tenzero was only put into this startup accelerator and had a much higher impact than millions that were put in. You know, some of the traditional systems. How many haggathons you ever yours? We have about eighty two hundred that we have, you know, about fifty every year. That will be to our global story of competition. So how do you how do you pick words going to be? We're doing in that process right now and it's it's it's always a journey because there's so many places we want to go and so many places that, you know, really want more of these kind of opportunities. But we try to pick cities that will have that talent, you know, really strong talent that is hungry for this opportunity. Like we also don't want to go to places that are so saturated with a million hack of songs. We try to pick places that have that high potential and that also have partners. We love to work with local partners that also will kind of invest in them side by side with us. So, for example, like an accelerator in Kenya give prizes out at our hack of bombs and mentors winning teams that, you know, we love to do that because it's not just a one way exchange. It's really, you know, it's always been the west kind of teaching their ways to the world. That, like, it really is amazing to have this exchange of their wisdom and we learn a lot from each of them, each of the cultures that we encounter. Is there any is there any country that you really want to go to? I would love to. I mean there's so many still that we haven't done, like even Iran. I'm happy Ronni in I know this the sea. There's so amazing, like the text talent and people that you're, you know, hungry for more supporting opportunities. So many. I mean just Saudy, another one that we will probably go to this year. I love going to places like that where we're trying to do some around women, you know, haven't had as may opportunities in the Middle East. But Oh yeah, that list is is Ms. There's, you know, so many new cities that get this emerging text scene that are just have that excitement factory when you say you lived in the Middle East or you've traveler all the time or post lived there? No, but for the past few years of we've been doing the program spending a lot of time in the Middle East and Africa. That those are my two regions focusing on me. Yeah, so what's it? What's it like going over there all the time? It's it's very it's very exciting, I feel. I feel like I just learned so much, encounter so much beauty and, you know, as a law of the world is kind of becoming the same and the modernization profs. I always look at it like, you know, this is also the competitive advantage of all these beautiful cultures that, you know, I don't want to diminish. So I go there and I've always been amazed, like even Justin Dubai, like the scene around supporting innovation and the excitement about all the you know, future visions and goals. It's just really contagious and know, the...

...environment they're building for young changemakers and young innovative thinkers is so exciting. Like I mean I just went to the huge government funded area that was all about youth learning. It's such a such an exciting innovative way where they could play with so many new tech tools, and I mean even I walked into this cafe that was the most beautifully designed cafe I've ever been to and every they said it was all designed by under fourteen year old. So, you know, places like that and then seeing like subcultures in places like Nigeria or Afghanistan, like all the there's a movement in Afghanistan of reverse brain drain, you know, the youth. The movement has always been to leave the country in a lot of the world as soon as they get good education and opportunities. So the best minds that are the most likely to involve their societies are leaving. But this movement was like bringing all these amazing young people that, you know, had incredible education. They all could get jobs in Europe or US and they're living in Afghanistan and they're just building these incredible places to, you know, provide support for the young innovators, and seeing things like that was always really exciting. It's pretty I feel like I'm going on a world tour just talking to you. So it's it's beautiful. I know, I wish I could like publish a book of all the you know, these emerging scenes that we encounter of all over the world. I mean I'm always you know, my my co workers are telling the stories from all over Asia, you know, South America, all it's just end left. Do you guys ever do videos and sit like vlogs or anything like that? We do. Yeah, well, like we have even the Angel Hack instagram that will some of us will do takeovers and do kind of stories going through some of these emerging tech hubs. So that might be an interesting place to see some of it. But I hope we do put some more, you know, in a other platforms just to tell some of the stories. I think it's it's beautiful to really see that. It just gives me so much hope because I think, you know, we've had conflict amplified in media and so many ways and people feel feel enmyby but then you know, always seeing around the world will like the average person all kind of wants the same thing. They all like want to build this beautiful future and they have more in common with each other than with a lot of governments, you know. So it's nice to see this like community and especially in the text star world, they all have that kind of forward thinking attitude of even like the open source movement. We see that as so many of our hands. Like so some of the teams that win and have get opportunities. They they make all their technology open. They don't even care about getting credit, like they're just like always want to contribute to this these causes. So, you know, seeing seen all of that gives us a lot of hope for the future. Ye, it's awesome and you got you guys. Are Stuff in the US to right? Yes, definitely. I will have at least five hack of bombs are around that in the US this year. Yeah, and jumping into like women in Chech what have you seem like? Have you seen like women grow in business and tech over the past few years? I guess to say, yeah, yeah, I think. I think it's definitely an exciting time. We always start thinking about I mean I hear a lot of people in the US talk about the gaps and opportunity and I think it's true. I think I saw the most recent report was like still two percent of VC funding was going to women. So you know, and globally, I think when you see the numbers globally, I saw a report that was saying like two thirds of the words world working hours are from women, but they only have ten percent of global income,...

...which is insane to think about because so many of the lowest billion in poverty are women. So I think in a lot of the world it's interesting like where they don't have they weren't raised in that way, that technology was a path for men, and a lot of the world, like women are equal in the field of technology or even having a higher number of women. So it's it's amazing. will go like a lot of the last we bring the experts to teach the pack upon atteney's about Ai and it would be a woman. You know, a lot of the time it was really awesome to see. But I think I think we are entering that. Feel like there's a lot more interested investing in women because they're performing really well as entrepreneurs. When they're looking at the numbers and it's it's crazy because I think we're still we're not even at the place like we think we're the most advanced gender wive society, but I don't think we're even at the places of a lot of ancient cultures, like even the old Iranian culture had women were considered the from the greatest advisors, so all the businessmen and commanders of military and kings would have email advisors, and it's exciting because I think we are getting to that place again where it's really being valued, even at pack funds that we have focusing on women's issues in a lot of the world. A lot of men came and they're like this is, you know, a really important issue for our society and they're all thinking about their daughters. So yeah, I think I think we're seeing just really exciting signs and signals of how that how that all of that is going to change all over the world. Then, in your opinion, how do you think it's gonna like change and say five or ten years? I think it looks, I mean if the trend will continue that, you know, the number of people getting some investment will rise and and I don't like to just think of investment embers, because I do think that model is kind of broken and we've kind of still been exporting it and people have been trying to copy it around the world. But I think the you know, looking at the trends of democratizing access to capital so that average people can experiment. But I mean, for me it's not just women, it's poor people, like you know, poor people that are have less money have had such a small real chance at getting their ideas experiments in, but then we also know that they do such an amazing job. Like if you look at some of the most amazing successful innovators, like came from really, you know, tough backgrounds, and so I'm always thinking like it's just sad that we're still not at that place where if someone has a great idea, no matter where they are, they can at least get some experimentation. And I think, as you know, even things like I'm seeing a lot of these funds coming out, that you don't need to be an incredible investor and like the twenty two x funds that link of times could start up. Average people could invest in a accountable way with with founders. So I think it's going to be really interesting how that pans out over the next five ten years, like you know, where someone just has an amazing idea, they'll be a little more accountable way to really experiments and then have support from mentors and you know, it's I see people really building innovative models around that. So I think, yeah, I think it, you know, hopefully will matter a lot less, like the little factors like your age or your gender any of those things? Yeah, for sure. Ready for some fun questions? Yeah, sure. So, if you had to create an APP, would kind of APP would you create? Oh Wow, okay, I definitely think about it, like I've always at happens on them, like Oh, Tis, like I should, I should go back and participate. I think I'm very passionate about wellness and health. Then I always think it's very strange the conflicts in our industry. Is like how the health industry profits off sickness, not wellness, and we've just forgotten so much of the ancient wisdom around that.

Like even just India alone, the old IRA vedic the signs of life, not just for wellness, for energy, for it's almost like the technology of the human body. They mastered it and we just like lost all of that. But I think some kind of they may might be something like this, but an APP that would really bring that wisdom into modern life in an easy, digestible way. That would be something amazing. I mean, I guess just democratizing different industries, I'm that's always kind of my favorite thing, like whether it's I just want to see more artists supported, you know, not just technologist but any platforms that would help people invest in artist for designers or, you know, musicians, whatever. I think that would be like a really exciting for me. Yeah, yeah, that that'd be interesting. In the whole time we were doing this interview, just the Hackathon just remind me of like shark tank. So, like, are you a fan of that show? What's still no shark tank? Oh, Shark tank. Oh, definitely, I love I love watching that and it also kind of shows some of the problems with the space. I think sometimes when you watch your like you see an idea that's really amazing and they're like Oh, just because you're not putting profit totally first, like we're not going to invest you, or there's like an ego battle, and that's real, like that's that's like people in the space. You see stuff like that all the time, like or when they no one invests in an idea that is really targeted for poor people, but they don't relate because they don't have that experience. Like why, you know, they're like I think ECO flowers was like on and they're they're like, we don't understand why anyone would want this. We like fresh flowers, but she proved them wrong so bad. You know, and the huge market. But I do love watching it and I think it's awesome for young people that now see. I think it because it gets you dreaming and gets you passionate, and now we just need, you know, more doors open opening up. I was watching with my niece, Biz kids. That is just it was so amazing. I was like, I wish this was around when I was a kid, because it was encouraging children to the you know, play around entrepreneurship in a fun way, and it is fun. It's like the best education. You're learning about so many spaces and hey, why not like be smart about thinking about money at, you know, even at a younger age? So there for sure. I think even like Short Tang itself, like I seen, I don't know what I was watching, but instead of the kids want to become entrepreneurs now, instead of like an athlete or actor, actress, stuff like that, which is we're just cool. I think. I think it's amazing and I think, I hope that that's the direction that we go. I mean even in business in general, like I just saw a report showing that we're moving the opposite direction overall, like we're moving towards higher concentration and industries where it's just a few, like most of the domination is just with the few players, like it's gotten much worse over the past twenty years, and but we know that that's not good for society. Like we know everyone works harder and everyone is more lit up and connected and putting in their heart and soul when they feel some kind of ownership. SPAKE that. Instead we're kind of concentrating ownership, so you know, and companies that have been experimenting with that model of like employee ownership, and you know, all of like if just they do so, they outperform other businesses like crazy. And so that's my help is we go in that direction that, you know, where anyone can like feel some some sense of entrepreneurship in their life, even if it's even if it's just a small portion of a company they're working for. Yeah, definitely. What last one? If you SEELA and Georgetown are playing in the sporting event, who are you rooting for? That's awesome. I okay, I'm I've never been that into...

...sports, so I don't want to disappoint just point you too much, but if I was picking loyalty and some battle, I would be really hard for me. I would I would take it as a sign from life, which which one one, and I like to do that. I like to make it a signal from the world, because I couldn't picked between the two because they each played such an amazing role at different stages of my life. But yeah, I mean right now I might say. I might say George Hans my favorite right now because I'm still lit up from all the social justice energy I got there. Yeah, Yeaha. Well, I appreciate you coming on. And where can people find you and Angel Hack on Social Media? Yeah, so, Angel Hack HQ is our instagram. I'm a Leel alive on instagram. That's just you know. I'll post about along our hacks on adventures there, and we're also on twitter. Same, same name. All Right, thanks, appreciate thank you so much.

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