Randi Zuckerberg dishes on the dental gadget that sparked her interest in tech
At a time when most are focusing on tech, tech, tech -- Randi Zuckerberg has demonstrated impressive versatility with a career that has spanned beyond tech, into digital, print and broadcast.
With a current radio gig on SiriusXM, a past life at Facebook, a total of three published books (one of which, Dot, was brought to life on the small screen this fall), the 34-year-old mother of two is well along her way to achieving her goal to create a cross-media empire of sorts aimed toward empowering young girls.
Zuckerberg's most recent undertaking perhaps best marries her role as a mother, female-focused mission -- and passion for tech.
"Missy President," a chapter book that follows a 4th grader who is elected president after a homework assignment goes viral, was birthed from the challenge of explaining the election to her 5-year-old son and the growing hostility Zuckerberg was witnessing online.
"I was struggling with the fact that we weren't really showing ourselves to be great digital citizens. On the one hand, we have these great platforms that have created an amazing voice for everyone to discuss politics. On the other hand, I think we saw vitriol and negativity on social media reaching an all-time high," she told AOL Finance.
Thus, the cheeky book taps into the election in a non-partisan way (Missy affiliates with the "Pizza Party!"), "Missy President" -- and it's just as much about technology as it is about politics.
"It also raises all these questions about what happens in world when people are video taping us where people are taking photos and putting them online without our consent, without us knowing?"
Ideas for the book were even crowdsourced via Skype with little girls around the country who got advance copies.
A penchant for tech definitely runs in the family. Zuckerbergs' sisters have both entered the tech/entrepreneurship world asan editor-in-chief of an online academic publication and an associate partner at a tech VC fund You can't help but wonder if there's something in the water in Dobbs Ferry at the Zuckerberg family home.
"You have successful kids, and people are going to want to emulate your formula. But we don't profess any special child-rearing skills," dad Ed told New York Magazine in 2012.
But according to Randi, her mom and dad may have set the stage for her and her three siblings' success.
"I think my parents really created an atmosphere where we could feel free to fail. And I think so much of our human nature is to be terrified of failure ... I think the best thing about our household was that my parents always put me in different activities and atmospheres. They were like, 'Just try it, and if you fail, just get up and try again or try something else.' " she said.
See photos of Randi Zuckerberg through her career:
As for her interest in tech -- that definitely goes back to dad and the surprisingly fun gadgets he had in his dental office.
"He had this newfangled computer that could swap two people's smiles. I know what you're thinking, you did that on snapchat earlier today ... but 30 years ago that was really badass technology. We used to go down and I'd sit with my mom and we'd swap smiles. I just always had the chance to play around with his technology," she said.
Now that Zuckerberg is a parent herself, she's no doubt employing some of her parents' tactics with her "two awesome feminist little boys," 5-year-old Asher and 2-year-old Simi.
"My mom used to always read me this book, 'I Love You Forever, I Love You For Always', and she always used to cry when she read it. Then I became a mom, and I read it to my sons, and i just started bawling, full on ugly cry weeping," she said.
See our full interview with Randi below:
By: Chelsea Huang