Working with electronics can be intimidating for people like me — I don't know a soldering iron from a glue gun, and I definitely don't know how to read a circuit diagram. Luckily, there's littleBits.
LittleBits are open source electronic modules that snap together like toys, making the learning process fun and easy for anyone. And behind littleBits is Ayah Bdeir. Ayah is an engineer, artist and alumna of the MIT Media Lab who founded the company to make electronics accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds. We asked Ayah to share some of her tips on how she's managing her budding electronic empire.
Location: New York, NY Current Gig: Founder and CEO of littleBits One word that best describes how you work: Non-stop Current mobile device: Blackberry Q10 Current computer: Apple MacBook Pro
What apps/software/tools can't you live without? Why?
Evernote. I put in every idea I come up with and every person I meet. I also use Pinterest for brainstorming and gathering inspiration.
What's your workspace setup like?
Organised chaos. On my desk sits a laptop, monitor and a landline that I never use.
What's your best time-saving shortcut/life hack?
I save the daytimes for meetings and the evenings for working.
What's your favourite to-do list manager?
Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can't you live without and why?
The littleBits Teaser Kit, which I actually use as a flashlight.
What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else? What's your secret?
Typing on my phone. I can do seven pages in under a minute.
What do you listen to while you work?
I listen to the littleBits engineering team's banter and debates about the best microcontrollers.
What are you currently reading?
Harvard Business Review, WIRED and Fast Company.
Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
What's your sleep routine like?
Very spotty. I wake up at least six or seven times a night and average four hours of sleep.
Fill in the blank: I'd love to see _____ answer these same questions.
What's the best advice you've ever received?
Pick the right investors. Sometimes in your rush to want to do things, you start to see all investors and all money as equal. I was given the advice that it was really important to pick the right investors because they're partners and it's essentially like you are getting married. You need people who become family, that you can rely on, that can help you build the business and not just give you money and disappear. That has been very helpful at different times — when I've needed help, when I've needed support, when I've been lost for a big decision — my investors have been great.
We've asked a handful of heroes, experts and flat-out productive people to share their shortcuts, workspaces and routines. Every week we'll feature a new guest and the gadgets, apps, tips and tricks that keep them going. Want to suggest someone we should feature or questions we should ask? Let us know.