Around here, every week is one during which to celebrate the accomplishments of women in the tech industry. This week we had the pleasure of sitting down with Susan Danzinger, CEO and Founder of award-winning video solution Ziggeo, to learn more about her experience as a founder in the tech industry.
StyleSage: So tell us the story of how Ziggeo came to be. What’s your mission and vision?
Susan: Our mission is instant insight. I actually got the idea as I was interviewing au pairs for our kids. On the site I was using at the time, certain au pairs uploaded video -- and in just a few seconds I could tell who would be a great fit for our family. It wasn’t so much what they said -- but the spark in their eyes -- that certain something that’s captured when you have a chance to see and hear from them. So from that idea sprung the idea of developing our own video API technology that lets any platform or business easily capture (right from their own platform) the essence of folks on video, bringing their stories to life. Instant insight is the key.
StyleSage: You have a really interesting background - spanning law, publishing, and now technology. How did those parts of your career journey prepare you for where you are today?
Susan: Every experience I’ve had has added a little bit to who I am today -- from the bicycle tours I’ve led (learning how to “wow” your customer) to the deals I negotiated with major media companies (learning how to create win-win partnerships).
StyleSage: What’s the one thing that has surprised you the most as you’ve started and grown a business and team?
Susan: The most surprising thing is that despite all the experience I’ve had in my different careers -- they haven’t prepared me for the various challenges and questions that come up every day.
Each business is different -- and where we want to take each business is personal. That’s good news for folks who don’t have much experience.
You learn as you go. In the end, it’s not about the experience you’ve had -- it’s about your willingness to roll up your sleeves, do the work, learn in the trenches, get advice when you need it -- and follow your own gut.
StyleSage: You’re amongst a small but mighty group of female led start-ups - and one that is growing. If you could shift the narrative around women in leadership roles, particularly those in technology, what would you want to bring to the conversation?
Susan: The world needs more women running and starting tech companies. It’s not a question if it's a good thing to do -- or the right thing to do.
Female founders and CEOs launch and run successful companies. They bring creativity, resourcefulness and fresh perspectives to problems that need to be solved.
We all need to support female-founded companies -- whether through investments, as customers, or simply as cheerleaders: it’s for the good of the world.
StyleSage: If you could give some advice to others considering starting a company - what would that be? What do you wish you’d known before you’d started Ziggeo?
Susan: Don’t wait until you have a perfect idea, more experience, or advance to that next job -- simply start. And you can think of it as starting a project rather than a company if that’s less daunting. Your first idea isn’t going to be perfect -- and likely won’t be the idea that will be a success. But what it will do is start you on your way, to lead you to the idea that eventually will be a success. Don’t worry about not having enough experience -- you’ll figure it out along the way. The world needs your ideas and creativity more than you can imagine.
StyleSage: We know that one of the most important elements of success for a young company is the support of both peers and mentors. What have you learned from them, particularly from fellow female founders?
Susan: Fellow female founders have played a critical role in the success of my company. Advice, support, having one another’s back -- they’ve all made me a stronger, bolder, and better CEO.
StyleSage: When you think about technology and what’s on the horizon, what excites you most about what’s ahead? Which kinds of tech are going to be truly disruptive and transformational?
Susan: We’ve only seen the beginning of what video will do to the way we communicate. Video will be everywhere. Private communication will turn from text messages to video messages. Video profiles will replace text resumes. Blogging will turn to vlogging. And as a result, people will be seen and appreciated for who they are.
StyleSage: What’s up next for Ziggeo? Any exciting developments underway that you can tell us about?
Susan: In addition to constantly improving our already award-winning video APIs and mobile SDKs, we’ll soon be launching an audio API and image API. That way, any site or platform will be able to embed code to not just record, analyze and play videos right from their site -- but also to capture audio-only as well as images. It’s part of our strategy to be the dominant player in developing media infrastructure for any platform -- and making it super simple for any site to get quickly get up and running with video, audio and images.