New Mexico Techworks had the opportunity to interview Zippy Guerin. Zippy works with Creative Santa Fe and is the founder of Santa Fe Found, an online platform that highlights local artists and entrepreneurs. In this interview she explains how technology has impacted her career and life.
Name: Zippy Guerin
Business/Organization: Santa Fe Found
1. Where are you from and how did you end up in Santa Fe?
I grew up in Cambridge, MA, and when I was 16 I came to New Mexico to attend the United World College in Montezuma (right outside Las Vegas, NM). I lived there for two years and then went to college in California and lived in LA for a few years. In 2017 I moved back to New Mexico because I was self-employed and working from home at the time (thus I could live/work anywhere) and I thought Santa Fe would be a great place to be. I love living in Santa Fe and am very happy I made my way back to New Mexico.
2. How did your personal and professional background influence where you are today?
I worked for myself after I graduated college and started a company with my then-partner. We worked from home and traveled quite a bit, and through this work, I got to see a lot of different communities across the country. A few years ago I passed through Santa Fe for the first time since I had left in 2010, and unlike most places I visited, I felt like I could actually live here. So, I decided to make the move to Santa Fe and am very happy I did. Because I didn't know anyone when I moved here, I felt as though I really needed to reach out and build community. So last May I started Santa Fe Found, a website that highlights local creators, artists & entrepreneurs. Through running this platform, I have met so many incredible people and am constantly in awe of peoples' creations. I also now work at a nonprofit called Creative Santa Fe, and I've really enjoyed working with different organizations and artists to get people in our community civically engaged.
3. Do you use social media?
Yes, I use social media a lot! I love sharing bits and pieces of my life with my friends online, and I also love using social media as a discovery tool. For example, whenever I'm traveling to a new city, I use Instagram to look up what's happening and where to go. I use it to find design inspiration, look up new recipes, meet people, discover new artists, and more. I'm a very visual person so Instagram is my favorite platform. Whenever I'm feeling creatively stuck, I go to Instagram or Tumblr (yes, Tumblr!) for inspiration.
For business, I think social media can be a great tool for growth. Personally, I find it's much easier for me to tell a brand's story through photographs and captions than just through words or paid advertisements. I really enjoy capturing and sharing images that truly express a brand's identity and that help get the message out about who they are. Social media is also a great place for brands to test ideas, connect with new audiences, and get informed about what people are creating and buying.
4. What advice would you give to younger people that are interested in entrepreneurship and technology?
Go for it! Realize that the technological landscape is shifting daily, so if you are feeling like you're already behind on something, just remember that every day you have the opportunity to be an early adopter or pioneer of a new medium. Also, realize that there are intersections between entrepreneurship and technology and just about everything else. You can create your own version of entrepreneurship that fits into your own lifestyle and your interests. What the typical stereotype of an entrepreneur or engineer looks like is not truly representative of all the different types of people who are running their own businesses and using technology to make a living. I challenge you to make it your own!
5. How has inventing technology or using technology helped you move forward?
Most recently I've used technology, specifically social media, to share local creators' stories and connect with the Santa Fe community via my website Santa Fe Found. I started this project 8 months ago and there are already thousands of people who are interacting with the content I publish each week. It's very exciting to be able to support local artists and entrepreneurs and share their stories online, but it's also incredible to learn about how Santa Fe Found has led to people bringing these relationships offline and collaborating on projects in real life.
6. What do you like to do in your free time?
I'm an active person and love to be out and about - whether it's working out, hiking, or just walking around town. I also like to cook - I've been vegan/vegetarian for most of my life and love making healthy food. I'd also say I'm an amateur designer - whether it be designing a warm and beautiful home, creating websites and print materials, or redesigning processes to streamline them - I'm always conceptualizing how to make things simpler and prettier.
7. What role do you think IT will play in Santa Fe?
My hope is that IT will support the wants and needs of the Santa Fe community going forward. I lived in Silicon Valley for 4 years while I was studying at Stanford, and I was amazed by how many superfluous products and startups were being designed and funded. I mean, some truly ridiculous ideas were being given millions of dollars, meanwhile, there was a massive housing and homelessness crisis occurring in the Bay Area, among many other problems. I think that the appeal of working for a cool consumer product startup is real, so it is important that we communicate to young people that there are equally, if not more, rewarding careers in technology that will help solve some of the biggest issues facing our community: public infrastructure, education, poverty, housing, sustainability, healthcare, etc.
8. What is your favorite thing about working with technology?
My favorite thing about working with technology is that it has really democratized many processes that in the past have excluded certain types of people. I so appreciate how technology allows people who might otherwise be isolated (physically, financially, etc.) to connect with almost anyone in the world. Online, your work speaks for itself and if you have good ideas, you can communicate them to populations that might otherwise be out of reach to you.