Interview with Krista Marks (Heroes)
"When I went to college, I didn't even know about technology or pursuing a career in technology," says Krista. "Fortunately when I got to orientation for college, I sat next to a student who said she was going to major in electrical engineering. 'What is that?' I said. And she said, 'I know that if you really like math and physics, it's the best major to have. I said, 'Oh my god, those are my two favorite things! I would like every student to be aware of the available opportunities when they're choosing a career. I did end up there and loved technology. In fact, from that point on I really wanted to be involved in designing technology. I spent the first eleven years designing custom electronics, and got to work around the world."
Krista Marks is a serial entrepreneur with twenty years of experience at the forefront of technology. She has built and led highly effective software and hardware teams for startups, consulting firms and Fortune 100 companies, and recently delivered the highly acclaimed solutions for creativity and community on Disney.com. She was honored with the Kids at Play Interactive (KAPi) award for “Emerging Pioneer” at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show.
Krista Marks is currently CEO & Co-Founder of Simbulus creators of Woot Math, a Boulder software, ed-tech startup. Previously, she was a Vice President at Disney for User Generated Content. She came to Disney through its 2008 acquisition of Kerpoof where she was also CEO and co-founder. The tools created at Disney and Kerpoof have allowed millions of children to create, save and share artwork in safe online environments. Her career has spanned many technology fields where she has worked as an engineer, manager, and executive, and she has won a broad range of awards. In addition to the KAPi award, she was a 2005 finalist for Xilinx’s highest technical achievement award for her work in networking electronics. In 1999, she won Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s highest achievement award for her contributions to high energy physics instrumentation. She holds multiple U.S. patents and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of South Carolina.
An Interview with Krista Marks General Manager, Disney Online Kerpoof Studios
Date: August 2, 2010 NCWIT Entrepreneurial Heroes
Lucy Sanders: Hi this is Lucy Sanders. I am the CEO of NCWIT or the National Center for Women and Information Technology. And this is one in a series of interviews that we're doing with great entrepreneurs, women who have started IT companies. And they all have great stories to tell, especially in the areas of entrepreneurship and the technology of the future. And with me is Larry Nelson from w3w3.com. Hi Larry. Larry Nelson: Hi, I am happy to be here.
Lucy: What's going on with w3w3?
Larry: Well we're doing all kinds of very neat things; we interview all kinds of neat people. But we really enjoy the NCWIT interviews because I'm having four daughters, and this idea of information technology in helping support women, it's just fantastic.
Lucy: Well today is a real treat for us because today we're interviewing one of my absolute favorite people and entrepreneurs, Krista Marks. And she's a real blend of technical accomplishments, and social passion, and entrepreneurial spirit. You cannot spend more than five seconds with Krista without getting all kinds of really great information, and energy, and passion. And I had the privilege of interviewing her recently at Entrepreneurs Unplugged Session, and it was just a real treat. Everybody loved it. And I know our listeners are going to love the interview today. She's the co-founder of Kerpoof Studios, but before that in working in many technical areas with great technical credentials, patent-holder, et cetera. And when she started Kerpoof it was around a passion of children and innovation, and a great place to be on the Internet for learning. And apparently Disney thought that as well, and acquired Kerpoof in 2008. And Krista is now the general manager of Disney Online. And like I said at the Entrepreneurial Unplugged event she gets that little Mickey Mouse on her card, which I'm entirely jealous about. So welcome Krista. We're very excited to interview you.
Krista Marks: Thank you. Thank you. It's good to be here.
Lucy: Why don't you tell us a little bit of about what's going on at Disney first before we launch into the interview.
Krista: Well one of the most exciting things that's going on, everything on the Create portal is done in bolder. And if you go to disney.com there's a game portal like a video portal, but there's now a Create portal. And that was the vision when Disney acquired us, that we would take an extended technology we've done around Kerpoof and really combine it with their IT, and build kind of an area on that dedicated to creativity. And we've done that. But we have a very big event that's going on now that I'm super excited and proud about which is a digital mosaic.
Lucy: Oh wow.
Krista: It's a large scale mosaic. There are images of Mickey. We provide the tools for kids to create drawings online. Those drawings are submitted and once moderated there incorporated into a Mosaic of Mickey that takes thousands and thousands pieces of art. In fact, we are rolling out different images of Mickey and each one is populated as a Mosaic. The whole portal is very exciting but for me this is sort of the combination of what is exciting about the web. Is this idea, the technology the technology for those not interesting to me but technology combined with the kind of things you can do in terms of being kids into this story? Be part of the story to participate and that kind of interaction is just super exciting. And to do something on that scale so its not just, "hey kids come in and draw, hey kids come in and draw and be part of something larger. Is part of a large Mosaic dedicated to Mickey?" In addition, it has been hugely successful I think were over 300,000 pieces of art created today.
Lucy: Wow that is awesome. I am going to check that out four sure. In addition, its just so fascinating to you knows Krista is a real pioneer in the area of innovation for kids on line and it is very inspiring. Therefore, I am glad a company that is big as Disney is getting into that, that whole area.
Krista: Serious, honestly is not it I thought it was very exciting. The reality is to have a company with number one family media company in the world really embrace bringing the kids into this story. Not just saying here is our art and here is art beautiful this is what they do well. Right, they create content saying, "you know what kids we want you to create content too, we want you to be part of that." I think its extraordinary exciting and I am really proud to be part of it.
Lucy: Absolutely, one of the things that we always like to ask people and you rather go back in time a little bit. And think through here you are at Disney today but you were not always at Disney. You were interested in technology for some reason so why don't you tell us how you first got interested in technology. And as you look at the technical landscape today what technology do you think are especially important?
Krista: My road is not, some ways its super smooth because I went, I graduated high school and I went to college and I studied electrical engineering. I would say it was unsmooth and it is why NCWIT is so important and that when I went to college I did not know about technology or pursuing a career in technology. Which for me it ended up being electrical engineering but obviously the number of careers one can choose in technology. For me what happened in high school is that I really gravitated in mathematics and science, problem solving. This is the areas that I like, unfortunately when I got to orientation for college I sat next to a student and I said what your major is. In addition, they said they were an electrical engineer and I said I do not know what that is, what is that? And they said oh well, I do not what that is either. But I know that if you really like math and physics, that it's really the best major to have and I said oh my gosh. Those are my two favorite things. So I really fell into it. And so I think, why NCWIT is so critical in the kinds of things they're doing, that you are doing which is so important, is that I would like no young person to start college not knowing what computer science, engineering, electrical engineering, all of the areas that on can pursue in technology, bio engineering. You know, the list goes on and on. But to be really aware of those opportunities, it may not be for everyone. But at least to be aware of them and so mindfully know what you're choosing from, when you choose a career. So anyway, again, I think I got lucky which I don't think is a good thing. But the good news is I did end up there and love technology and in fact really wanted, from that point on, to be part of designing technology. And spent a number of years, my first eleven years, designing custom electronics for high energy physics experiments. Got to work around the world, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, that really solidified my love of technology. Again, I was just working on really state of the art technology and systems. Great experience, great first experience. Worked with some real giants in that field and had amazing mentors. So that's kind of how I landed in technology. In terms of technology that I think is very interesting right now. I first would say, look at the I-pad, for a number of reasons. But for me, particularly, and again I'm interested in kids and technology. And the reality is kids learn by touching things. And so the I-pad is just perfectly designed for this demographic. And I think increasingly kids will literally learn how to read and problems solve using these types of devices. You know, what's interesting is, is I'm a part of a number of groups that are always thinking, gosh, can digital media actually make a difference. We have a lot of kids that are falling behind that aren't doing well. And there's always, can it be the silver bullet. We know that kids need scaffolding and they need adults to be there to help them succeed. But can digital media, can technology actually help set them and do something about this. And I think, to me, the I-pad is the first device, first piece of technology. And actually I like to bring up I-pad because a lot of times I think young people don't even think about the I-pad, the I-phone, the computer, that those are pieces of technology that are designed by technologists, right. And that how cool to have a career that, that's the kind of stuff you create, right. And I always say engineers. Look, at the end of the day all we do, we just create stuff. We build stuff whether it be Google the website, whether it be a Ferrari car, whether it be a Boeing airplane, whether it be an I-pad, and I-touch right. Software and hardware, that's what we do, we're creators, we're builders. So that's a piece that's exciting to me. I'm a little excited, I got to go to E3 which is of course the big conference this year, has to spend a little time there. In addition, have to see Microsoft's new Kinect, which of course is new tall. To me you know I would of prior to see thing that I would said the Wii. I think the Wii is very interesting piece of technology. I think its bringing back the sense of intergenerational game play. And again technology for technology's sake is not interesting to me but technology as a means to do interesting things like intergenerational play, very exciting. That takes that to the next level where you have Kinect where your whole body becomes the controller. Right, so you jump up and down on the screen the avatar jumps up and down. This is big stuff this is exciting stuff. I will say in the world self-serving but I think what we just did with the group wall, the digital Mosaic. [inaudible 09:01] is part of the kind of technology that to me is exciting, really pushing what the web can deliver. That level of interactive that frankly up to recently I would say you really only got from desktop software.
Lucy: You know I saw Kinect at the Microsoft Facility Summit; it was interesting very, very interesting technology.
Larry: Wow, you know, Krista, I thought when I fist met you at First Robotics, when you and I were both judges and of course, Lucy and her husband who were very involved also. But you mentioned Lawrence Livermore National Labs; about 20 years ago, they were a client to mine.
Krista: What a small world.
Larry: So I wonder if we met there.
Krista: Actually, I was at Lawrence Berkley National Labs, something different then Lawrence Livermore.
Larry: Oh, OK.
Lucy: There all related to Lawrence.
Larry: Is that the case.
Krista: Actually there not, interesting a little aside the Lawrence was connected with Lawrence Berkley. In fact, his family has fought a long time to have his name removed from Lawrence Livermore. Because he really did high-energy research. He did not do bomb testing or development so a little aside.
Lucy: That is interesting.
Larry: It is and in fact when I think back there were very few women at all at Lawrence Livermore, very few. Anyhow you know here you are you got this techie background, you like solving problems in math and physics and all. Why you are an entrepreneur and what is about entrepreneurship that makes you tick? Krista: You know I have not really thought about this it is a good question and the more I thought about it. I have been asked this before and one of the simplest reasons and I do not think probably unusual is my father was entrepreneur. I think there's always been a piece of me I really admire him and admire what he has accomplished. I think its something always in the back of my head that is a big dream. I also think, honestly I think it is in the water in the United States. I think we're born and bred on the idea that you can strike it on your own. You can really start your own company. It is an extraordinary thing about this country that makes me excited to be here. I think there's not that you cannot be an entrepreneur in other countries but its very favorable here. We have a very nurturing environment being an entrepreneur. But first of all, my father, I think some other things happened that were critical. I think the reason a lot of people aren't entrepreneurs is not that they don't want to be, but because it's too scary. You have a good job. You're getting good pay. Why would you leave that for something that, frankly, that most people fail. You go to making no money and very unsure. A different level of stress. Because now, really, the buck stops with you in a very real genuine way. And I think because of all that, most people don't make the leap. I had two pivotal events. And I think it's an interesting thing to share because it really validates how I think having mentors or people that believe in you can impact you. I met a very famous entrepreneur, Jerry Fiddler. He's actually the cofounder of Wind River. A company that he grew literally from his garage to a billion dollar company. And I was on a ski trip with mutual friends and he was there. And it was all week. And we were skiing together. And during the course of the week he got to know me. And by the end of the week he said, "I think you would be an amazing entrepreneur. And not only that, I think you would be an amazing CEO and entrepreneur." And I think that someone who you kind of look up to, validates you, and says that, it has a huge impact. And so, at that point, I knew I was going to do it. It was a matter of finding the right group to do it with. It's not true for everyone, but for me, it was really important to do it with cofounders. And I was at Xilinx for the time, and three other people who were at Xilinx, three other engineers, we all had had a lot of success at Xilinx. A very wonderful company Xilinx. And I got to lead some products that really made a difference to their bottom line and their company. And I felt like, wow, I think I can do this. I think I have some good instincts. One of the things I learned when I left Lawrence Berkeley Lab and went to industry, and went to Xilinx that I didn't know about myself was how competitive I was. And I was working on products. And this raging competitor came out of me. When we would lose design wins, I would be so angry. And I would say to the sales people, "What do you mean we've lost?" And they would say, "Well, Krista, you're products are only one of many pieces that factor into a win." And I would say, "What are you talking about? My products should be so good it should determine the win. I want to talk to your customers." And I would go to the customers. And I would say, "What could we have done? Could we have done anything?" And in fact, there were things. They said, if you did 120 of this bus, and you did dynamical lining. You know what? We would have given it to you. Well, we went back and we did those things. And in fact, [inaudible 13:40] at our customer and led to the success. But what I learned is that it's obvious. It's not like a lot of people don't know. But was listening to customers. How powerful that can be. Truly viewing what they want and the kind of success you can have from that. So I think that combined with obviously having seen a father that ended up having role model sort of confirm that they think I could be good at it. With sort of already having some product success within the company and feeling my instincts are good. I think this is something I could do. I think all of that came together to make me able to take that leap. That's a scary leap. I don't think anyone who takes that first leap to become an entrepreneur and start a company from scratch. I always see it as jumping off a cliff. In fact, the other three cofounders, I always said, "We're going jump off this cliff together, and here's what I know. If we hold hands, don't let go, ever. We'll succeed. If we hold hand and don't ever let go, we'll succeed." And I use that metaphor a lot actually. Even when we sold the business, I said that, "Look. You guys, we got to hold hands here. We're holding hands. We're stronger as a four than we are individually." I think that's true.
Lucy: That's really awesome advice. And I want to point out Jerry Fiddler's encouragement as being something really important, especially to many women to start companies. That he saw a great skill and he encouraged it. And here we have Krista today, having done a lot of great technology, and a successful entrepreneur. I had cause to be in a room with him once. When he found out I was from Boulder, he came up and said, "Do you know Krista Marks? She's just fabulous. Do you know about Kerpoof?"
Larry: Whoa! Wonderful.
Lucy: So, he's definitely your fan.
Krista: Well that's funny because I actually... at that ski trip, I said Jerry when I become an entrepreneur this means you have to be an advisor. That's what you're signing up for right? I had locked him in right then.
Lucy: Oh, that's great.
Krista: He was an advisor to Kerpoof.
Lucy: So see, I think we know what makes Krista tick about entrepreneurship. It's great. So, along the way Krista you have obviously done some tough things in your career. Why don't you tell the listeners one thing that's especially tough that you've had to do?
Krista: I'll answer that in two ways. The short answer is becoming an entrepreneur. By far. Just that single decision to leave the security of a good job. I was doing very well in the context of where I was, and take that risk. Career wise, that was the most radical thing I've ever had to do. I think there are two other things. I think if you become a manager, which I did when I went to Xilinx, I took on a manager role. So, I was managing a group of engineers in Silicon Valley and then eventually also in Boulder that were developing technology. And I think when you become a manger, one of the hardest things in any career, in my opinion, is the first time you have to let someone go. The first time you have to fire someone. That was so hard that I really questioned whether I wanted to be in a leadership role anymore. It really was that difficult. I think it's always a hard thing. I think the first one was the most traumatic for me. It really was very hard and yet really critical in that role. I mean I say if you can't take on that [inaudible 16:55] role, you shouldn't be in that role because the reality is as best as we try to vet people when we hire them, we don't always do a perfect job. So that was very difficult for me. I think the other thing that was tough for me, in terms of it took sort of a ton of brain power is we lead first, we're entrepreneurs. And we initially launched Kerpoof in January of 2007. And we actually didn't have a lot of traffic. And I think we and the founders really had a tough, very tough decision about, do we keep going or do we do something else. You have to understand that was such a radical thing to do. We, all our hardware engineers and software engineers, the software engineers developing for hardware. Really pretty much a high tech classic background and we're coming to not only developing for children, a consumer web space. I mean, we really could not have in many ways, left our domain more completely. And everyone we talked to just thought we were insane, everyone just though we had lost our marbles. You know, why were we doing it? Xilinx is the leader in a product called a field programmable gate array and why are you doing some of that gate array, are you crazy. And we were following our heart, which I think is critical but with that comes more risk, right? You don't know, you don't know. You don't have the context of this. There's risk with that, so. And then combine with when you launch the product. And of course we thought we launch it in and everyone and their mother would use it and that didn't happen. So, we decided to stick with it and at that point, really I think did some true market research. There are two types of market research. One is you find what you want to hear and that feels good. And one is you really, you've got to get the answer. You dig deep. You're looking hard for the answers. And when we did that we really learned some stuff. We made some fairly modest tweaks to Kerpoof. And at that point really started watching it grow, watching the traffic grow. And it's interesting, a lot of the time it's true for entrepreneurs. They often, too quickly throw everything away and completely do something different, when often a small course correction can have a big impact. So that was very, I don't know if that's what you're looking for but I think that's for me personally was a pretty tough decision.
Larry: Well speaking of tough decisions and giving good advice, how about if you were sitting down right now and across the desk from you was a young person considering entrepreneurship. What advice would you give them?
Krista: That's so funny because my nephew is [inaudible 19:20] is interested in becoming an entrepreneur, so I just did this. I just had a delightful meeting with him over coffee. And that's what he's asking me, right. What was my advice? So I'll tell you the truth because I just did this and that's what I just said. The first thing I said is, "Get a co-founder." One of the things and I talked to a fair number of people and they have a good idea and they're kind of on their own. And I think there's a lot of value, I actually think there's a lot of value and in fact there is research to back up that diminishing return on number of founders doesn't go down until after five. Sort of shocking. If there's a lot of assumptions around the five, I think the five have to be... you offer diversity to their offering different skill sets. But literally and figure the five founders. So one of the things I say because I think it was so critical to me in my success was having co-founders. It's at least one other person. Once a very practical thing, if you can't convince one other person to jump off that cliff with you, how good of an idea is it? [laughter]
Lucy: That's a very good point?
Krista: Right? That's one [inaudible 20:22] of a idea. But it is such a scary thing. And I say it feels a lot scarier than it is. I think the interesting thing about being an entrepreneur, I was impressed. What was the big deal and the other side is that it's such a big deal. But at the time those decisions feel so big and just having at least one other person hold hands. So the first thing I said to him was he needs to find a co-founder and the good news for him is he has. The other is I actually think the number one indicators for success as an entrepreneur has nothing to do with talent and little to do with good idea. I truly believe that and this is kind of a radical thing to say, it has to do with being tenacious. You need to want it, you need to have the drive, you're going to be there and if it's not right, you're going to make it right. Like I said, I said to my co-founders, "As long as we hold hands. Look, we may be really slow, it may take us 10 years before we have success but we will get to success. That's a given, we're going to get to success. I don't know how long that will take but we're going to get there." So I naturally had the tenacity and the drive and I think you got to have that. If you don't have that it's too hard. You'll just give up because it's too hard. And it's too much of an emotional roller-coaster. Look, most of the time you're looking for people to say yes. Whether it be you're trying to sell something to someone or an investor and the majority of the time you get a no, right? No, no, no, no and then it maybe turns into a no. So it's tough, it's really tough. So if you didn't have that drive and tenacity because you're following your heart, you have a passion. Do you have like, "You're going to work on this day and night, night and day until it's right because you just have to. It's just in your blood, you got to do it." You got to have that. If you don't have that then I sort of think good luck because this is not an easy thing, I think, to succeed. So you have to have kind of had that drive and passion. I think it says the obvious but one of the things I go back to the co-founder. I think it's a very interesting relationship with the co-founder. I almost liken it to a marriage though it's not a marriage but it's literally subjected to that much stress. And so you really, ideally the people that you co-found with you know pretty well, you really trust them, you're really comfortable with them. Because I think if you're not, if the trust isn't there, if that relationship isn't there, I find it hard to believe it would hold up to the kind of stress that is typical for a new entrepreneur. There's exceptions to these. I'm very much shaped by my own experience, so certainly take it with a grain of salt. The two core things in terms of once you decide to be an entrepreneur that I think have shaped me and I believe in, is build value first. One of the things that served us really well is, I felt like if we built value, we would succeed. Instead of focusing on, can we make a million billion dollars? Can we be bought by Disney? Instead of focusing on anything that might be a success scenario, just focusing on building value. So, look, we build this digital drawing tool for online for kids, let's build it really well. Let's make it great! I don't know that that will come with success, but I know that if we keep building value, we'll get there. The correlate of that is to follow your heart. I also think being an entrepreneur is really hard, so even when people are saying, "You are nuts! What do you know about kids? What do you know about the consumer's space?" If that's where your heart is... It's so hard, right? It can't be a means to an end. You have to enjoy the process. And we did. We would develop things for kids, they'd bring kids to the site, they would play with them. We may have been, in the early days, really kind of struggling, but that brought so much joy. Right? Building value, seeing [inaudible 23:56] kid liking it, feeling like, hey, we're on to something! I think part of that was really this fight. To a person, everyone's advice that we were crazy... We really did follow our hearts.
Lucy: Yes you did. We had the pleasure of working with Kerpoof a little bit, and it was a great deal of fun. So, Krista, this advice is wonderful advice, and from it you can derive certain personal characteristics about Krista. For example, passion, and competitiveness, and tenacity. But also listening, valuing what the end customer, in this case kids - what do they need? Truly listening to those requirements. What other personal characteristics do you have that you think have given you advantages as an entrepreneur?
Krista: Besides tenacity, which I think is a big one - drive, tenacity - I think... To me, this so overwrites everything, but it's very easy. Think of it as audience. Because it's particularly true for technologists, I just think we love technology. We just do, and so it's very easy to get caught up in the technology and forget the customer. It just doesn't matter how cool whatever you're widget is if no one else cares about it. Really identifying who your audience is, who your customer is. I really think focusing, and then being able to listen to your customer. I think sort of that's in general a characteristic of a good entrepreneur. They genuinely want to build things that people are going to use. That maybe isn't as true for a business to business. But I would say even in the business to business kind of entrepreneur at the end of the day the corporate clients that you're going to have or the business clients you're going to have. What do they want? What are their pain-points? What are they struggling with? I just recently talked to a really neat entrepreneur, but I felt like they had 10 ideas. I mean they were all good, but it was hard for me to feel they could all do well at once. I really, my advice to them, personally was just take one, focus on it, do it extremely well, and then grow that, expand that. I think there are a lot of ideas. So one of the characteristics of entrepreneurs that is very valuable is being able to narrow and focus in a very clear way. And sort of to know that focus should become bigger and when it should become narrower. That's a really critical skill.
Larry: With everything that you do Krista, and I know you're busy well about 48 hours a day, how do you bring balance into your personal and professional lives?
Krista: It's such a [inaudible 26] question for me, because I feel like it doesn't apply as well to entrepreneurs. And the reason is, I think typically when people talk about work life balance, there's very much this notion that work is something that you do because you need to see a paycheck. And so you want to just to turn it off, and not worry about it, and go. And I think when you follow your heart and you're doing what you're passionate about you realize it's 24/7, but it's a different kind of 24/7. And it doesn't mean it's not tiring, it doesn't mean it's not going to cost to your family and friends, certainly. And this is [inaudible 27:02] somewhat true. First becoming an entrepreneur, and even now being part of Disney I don't see as much of my family and friends. But in part that's because I love what I do. I want to do it. I love what I do. But that thing said, we did feel like they were diminishing returns and not being somewhat careful of burnout. And when we became a company we all agreed that we'd take one day off a week. We didn't always honor that. But I think we have the notion of trying to do that, of really trying it one day a week, which was typically Sunday. That know you're coming to the office. That we'd spend time with our friends and family, we'd rejuvenate, go hiking in the mountains, whatever. And certainly that helped. But, again, it is a finer line I think when what you're doing, particularly in entrepreneur it does become all consuming. It's funny one made the analogy. And I thought it was such a good analogy that in many ways being an entrepreneur, starting a company is much like having a child. And if you ever meet a new parent they're obsessed with their child. They want to show you pictures of the child, they want to talk about their child. They're really not interested in anything else in the world, right? There could be earthquakes, and there could be things going on, and they're just oblivious, right? And, that's their first year bubble of new child. And, entrepreneurs are a lot like that. I said - I always joked, you know, that - that the only family they spend a lot to time with - In the first couple of years of my being an entrepreneur, of starting Kerpoof, were people who were into Kerpoof. If you were into Kerpoof, then we could have a good conversation. If you didn't want to have a Kerpoof, I didn't really have much more I wanted to talk about. So, there is sort of a - And, there is an all consumingness that may not happen to everyone. It certainly happens to some entrepreneurs. I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing. You know, I think it's part of doing something extraordinary. It's part of succeeding. I think to answer your question really in the most succinct way, I don' think I do bring a lot of balance to my life. But, I am trying to do a little better and not because I - to do it for it's sake, but because actually I do think that your relationships with your family and your friends are very important to the whole of your life. And, if you neglect it too long, obviously that's at a cost. So, not to say that I don't think those things need to be considered and nourished. And, I think I have neglected them, for sure. And, I am - I making up now for that.
Lucy: Well, I learned how to speak Kerpoof.
Larry: Yeah. You did. You did.
Krista: You did. You did. And, we got to talk.
Lucy: I learned how to speak Kerpoof. And, listeners should also know that Krista is very generous with her time in the community with First Robotics, and certainly with NCWIT, and other groups. So, we definitely appreciate that as well. So... So Krista, the last question - You've achieved a lot. You know, you - I'm sure - have things that you want to accomplish in the future. Why don't you tell us a bit about what's next for you.
Krista: You know what? One thing that... I don't know. I feel ostensibly believe life is extremely long. I think people say life is short and they're just wrong. I think it's long. I think we have the ability at least in the United States for - Many people have the ability to do many things in the course of their life if they're interested. So, I'm 43 now. So, I believe as many things as I've done to date, I've will, at least if not more, just have found it wiser to do as many more. So, I think life is very long. I also don't tend to be a long-term planner. I never have. I think it's kind of hog wash - much more interested in today and - and short term. So, for me what I know for sure is I feel very passionately about making sure...I really would love to see Disney stay in Boulder. I would love that - how ever long that takes. And, that could take a decade. But, I would love to see Disney remain in Boulder as a presence in Boulder. I think it's an extraordinary company. And, I think they have a real need for the kind of talent... we have in Boulder-technical talents - and also in Dimmer, actually inside Colorado. People don't realize the creative talent. But it is the fifth state in the top five in terms of the number of creative people that are here - artists and creatives - and so that combination of creatives and technologists. I actually hate that word "creative" because I think engineers are creative. But anyways, that's still the term that's used. Creatives - so animators and artists and the kind of amazing engineering talent and technical talent that we have here. That combined is very special. So it's not just an act to have Disney here. I think Disney can actually flourish here. I think we can continue to add something important to what they're trying to achieve with digital media. So that's one goal. Also, and I think this is happening but I really believe that we are changing the face of the Internet in some meaningful way for kids. I think that historically the large companies that frankly own the kids audience. The reality is kids go to very few sites. Nick.com, Disney.com obviously are the two big ones. Then there are a number of other players. Club Penguin certainly is one. But there are only a small number of sites. So what you want is for those sites to offer engaging entertainment but also offer participation, interactivity, and the ability to design because one of the things that's unique to the computer that's not true for a mobile device at least today, and it's certainly not true for a TV, is you can't design. So the computer is this unique platform. I think that, not those mobile platforms won't also be this, but those platforms you actually can participate, right? So to me this large piece of having a place and do that kind of dedicated creativity is a step towards we just move in a direction that nobody would think of doing otherwise. If you create something for kids, you just wouldn't imagine not offering some level of genuine engagement, some level of genuine participation, if it is computer-Internet based. That would just be an obvious step. I don't think we're there yet, but I think we're moving there. One of our competitors - actually it was interesting - I just noticed launched a very modest, but albeit a little center dedicated to creativity on their site, a site you wouldn't anticipate that from. I just thought that was so exciting, right? To me, you know you're leading when people are following. If you're leading in a place that's interesting for kids, then that's very exciting to me. I guess to me that's what's next.
Lucy: We vote for that, and we vote for Disney in Boulder.
Larry: Yeah, you bet you!
Lucy: Absolutely. Well, thank you, Krista. This was very interesting as always. We really appreciate it and want to remind listeners to look for this interview at W3W3.com and also NCWIT.org.
Krista: Oh, and thank you, Larry and Lucy. It's really my pleasure to be here.
Larry: It's great, and of course we're going to have to follow up on you again.
Lucy: Thank you, Krista.
Krista: Thank you.