Seven-year-old Tristan Singeltary has purple glasses and a matching lavender easter egg on her yellow t-shirt. She's really cute. And she's also happy to explain, to any interested parties, the complex problem that is gentrification:
Well, not exactly right, but it's a lovely thought from a smiley little girl. And after all, that’s why Tristan and her fellow campers are here at STEAM camp in Brooklyn. That's STEAM for "Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math" - this year's theme is gentrification. And in case you're worried, another camper, sophisticated 10-year-old Ayanna Lee, nails it.
"Just imagine, you were in a house, you were struggling to pay the rent," she says. "But you worked so hard to pay it. And then all of the sudden the landlord comes to you and says you’re being evicted – somebody is moving into this house. It’s like you did everything right and then something bad just happens to you."
Gerard Miller, community outreach coordinator with non-profit Neighborhood Housing Services of Bedford-Stuyvesant, who works with the kids one day a week teaching financial literacy, says if they learn the basics now, hopefully by the time they’re adults, they’ll have a say in the sometimes scary changes they see happening around them.
“People feel like the neighborhood that they’ve known is ceasing to be,” he says. “Blocks in Clinton Hill, Bed-Stuy, that 15, 20 years ago, people didn’t want to move onto are now multi-million dollar blocks.”
A shiny new building on a Bedford-Stuyvesant block has 9-year-old Xaavi Vericain excited, though his knowledge of architectural history and design may still need some work:
On a recent summer day, one of the camp’s co-founders, Clarisa James of DIVAS for Social Justice, took the kids on a documentary expedition. They were exploring the neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant to photograph gentrification in progress. And even if they couldn't provide a formal definition, gentrification as urban reality is something the campers are familiar with. Many of them are experiencing it first hand on their own blocks and in their own neighborhoods. When James points out a "for rent" sign on a newly renovated building, 12-year-old camper Kiyari Jaundoo takes notice.
"I could tell my mom about it," she says. "Because we’re trying to find an apartment."
"Why doesn’t your mother get a fifth job so you can still stay in your brownstone?" asks 9-year-old Xaavi Vericain. "She might get a lot of money to buy a whole house."
Lately, Miller has been discussing mortgages with the kids. They get pretty deep about debt and how it can impact their lives.
Says 10-year-old Ayanna Lee, of debt: "That’s like basically having no social life.”
“It’s because you might go broke and you might not have that much money," chimes in 12-year-old Alydia Wells. "Plus you owe a debt to yourself because you never got a life. You’re always going to have debt."
"'Cause you’re going to owe your parents," says Lee, "and you can’t run away from your parents. The real lesson would actually be, to always be responsible if you have debt, because you can’t go blowing off your money [when] you owe somebody like $1,000 or $200 dollars, and you just spent it on a pair of Gucci shoes and ice cream."
Miller explains why he teaches at the camp: "When you talk about gentrification, you’re not really talking about the people who are moving in, you’re talking about the kinds of money that’s moving in," says Miller. "Not having a basic understanding of finances endangers you, because then someone else is making decisions that affect your life."
When a small, dusty, and empty plot of grass is spotted, 10-year-old Xaavi Vericain is asked how much money he has.
"A lot," is the answer.
And how much does he think the land costs?
The campers seem to be grasping the basics quickly.
The NY Tech Meetup is a monthly gathering for members in the New York City's growing technology community. Over 40,000 people have subscribed to the group, which means its demo nights tend to sell out quickly.
Executive Director Jessica Lawrence estimates she’s seen about 360 demos in her time with the nonprofit, and regularly advises presenters on how to craft their pitches. Here are some of her top tips:
Be able to zero in on the problem your product is solving in one or two sentences.
“One of the biggest arts to a great pitch is helping the audience connect with your product immediately,” says Lawrence.
This often means summarizing the problems it solves and how it’ll make the audience’s lives better.
Show where an existing product is failing.
Sometimes, showing how your product will solve a problem is best accomplished by demonstrating the shortcomings of an existing product or services, Lawrence says.
Use stories to connect with your audience.
“You do want to connect with the people that you’re pitching to, you want to tell them some type of story,” says Lawrence.
A compelling anecdote about what led you to create the company can illustrate how your product solves the problems you’ve identified.
Use demonstrations to showcase technology.
Lawrence says demonstrations work well for tech products: “You’re not just talking about a service or a company talking about what they offer. You’re talking about something where you can show people what you’ve built.”
Have clear goals.
Having a clear goal in mind is key, Lawrence says. What's your next step?
“For some, it’s about finding employees or finding a co-founder,” says Lawrence. "For others, it’s more about getting users and feedback and exposing themselves to the community.”
The Chinese Internet giant, Alibaba Inc, is shaping up to be the largest initial public offering ever.
Analysts with MorningStar are predicting the company could raise at least $20 billion, potentially making it one of the most exciting offerings for investors since Facebook.
“Alibaba is one of the biggest e-commerce companies in the world, not just China," says Dennis Hudachek, a senior analyst at ETF.com, a financial services company.
He says in 2013, Alibaba sold more than $248 billion in goods with some 231 million active users.
“Online shopping in China is expected to grow quite a bit in the coming years," Hudachek says. "It’s basically being pitched as a huge growth play, as well.”
Alibaba has the ability to hold investors attention well beyond the IPO, says RJ Hottovy, an analyst with MorningStar.
“One (way) is maintain its growth trajectories in China, which would indicate it is finding new customers in that region,” he says.
Hottovy says Alibaba might also keep investor’s attention if it can show growth in markets outside of China – say, for example, the United States.
Going public hasn’t been a completely smooth process, though. Alibaba has already pushed its IPO date back to September because the company and regulators wanted more time.
In the post, the editors detailed the efforts of an anonymous commenter who was posting graphic .gifs depicting sexual violence in the comments section of many posts.
Click the media player above to hear Erin Ryan, News Editor at Jezebel, in conversation with Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson
The burner accounts -- a feature added when Gawker’s sites revamped their comment system -- in theory allow people to write about things happening in their companies without going on the record. But that’s not always what’s happening.
The fundamental problem with these images being posted, argues Ryan, is that once a reader has seen the image, they have seen the offending content in its entirety. This, she argues, is emblematic of a broader issue with the internet.
“People who want to make women feel bad for one reason or another have an anonymous forum with no consequences,” says Ryan.
As it stands, Gawker Media has banned image uploading in comments, and the company says it’s working on a longer term solution.