As a mum in business I love to celebrate what other amazing business mummies are doing. This month we’ve got an inspirational interview with Liane from creative kids; coding site Mama.codes. We met at Mumsnet Workfest a few months ago.. so, can preschoolers learn coding?
Hi Liane could you tell us a little about yourself and your family?
Sure, I’m a mum of two (my daughter is 8 and my son is 5), living in south London and married to my student sweetheart 🙂
I’m a digital journalist – turned product manager and consultant – turned entrepreneur! I spent 12 years working at the Guardian website on the News, Politics and Travel sections, then I went part time after having my daughter and found longer-term project work easier to manage than 24/7 news. I worked on the Guardian’s mobile and apps team and loved working more closely with software developers and exploring emerging technologies. We even designed an iPad app before we’d ever seen an iPad for real as Apple kept them under wraps until launch day!
Why did you decide to launch your business?
I’d gone freelance and set up my own digital consulting business which was very flexible while my youngest was under 3. One day, a friend of a friend (and now my co-founder Alice Thompson!) suggested meeting for coffee. She told me she’d been teaching her then 4-year-old daughter to code creatively, using jokes and songs, etc. and wanted to share what she’d learned with other mums in the form of local meet ups and maybe a website. She already ran the impressive Mums Make Lists parenting website with our third partner Luci McQuitty Hindmarsh, which had excellent content and a huge following in both the US and UK.
It sounded amazing – I didn’t want my daughter to miss out on this important new skill and knew that she wasn’t super excited by the coding she’d done at school or with me during Hour of Code.
Alice asked if I’d like to get involved on a very mum-friendly basis, school hours and term time only and the rest, as they say, is history! We have over 90 coding projects on the site and teach Year 1-3 classes at a London primary school, we’re launching an afterschool club and holiday workshops and have over 1,000 users signed up to our website.
How are you finding it fits in with your family?
It’s amazing, I can work whenever it suits me, day or night, from home or while watching a swimming lesson. We are mostly a home-working team, talking via skype and constantly ‘chatting’ via Google Hangouts. We meet weekly, either in a Shoreditch co-working cafe for our startup ‘fix’ or at our new office in Docklands, thanks to being finalists in the MassChallenge accelerator programme (a bit like X Factor for startups!).
We are particularly inspired by Dame Steve Shirley, who founded a company of freelance coding mothers who worked from their homes – in the 1960s! (Her TED talk is fantastic) We try and work like crazy during term times and then give our kids a lot of time during school holidays.
Anything else you wish to tell our readers?
Running your own business is hard work but massively rewarding, and it’s really simple and inexpensive to get started. Once you are your own boss, there’s no turning back! Similarly, people shouldn’t be so daunted about learning to code… it’s just another language skill, and if our kids can pick it up, there’s no reason us parents can’t join them for the ride!
Mama.codes offers creative coding projects for children aged 3-8 (and their parents and teachers!)
It’s free to sign up and try 4 introductory, step by step projects. Readers of this blog can then claim a 25% discount on the Bundle of Fun pack of 50 beginner coding projects. Use promo code LINGO25
What are you waiting for?
Do you think coding is a language? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.