A Note From the Founder: Why I started Cuebey
It’s 2020 and Cuebey has officially lauched! In reflecting on how far we’ve come, it dawned on me that the origin story of this enterprise is important and needs to be shared. So here we go.
In The Beginning
The year was 2017, and I was sitting at my desk in my office, having transitioned back to working full time after having my first child. I was pregnant with my second child, planning an under-the-sea themed birthday party on lunch breaks and between meetings and phone calls, and, frankly, I was exhausted. As my due date approached, I was doubly stressed because my job offered no, (you read that right, ZERO) paid maternity leave. Having used all of my vacation time on cross-country trips to visit family (my father was recovering from a massive stroke), trips to the pediatrician, and prenatal doctors’ appointments, I was faced with the imminent reality that I would soon be taking several months of unpaid leave to nurture my newborn. Like so many women before me, I was stretched in too many directions, and I simply wasn’t feeling that often discussed but ever-elusive work-life balance.
It seemed that everywhere I looked the work that women do was grossly undervalued, and throughly under-compensated.
So there I was, in my ‘30s, an engineer, and an attorney, and somehow that all seemed to be pushed aside to accommodate my new roles as a mother and caretaker. At the same time, I watched as my mother, across the country, was thrust back into a care taking role to manage my father’s recovery along with the health and well-being of her aging parents while also working as a full-time professional. It seemed that everywhere I looked the work that women do was grossly undervalued, and throughly under-compensated.
The AHA Moment
Then it dawned on me. I know a few things about the value of work, and ideas. I’m not just an engineer and an attorney. I am a patent attorney. My entire educational and professional background is built upon the value of ideas. What are they worth? What kinds of ideas hold value? How do you secure that value? How do you exploit it? Thoughts. Experiments. Inventions. Discoveries. Disclosures (a legal term that essentially means sharing your knowledge). These are my areas of expertise. And everywhere I looked, I saw women creating them. I saw women sharing them. What I did not see was women profiting from them.
About Those Balloon Sea Animals…
What do I mean by that? Here’s an example. As I planned the under-the sea birthday party, I decided to make balloon sea animals to swim in the giant ball pit in my living room. Now, where could I go for a tutorial on how to make ballon octopi, lobsters and fishies? Obviously, I went directly to YouTube. And at no cost to me, I watched a few useful tutorials for sea animals that I could emulate. The final results were a huge hit with the kids.
I also needed beautiful and cost-effective place cards. Having no calligraphy skills, I simply copied the handiwork of a hand-lettering expert YouTuber, and voilá! This quick, inexpensive party was looking pretty professional. And for those disclosures (see what I did there?) I paid exactly nothing. The ladies who invested in producing, filming, editing and uploading those videos received exactly nothing. But that year, YouTube, as an aggregator of all of these free disclosures, somehow made billions of dollars out of all this nothing. That’s a pretty nice sleight-of-hand trick. And therein, I saw opportunity.
I would have happily paid for access to those video tutorials. But YouTube does not facilitate that kind of transaction. It also doesn’t provide for any follow ups or extra tips and tricks specific to me as a would-be purchaser of those tutorials. It’s simply not designed for content creators to do much more than share free videos. Clearly, there was a need for something new, not just for me, but for the internet economy. And thus, Cuebey was born.
internet wisdom consistently reminds us that: “If you’re not the customer, you’re the product.”
Put simply, Cuebey shifts the balance and puts the value of knowledge and information back in the hands of creators and individuals. And whether you’re a content creator seeking to earn fair compensation for the skills you’ve invested in both learning and sharing, a podcaster who wants to genuinely engage with and learn from your listeners, or an individual who just wants to convene a small group of your closest friends for an online book club, internet wisdom consistently reminds all of us that: “If you’re not the customer, you’re the product.” The most popular tools and social networks tell us that they’re free to use, and yet we’re inundated with ads on every square inch of our devices and tracked by third parties seeking to exploit every click, spying on us in an effort to sell any and every thing. And don’t get me started on those opaque algorithms that use every bit of information about us to funnel us in predestined directions.
By allowing the user to become the customer instead of the product, Cuebey puts the control back into our hands. And that is a very valuable thing.
Welcome to Cuebey
So, here we are, freshly launched and open for business. For some, Cuebey will be just a simple place to hang out, learn new things and meet awesome people ad-free and without concern about who we’ll sell your data to (spoiler alert: we don’t sell data. Period). For others, it will be a platform to launch a digital products, classes and more. But for all of us, I hope it represents an evolution in what we can expect from online service providers.
Today, women wear so many hats. We’re spouses, parents, children, loved-ones, friends, care-takers, professionals of all stripes and so many other things. Our versatility is a strength. But we must never forget to assert our worth. I started Cuebey for one reason – to create space. I wanted to create space for people to share knowledge, information, skills and communities in a way that honors what we are worth and allows us to demand it. I hope you all enjoy it. There is much more work to do, but this is our start. Welcome.