Brilliant Women in Technology: Meet Samantha Sobota
In this economy more and more folks are starting up their own businesses however what is cool about Samantha Sobota of Freq Industries is that she started it at the young age of 21. Below is my interview with Samantha and a little more information about her company Freq Industries.
-Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
One thing my friends would tell you is that I’m a workaholic. I dislike not working or having things to complete- I’m always up for a challenge!
I went to school for a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Music and minor in Women’s studies. I planned to become a symphonic Tubist.
During my time in school I’ve been through all types of jobs- retail, warehousing, private teaching.
I dropped out in my 4th year to start Freq Industries and bring my dream products to life.
-How did you get started in technology, or at your current position?
I have been working with technology all my life with strong influence from my dad who, being an electrical engineer, loved to tinker with anything he could get his hands on
As a kid, I was always building something new- homemade gliders, remote controlled cars from scratch, custom train sets, boats, you name it- I tried to build it!
-Describe a "normal" day in your life.
Depends on what continent I’m on…
Asia- Running around meeting potential investors and business people- with the odd foot massage here and there. Then I’m off to hang out with some local friends relaxing with food, drinks and of course dancing!
Canada- Since Freq Industries founders don’t receive salary yet- we all make our own way while we are in Canada. So usually, I’ll be working a full time job during the day, emailing on breaks, and then home to work on Freq until I pass out.
-What's your favorite aspect of working in technology?
The idea of creating something that’s never been thought of and bringing it to the world in new and exciting ways
-What have been some of your challenges you faced, and how did you tackle or overcome them?
Being an Arts Student in a Business/Engineering world- Simply just worked my butt off until people realized that artists can solve big problems too.
Getting into business was a tough challenge. Convincing investors, business partners and even your own team that you have the courage and fortitude to go through with the toughest decisions. It takes time and I know that this is a battle i’ll be fighting for a while. But I’m always ready for new challenges and learning experiences
-Have you ever felt like you needed to hide your femininity or that fact that you were a female?
Not particularly- I've been fortunate enough to be surrounded by people with whom gender isn't the issue at hand.
I’m thankfully part of a really great group of people who are committed to creating new and interesting technology first, and who leave judgement for others. After a couple years studying Feminist Theory, I was afraid that I’d have to tone things down around men, but after some time in the field, I’m not afraid to be myself. Though I’ve learned to wear flats instead of heels for those long factory tours.
-What advice do you have for females interested in getting into your field?
Don’t be intimidated- most people out there want to help you. Don’t be afraid to try things you don't know. The best way to learn is by throwing yourself at a problem and doing your best to solve it. Help those around you- even if it slows you down. In the long run, you’ll be happier that you did.
-What's one gadget you can't live without?
I’d have to say my iPhone- though at the moment it’s out of commission. There isn’t something you CAN’T find an app for. As a musician and entrepreneur, it’s like a little sidekick I can call on at any time. It also helps to have a little Monopoly time out to take a break.
-Do you have a personal 'mantra' or certain words you live by?
Go big or go home. If you don’t give all opportunities a shot, you’ll never know what could have been.
-What drives you?
The people around me. I couldn’t do anything without the constant love and support I receive from my family, friends, and my fantastic partner, Amy.
I then asked her some questions that were not part of our template out of curiosity…
-How did you come up with the product/ design?
The base design of our flagship product was actually created by Eleven Engineering, to sell the concept of the technology- We took that and “pimped” it with some really awesome graphics and functions. The cool graphic designs on the headphones and speakers were created by Val Cox.
-How did you create company name and team members?
We had a few weeks of trying to find a name that had a ring to it and wasn’t already taken. A friend of the company calls me up and with one word we had the name- Freq. Our other founder happens to be an old friend of mine who came to mind when I started the company- I wanted to put together some young, talented and driven people and that’s what I got.
-When does your product launch?
We are targeting an August Product Launch. The product is wireless 2.4 ghz technology with multiple receivers. With an iPOD/ iPhone transmitter it can be received by 10 meters with room full of people or 30 meters with the USB transmitter.
-Who created the website?
I actually created the company website with an iWeb Apple application.
-What is the “Bands” tab on your website; Bands that use your products or just bands you’re a fan of?
We made an agreement to promote the Bands by playing their music on the Freq Industries speaker system and headphones at their product demos plus they are new and upcoming Canadian artists.
This concludes my interview with Samantha Sobota! You have to admire her passion and work ethic! Down the road I hope to review the below products that she will be launching in late summer.