Madam Geek…

Finding the geek in every woman

Take Up Space June 15, 2020

Filed under: Conference,Reblog,RLabs,Women — Madam Geek @ 7:00 am
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I wanted to reblog a post I wrote on another website last month. It is a self hosted site but unfortunately, technology failed me and it would not allow me to reblog it directly from the website. Of course I am going to blame technology and not my actual skills or lack thereof. If there are any WordPress bloggers out there that know how to do this, please leave a comment in this post for my future reference. I do thank you in advance. As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts “Making a Comeback” that one of the organisations I represent is called RLabs  and two of favourite projects I am currently leading with an amazing team of women is called RLabs Women and Junk.Fund .

The title of this post is Take Up Space and please read the post below to see just how it is possible to take up space and actually own the space. Watch our Date Night Welcome video and Thank You Poem. Happy reading…

RLabs Women Virtual Date Night – 27 May 2020

Good afternoon to the RLabs Women Team and to all those that attended our Virtual Date Night last night. We have spent many weeks and late nights in preparation to host our first ever Virtual Date Night. We had many surprises planned for the women with great entertainment lined up and the announcement of our Junk.Fund May 2020 Winners. Video Date Night Pitching Video

The theme we chose was  #TakeUpSpace  #YourDigitalSpace and our esteemed Guest Speaker and Panelists were specifically invited to share with us how they are taking up space. As RLabs Women, our mission is to “Unleash the greatness in women and girls to fearlessly dominate the entrepreneurship and technology domains”. One of the ways how we do this is by hosting a networking event every quarter called: Startup Women Date Night. We bring together women of all ages who are entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs and women who are on the ground being Change Makers. These events allow the women to make new connections and form new friendships while being: inspired, empowered, reminded to continue dreaming, aspiring for greatness in all they do by continuing to change their realities and to fearlessly dominate the technology and entrepreneurship domains.

Last night the women showed tenacity, bravery and were true examples of shaking off the dust and rising up. Our Zoom call was hacked half through our first Virtual Date Night with explicit images and language popping up on everyone’s screen. After the shock wore off and we realized that it was a hack and not just one of participants mic that was accidentally unmuted and sharing their screen, the RLabs Women and Media team tried to block and mute the hackers.

Unfortunately by this time, we were exposed to the explicit images and we decided to shut the call down. We immediately thought “do we just end Date Night”? Of course, the RLabs Women and Media teams are made of tougher stuff than this. Many of us have faced far greater enemies than hackers and we were not going to let all that was prepared for the women go to waste. We started another call on Google Meet and tried to share the new link as swiftly as possible to get as many women back online with us. We do apologize to those women who we might have missed and to those who were watching on Facebook Live since we had to terminate the Livestream. We started our Date Night #2 and had about 70% of the participants re-join us. We kicked it off with some music and got straight into an inspiring panel discussion by Kristiina from Finland and Candy from DRC. These women moved us at our core and when we share of ourselves with each other it makes someone else’s struggles lighter. As entrepreneurs, we needed to be reminded to not give up and not to be afraid to reinvent ourselves when we need to. We ended the night with our pitching competition and had 4 amazing May 2020 winners who received cash Cheques on the night.

Through this experience, it reminded me that women are not safe! It’s not safe for us to be outside, it is not safe in our homes, at our places of work, at our places of study, school, when we are online and even when we want to encourage and empower each other. Women all around the world face these challenges daily and many movements and groups are fighting this abuse and wanting it to be safer for women not just to have a chance to live, breath, create, explore and exist but to rise up, shake off the dust and be a contagious woman! We refuse to be trampled on by anyone.

The comments and encouragement from the women were streaming in and were extremely overwhelming for us. We thank you for showing us that as women, we are stronger together and that we will not stop talking, sharing, existing and taking up our place.

To quote a line from our previous Date Night #BOSSUp theme song:

“You can only BossUp if you shake it off, Rise Up Rise Up! Where my ladies at? ….”

Who knew that we will be doing exactly that on our first Virtual Date Night.

Sending you all lots of love ❤️ Rene Parker

#TakeUpSpace #MakingHOPEContagious #IAmFearless #YesToDominate #YearOfRise

RLabs Women Team – Tougher than Nails

WhatsApp Image 2020-05-28 at 09.40.43


This is Me June 14, 2020

Filed under: Humanity,Life,Madam Geek,Real Talk,Women — Madam Geek @ 7:00 am
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I woke up this morning with a song playing in my head: This is me – it’s on the soundtrack of the movie, The Greatest Showman. If you have watched this movie you will know what the story line is about and most probably like me,  you will remember how fantastic the cinematography was with the soundtrack that could easily remain on repeat. I have a few favourite songs in the movie and I must say Hugh Jackman is a brilliant performer. Who would have thought that ‘Wolverine’ could sing and dance?

One of my favourite songs on the soundtrack is: This is me. For those of you that don’t know the lyrics by heart here are few lines from the song – “When the sharpest words wanna cut me down … I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown ’em out … I am brave, I am bruised … I am who … I’m meant to be, this is me … Look out ’cause here I come … And I’m marching on to the beat I drum … I’m not scared to be seen … I make no apologies, this is me!”

Over the past week I have given you a glimpse into some of my thoughts and part of my life. The minute you think of sharing part of yourself with others you are reminded of all the times when someone else’s words cut you deep, when someone else’s actions left you bruised and battered. This could have been physically or emotionally. There is so much noise in our heads that it takes a strong will to pull yourself up and shut off the noise. This is the moment when we tell ourselves, I am brave and I am who I am meant to be. We all have a story and there is nothing more important than owning your story. Of course however you decide to share or tell it, might make others uncomfortable and could be a spoiler in some instances.

Do you know what? The fact that you and I are alive and breathing means that it is the right time to tell it. There are many that didn’t have the chance or the choice. This was taken away from them. I am thinking of those that fell victim to abuse and murder and have no chance now. Those of us still here need to be brave for them, we need to be strong for them, we need to live and not just exist. We get to march to the beat we drum!

Let our choices count, let us stand up for those that are still here but don’t have a voice, let us not be scared to be seen and let us make it safe for others to show themselves no matter what their stories are. Let us strive for a time where we make no apologies for who we are and we can unashamedly say “This is me!”



Making a Comeback …. June 7, 2020

Filed under: Madam Geek,RLabs,Social Media,Women — Madam Geek @ 12:29 pm
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What a blast from the past? I came across a blog post on Madam Geek (my personal blog) that was posted in 2010. 11 years ago I started this blog and only blogged on it for 3 years. It captures so many of my early encounters and my very personal journey with technology and my love for certain products and tools that allowed me to access the world wide web. I feel that I was definitely an early adopter when it came to social media tools and various technologies. This was influenced by the community (virtual and real) I found myself immersed in just over 10 years ago.

RLabs was just a dream at the time. We were a group of people that thought we could change our realities when we change our minds and that we wanted everyone we came into contact with, to go on this journey with us. We were relentless in our pursuit for a better future and were not afraid to have people tell us we were crazy or what we were wanting to achieve was unrealistic. We became a Social Revolution! Fast forward 11 years RLabs is still around and we changed our tagline to “Making HOPE Contagious”. You are free to read more about RLabs on our website.

RLabs Overview (March2019)KPIs (1)

I was truly privileged to have been part of the amazing journey of growing and learning together with this community. We have all grown and evolved over the years and now I get to innovate in different areas (mostly still technology) but added some entrepreneurship and investment to the mix. A few of the new projects I have embarked on are: RLabs Women and Junk.Fund.

Of course I have a few passion projects that I am involved in. But I will leave those for another day/blog post. I really just wanted to revive this blog and not lose all the nuggets and experiences shared in the early days. I am so glad I chose to keep my blog on and not move it to a self-hosted domain (here it would have died a lonely death as I would not have chosen to renew the domain year after year).


Are you a…? January 24, 2013

Filed under: RLabs,She's the Geek,Women — Madam Geek @ 10:07 pm
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So I haven’t blogged on here in almost a year. I figured that before I celebrate the 1 year anniversary of not blogging on MadamGeek, I better put something on here.

I must confess that I have been inspired by a very special group of young people. We call them the GROW Recruits. Two weeks ago my colleague Monique from the famous She’s the Geek did a training session with these GROW Recruits. The topic was a bit confusing to them as we titled it: Are you a…?

During this session we asked them to discuss 4 points. As females I do think being controversial and eccentric helps the male species stay on their toes. So the controversial question we posed to these recruits was: “Are men better web designers than females?”

Of course the recruits were polite at first. But once the conversation started their opinions were expressed in various forms. But for the record: no objects were thrown about the room or at anyone in particular, except for words. I have my own opinion on this and had to bite my tongue each time one of the young men said: “Of course men are better, just look at the history of web designers!” But the girls really made us proud by answering or sharing their opinion in a civilized and lady like manner.

After the 6 Phase GROW Bootcamp it became quite evident that the female male ratio in numbers and active participation is leaning quite favorably to the female participants in the GROW Bootcamp. Well done ladies! You have stayed strong and committed.



Be the kind of woman! March 11, 2012

Filed under: Madam Geek,Women — Madam Geek @ 12:56 pm
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I haven’t blogged in ages. Can’t believe that one can be so interested in or passionate about something for a while and then ‘poof’ just like that it’s gone. But thank goodness we can choose.

Well I guess that’s human nature and as we know there are only 2 constant things in life and that is – Change and Death.

As I’m definitely not dead yet change is inevitable and no amount of resistance can stop change.

So why not just embrace it with all the tenacity and fierce we would naturally use to fight it? Over the past couple of weeks I have met various women and have had countless conversations whether in a group or one on one. And one thing that stood out for me each time is that God knew what He was doing when He created women. Our ability to love, share, accept, give, forgive, be vulnerable and strong at the same time, care, support, nurture, empathize and feel and hold everything at once is truly God’s creation. So how can we not love and appreciate each other? One thing we all have in common as women is that we are all women.

So I would like to salute all the women, regardless of age. Even the young girls turning into ladies: the potential locked inside of you and emerging slowly as you grow into women is evident and not to be looked down on or taken for granted. No one is a mistake and is placed on the earth or at a specific place for nothing. We all have a purpose and destiny. And as we continue to love, care, support, share, give, forgive, accept, empathize and be vulnerable we will embrace life and all she has to offer.



Nothing makes you… March 31, 2011

Filed under: apple,Gadget,Women — Madam Geek @ 9:23 pm
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Come out of hibernation quite like a new toy or toys!

I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I haven’t blogged in a few months. But sometimes you have to be a big girl and deal with it. So tonight I came out of hibernation.

My husband has been away for over 2 weeks in Malaysia and I have injured my back, so have been seeing a physiotherapist for the past week. Besides being in physical pain, I have been missing my husband terribly. It seems that whenever I am sick and need a pick me up, he knows just what this girl needs. On his arrival back home this evening, I prepared a romantic dinner with place settings and all. And anyone that knows me knows that cooking is not my favorite past time. I thought I was the one to surprise him, but I should have known that he would have something (well maybe a couple of things) up his sleeve.

I’m sure normal husbands find giving their wives perfume, bags, shoes and other girly items romantic. But fortunately I have become an Apple junkie purely because my husband finds showering me with gadgets romantic. So first up besides the perfumes, shoes and bag he brought back from Malaysia he takes out an iPhone 4 as one of my get well gifts. Of course I’m speechless as we have been discussing getting me one in South Africa but our local branches hasn’t had stock in a while and I was quite content with my old iPhone 3 as it was his Valentines gift to me last year. And I’m quite sentimental and love keeping and holding onto gifts. So I say: “thank you my angel, but you didn’t have to” even though deep down I’m ecstatic to say the least. So while I’m taking it out of the box, he watches me and oooohs and aaaahs just as much as I do. So after discovering that the look and feel of the iPhone 4 is definitely more masculine than it’s predecessor it’s still got that sleekness and style that only Apple can manage (yes I know I am biased).

Then after a few minutes of me thinking that I don’t remember my back pain quite so strongly, out comes another box and this time it’s none other than the iPad 2. If I thought I was speechless with the phone I had and still have no words to describe my reaction. When I asked what’s this for he says: “knowing what a woman wants is easy and so is taking care of her needs but knowing her desires is a whole other ball game”. I have to admit I didn’t see that one coming. But it’s not polite to look a gift horse in it’s mouth, or so I’ve heard. Now I already have a iPad, which was last years birthday present from my husband. The iPad 2 is slimmer and comes with 2 cameras. And I must say it looks a little girly, which I love!

So what does a girl do with 2 iPhones and 2 iPads? Theres a saying that goes: out with the old and in with the new. For the 2 older devices I will find them a good home, someone to love them and cherish them. And my new toys, well let’s play girls!

I almost forgot to say that we never got to the romantic dinner I so lovingly prepared, as I haven’t stopped playing with my new toys and my poor husband was so jet lagged that he fell asleep while still asking me when are we going to having dinner 🙂 I’m logging off now to go put the food away and pack up the place settings. If the dinner is not too dried out we can try again tomorrow. I wish there was an App for keeping food fresh…

This blog post was published via WordPress for iPad.




Woman of the Week: Jackie Biggs October 25, 2010

Filed under: She's the Geek,Women — Madam Geek @ 11:12 am

Jackie tell our readers a little about yourself and what you do?

My name is Jackie Biggs and I am a 43 year old mother of 2 daughters. I am married for 24 years to a wonderful man. I am a home executive and I love being hands-on and involved in the lives of my family. I am the type of person who loves being of help to whoever is in need of my assistance.

Has technology changed your life in any way?

I started becoming interested in social media when my eldest daughter introduced me to face book that was the time I was down with a broken ankle and not much to do. I then started browsing other sites. Technology changed my life whereby I started connecting with friends from school and even family members whom I very seldom see.

Take us through a typical day in your life

Being alone at home every day I have lots of time to do whatever I wish to do. So first thing in the morning when everybody has left, I go on Face book to update my status and read through the statuses of my friends. I also browse through the other sites I’m connected to. Once I’m done with whatever I need to do in the house, I will go onto Face book and read through.

What are your current projects?

My current project is to finish my Mom3.0 classes and graduate.

Why do you Blog?

I blog because I can share my experiences with the rest of the world. I can put my thoughts in a blog. Writing is sometimes better than talking.

What is the best gadget you ever played with?

Not many, a Laptop but I wish I had gadgets to play with so that I can explore all the options available to me.

What social media tools do you use?

A computer and my cell phone.

How many hours do you spend on the Internet?

Not more than 4 hours a day. I limit myself because I have a family.

What advice would you give to a newbie starting out?

They must be interested in technology. It is a learning process and fun at the same time. They must not feel intimidated by those who are pro’s because they are there to assist us.

What are your top 5 favourite websites?

Face book, Twitter, Blue world, You Tube, Blogger and I love to Google. I just discovered Skype which I think is so cool.

Where do you look when you need a little inspiration?

At the blog posts of ordinary people in the community. People with day to day experiences and using modern technology to share them with the rest of the world.

So what can we expect from you in 2010 and beyond?

Not sure yet but I would want to learn whatever I can concerning technology. I would like to have my own website one day. The world is my oyster!

Connect with Jackie on Twitter: @JackiemBiggs and Blog: Mom3.0

Source: She’s the Geek


Skype for the MOMS!! October 21, 2010

Filed under: RLabs,She's the Geek,Women — Madam Geek @ 3:12 pm
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The latest class for the Mom3.0 Cafe Session covered Skype. The women as usual came expectant and were ready to learn something new.

Monique Ross, our very own She’s the Geek did the presentation and took the women through the history of Skype, its benefits and a step-by-step guide how to sign up to Skype.

All the women signed up to Skype and updated their profiles with pictures. Thereafter, they invited friends and searched for other friends and family on Skype. Jackie Biggs (one of the moms) was brave enough to do a presentation to the rest of the class on how to sign up to Skype. She did a good job of explaining and showing the rest of the class how to sign up. She was so good that she even won a prize!

It’s very exciting to watch how the women are growing more confident with social media and within themselves. Next week we having an international Guest Speaker chatting to the women via Skype. This will be the first time this medium is used for the Mom3.0 Cafe Session to have a guest speaker. Happy calling ladies!!

Source: RLabs


Developer Competition Seeks Mobile Apps that Help Women October 11, 2010

Filed under: Nokia,Women — Madam Geek @ 7:36 pm
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Nokia Developer News

The mWomen BOP (Base of Pyramid) App Challenge seeks mobile apps that can improve the lot of women in developing nations. Two cash prizes of $10,000 (USD) will be awarded, one to the developer of the best app for low-end mobile devices, and the other, for smartphones. Winners will also receive opportunites to showcase their apps to a working group of 20 mobile operators, consult with frog design, and meet with investment firm Carmel Ventures.

All entries are due by 7 December. The winners will be announced at the GSMA Mobile World Congress 2011.

Enter the mWomen BOP App Challenge.

Source: Forum.Nokia


She’s the Geek wins! September 28, 2010

Filed under: She's the Geek,Women — Madam Geek @ 7:22 am
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We are so proud of She’s the Geek for winning best Science and Technology Blog at the SA Blog Awards 2010 held on Saturday evening at the One & Only Hotel in the Waterfront. It was a memorable night, not only because the SA Blog Awards pulled out all the stops but because the top bloggers in South Africa were all together in one room.

The nominees were buzzing with excitement and glad to finally put a face to the online persona that many have only seen. It’s a bit strange to form a bond and relationship with someone via social media and only communicate using that medium for a long time, then to see them in person and not know how to act. It is a pleasant surprise when they are the same online as offline. But that’s all part of the beauty of social media!

The question was asked: what’s next for She’s the Geek? Well we just have to follow and keep up with her to find out!