Ideas, inspiration, and productivity can occur anywhere. Strong leaders and founders learn how to harness the power of those locations - their happy places - to turn them into a place of productivity. From the coffee shop on their corner to a certain nook of their home, Fearless Founders use their specific locale to grow their idea into a business and passion project. Find out how these founders and innovators transformed their lives thanks to their happy place and a brilliant idea.
Meet the incredible superhuman Dez White, a gorgeous mother of two and the fearless founder of Invisible Text. White founded her first company just after college, a gossip site called MouthToEars.com, where she honed her entrepreneurial skills and in the process unearthed a need for an app that would allow for safe texting. With World War Selfie Leak of 2014—aka the leak of embarrassing pictures of Jennifer Lawrence and Kirstin Dunst, among others—this problem has only escalated. Invisible Text helps its users practice safe messaging with a Mission Impossible–style futuristic element of self-destruction. It’s not every day that an African-American female tech whiz engineers her way to into solving a problem of this magnitude. Here are 14 things I learned from Dez White, the founder of Invisible Text.
What is Invisible Text?
Invisible Text is the original secure-messaging app, created to protect privacy in a world of open information sharing. Our app allows users to send messages to one another that will self-destruct after a predetermined length of time. This method of private messaging allows participants to carry on conversations without the fear of their information being shared with the world. Our proprietary algorithms and patented message-encoding process mean that messages aren't saved on our servers, ensuring that whatever a person sends through our app remains confidential.
How do you personally use Invisible Text?
I have a lot of fun with it and use it to send funny messages to friends. But I’ve also used it for many practical purposes, like sending my nanny the alarm code, or if I need to send personal banking or credit card information to my husband.
How did you come up with the idea?
I was in need of a secure way to send messages and realized that nothing quite like this existed on the market. There are other platforms out there that have similar functions, but their security has been and can be compromised. I also wanted to create an option that would allow people to recall messages. There’s not a single one of us that hasn’t sent something we immediately regretted. Invisible Text users can remotely delete a message at any time before the recipient has opened it.
What is your master plan?
I plan on releasing three more life-changing apps and reaching young girls through a new organization I founded called Girl Code LA (and soon Girl Code NY). I will also be writing a book on my journey and continuing to work on becoming a better person daily.
Who inspires you?
My father, Victor! He is amazingly selfless when it comes to my sons. He will do anything for them. He has been a LAPD officer for more than 30 years. Most of his life is geared toward giving back.
How do you stay motivated?
I am never satisfied, which is a gift and curse. I call my business manager, Dan, daily with ideas, and he tells me his honest opinions. My sons keep me young. I look up to leaders like Magic Johnson, Oprah, and Steve Jobs, so I know I am nowhere near reaching my goals.
What is your daily routine?
I wake up to a 1-year-old asking me if I can get him some "milky," and then I get my 3-year-old Cheerios. After that, I walk my dog. I talk to my husband about his day, since he is a graphic designer and it varies. I then work out with my friend and trainer, Charm Killings. After that, I head to the office and spend my day in meetings and coding sessions.
Who is your celebrity crush?
OMG! I have a few, actually! I love 50 Cent and his work ethic. I love Pharrell's creativity, and I love the way Zero, the new character on VH1's Hit the Floor looks.
What is the toughest obstacle you have to overcome as you pursue your start-up?
Being judged by the color of my skin and my gender. It's hard and often very disappointing, but I deal with it because I hope to pave the way for young women and young women of color.
What is your go-to work outfit?
Gap workout leggings in green (my favorite color), a Gap workout top, Chanel flip-flops, my Rolex, and Lancôme lip gloss.
What is the last math problem you solved?
I calculated how much I would weigh if I stopped eating carbs for a month.
What is your personal motto?
Treat everyone nicely; you don't know what battle they are fighting. Strive for the top; it's crowded at the bottom.
Where is your happy place?
Watching reality TV with my doggie, Happy, on the couch.
Where do you get the best ideas and inspiration?
Lying across my bed doing work at 1 a.m.
Learn more about how you can work from your happy place with the HP Stream Notebook. #WorkFromHappyPlace.
UCLA grad, Jesse Draper is a technology expert and creator and host of The Valley Girl Show through which she has become a spokesperson for startups and has helped to pioneer the way of new media content distribution. She oversees everything from pre-production to distribution of the show. Draper started the show because she realized there was no FUN business talk show, only grilling teeth clenching interviews, and she believes the most interesting and inspiring people in the world are the ones who've started a business. In her former life, she was on a Nickelodeon show called "The Naked Brother's Band". Draper also writes columns for Mashable, Forbes.com and San Francisco Magazine and speaks at business conferences around the world including SXSW, DLD, TEDx, TechVentures and STREAM.