Here’s the story…
When I left Chicago in 2012, I also left the insurance industry, where I’d been working since 1998. I wasn’t sure what my career would like outside of that corporate world, and it was a little scary thinking about reinventing myself. I spent a bunch of time thinking about, you know, what I would do – I figured I could probably just get another office job of some kind, maybe even do some temp work…basically the same kind of thing that had landed me in the insurance industry to begin with. On the other hand, I wasn’t sure what other kind of work I could really do, considering that you can pretty much boil my resume down to: good with words and computers.
One of the ideas I toyed with was what I eventually came to call, “Go Teach Your Granny How to Google.” The idea was that I could teach older folks (who I have an affinity for, and really like working with) how to internet (via cell phones, tablets, Skype, Facebook, Google, etc. ). I think this is a population who could greatly benefit from access to these technologies, and who have particular challenges achieving that access. I still love this idea, and have plans to find a way to make it happen somehow someday.
Back in 2012, though, instead of working on that, I landed the job of a lifetime at LongerDays – and I spent three fantastic years working my tail off and having a blast. When I left LongerDays, though, I came back to the idea of helping people who weren’t necessarily super comfy with internet stuff….get comfy. I thought about all the many amazing local businesses that didn’t exist on the internet, that younger generations weren’t patronizing because they didn’t show up in a Google search – or if they did, there was mostly just a phone number to call, and no real information about who they were or what they did.
I talked about it with my sister, who just happens to be a genius with mobile tech. She’d been managing mobile technology for an entire fleet of field workers, from setup to repairs to troubleshooting – and she, too, had seen the special needs of populations who sometimes struggled to keep up with new apps and updates and devices. The more we talked, the more we saw how much we had to offer businesses – and how well our particular skills dovetailed to cover so many different aspects of technology and the internet. It was almost like fate!
We became convinced that there was a need for this service, and that we were just the ladies to fill that need!
Long story short, we founded Firelight on the simple idea that every business can benefit from the access to technology that most of us take for granted – but not every business knows how to make that happen. We want to help bridge that gap.
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Tari Follett is a spaceship enthusiast and blue-haired musician hailing from Muskegon, MI. In addition to feminist blogs and tiny house floorplans, she enjoys (almost) daily meditation and trying to make the internet a better place. She works as a Partner & Consultant for Firelight.
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