Randi Zuckerberg Hopes to Battle Inequality in Silicon Valley With Her New Kids Show
Dot will air on NBCU’s Sprout network
By Sami Main
“I’ve spent a decade in Silicon Valley,” said Randi Zuckerberg. “Innovation is everywhere. It’s supposed to be the center of forward thinking. [So] why can I count the number of women executives on one hand? Or people of color?”
At Thursday’s premiere event for Zuckerberg’s new television show Dot, based on her children’s book of the same name, she discussed everything from inequality in the industry to the right way for kids to use new technology.
Press were invited to bring their children to the event. As a result, there were milkshakes dripping and mini burgers in hand as Zuckerberg streamed an episode of the show. Attendees could also don wigs for a GIF photobooth, or pose for a snap on the pink carpet. Coloring books, and tablets loaded with coloring book technology, were also provided for the kids to play with.
Dot, in the book and now as a TV character, is a tech-savvy young girl. She taps and types, shares and swipes, and carries her tablet everywhere. She’s the perfect way to help parents teach their kids about the technology surrounding them today.
“Dot and her group of friends don’t look like your typical cast of characters,” Zuckerberg said. “I wanted them to reflect all levels of diversity.”
“I loved working in Silicon Valley, but at the same time I hated the fact that there were no women in the room,” she said. “We need to start challenging people on the notion of what an entrepreneur in America looks like, and it needs to happen early on.”
Kids today are starting to use technology earlier and earlier in life. And that, Zuckerberg thinks, can create some fear or anxiety for parents.
“No matter what their level of expertise in their job, every parent is an amateur at parenting when they first start,” said Zuckerberg. “Especially with this very digital group.”
Dot will air at 11 a.m. ET Saturdays on Sprout, a network just for children which launched in 2005 and is now owned by NBCUniversal. Zuckerberg considers it another type of startup.
“It felt like we came together at a really critical moment for both of us,” she said. “I needed Sprout as much as they needed me. I knew they’d give this program the love it deserved.”
Zuckerberg wants her sons, Asher and Simi, who are both under six years old, to grow up in a “different world” than what she experienced in Silicon Valley.
“Dot is about finding a balance in a high-tech world through the waters of modern childhood,” said Zuckerberg.
“Dot is inquisitive,” said Amy Friedman, Sprout’s head of development. “We want to give kids the tools and role models that will help them show up in the world.”
Sprout’s motto, after all, is ‘Free to grow.’
“When parents see the Dot logo or book or show, I want them to know that it’s safe and appropriate,” said Zuckerberg. “I’d love to see a Dot iPad, designed specifically for kids, one day. I want parents to know how technology can add to your household. It doesn’t have to detract.”