Black Business Shine: (Ume) Drive
The tech world is one full of many faces, but not many of them are Black. When I met the President of Ume Technology, Inc., Clem Harrigan, at my launch event last week I was impressed with how he was contributing to the tech world with his new product (Ume) Drive.
(Ume) is a waterproof USB flash drive bracelet that provides functionality with a unique sense of style. It works with Mac and PC and comes in three distinct designs, the Vintage, Seamless, and Millennium. Here Harrigan talks about why he created this product and challenges he faced while building his company.
Why did you decide to create (ume) drive?
We were working on a music production company at the time and were frustrated with the distribution channels available to independent artists. We wanted a way to directly connect to our audience. In creating (ume) our fans not only have instant access to our music, but they can wear it as part of their personal style.
While there are advancements in technology, we are motivated by personal advancement in the creativity of the individual, and we strive to make the technology that creatives use stay out of the way of creative growth. We are happier with creative advancement than tech advancement, but they are often dependent on each other. We are here to facilitate the partnership; this is what makes our product unique.
Do you feel that there are not enough people of color in the tech world? Why or why not?
I feel there definitely could be more color in the tech world. I believe the reason for this is complex. I don’t think there is a grand conspiracy to keep us out of the tech world, but opportunity is not always equal. I believe the tech world could also use more women, and I think the reasons are similar. Ultimately I believe that people pursue their passion. I think people of color are great at many things and dominate many industries. That is because those are the things we chose to be great at.
What kinds of challenges, if any, have you faced since starting your business?
We’ve faced several challenges in starting this business, primarily because no one else was doing what we were doing so there really wasn’t any example or lead to follow. We had to cut our own path. There usually are many challenges associated with being the first one to do something. When we initially started in 2007 the term “wearables” was not yet coined. We had no idea the kind of monster we were about to take on. We didn’t know what kind of help we needed, where to find it, or how much it would cost. It took us a while to find the right designers who could interpret the vision we had for what the product should look like. Finding the right manufacturers proved to be an even bigger challenge. Everybody thought we were crazy, we ran out of money before we had a product to show, so we were trying to raise capital with drawings and a pitch.
At Ume Technology we are passionate about making the creative’s life easier. This is a never-ending task, but we know it’s worth it. We live to make technology more accessible, understandable, and relate-able for people who need it the most.
Where can people purchase your product?
Currently you can get (ume) drive on our website .