BitDepth#912 - November 19

Nicole Phillip Greene wanted to find out what she could do with her children. Then she wanted to share that information. Then she did a website, then she created an app...
The digital parent
Nicole Phillip-Greene in her newest IT space, a computer in the living room of her Petit Valley home.
Photograph by Mark Lyndersay.

Nicole Phillip-Greene carries a bit of everything that’s brought her to this place in her life. Her three children have given her the substance and curves of a modern, attractive mother, her dimpled smile probably still makes her husband a little giddy and there’s a lot of geek left in her intent eyes and the serious spectacles that they peer out from.

“I’m a tech person who writes, and I’m into crafts,” says Phillip-Greene.
Professionally, she’s an IT strategy specialist who worked her way up from a start as a technician to become part of executive strategy and planning teams.

Except for one six-month stint of full employment, she’s been a consultant since 2009, but now she’s thinking much harder about her first love, blogging about being a mother in Trinidad and Tobago.

Nicole Phillip-Greene became the local franchise contributor to the Macaroni Kid website in 2010 after taking to blogging seriously in 2009.
Between 2008 and 2009, she began an online project using Facebook and BBM to address the growing issue of missing children.

“I thought that this country was too small for children to just disappear, somebody must see something. This was a way for people to look out and report what they saw.”
It was her first effort to build a countrywide village to look out for local children, but there were problems with turf.

Macaroni Kid was an established franchise, and she worked hard to turn it into an impressive local resource for parents.
After meeting Courtney Rooks in 2010, she was introduced to a range of activities, many of which were suitable or easily reengineered for children.

There were weekend surfing classes, mommy and me projects, dance, theatre, and as the projects began to attract more audiences, they were in turn more successful leading to more events targeting an audience of parents and children.
The blogger found herself bringing an audience to small events and turning them into bigger events. It was right around this time that she began to realise that there were limitations with the architecture of the franchise software, and she began to think about returning to her own project.

It was after working with a group of parents on the Continuous Assessment Component of the SEA that she became truly heartened at the possibilities that a group of impressively apolitical, results-focused parents could bring to addressing their concerns about the planned change to the local education system.

Her focus is now on
her blog and most recently, its companion mobile app, Mom’s the Word, now available for Android and currently in the Apple software review process awaiting release on iOS.
Work on revamping the website began in late 2012, but she really began to turn up the heat in early 2013.

Her website analytics showed that 40 percent of her visitors were coming from mobile platforms. This was an IT problem to solve, and well within her capabilities.
Phillip-Greene built the app herself using online tools and two weeks later, on August 31, she had something acceptable.

Mom’s the Word is meant to be a distillation of the website for mobile consumption, a collection of resources, reviews and commentary that offer tips and information to parents keen to more capably guide their own children.
Technically, the app downloads most of its content on an initial connection and updates whenever the Internet is available, but the software doesn't need a working web service to be useful.

Most of the key content, such as local emergency numbers, remains available in the app even when there's no web connection.
As the software and the website are developed, more of the content will be timely and updated regularly, some of it daily, some of it weekly. The section for inspirations, for instance, is targeted as a daily update.

It’s some distance from the corporate Nicole Phillip-Greene, struggling with a challenging pregnancy with her third child who had her wake up call in a meeting when she was told, quite clearly, that family comes third, after business and team.

“It was a difficult pregnancy, and I had to fight a lot. I was sick through a lot of it."
"After that I really began to think, What do I really want to do?”
Now she knows, and all she has to figure out is how to marry that satisfaction with income.

This digitally enabled mom is keen to establish relationships with suppliers who want to offer relevant specials to her readers, and hopes to lubricate relations between parents and marketers to make that engagement easier for both seller and customer.

Her focus group is mothers 30 and older, though there are a couple of grandmothers as well.
“This is for the quiet voice of the house,” she says.
Her biggest ambition with the website and the app, however, is to start and sustain relevant conversations, something she has been doing all along anyway.

“I love to write and this, I've realised, is what I really want to do. I put stuff out there and I get responses and I learn from it all. I would do this for free, but I hope to bring those quiet voices of decision making together with the people who sell the stuff they need from day to day.”

“There are so many points of intervention, home making tutorials, advice about home repair. If businesses got more involved in their customer's experiences, they would sell a lot more.”
Unfortunately, some of the businesses she’s approached see her ideas as easily plucked fruit and choose to run with the concepts and promotion on their own.

Those meetings have left Phillip-Greene disheartened, but more determined to build a brand that’s a desirable one to partner with.
She’s banking on authenticity and honesty to win through, not to mention her own, every personal experiences as a mother with three children of her own to inspire, guide and entertain.

“There's no conversation anywhere about these experiences and it's a real and sizeable market. I wanted to find a place to tell those stories, so I built one.”
blog comments powered by Disqus