Who Inspire Us
Swanson is the brain behind ChickClick,
a network of independent women's Webzines. Swanson was inspired
to create the site after a mind-numbing experience working as a
contractor for a Silicon Valley company. After wasting her time
in meetings taking direction from people who thought they could
run an Internet project just because they had Stanford MBAs, Swanson
decided she could do it better on her own and ChickClick was born.
Swanson cranked out an initial mock-up of the site and pitched the
idea to Imagine Media in Brisbane. Six weeks later, in February
of 1999, ChickClick launched with a roster of 20 sites. Swanson
handles almost everything, from content management to design and
development, with help from her sister, Heather Swanson, who acts
as "tech diva."
has been adding new sites, but are very particular about which sites
they get involved with. Swanson says "For this project to work,
the sites have to be committed to doing frequent updates piled high
with sass and smarts, and there is a definite learning curve on
the business side going from an independent homepage or e-zine to
a commercial venture. I want all the sites to be bringing in 4 or
5 figures a month, I think that is realistic, and I think it sets
up a lucrative financial foundation for these sites to flourish
and bring on additional contributors. The driving force here is
to get girls excited about technology so that they master it, use
it, test out and cultivate strong independent voices, and don't
fall behind their male counterparts."
wanted a design that was funky and edgy, something that would appeal
to "grrrlz." The key would be balancing the fun and the functional,
but also to have a really basic design. "I don't have a team of
Web developers behind me," she explains, "so I needed to make changes
on the fly." Swanson decided to use illustration instead of photographs.
She called on a high school friend to crank out some pix on napkins
or whatever. Swanson scanned them in, then used Adobe Streamline
to get thick flat lines and solid colors. The end result: boffo
graphics with tiny file sizes.
had watched the success of Imagine Games Network's model and thought
it made a lot of sense. "We have the advantage of co-promoting 20
sites without needing to have the editorial staff in-house. We let
the editors do what they do best -- content -- and we help promote
them and make sure they have revenue coming at them."
whole deal, Swanson says, is for the sites to "inspire a lot of
other girls out there to start playing with Web tools and busting
a move on the Web to get their voices out there." ChickClick is
a place where young women can get excited about technology and publishing
because it is done in a smart, fun and funky way.