2Picas help non-profits navigate through technology

According to Wikipedia a “computer ‘pica’ is 1/72nd of the Anglo-Saxon compromise foot of 1959, i.e. 4.233mm or 0.166in.  Notably, Adobe PostScript promoted the pica unit of measure that is the standard in contemporary printing, as in home computers and printers.”

However, what 2Picas do has nothing to do with a unit of measurement founded 50 plus years ago.  2Picas focus on helping individuals, small businesses and not-for-profits get started with, or improve their use of, technology, design and social networking.  In this world where the use of technology and social networking is so ubiquitous and can be taken for granted, the 2Picas have stepped up to help those who whose focus is beyond the technology.  2p

I had an opportunity to interview Julianna Yau of 2Picas just prior to the turn of the decade.  Here is a transcript of that interview.

Julianna, thanks for doing this.  As a brief introduction, what was your background when you first started 2Picas?

Hi, Karim.  Thanks for interviewing me!  Adriana Alarcón and I started 2Picas after working together at CARFAC Ontario, a professional arts organization. Adriana’s background is in design, and she had been working at CARFAC Ontario as the Communications co-ordinator. I was on the Board of Directors as the Secretary and the Chair of the Communications Committee, and have been running my own websites since 2001.

What does 2Picas mean?

When we were trying to come up with a name for our company, we wanted something meaningful, professional and playful. After a lot of brainstorming, we settled with “pica” as the crux of our name, because it is a unit of measure used in both print and digital typography, as well as CSS coding. Together, we are Pica A and Pica J — the 2Picas.

OK!  Wow.  You learn something new everyday!  Now, what does 2Picas do?

At its core, 2Picas creates websites and handles branding. Our target market are the arts (including organizations and individuals), non-profits and not-for-profits, and small businesses. We have tailored our products and prices to provide low-cost solutions without compromising quality—something that is unfortunately hard to find. We know that many organizations and individuals need a professional website, but can’t afford the $3,000 starting price of most design firms. 2Picas websites are CMS based, and give our clients the design attention and technical strength they need to worry about the content, not the coding.

Why did you decide to focus on working in the small business and not-for-profit arena? 

We decided to focus on small businesses and non-profits/not-for-profits because we have seen those struggles first hand. We ended up doing the CARFAC Ontario website in-house because the organization simply couldn’t afford the existing rates. Luckily, the organization had access to people who knew how to do web work, but that’s not always the case. I have also talked to many small business owners and self-employed people who have struggled with what to do about a website, and usually ended up without one, or with something half-completed by a friend of a friend who wanted to learn html. Both Adriana and I take professionalism very seriously, and it was discouraging to see the sparse options out there for those sectors—so we stepped up to start filling a bit of that need.

Besides cost, what other challenges do you see your clients, specifically the NPs, having to face and deal with when it comes to accessing and utilizing technology?

Aside from cost, accepting and learning to use technology is something we see as a challenge for our market, especially with NPs. Although there are some exceptional leaders (the AGO and ROM come to mind, as does the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh), the majority of organizations are slow to adopt new technologies, usually only on an as-needed basis. I attended the Technology in the Arts conference in 2008, and what I saw were many organizations who want to access and use technology, but don’t know which technologies or how they would be best used for their organization. Adriana and I have recognized this, and we plan to also start addressing those challenges in 2010 by offering introductory and hands-on technology workshops for NPs and the like.

If you could offer one piece of advice to non-profits concerning technology, what would it be?

One piece of advice to non-profits concerning technology: don’t ever be afraid to try something and fail or to ask questions. If you’re willing to try, you’d be surprised by how much people want to help you succeed.

Thanks for this Julianna!  Happy New year to the 2Picas!

Thanks for the interview, Karim! Happy New Year to you and the Techvibes community!