Erin McKean: A Word Lover and Fashion Enthusiast in Silicon Valley
Founder, Reverb Technologies, Inc. Author, Several Word and Fashion Books
Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/erin-mckean/1/b2a/308
Twitter: @emckean, @reverb, @wordnik
Erin is the founder of Reverb Technologies, Inc. Reverb makes the Reverb app, a content discovery reader; Wordnik.com, the world’s largest online dictionary; and the Wordnik API, which has served over a billion API calls for developers all over the world. She is the author of multiple books and she also writes about fashion on her blog, A Dress A Day, and her most recent book, The Hundred Dresses: The Most Iconic Styles of Our Time, is a field guide to dress. Her novel, The Secret Lives of Dresses was an international best-seller and has been optioned for film.
Innovating in field of work:
A lexicographer (dictionary editor) by training, Erin made her way to Silicon Valley by way of a 2007 TED talk that described how the English language is far too big for any paper dictionary to hold. In 2008, Erin assembled a unique team composed of technologists and language experts to found Wordnik, the largest online dictionary.
Over the next five years Wordnik became the largest online dictionary with over 8 million unique words; ten times more than Oxford English Dictionary. Erin went on to grow the company to 30 employees. Wordnik created a word graph of the entire English language – essentially GPS for English — and rebranded in 2013 as Reverb Technologies to leverage that word graph for discovery technology, including the Reverb content discovery app for iPad.
At Reverb, Erin is building a workplace that encourages employees to produce their best work, while also pursuing their passions outside of the office. Erin is a fervent advocate, not for “having it all” but for deciding what a full life looks like to you, and pursuing it. Not only is Erin a Silicon Valley executive, a wife, and mother, she is also an author and has been a regular columnist for both the Boston Globe and the Wall Street Journal. Erin has served as a Startup Mentor through the Lean Startup conference and is always willing to meet and share advice, and has shared her own mistakes and shortcomings by talking at FailCon.
Reinvention / Risk / Momentum:
“Erin likes to say she is good at being lucky: she is convinced you make your own luck by being open to new things and always saying yes to new opportunities.”