Interview with Keri Kukral, CEO and founder of Raw Science TV, an online network focused on science and technology that will change the world in the near future. A former professional ballet dancer and an engineer, Kukral was in Dublin for Inspirefest where she spoke about the relationship between art and science. The interview has been lightly edited and condensed. I began by asking about the different transitions within her career.
The transition from ballet to engineering didn’t seem radical because it was more like changing the way a person thinks about something. The jump from engineering to entrepreneurship was much bigger for me because there were many different areas that I did not have exposure to before like finance and law. There was a lot more to learn. I think that adaptability, flexibility, an open mind and trying to learn new things is so critical for our whole lifetimes. So having done it once from ballet to engineering made it a bit easy to take this next bigger jump.
What inspired you to set up Raw Science TV?
I loved science communication for a very long time but never intended for it to be a profession. I was mostly inspired when I saw science programming on TV was not good. It was not challenging and it was not science for a lot of US networks. The audiences were quickly draining from television to the internet because of that. I was very inspired to try to play a role in popularising science in mainstream media because it’s been a weakness for a while.
How did you think we can improve communication about science and technology?
I think number one is to get much better at the storytelling of science. The broadcast networks are doing a much better job now. But, we have to get better at showing the relevance of science to our everyday lives and then celebrating it. A lot of the time, I think there really isn’t a problem with the content of what’s being created, but the fact that we just don’t celebrate it. There’s a misconception that people don’t want to learn or they don’t care. If you look online, some of the channels with the highest levels of engagement and influence are actually independent science networks. It is a misconception by the broadcast networks that people don’t care about science. I think we just have to do a better job in our culture of celebrating and caring about science.
What would be your advice for entrepeneurs?
The greatest insight that I’ve had so far is if you have a vision, and if you don’t have immediate tangible trappings of success then hang in for the big picture. I had a struggling period where we didn’t have large revenue for a time. Rather than quit, I focused on what were the long-term goals for impact. This helped us to stay afloat and get to where we are. So do not give up when things don’t work out immediately.
What are your ambitions for Raw Science TV?
My ambition is for Raw Science TV to influence how we celebrate science in popular culture. For the rest of this year, we are going to launching a universal app that will be a sort of combination of Vice meets Netflix. Also, we’re preparing for our next film festival later this year.
— Raw Science TV (@RawScienceTV) June 16, 2017
Who are the social media influencers that you follow?
I have a wide range of people I like to follow. One of them is Cory Doctorow who has written an amazing book about the monetization of media and how the future’s going to be very different. He talks about a transformation similar to what happened in the music industry. I find Cory Doctorow extremely interesting.
Is there anything you’d like to add/that I should have asked?
I guess I’d like to add that I learnt a lot at Inspirefest. It’s been really enlightening to learn from female ambassadors and entrepreneurs about some of the differences in behaviours and patterns that male and female entrepreneurs have. That’s been super helpful to me personally in terms of my next moves.