Food for Thought: How BakeSpace Creates Delicious Community On-Line and Off

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Inspired by the theme of Delicious, Ispent some time with Babette Pepaj Founder and CEOof BakeSpace. The following is an excerpt of the interview. You can read the entire interview here.

You started this site, why?

The last job I had (directing and producing reality television) I had to tell one mother to tell another mother she was the worst mother in the world. Career-wise I was at the top. Personally I felt like I had just gone to the bottom. So I took some time off and took a cake decorating class to feed my soul and bring me back from the dark side. And I loved being around the people. They were home cooks, people who were into food, they were just a very warm group of people – the opposite of the environment from which I had just come.

In 2006 there really wasn’t a peer-to-peer sharing community. There were just forums & blogs. So I built something I wanted to use, and that is how it started. I was pretty green so no one told me I couldn’t so I just did.

Bakespace in that time has grown pretty quickly and you’ve also taken it off-line.

We started understanding the food space and (as we did) we began to realize the information we were learning in technology and we thought if we shared that information with the food bloggers we knew, we would raise the overall caliber of the space – the whole “rising tide raises all boats” concept. It began when we were going to SXSW (2010) and knew we were going to meet the tech people we know and were going to be in that environment and I thought – “You know, if I’m going to Austin, I would rather meet the food community.” So that inspired the one-day (inaugural) conference called “TechMunch”. From there people emailed us and asked us to come to their cities. So we have been following that road. At the last event in New York, someone traveled from Arizona to meet us and ask if we would bring TechMunch there.

Of all the things that are “community”, we talk (in social media) about technology bringing people together and the socialized web and social software and social networks, but at the end of the day we’re still human, we’re still people. And at the end of the day what are the things that generally bind most people together – it’s gathering over food and beverage. It’s gathering and telling stories around a campfire – while eating s’mores. So when you think about a grander vision of what TechMunch and what Bakespace as community pioneers could really foster, do you have any grand ambitions?

Uhhh … Yes. (Giggle), but I don’t know if I want to go into my future business plans. I could tell you, but then I’d have to bake you into a cake. (Giggle that turns into a full-on chortling.)

About The Author

What began for me as a career telling other people’s stories has evolved into a journey of helping others tell their stories for themselves. I'm a “classically trained” Journalist whose passion for communications began with my first job ripping wire copy in 1982 and has evolved to encompass nearly every platform and aspect of media – from reporting and editing to broadcast management, talent casting and guest booking. I've also curated content for several of the tech industry’s leading conferences. It was after finding myself engaged as an activist for LGBT equal rights that I began to explore the way in which personal stories inform and influence people’s everyday lives and I began using my tech background to teach people to make these connections of personal stories, using new technologies as the medium. Presently I run my own consulting firm in San Francisco, working with companies and individuals helping them navigate the crowded waterways of new technologies with the express purpose of leveraging these rapidly evolving platforms to tell their stories. Through workshops, seminars and strategic consulting services, I walk clients through the story-telling process and towards the kind of deep engagement that comes from truly authentic communication.

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