This topic is especially close to my heart this year due to my experience last year of being targeted for a massive online harassment campaign by hate groups after speaking out about sexual harassment at a tech conference. As an introvert, I’ve been most comfortable operating behind the scenes to create positive change and opportunities for underrepresented groups in technology but I’ve come to understand that speaking out is a powerful tool for change and healing.
Join us for this core conversation on how to be a supportive ally, how to recognize and reinforce good ally behavior and the impact of activating bystanders to speak up and say something.
What: Building The Bridge To Equality With Allies When: Sunday March 9th, 2014 at 11am Where: Austin Convention Center, room 5ABC
This panel seeks to provide practical strategies to help attendees become respectful allies to marginalized groups of people and expand the understanding of intersectional diversity.
Every year thousands of people experience discrimination at school, work and in their communities because they don’t fit into the neat, little box of being straight, White and male.
For example, 43 percent of LGBTQ people have experienced discrimination or harassment in the workplace and the numbers are similar for Blacks, Latinos and women.
In the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin case, many people felt upset, powerless and angry. However, both online and off, people are finding ways to organize and connect to demand justice. We no longer have to stand by and become silent partners to the problem, we can be part of the solution.
Attend this session to learn how you can make an impact in your community, schools and workplace through active leadership as an ally.
How to get the most out of attending tech conferences
How to negotiate travel costs as a speaker
What to wear as a woman when speaking at developer conferences
What I see here in Silicon Valley is that there are technical women out here but they’re not submitting talks. This is also true of men I’ve met who grew up developing on Java but now want to learn node.js and cloud technologies.
After our panel, we mentored women to help them brainstorm and select a topic. I mentored Shiney, a female developer of 15 years who has been building native iOS apps for the last four years. I sat down with her to brainstorm aspects of her job she was passionate about and we narrowed it down to bandwidth management awareness for mobile developers and building iOS apps with Appcode instead of Xcode. Both of these were fantastic topics I told her and we narrowed it down to the first one because Smiley had a lot more to say about it. I helped her identify target groups that would want to see her talk (developers, telecom providers like AT&T and Verizon plus smart phone users), why they should see her talk (build apps that work better by consuming less resources and battery power) and then include a concrete example in her CFP submission (developers should take advantage of caching so their app doesn’t have to constantly poll for new data for each user request). In fifteen minutes we had her talk ready to go and she recorded a video with O’Reilly for the submission.
I get it because I’ve lived it. Women and underrepresented groups need encouragement and coaching to get started but we have just as many good ideas, solutions and the ability to execute successfully. Eric Ries and Sarah Milstein did something phenomenally different this year in finding speakers for The Lean Startup Conference and I look forward to more organizers taking the same approach. We must fill the pipeline by raising awareness of the opportunity, making explicit asks for women and minorities to participate and be aware of our subconscious biases.
If you have suggestions for women submitting technical talks or how you ended up doing your first tech talk, please share your experience in the comments.
Excited to share I will be giving a talk at TEDx BayArea Global Women Entrepreneur event on Saturday!
My Talk: Women Building Careers With Code
Summary: I will share the stories of three women who have changed from careers in finance, education and economics to development and programming. We’ll look at how society has valued individuals with the ability to create. I will highlight contributions made by different countries such as the technique of extracting Tyrian purple from sea snails, the process for creating parchment from animal skins and the Gutenberg printing press which made literacy accessible. I’ll round up with obstacles new programmers face in getting started and wrap up with actionable items.
On December 1st, 2012, TEDxBayArea will convene our third annual Global Women Entrepreneurs event at LinkedIn headquarters to celebrate women leaders around the world. Speakers come from diverse backgrounds in the Bay Area and beyond, spanning half way across the globe. Our goal is to highlight a broad spectrum of ideas, thought leadership and business models, addressing a select Silicon Valley audience, while providing an engaging day full of presentations, entertainment and conversation in the renowned TED style.
I was already registered to attend and received a last minute invitation to present this week. I heard there will be a livestream so I will post the link here and on Twitter once I get it. I’m for it and excited to get others inspired and thinking about their careers and life passions!
I’m excited to share that I will be presenting at the Lean Startup Conference here in San Francisco! Eric Ries is well known as the author of The Lean Startup, a book and now a movement on how to run a lean company, learn what works and deliver what customers want. It isn’t only for startup though and many companies have taken Eric’s advice to heart to transform their business and careers.
I will be giving an Ignite talk titled, Why Every Startup Employee Should Learn to Code, and will share examples and strategies that have worked from people learning to program, including myself. This year I’ve seen people learning everything from Ruby on Rails and mobile development for iOS and Android to building interactive experiences with augmented reality and predictive engines for discovery of local places to shop. I will take people through the mindset of someone new to programming, how the human mind learns new things, which programming languages are most popular and how you can get started learning to code.
In the talk, I will emphasize the importance of knowing your learning style according to VARK which stands for Visual, Aural, Reading and Kinesthetic. You can find your learning style by answering a few questions using this online quiz. I came across this resource and others a few years ago when I began teaching technology courses and would have the attendees take it before getting started. It provided useful insight on how to present the course materials I’d created and ensure high engagement and retention of the content.
Did you know that Pablo Picasso was a lean entrepreneur? During his “Blue Period” using a single color of paint saved money before he became famous and well known. Very similar to today’s Silicon Valley startups on a ramen budget sleeping on futons.
Finally I will explore how employees who gain new skills for work like programming are more valuable because their cross functional experience overlaps multiple teams increasing their ability to directly contribute to the company’s bottom line.
I arrived in NYC on Sunday and will be here for an entire week!
In addition to being asked to speak at the awesome Web 2.0 conference, I’m excited to be back and this time plan to spend time connecting with people and companies I always seem to run out of time for. The weather is super warm in the 70′s and 80′s with those oh-so-warm nights one comes to miss when living in San Francisco. Continue reading →
Wow! I had such an amazing time this year thanks to the support of my friends and Twitterfam! I’ll be writing more about this but let’s move onto the photos.
This conference is a big deal. It includes music, film and interactive which means that everyone in entertainment, the creative arts and the tech space pay attention and attend.
In the last few years, there have been complaints that SXSW becoming too commercialized with ads and sponsors but I really liked how Erica Mauter put it that you have to show up to make a difference. And show up people did! I heard attendance this year was well over 15,000 with some reports putting the number near 19,000. Whatever the case, there were people everywhere, all the time but the conference was well run, well organized and extremely fun! I truly felt like I got the full “SXSW Experience” this time around.
This year, I spent more time talking to less people. There were many introductions made by friends to new people, which I liked. It completely removed the introverted discomfort I feel when looking out onto a very large room of people I don’t know. I actually can say now that I like networking!
The friends and Twitter folks I hung with this year were all about building, growing and success. They were also about having fun! While I did tweet at #SXSW, much of my time was spent using a group created in Beluga by Wayne Sutton to provide a real time discussion area for Brown people at SXSW. It was truly an amazing experience to have access to this private sort of Twitter as a backchannel to communicate with a specific group of people about a specific event who were all in Austin. No need for hashtags!
I didn’t use Foursquare very much but on my last few days in Austin, I did sign up for Gowalla and loved their hoodie t-shirt! (see shirt below). I spent a lot of time chatting, laughing and doing serious networking to get the word out on my technology training at Freshworkshops.
Normally I would say I’m not a party person but SXSW makes it all feel so different! The Mashable party this year again was at Buffalo Billiards and I had an excellent time! The TechSet party wasn’t so hot but I did meet some good people to know. I loved the WebInk party on the roof of the W hotel and afterwards went down to the lounge with @catpoetry and had more great conversations before heading to the 24 diner for delicious hamburgers!
I am coming to realize you can do dedicated networking where you’re on a “mission” to meet certain people and be at certain parties or you can go the route of serendipity. I’ve never been comfortable with the first so this time I embraced the serendipity that I would find myself in the right conversations that were aligned with my goals and dreams. If I found otherwise, I would politely excuse myself to find a more satisfying convo. And it worked!
I’ll be writing a blog post about my experience drinking at conferences, inspired by @violetblue. I had several friends at SXSW who don’t drink at all plus I had the opportunity get advice from others on how they handle drinking at events.
So the biggest tech thing to happen at SXSW this year was the announcement of the iPad2. Apple rented a local store space about half a mile away from the Austin Convention Center and opened for business. There were lines and the store quickly ran out of several of the lower capacity models. Folks I knew like Terrance Gains (@brothatech), Cheryl Contee (@ch3ryl) and Joselin Mane (@joselinmane) all bought iPad2′s at SXSW. More on this later.
The other big flavors at SXSW in tech were mobile, startups, QR codes, green technology and anything to do with gaming. Blog posts coming.
The rapid charging stations this year were amazing! My Nexus S went from 3% to 35% in just 20 minutes. Bring those back next year!
My Session: What The Government Can Learn From Amazon
I did my presentation which was part of the Future 15 and touched on the frustrations of US citizens who are asked to provided identity papers everywhere they go yet it’s a huge hassle to get said documents. I offered several solutions the government could implement to reduce waiting time at the DMV, centralize identity documents and provide tracking options to citizens. I will cover the content in separate blog post.
My slides rocked since I used Sliderocket (Thanks Tara!).
Self constructive criticism > I wasn’t happy with my style. I know now that I’m going to need to revisit the idea I tweeted about last year of going in for stand-up comedy classes. Managing my content, the slides and being in touch with a large audience throws me off a bit and my normal enthusiastic, bubbly, smiling self is replaced by a more factual, serious version. Doh!
Oh my goodness did I have a good time! This was truly the first conference where I had to face myself head on and ask, “What do you want to get out of this?”. I fully committed to having a memorable experience, spending time with people who I felt good to be around, make solid networking contacts for my business and focus on feeling good in the moment. Because of this goal, I truly felt good and it showed! I decided before leaving I would dress in a way that I felt comfortable but also in a way that flattered my figure.
Not only did I get compliments every single day from both men and women on my hair or overall appearance, I felt radiant! So thank you my awesome friends who have encouraged me to blossom!
I have spent so many years hiding behind baggy clothes and glasses that I didn’t know how to be beautiful. Thankfully friends like Afrobella, Luvvie and Denise have helped me find that beauty and tweak it. They’ve overclocked my appearance! lol! These are a few photos where I’m having fun and enjoying how I look (even though I still feel a bit uncomfortable uploading them and posting them, I’m doing it anyway!).
I went around to say hello to folks I knew like Techsmith and Sliderocket. Cotton candy is always high on my list now that tech companies have caught on us geeks love that stuff and I made at least 3 trips to the Animoto booth. It was across from the Automattic booth which you may know as the parent company of WordPress. I talked with a few exhibitors about their products and services. More later as this is supposed to be a photo blog post!
I love good food and there was plenty of it at SXSW. It seemed everywhere you turned there was free food or delicious food begging to be eaten. There was also the very suspect “street meat” from vendors on 6th street offering things like bacon smothered hotdogs until late into the night. I had at least 3 burgers while in Austin, sushi, apple pie, pistachio cheescake, grilled cheese with tomato & basil soup, steak (free dinner rocks!) and breakfast nearly every morning (thanks Jay!). I am a food lover to the nth power!
Bluey ended up coming along for the trip! Her heart didn’t explode from the altitude in the airplane, she didn’t get crushed in the couch and she didn’t freak out so this was a very good experience to show me how I’m going to need to accept that she’s doing okay after being diagnosed with congestive heart failure and I can return to focusing on my career and life goals. It was awesome having her along and each day I’m feeling less worried about her health. Yay Bluester!