Category Archives: Startup Fever

Sponsorship isn’t enough: Why Tech Companies Are Failing To Attract Female Engineers

Where are the developers? Everyone is trying to hire software developers yet thousands of job openings remain unfilled by tech companies in Silicon Valley. A few weeks ago, I gave a talk at the 2015 Lesbians Who Tech Summit in San Francisco on how tech companies could attract more software engineers. It was well received and illustrated how perceptions and strategies can be embraced to not only fill more tech jobs on the market but create a workplace that is attractive to men, women and all genders.

This talk is the first in a three part series on attracting developers, how startups can be more strategic and effective in their hiring process and why it’s essential to curate tech culture in the workplace to reduce developer churn.

Highlights from the talk include:

  • What developers want at work
  • The massive developer shortage in the United States (or not?)
  • Growing personal awareness of professional impact and contributions
  • Landing top quality tech talent is much harder than simply posting a job on the Internet
  • Pay equity for all people at tech companies
  • We all carry bias into the workplace and it affects our decisions
  • Pay inequality is exacerbated when intersectional traits are compared
  • Attracting the shy, “deer-like” developer to your company
  • Why it’s important to offer developer focused content on your blog
  • Have open source projects tied to your company product
  • Sponsoring gender focused tech events does not ensure a transfer of trust
  • Job descriptions should not look like a “boyfriend list”
  • Consider collaborative vs competitive terms in job descriptions
  • False equivalent that women developers are all be new to tech
  • Reciprocal mentoring is a value focused perk for developers
  • Promote from within by identifying staff in non-technical roles for potential and aptitude
  • All genders find company values to be highly important
  • Health benefits for everyone: all genders, transgender employees and same sex partners
  • Consider gender neutral job perks: offer training to level up and conference budgets

A few interesting studies and findings I came across while researching my talk:

Being a scientist doesn’t reduce your gender bias – In a study I cite, both male and female professors were asked to rate students applying for a potential job within the lab. The findings were significant that both genders of professors rated the male student as more competent and deserving a higher starting pay than the female student. The disappointing thing is that the genders of the students were part of the study’s variables so the ratings were most likely based on gender stereotypes

Millennials are changing workplace values – In the past, self sacrifice by staying at a job you didn’t like was the norm. Getting ahead was the end game in the workplace. Now, having a sense of purpose and contributing to value based initiatives are driving employment choices for the younger generations.

Pervasive assumptions about women’s work goals still exist (and are still wrong) – While the talk was themed for the conference, my research uncovered an interesting fact: Both men and women want similar things in the workplace. This goes against assumptions made by both sexes that women value family over career. In fact, it turns out this same study was conducted 20 years ago and still, both men and women assume women’s minds are elsewhere when they’re on the job.

The speaker lineup for LWT was pretty phenomenal and in the upcoming weeks I will share my thoughts on some of the other talks from the conference.

Slides have been posted to SlideShare

leanstartupconference

I’m Speaking At The Lean Startup Conference: Why Every Startup Employee Should Learn To Code

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.

The Lean Startup Conference Ignite event on Sunday is sold out but there are still tickets available for The Lean Startup Conference which is Monday and Tuesday.  Their Twitter handle is @leanstartup and hashtag is the same #leanstartup.

They will be live streaming the conference to over 200 locations that have signed up to be viewing hosts and I’ve included a list below:

United States

International

You can find the full list of Lean Startup Conference live stream locations viewing parties on the site.  Most are completely free but some are charging.

Again, I’m excited about this opportunity to present and enrich the lives of others on an especially important topic.  I’ll be at the conference so please do find me and say hello!

jump for joy

Devs, Designers And Startup Seekers: Attend The Foundry Group Job Mixer In San Francisco This Friday

Are you looking for an awesome job at a Startup or do you know someone who is?

The Foundry Group (aka Brad Feld and crew) will be holding a job mixer in San Francisco this Friday night for companies in their portfolio to find new talent!

Nine companies in the investor’s portfolio will be there (including SendGrid who I work for) and we’re looking for everything from developers to designers, product and sales plus people who are passionately interested in working at fantastic startups!  I’ll be there reppin’ for SendGrid along with one of our awesome HR people, Jessy Rozitis.

What You Need To Know

Register here to attend  http://foundrystartuprecruiting-esli.eventbrite.com/

Note: You must be 21+ to attend as there will be alcohol served.

On Friday, October 5th, 2012 from 6pm-8pm you have the opportunity to come eat, drink, and mingle with some of Foundry’s hottest tech startups in the Bay Area.

Foundry Group is a leading VC firm investing in outstanding early-stage companies across some of the most exciting themes in technology. The following Foundry Group portfolio companies will be showcasing their current and upcoming career opportunities and looking for exceptional individuals to join their teams:

• SendGrid – Email Delivery. Simplified. Jobs <– FTW!

• Singly – Social APIs, made simple.

Authentic8 – Bringing control to web apps by putting the browser in the cloud. Jobs

awe.sm – awe.sm’s platform helps customers from startups to the Fortune 500 harness their social data. Jobs

Datahero – Analyze, visualize and understand the data that matters to you! Jobs

MongoLab – Provides scalable cloud-hosted MongoDB-as-a-service to application developers. Jobs

Pantheon – Delivers web content management as a service, with the flexibility and power of open-source. Jobs

Sifteo – A totally new game system. Sifteo cubes are wireless blocks with full color screens that interact with each other and respond to motion, unleashing a whole new world of games. Jobs

Memeo – Controlling your access of digital content: anywhere, anytime, any device Jobs

My Testimonial for Working At SendGrid

If we’re friends on Facebook and I know you live in the Bay Area, I sent you a message today along with my testimonial of working at SendGrid and what I think.  In case we’re not Facebook friends, read what I shared below:

It’s amazing! My co-workers are friendly, brilliant, honest, hard working and yet they also make time to have fun. They also hang out after work with each other and do really cool stuff to team build including CrossFit exercise challenges!

Our customers love our product and we work hard to keep innovating. It’s a complete breath of fresh air to work with such awesome folks!

I work as a Developer Evangelist which means I help to grow the adoption of our email API with developers through events, hackathons, documentation, partnerships and community building.  I wake up every single day excited to get started!  I work remotely from San Francisco but stay in touch with my coworkers through email, phone calls, Skype, 37Signals Basecamp and GroupMe.

What does SendGrid do?  We help companies get emails delivered to the inbox and provide analytics to app developers.  Specifically we focus on transactional email which is considered to be new user welcome emails, receipts, invoices, alerts, password resets and the like.  Our customers include Pinterest, foursquare, AirBnb, Uber, Spotify, Hubspot, Path, TaskRabbit, SlideShare (acquired by LinkedIN), Dribble, Zaarly, Quora, GetSatisfaction, Flipboard and more!

If you know someone who’s looking to work at a company that is making big steps to innovate and disrupt technology, tell them to come tomorrow night to this event.  It’s a social mixer + job fair.  I’ll be there reppin’ for SendGrid so stop by and say hello.

It’s been a blast working at SendGrid and I’m more than happy to encourage you to attend this event.  I truly can’t say enough good things about working there at SendGrid.  The people, the product, the culture – It’s all pretty awesome plus I get to do what I love which is help people feel empowered through technology.

SendGrid Open Positions

That said, here’s a list of some of our SendGrid job postings we have:

  • Developer Evangelist in Berlin, Germany
  • Software Engineer for Newsletter App in Orange County, CA
  • Software Engineer for Mail Processing in Orange County, CA
  • Sales Representative in Denver (LoDo)
  • UI Designer in Orange County, CA
  • Web Engineer for R&D in Providence, RI
  • Technical Writer in Orange County, CA
  • Technical Account Manager in Boulder, CO
  • Software Engineer for System Integration in Denver (LoDo) or Boulder
  • Software Engineer for R&D in Providence, RI
  • Senior Accountant in Boulder, CO
  • Online Marketing Manager in Orange County, CA
  • Information Security Manager in Denver (LoDo) or Boulder
  • Information Security Manager in Orange County, CA
  • Inbound Marketing Manager in Boulder, CA
  • Director, Big Data in Orange County, CA
  • DevOps Engineer in Denver (LoDo) or Boulder
  • DevOps Engineer in Orange County, CA
  • Technical Support Representative for Compliance in Denver (LoDo) or Boulder
  • Customer Support Representative in Denver (LoDo) or Boulder
  • Customer Support Engineer in Denver (LoDo) or Boulder

Good luck and contact me if you have questions about the positions.