Tag Archives: tarahunt

Whats a woman to do? stop making startups about babies, shopping, etc…?

Been meaning to blog about this for ages but once again BarCampMediaCity occupied most of my time over the last few weeks/month.

I saw a blog post from the irresistible Tara Hunt and almost hit the roof when reading it… (Don’t worry there’s plenty more roof hitting in the next few blog posts)

The punch was the tweet which came from Jolie O’Dell, who seems to be someone a lot of people know and follow (although to be fair I’d never really heard of her before). Her tweet said…

Jolie's Tweet (for my blog)

Or if you disabled images for what ever reason, it reads “Women: Stop making startups about fasion, shopping & babies. At least for the next few years. You’re embarrassing me.

As some one commented on Tara’s Flickr, Can’t wait to see your response to this one! and [gets popcorn]. I won’t even touch on the tweets and general outrage only because Tara’s done a great job summing it up.

So what can I bring to the discussion almost 3 weeks later? Not that much but I do find it interesting reading Tara’s post and her post analysis.

I kind of wish I could just pull together my thoughts while reading on the tram into work recently (need to tie together ifttt with storyify… But I was surprised by Tara’s sobering conclusion.

When I moved to San Francisco in 2005, it took me about 6 months to deny myself my femininity. It wasn’t fashionable to be fashionable. I moved to SF with a closet full of designer dresses, suits and shoes and within 6 months all I was wearing were jeans and t-shirts. I am ecstatic to see photos of events filled with women in dress clothes and high heels. My only embarrassment lies in that I didn’t have the *erm* balls to be the woman I am back then.

Instead of embarrassed that there are so many women doing startups involving fashion/shopping/babies, I’m proud. I’m proud of a truly inclusive tech scene where women can women, men can men, women can men, men can women and all sorts of other genderific combinations thereof. And I, for one, welcome the pink ghettoization of the tech startup scene – at least for the time being – because it means women are making a grand entrance. And what an entrance it is!

Tara’s quite a lady and its a real shame she felt she had to adopt her style, lifestyle and personality to favour a male dominated world just to fit in with the perceived or otherwise differences.

This all somewhat hap-hazardly spills into my thinking about woman of today.

Someone, can’t remember who pointed me at this New York Times piece titled… Whats a modern girl to do?

Once again I had it saved in my readitlater list and was slowly digesting parts of it on my kindle while almost throwing my kindle out the window in almost total disgust.

For example…

[1] Men, apparently, learn early to protect their eggshell egos from high-achieving women. The girls said they hid the fact that they went to Harvard from guys they met because it was the kiss of death. “The H-bomb,” they dubbed it. “As soon as you say Harvard Business School . . . that’s the end of the conversation,” Ani Vartanian said. “As soon as the guys say, ‘Oh, I go to Harvard Business School,’ all the girls start falling into them.”

[2] Women in their 20′s think old-school feminists looked for equality in all the wrong places, that instead of fighting battles about whether women should pay for dinner or wear padded bras they should have focused only on big economic issues. After Googling and Bikramming to get ready for a first dinner date, a modern girl will end the evening with the Offering, an insincere bid to help pay the check. “They make like they are heading into their bag after a meal, but it is a dodge,” Marc Santora, a 30-year-old Metro reporter for The Times, says.  ”They know you will stop them before a credit card can be drawn. If you don’t, they hold it against you.”

My mom gave me three essential books on the subject of men. The first, when I was 13, was “On Becoming a Woman.” The second, when I was 21, was “365 Ways to Cook Hamburger.” The third, when I was 25, was “How to Catch and Hold a Man,” by Yvonne Antelle. (“Keep thinking of yourself as a soft, mysterious cat.. . .Men are fascinated by bright, shiny objects, by lots of curls, lots of hair on the head . . . by bows, ribbons, ruffles and bright colors.. . .Sarcasm is dangerous. Avoid it altogether.”)

Its a long piece but its well worth reading because there’s so much interesting stuff in there.

Honestly I don’t know what to say but it seems like I might be out of touch with the ultra modern woman (it may seem).

The modern woman seems to have rejected all the feminism ideals of the past few decades. She sees that whole movement as backwards, counter productive and somewhat old fashioned. But as the post concludes at the end, there’s certain amount of boomeranging which is going to happen.

Having boomeranged once, will women do it again in a couple of decades? If we flash forward to 2030, will we see all those young women who thought trying to Have It All was a pointless slog, now middle-aged and stranded in suburbia, popping Ativan, struggling with rebellious teenagers, deserted by husbands for younger babes, unable to get back into a work force they never tried to be part of?

It’s easy to picture a surreally familiar scene when women realize they bought into a raw deal and old trap. With no power or money or independence, they’ll be mere domestic robots, lasering their legs and waxing their floors – or vice versa – and desperately seeking a new Betty Friedan.

Geeks Talk Sexy2: The Other Half of the Population

People in circles

We said geeks talk sexy would be back bigger and better… and it certainly did.

This time we focused on the other half of the population (woman) and the focus paid off greatly.

So to start with, we took on most of the feedback from the first one. One of the critical points was shifting from one subject to another too quickly and losing the crowd as we transitioned around the world of geeks and sex. This time it was much easier to stick to one subject as we digged deeply into the world of what its like to be a geek woman and a geek man in 2011.

The event started like the last one. Cocktails were served as people turned up and chatted in little circles. We played a documentary from Channel4 titled Love Virtually to get people in the mood, while myself and Samantha got setup. The choice of cocktails included the Geek Girl and the Geek Guy.

Geek talk sexy drinks

By the time we got started, the room was nice and full with people sat around a massive communal table. We hadn’t quite got through to our special guest yet but it was on with the show. This time we had a lovely presentation which gave people an idea of where we were going and roughly how far we had gotten through everything.

While Samantha kicked off proceeding with a discussion around peoples experiences with the opposite sex, I was contacting our special guest – the ever transparent Tara Hunt.

We compiled a list of things from the audience of things not do when trying to have a romantic relationship with the other sex.

  • Wear Clothes
  • Don’t Google people (unless you need there contact details)
  • Don’t try living your life by the game
  • Don’t post pictures of you with your ex on a dating site
  • Don’t post old photos (its just creepy seeing people as children)
  • Don’t lie
  • Don’t use text speak
  • Don’t be rude
  • Be Pleasant and polite
  • Don’t be a tool
  • Be polite

We also asked everyone to write down where they have met previous or current boy/girlfriends. We got some, well lets say interesting answers back. (worth noting there all done in secret)

  • When out farming (really?)
  • Online dating (Ok cupid got a mention)
  • By joining clubs and societies
  • Through mutual friends and acquaintances
  • In Bars/Pubs
  • Through work
  • Round the back of Piccadilly station
  • At LARP events
  • At Festivals
  • While drunk
  • Via the Vax mainframe email system at the Polytechnic
  • Cafes (but that person made it clear its not working as they have been single for 4 years)
  • Via Partners (interesting one this one)
  • At Events
  • At Parties including the Christmas Party

Interestingly someone wrote on there piece of paper, “did you want to know about same sex partners too?” This will be picked up in the next month.

By the time we got to the book the game. Things had turned very heated in the room. From memory it seems most the woman had never heard of the game or of the idea of a pickup artist. This of course much debate. One woman declared anyone who has used the game to pickup woman must be some what sad. But at the same time, her partner also raised his hand to say he was aware and may have rustled through the pages of the Game at one point. You can imagine that would be a difficult discussion to have later.

But there was no time for that, it was time for a breather and a refill on the cocktails. While everyone got more drinks, I got everything setup with Tara Hunt on skype. I’m actually surprised it all went really well and she could hear us perfectly well. The only issue was the bandwidth didn’t seem to be there for video but audio was great. As the break ended, it was time for the 60 second rants. And boy we had some juicy ones.

One of the most interesting rants came from Ara who talked about the serious lack of porn for women, something I have to be honest I’ve never really thought about. But she was right, beyond the usual stereotypes there seemed to be not much. Em gave a rant about online dating in general which got me for one going. Chris also added a different perspective covering online dating from a poly perspective. Another one of those things which I’d never really considered. There were of course more, but I never got the chance to give mine which is maybe a good thing.

geek talk sexy2

Listening in to the rants was Tara Hunt on skype and it was time to un-mute her and ask her to explain her story. As she told her story, there were gasps and looks of horror how someone could be so open it hurts when she talked about her relationship and showed the site. It really set in when Tara asked me to show her post titled “5 reasons why I don’t date muggles.” People were able to ask Tara afterwards about her love life and how she copes. I actually wished I’d recorded the whole thing using Skype Recorder because there was some great questions and some even better answers from Tara.

After thanking Tara, it was time for the wrap up and a brief mention about the 3rd part of the series.

Yes in the next one, we’ll be going deep into the LGBT geek scene. Luckily we have help from others who are much more knowledgeable that myself, Samantha or Hwayoung. After the 3rd one, we’re unsure if we should do one more on Poly relationships (which seem quite common in geek culture it seems) and other types of relationships or what. At some point we’re looking to bring London flirt club to Manchester and do some geek speed dating but all will be revealed in the near future.

Generally this event was much better than the last one simply because we had all the elements to keep us focused. Having a Tara as the guest also really helped everyone think about this matter in a much deeper level. Ultimately the discussions continued very into the night at Common Bar afterwards. Everyone had a great time and we look forward to part 3…

What is that stuck in his pint?

Continue reading

Claudia Winkleman hosts Film 2010, hold back the sexist stereotypes

From Den of Geek’s Claudia Winkleman vs the People.

Claudia Winkleman is a sexy woman. Some male nerds are uncomfortable around sexy women. Some women certainly don’t like or trust other sexy women. A lot of people, both male and female, indulge in nerdy pursuits to escape from the pressures and perils of dealing with the opposite sex and sexuality itself. If you then unbalance that equation with some misjudged sex appeal they get confused and angry, like at the impossibly perfect models who present shows about Starcraft on Anerican videogame websites, or at the sexy Spock who snogs Uhura (not logical, apparently).

I’m actually not that much of fan of Claudia Winkleman but I got to say there is something very sinister (hinging on sexist) running through the criticism of why she shouldn’t be hosting BBC’s Film 2010 show. I actually thought you she did alright and after the shock of seeing her on the show (I just happen to have the TV on and was expecting Jonathan Ross) I did check out some of the comments across twitter and the blogs (not singling anyone out except the Daily Mail). But alas Den of geek hits the issue where I’m thinking.

Let me be clear about something: I’m not saying that if you are male, and you don’t like Claudia Winkleman, then it would follow that you are a raging sexist powered by the heady combination of hatred, lust and jealousy. What I would argue that it is a combination of her femininity (she’s the opposite of a tomboy like, say, Emily Booth), attractiveness, and track record on reality shows that makes her so unpalatable to many male viewers.

Gabby Logan and Emily Booth both had to prove themselves up to the task by being better informed and better presenters than the majority of their male counterparts, and this is the area where Winkleman is ultimately going to live or die – is her film knowledge up to scratch?

It a sad fact but yes you need to be better that your counterparts. You almost have to shock your counterparts into believing you are amazing. The recent character assassination of Claudia Winkleman has got me thinking about woman geeks again. Of course we are going to explore this at a much deeper level at the series of talks we got setup starting with geeks talk sexy on 19th November at Madlab.

But a geek very much respect for her frank thinking and amazing insight is Tara Hunt, whos been thinking a lot more about her personality in the context of the Facebook movie.

If I had a penis and was 10-15 years younger, there would probably be a movie about me, too. But I’m not. I’m a woman who has been told since she was a young girl that she needs to be quieter, more humble, more demure, more agreeable, more attractive, less outspoken, less ambitious, less aggressive and more ‘woman’-like. I was highly unpopular growing up because I didn’t feel the need to fit a mould. I learnt as soon as I did fit a mould, I was rewarded. I got the academic awards and accolades? I was ostracized + called a show-off. Nobody wanted to be my friend. When I slacked off, dressed pretty and laughed at the boys stupid jokes? I was popular! This didn’t change in adult life, either (don’t even get me started on how dating advice on how a woman ‘should act’ fits into this whole mess)

There will be lots more of this type of analysis at Geeks talk sexy… But for now its worth saying there is something sinister, I’m also saying its not all out sexism but there is certainly a need to change the script.

Ada Lovelace Day: Why Do You Share?

Tara Hunt

Tara Hunt is passing around a survey which I believe is ok to share. It takes 5mins and the results are already up and worth looking through.

I also didn’t get around to posting it due to a error on my blog, Tara Hunt is my finding ada. Shes a pretty amazing lady and know not everyones favorite but you have to agree, shes always got something good to say. She’s also been a massive supporter of encouraging more ladies into the tech scene and putting her nose into areas where its not welcomed. She truly breaks down barriers and is a leading expert in her field of social media and marketing. For someone with such a massive cv and impressive background, she can certainly kick back and enjoy a drink after a long day. I was actually shocked the other day to find out Tara Hunt’s real age, she always seemed so mature that I had assumed older. There’s no edge to Tara at all, she is exactly what you see. I would love to see her talking to the next generation more often, as she as so much more to give.

This is why Tara Hunt is my Finding Ada for 2010.

London Geek Dinner with Citizen Agency

Tara takes a picture

I was reading the London Girl GeekDinner 10 roundup by Sarah Blow and thought how simlar our nights sounded.

Wednesday night was a mad night. I was late again, because I had to scoot from Kensington to Clerkenwell in rush hour traffic. I forgot my camera batteries and charger, so had to scoot back from Victoria. I also completely forgot about the stickers and pens earlier in the day. So when I finally got to the bear bar, I had to go to Sarahs work place in Holborn and get a load of stickers. I was honestly very suprised how quickly people got from High street Kensington to Farringdon. By the time I got back, it was filling up nicely.

Tara and Chris had arrived and were enjoying chatting to people. After making an announcement on the PA system and sorting out stickers (big thanks to Sarah Forrester and Sheila for going around and collecting money instead of me by myself). Before you know it the food came out and like Sarah Blow we need to make it clear that a dinner isn't really a dinner. More a finger buffet. Quoting from Sarah Blow,

As you have probably gathered to do a proper sit down meal for 80 people at £15.00 per head which is about the minimum you could do it for in London would come to around £1500 plus wine… there aren't all that many companies that would be willing to do that which is why we try to keep the cost down to something sensible to make it accessible to companies and people. That way everyone benefits from it. Apologies to those people who thought that they were going to get a complete full blown meal for nothing! We really can't afford to do that! I'll remember to put up the proviso on the details about the event regarding food etc.


The reason beind the name London Girl Geek Dinners was all because it started off as sit down meals and people paid their own way for dinner, but as the events have got larger it's virtually impossible to do that without mammoth organisation!

I think the problem we had this time around was that we had lots of new people from the Future of webapps. So a lot of people expected a full meal or something for 5 pounds! Like Sarah said, not in London you don't. On the other hand some people commented to Sarah (my wife) that if they knew it was like this aka pub meetup with social geeks. They would have come ages ago. So yes, some about information about geekdinners is certainly needed, along with some eventwax intergreation?

Once we got to actual talk which agreed was later that expected due to myself trying to sort out the food. Tara was great, I did record it (part 1 and 2) using my Sanyo (Kosso recorded it with his own special equipment) but its so dark and I really should find a open/free video editor to clean it up a little. Although, we did have a full Dj rig complete with Microphone, the levels were messed up and it came out a little distorted. What didn't help was the chatter in the background from people who didnt realise they should be quiet while Tara and Chris talked. Sarah once again was very good at telling people to be quiet but in the end as the questions started, we were really fighting to hear Tara. Its a shame because Taras talk was very interesting specially in the light of the whole Mike Arrington outburst earlier in the day. I also wanted to ask Chris and Tara if they would ever move to Europe? But it wasn't to be.

The rest of the night flew by and I was actually very impressed with the new venue. I'm sure Geekdinners will be back there again. Yes the toilets could be better and we could do with some more chairs or sofas but with a capacity of 120+ its not bad at all. They serve all types of beer and even let us stay quite late without pushing us out the door. Its not wheelchair accessible I'm sorry to say Sarah Blow, otherwise I would have recommended it. Once your upstairs its all flat, so with some help you could carry someone upstairs first.

Huge thanks to Chris Messina and Tara Hunt for talking and making the night ever-so enjoyable. I'm also very pleased to have met you guys and I look forward to spending some more time with you guys in San Francisco in early April.

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]