Tag Archives: women

300 seconds to tell your story

Sharon O'Dea - intro

I have always wanted to help people around me, its in my blood and I sometimes end up doing it regardless of my work load (must stop doing so). Anyhow a few months ago I ran a series of events as part of the BBC’s Connected studio called BBC Connected Social. One of the events was a ignite event about design. Although I tried to get a number of women involved, I got nowhere.

This didn’t go unnoticed and to be fair rightly so… The event went ahead and was a success but I couldn’t help but feel crappy about the lack of women I got onboard. I have been known to level criticism at some events for the lack of women and diversity but I couldn’t make it happen myself.

Ever since (and to be fair before) I’ve been thinking about putting on a conference with the aim of encouraging women to give public speaking a chance. I originally thought about working with Madlab to put on such a event, specially after the last girlgeek barcamp (bracamp) and my rushed look at the success of Girl Geekdinners.

Anyway after getting a chance to hear Melinda’s (miss geeky) views on 300 seconds I joined the dots and connected people.

I believe the event matches the BBC values nicely

We respect each other and celebrate our diversity so that everyone can give their best.

I’m now super stoked to be able to say the 3rd 300 seconds event will be at the BBC, MediaCityUK.

What is 300 seconds?

300 Seconds is a series of talks by and for the digital community. We believe that digital is better when we can learn from the brilliance of the many, not just the few. With our events we hope to give our peers, and in particular women, a means of gaining confidence and experience in speaking in public.

On the Thursday 14th November, you can get your tickets now to apply to speak or just listen and support. Of course the event is open to men as well, so what you waiting for? Go get yourself a ticket and I look forward to seeing you and sharing the special surprises we have installed for the night.

Why I’m not taking part in #twittersilence

I was writing blog posts and writing my book as I do while sipping a red wine in vividlounge. Not really paying attention to Twitter and I tweeted a few things during the time. It was about 10pm when I noticed Kevinmarks asks if twitter will be quiet tomorrow except for an announcement about Dr Who.

Starting to looking into it, and I decided although I’m very much in favour of female rights and being a feminist myself. The idea of not tweeting for 24hours seemed to bug me.

I’m not great with Peer and Social pressure at the best of times (tend to reject it) but it also seemed to pointing the finger at the platform and not the actual problem. Twitter is a platform for speech, the problem is humanity. Some idiots and fools will always use the platform to spread hate and negativity. We need to stand together against these people but I’m lost to what the protest will do or help? I wonder also if silence is a good way to protest?

Sure I’ll add to this post when I get more time…

10 things men and women judge each on

When Imran sent me this piece of dating data, I thought on first look… “here we go with the stereotypes…” and is sub 10,000 really enough for a decent amount of data about online dating? I guess theres so little open data, that even 5000 people from Match.com is worthy of looking at? However in some defence its always good to have biological anthropologist Helen Fisher on board somewhere.

After a little read I was surprised how interesting the results were…

Right on the most loved up day of the year… Here’s some data and feedback!

What men judge women on

What women judge about men

  • Bad looking Teeth is a turn off for sure, and I don’t mean the shade. Just bad odd looking teeth. Never really thought of it as an indicator of that persons diet but for example smokers teeth is a total turn off.
  • I’m totally rubbish at grammar, but I decided if I can spot something wrong, then there must be something seriously wrong. This is clear to see when using certain sites.
  • Hair and Clothes isn’t such a bad thing, but I do look for a unique style. Of course glasses is always a plus, specially the rectangle framed ones.
  • Tattoo’s, I’ll be honest and say I can’t stand tattoos. Little tiny ones isn’t so bad but massive ones are just a large turn off for me. Not sure where it comes.
  • Nails and hands isn’t such a deal breaker, I do like soft hands.
  • Accents are tricky because I’ve been out with woman who I couldn’t even understand. She was lovely but I didn’t get a word she was saying.
  • Shoes like clothes and hair, i’m more interested in seeing a bit of unique style, something which speaks about their personality. I would never turn someone down just because they had crappy shoes.
  • Couldn’t give a toss what car they drive and frankly most of the woman I’ve dated carry  iphones or blackberries. If I dated one which had a rooted Android phone, I honestly would be amazed

Cutting advice for some single woman

I believe Tara Hunt tweeted a link to the huffington post article titled Why your not married

When I first started to read the piece, I was on a tram reading it via Readitlater on my Kindle. I was expecting something like the NYtimes piece which I blogged about before. But actually it was something a lot more neutral to me. Anyway I couldn’t help but tweet out certain parts of the article.

Its a rude awakening call for woman who ask themselves why there not married… It boils down to these points

  1. You’re a Bitch.
  2. You’re Shallow.
  3. You’re a Slut.
  4. You’re a Liar.
  5. You’re Selfish.
  6. You’re Not Good Enough.

Exploring just one of the points, in this case the Shallow one

When it comes to choosing a husband, only one thing really, truly matters: character. So it stands to reason that a man’s character should be at the top of the list of things you are looking for, right? But if you’re not married, I already know it isn’t. Because if you were looking for a man of character, you would have found one by now. Men of character are, by definition, willing to commit.

Instead, you are looking for someone tall. Or rich. Or someone who knows what an Eames chair is. Unfortunately, this is not the thinking of a wife. This is the thinking of a teenaged girl. And men of character do not want to marry teenaged girls. Because teenage girls are never happy. And they never feel like cooking, either.

And you know what, the author Tracy Mcmillan is bang on with this point… So many woman I’ve been out with and there not looking at the character, there looking at all the (in my mind) superficial stuff.

I’m not saying men are much better but in my experience (and I only date women) they seem to fall in to the traps of what our material society says is good. Does he have a good car, does he have nice suits, does he have well groomed hair, etc, etc… Not a thought about whats actually going on inside the shell…

Of course I’d be very wrong to suggest the only reason women are not married is because of these things… in fact there are quite a few woman who don’t want to be married and are against the notion of marriage at all. Its also difficult to meet people and get a better sense of there character without any ego or edge.

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

Manipulation of women or just a upper hand in the game?

Rules Of The Game – Episode 1: Be A D–khead

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I'm sorry but as far as I'm concerned its manipulation and I really don't like it. What am I talking about? Well shows like the one above (cheers Dave for the link). The weird thing is its not exactly the show aspect which is the problem, its the pure social engineering aspect of it to trick women into giving out there numbers, going on a date or getting them into bed.

Yes I know its a bloody complex issue because you could say well we all use manipulation to a certain extent but this is something else and the reasoning behind it is for pure personal gain which in my book is not cool. What I don't get is what do these guys think will happen in the future? Are they expecting to keep up the act, show or persona forever? Maybe?

So yes I've opened a huge box of topics in this very short post. And I keep rewriting rants about social engineering, confiedence, social control and ultimatly Neuro-linguistic programming. We should be teaching this stuff in schools so everyone can protect themselves from con artists and social hackers like some people I know. I made reference to the real hustle in a previous blog post educating the masses about these such topics but we kind of need a show to talk about protecting yourself from the opposite sex (or same sex if you prefer). Don't get me wrong I'm not a player-hater as such but I don't feel it fair someone holds an advantage over someone else, specially when it comes to the painful world of mating or dating.

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Exclusive: London Girl Geek Dinner Short Film by Angela Saini of ITN

Sarah Blow beat me to this exclusive, so I'll just quote her.

The London Girl Geek Dinner short film has just been released.  Here is an exclusive first look at it prior to it going on FourDocs.  It was filmed about a month ago by Angela Saini of ITN who was just fantastic at both directing the video and setting everything up.  I hope you enjoy the video and feel free to let anyone else know about it! 

I hope to see other short video's and films from the girls over at BlogHer after the conference. /images/emoticons/happy.gif

The next London Girl Geek Dinner is to be announced at a later date… it is looking like some time around the end of August/ First week of September.  If you want to get updates of our next event feel free to join the mailing list on www.londongirlgeekdinners.co.uk or syndicate with the rss feed on the site!

PS: Many thanks to Angela for doing the film for us and for her support and also to Ian Forrester of www.geekdinners.co.uk for his ever constant support for the girly geek dinners!

Thanks Sarah! I've been sitting on this documentary from Angela for quite some time now. I think its a fantastic documentary and well worth everyone's time to watch. I'm now interested to see what conversation develops following the documentary. You can also now watch get the documentary in Windows Media and Quicktime formats here.

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Real women and their male counterparts

Krug and Pullman

I sent the following around to some of my friends which are women. Its taken from Rachel Clarke's blog post titled What real women want. Which is actually a copy of what Gia wrote here.

  1. Girls should grow up valuing their Brains over their Looks.
  2. Boys should grow up valuing women's Brains over their Looks. (yes, yes, I understand genetics… but your boys will have much better relationships if they desire a woman they can fondle AND talk to…)
  3. Girls should grow up understanding they have control over their bodies.
  4. Girls should NOT grow up believing that menstruating is a curse and something to be ashamed of (without going into a big long explanation, I believe that deep seated shame and revulsion because of a natural bodily function is at the heart of a lot of women's emotional and psychological problems… but that is for another day…)
  5. Girls and women should not define themselves exclusively by their relationships with and to other people (ie to put being a mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend before being an independent person)
  6. Smart women should be proud to be smart.
  7. Women should show off their intelligence at every opportunity. Flaunt it.
  8. Smart women need to take their place in public eye rather than 'just pretty women'.
  9. Women should never feel they have to put up or shut up.
  10. Women should always use their gender if it will get them ahead (I mean, if wearing a low-cut shirt at the interview will actually get you the job, then go right ahead. You'll only really *keep* the job if you can actually do it… )
  11. Women and girls should always remember, 'Well-behaved women seldom make history.”

I'm in almost total agreement with this list. I've been thinking if I was to ever bring up a little girl in this world, these are some of the values I would want to instill in her. My god-daughter Megan is currently number one for values right now.

Some points however, point number 2. Yes I understand Genetics too but come on, have we not evolved passed the dog humping stage now? I agree Boys should grow up valuing women's brains over there looks. Its something I've always done. Looks are subjective and what most of my work mates see as stunning I usually don't find the time for. See for me it was always about the personality and the intellengence. I mean who wants to go to a movie and then somewhere else for coffee and have a conversation about how Donnie Darko was too confusing. Geez, shoot me now. Honestly I don't think men do a very good job respecting women's intellengence. I still hear comments which almost hinge on sexism. I do try and pick people up about these comments but you just know there not going to repeat there sexist comments in front of you again. But will carry on making those comments either way. Its a shame but its there loss.

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Are you a self described geek?

…well do you? Why not? Is it because you failed the Geek test or more likely because you dont like the idea of being a geek? Wikipedia takes the sci-fi route but could it be the mainstream view of geeks which is putting you off? There was a short piece in the telegraph recently, which was sent to me by Birch about the fact that the UK Sci-fi Channel now has more Female viewers than Male. Ann McMeekin's quote is perfect if you swap sci-fi for geek, or even nerd, or even techie.

People have an impression of sci-fi fans being small men who sit in the dark watching Star Trek but it's not like that now

Will this perception change? knowing the mainstream media, not anytime soon. But it is certain that the old boys club of geek culture is being slowly taken apart, and I for one think its a good thing. The other day Sarah made a comment to me while I was watching Rocketboom which just celebrated its 1st year anniversary (26th October, which is also shared with me and sarah's anniversary too). Its great to see you watching a great looking geek girl for once. After a brief discussion about what exactly she meant, I got it. Its true all the geek media I watch tends to have a strong male lead and if there are any women at all, there role is usually irrelevent or very small. And shes right, Geek culture is still mainly run by white males. Take for example Nerd TV which still has no female interview after its 8th show now. To be fair Anina is next on the list but shes the only one, not even Molly or Meg Hourihan is on there.

  • Macintosh OS programmer Andy Hertzfeld (9/6)
  • PayPal co-founder Max Levchin (9/13)
  • Sun Microsystems co-founder Bill Joy (9/20)
  • Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle (9/27)
  • Internet publisher Tim O'Reilly (10/4)
  • Father of RSS Dave Winer (10/11)
  • Autodesk co-founder Dan Drake (10/19)
  • Intel Capital co-founder Avram Miller (10/28)
  • Anina the WAP Queen
  • Computer mouse inventor Doug Engelbart
  • Former Lotus chief scientist Jerry Kaplan
  • Apple Computer co-founder Steve Wozniak
  • Former Apple chief scientist Larry Tesler
  • Google CEO Eric Schmidt
  • The father of Linux, Linus Torvalds
  • TCP/IP inventor Bob Kahn

Yes I know theres many cultural and social reasons for this but you have to wonder how much things have changed. lets not get started on the different cultures and race point of view either, NPR has a few podcasts about this but its American focused, Reversing Technology's Racial Divide and Black Students and the Future of Technology.

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