January 11, 2007
Mills College program for girls to enter computer science
Over at Mills College, Ellen Spertus runs a Interdisciplinary Computer Science program. Women who have a bachelor's degree in a field other than computer science who want to get into CS or interdisciplinary work can enter the program. The San Francisco Bay Guardian wrote a great article about the program and the opportunities that it presents for women who realize later that they actually want to do computer science (and Ellen has her own notes) . I was lucky to start in CS and then move into the social sciences but i'm very very very thankful that i have a background in CS and it was deeply frustrating to see how few women were involved in the field.
Update: Meri Williams notes: "In a similar vein, there's a really interesting programme run by the Year In Industry in the UK to encourage women returning to work to consider Science, Engineering & Technology careers."
January 02, 2007
Oprah's Leadership School For Girls
I was really thrilled to read about this:
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Oprah Winfrey opened a school today for disadvantaged girls, fulfilling a promise she made to former President Nelson Mandela six years ago and giving more than 150 students a chance for a better future.
"I wanted to give this opportunity to girls who had a light so bright that not even poverty could dim that light," Winfrey said at a news conference.
Mandela was among the guests at the opening of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in the small town of Henley-on-Klip, south of Johannesburg.
"This is a lady that has, despite her own disadvantaged background, become one of the benefactors of the disadvantaged throughout the world," Mandela said in a statement.
Singers Tina Turner, Mary J. Blige and Mariah Carey, actors Sidney Poitier and Chris Tucker and director Spike Lee also were in attendance. Each guest was asked to bring a personally inscribed book for the library.
Winfrey has said that she decided to build her own school because she wanted to feel closer to the people she was trying to help.
The $40 million academy aims to give 152 girls from deprived backgrounds a quality education in a country where schools are struggling to overcome the legacy of apartheid.
December 16, 2006
conference t-shirts::laugh:: I just opened Kathy Sierra's blog where she talks about what conference t-shirts say about how the organization feels about its users. It's a funny post but what's funnier is that i happen to be wearing my Webstock t-shirt today. And at Le Web, i rejected multiple vendors' offers of free t-shirts because of size; each told me that i could sleep in it. (Like Kathy, i don't wear anything to sleep and an oversized t-shirt is the last thing i want to wear.) There are a handful of tech t-shirts i wear all the time because they are comfy, stylish, and they fit: Blogger, Odeo, Webstock, Chumby (oh do i love the Chumby ones - i even asked for extras). The sad part is that i think that's it... Anyhow, Kathy's point rocks and should be emphasized so here's my blog post emphasizing it. If you want me to celebrate your brand, make a t-shirt that i want to wear. Cool and stylish is one part; a shirt that fits and is comfortable is also key.
December 14, 2006
What A Year!
I spent the year as a CEO of a start-up in Cambridge, MA -- Top Ten Sources and what a year it was. Early in April we bought another company, Stylefeeder.com, and brought on it's excellent developer and creator, Phil Jacobs to add to our great technical bench. Stylefeeder is a great way to do your Christmas shopping, so go check it out.
It was exhausting to be in a ventured-backed, go-go-go start-up environment. I was learning so much so fast. My head was spinning. Maybe I'll go into many of the details ... but not today!
Ironically, I found all the good common sense I was born with as a woman and all the wisdom I've earned as a mom, all of it, came to my aid in deciding business strategies. In fact, I wondered how male CEO's even manage a company without the good gut (pelvic?) instincts all us women have. Poor guys!
I thought a lot about my Misbehaving Sisters here -- Meg Hourihan, Caterina Fake, Liz Lawley, Mary Hodder, all of you -- who have started companies and managed them through explosive sudden growth. I'll bet you all drew on your good female common sense again and again. When I'd get a little daunted and even down, I remembered you stars had pulled it off with grace and wisdom and it encouraged me to keep on going. I thank you all very much.
With the new year, I'm off to do some new ventures. As a fun thing in the meantime, I'm helping Terry Real write a book blog about his soon-to-be-published, The New Rules of Marriage. I hope you can all appreciate the irony of me -- a divorced, single mom -- writing on that subject. But Terry is fabulous. A shrink who thinks men are so behind the times in their emotional development that they are an evolutionary step behind us girls (my version of his thesis) and men undermine most marriages by not worshipping women nearly enough. Again, this is MY version of his brilliant book. You must read it!
And one last book plug or two. I loved Arianna's book, On Becoming Fearless, if you haven't read it ... don't hesitate. And I know you were as thrilled as me to get your hands on Maureen Dowd's paperback version of Are Men Necessary? Great girl books.
[Yes, this is a photo of me in my country & western witchy Halloween look, complete with spider on my shoulder. Yes, I went to work dressed like this.]
October 24, 2006
beauty through technology
September 01, 2006
Attracting women to tech conferences
Mike Kuniavsky made this graph of his efforts to include more women at a conference he was organizing, with a description of the process he went through to make an equitable number of invitations. The end result was the ratio of men attending to those invited was about 1 in 3, yet for women it was 1 in 19. I'd love to see a comparison of Mike's invitation/acceptance experience vs. an all or mostly women conference such as BlogHer.
UPDATE - Elisa Camahort of BlogHer responds:
BlogHer is not invite-only to attend, obviously, it's just open. So there's no relevant comparison there. We had about 90 speakers this year (not including three who had to withdraw at the last minute due to various personal emergencies.) I don't have a specific tally, but I think I could count on one hand the number of invited speakers who declined outright. Lots of folks submitted ideas to us, so obviously they were pre-disposed to attend once we scheduled their sessions. But we probably went out and recruited just as many.
In other cases, however, I guess the scenario might go something like this: you get an invite to an event. You go check out the program. You see a speaking roster that is 95% male (most white.) You sigh and feel overcome with ennui at the idea of being talked at by such a homogenous group and never get inspired to go. Or if you're more militant you actually consciously refuse to go to such a homogenous event. Whether overcome with ennui or making your own personal economic boycott, though, you might not take the time to actually let the organizer know the true reason...presto, left in the dark!
Then again, the times that I have shared such a reason for not attending with organizers I have received exactly ZERO response. So, there you go."
April 20, 2006
women 2.0 conference, 4-30-06
Just ran across the announcement of "Women 2.0 Conference: The Next Generation of Entrepreneurs." Wish I could go!
Here's the details:
WHEN: Sunday, April 30th, 2006 from 11 am to 2 pm (lunch provided)
WHERE: AOL, 401 Ellis St. in Mountain View
After successfully holding events for young entrepreneurs (“Starting a Startup” conference, Nov.05; Technology Symposium, Jan.06), E27 is now focusing on women entrepreneurs making extraordinary leaps in the technology world. Women 2.0 will showcase top women entrepreneurs. We will connect like-minded, motivated women to swap energy, ideas, and experiences with each other.
Event Format: Break out discussions with successful women who have done it. Topics include the value of (big) corporate experience for entrepreneurship, web presence: personal and professional, getting funding, writing a business plan, working in tech without a tech background, finding the right startup team.
Panelists share their experiences:
- Jessica Hardwick, SwapThing founder
- Elaine Wherry, Meebo co-founder
- Sandy Jen, Meebo co-founder
- Joyce Park, Renkoo founder
- Emily Chang, IdeaCodes co-founder
ch-ch-ch-ch-changes here at misbehaving.net
It's been pretty quiet around here, we know. And yes, we're painfully aware of the ocean of spam that has rushed in to fill the gap.
So here's what's happening.
First, we're cleaning out the gunk. That's a slooooow process, because TypePad only lets us remove 50 comments at a time, and each batch of 50 takes several minutes to process.
But I'm hoping we'll be done by the end of the weekend. I spent most of my morning doing this, and I think it's done. Yay!
Second, we're now requiring TypeKey
CAPTCHA authentication on comments. I recognize this is a less-than-ideal solution, with serious accessibility problems. But it's better than turning comments off entirely, and it was either CAPTCHA or TypeKey. My suspicion is we'll lose more voices with the latter than the former, but I'm willing to be convinced otherwise. Well, that didn't take long. Two spam comments already, despite the CAPTCHA implementation. So, back to the authenticated comments approach. That means you'll need a TypeKey ID in order to comment. Sorry. :(
Third, we'll be turning off trackbacks for all new posts, and
removing have removed the display of trackbacks from the individual entry pages.
we'll be removing we've removed the list of "misbehaving elsewhere" blogs on the right side of the page. The problem is that there are so many women who ought to be on there, and simply not enough time in my day to deal with keeping it up to date. I'd love for someone else to take this on, or even create a wiki with that content. Towards that end, I'll save what I've got and pass
it on to whomever asks.
Once we've got things a little less out-of-control on the maintenance front, I think it will be easier for all of us to be motivated to post more often. I hope so.
She does it, can we?, a post on the Fast Company blog, tells us of Sophie Vandebroek, CTO of Xerox, whose husband died 10 years ago, leaving her a single mother to three children. She managed to keep it all together and still take on demanding executive jobs. How?
At work, she instructs her assistant not to plan any meetings before 9 am or after 5:30 pm. When traveling, she avoids scheduling meetings before 10 am, so she can fly in and out the same day.
And she always has accepted new jobs, no matter what crisis was unfolding at home. "The more senior jobs you get, the easier it is," she says. "You get less control over how busy you are, but you get more over decisions about when you're busy and how you're going to do things."
February 25, 2006
Blogher call for speakers on sensitive topics
As Elisa wrote, i'm leading a panel at Blogher on blogging about sensitive topics and we're looking for potential panelists who are willing to talk candidly about the most sensitive of topics - depression, addiction, self-injury, eating disorders, illness, suicide attempts, infertility, etc. We're looking for people who've written about these topics and those who've tried to support loved ones. We want to talk about the values of writing about sensitive issues, the challenges of being read, the concerns about responding to someone's intense writings. Especially around issues self-injury, eating disorders and suicide attempts, we'd like to get into how writers feel when they are reported by concerned loved ones. We know that support happens. But we also know that that there are those who believe that bloggers and online community members can become enablers, or at the very least, get in over their heads. Rather than reaching out to people with a "So, you talk about suicide a lot, wanna talk on a panel?" type question, we wanted to throw it out more broadly and see who might be willing to talk. So, this is a call for speakers who would be willing to discuss their experiences handling the touchy topics online. And please note: we are open to only identifying you by a a pseudonym in conference materials. If you're interested, feel free to email me or Elisa.