Make it at least three.

"Don’t change [your company culture] by hiring or promoting just one woman, she’ll be isolated and surrounded by the status quo and will have to adapt to it, and she won’t be able to make a difference. Two women doesn’t work either. Make it at least three. Three or more women at the top of your creative department, on your management team, on your board begin to make a real difference and change the environment, the culture and the output.” 

 

Quote from an excellent article on Slate about companies trying to recruit women. What is your top tips? http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/01/07/hiring_women_in_male_dominated_fields_companies_need_women_to_recruit_other.html

Reporting back from the awesome GeekGirl Meetup in Stockholm

This weekend was the fifth GeekGirl Meetup unconference at the Technical Museum in Stockholm. A great success with nearly 230 geek girls gathering to discuss web, code, startups and, of course, this years theme: SPACE. With 37 speakers, a record high, the programme for the weekend was without a doubt going to be overwhelmingly interesting.

The Technical Museum is located only 10 minutes from the city centre but surrounded with green fields it makes you  feel like you're far out in the countryside. The museum is filled with gadgets and advanced technology. It's a collection of the many clever inventions that has made life easier for us humans. Strolling between talks and workshops you could learn more about robots, washing machines, computers, bicycles, the list could go on.

It's a challenge to summarise a weekend of this magnitude. Saturday morning as geek girls were arriving, grabbing a coffee and a sandwich, there was a buzz of excitement in the room. Some girls had been to GeekGirl Meetup's before and for some it was their first time. There is always a few that are a bit nervous they won't fit in because they're not 'techy' enough. This is however, something everyone eventually will get over as it is clear that everyone is there to learn from each other.

With the theme being Enter.Space and with a number of speakers coming from the The Institute for Space Physics in Kiruna, it was evident that some of the technology that we were going to learn about was going to be above most of us.

DAY 1

Intro Sthlm GGM13

GGM13 kicked off with the video below and an introduction by the awesome team of organisers who made it possible for all of us to be there.

http://vimeo.com/65068088

The first presenter on the main stage was Gabriella Stenberg. She took us through the challenges of travelling to Jupiter. You can imagine that there are some real technical constraints that you need to overcome when travelling to outer space and the technology that are taken on the space craft is often "outdated" due to the thorough testing it has to go through before it's taken onboard. And then there are logistic issues, how do you transport something 700 million kilometers? That's how far it is to Jupiter. It was an captivating story about space travel that most of us only dream of.

The Saturday proceeded with a talk from Petronella Turesson. She presented the history of TV and how our behaviour is changing with new technology. For example, are you one of those people stating: "I never watch TV". Then you're most probably lying. The definition of 'watching TV' is changing. The change is coming from that we no longer think about what channels to watch, but instead, what tv show we want to watch. As Netflix launched in Sweden they had 600,000 users within 6 months. Magine.com, a Swedish startup are looking to compete against the increasing number of streaming services online offering a wide number of tv channels streaming into one platform. And this is definitely an opportunity worth investing in as we won't stop watching tv, we are just changing how we do it.

What is a GeekGirl Meetup without talk about women and IT? Although the unconference main focus is on highlighting strong role models within technology there are still room to discuss how we can promote more women taking leading positions within IT. The discussion was introduced by the the Swedish Digital Commission and a number of interesting inputs and ideas were presented from the geek girls in the room. One point raised was how work descriptions are communicated for technical roles. These descriptions are often written in a sterile manner and might not appeal to women.  The way language is used in the IT industry and, especially when communicating technical positions, is important to understand as it will determine if the job role will appeal to different personalities. Saying that you will work isolated in a lab 70% of the time will only attract certain kind of people whilst pointing out the collaborative aspects of a role might be more appealing.

Looking at education there were two important aspects to reflect over. A number of participants had attended women only web design programmes, something they saw as valuable for their learning process. Furthermore, Heidi Harman, founder of GGM, strongly emphasised the importance of teaching code in school at an early age. Just like kids studying french or german, code should be mandatory as it equips kids with a tool to be creative. And if you look at the statistics we must be doing something wrong when promoting IT related subjects in school. At KTH (a Stockholm university) there is only 8% females enrolled in computer science, in India they are 49% and in Bangladesh 70% are female. So what can we learn from them? Is education were we need to start?

DAY 2

The 10 am start on Sunday was tough on many as there had been an after party on the Saturday. But never the less all participants came back as excited as in day one.

Starting with a workshop on the Marshmallow Challenge we discussed the importance of how to succeed when building products. It is proven that most successful teams in this challenge prototype and test quickly. Very similar to the agile workflow in development.

The day proceeded with a talk was from @zayera about user experience (UX) design and how it is an area that has been getting increasingly more attention over the years, however the role of an UX designer is not entirely clear to everyone. Balancing and establishing trust between client and designer is essential so the designer can confidently question what the user think they want. An insightful discussion around the way we build new products and services today.

Karina Töndevold Liljeholm, followed on nicely and presented the opportunities companies had to co-create products and services with their customers. She presented companies that had been successful and some that had been less successful in co-creation. She concluded that it worked best for simple products, e.g. bottled water, at least in terms of positive marketing effect. And if companies decide to go down the path of involving their customers they need to 'Giveashitability' and respond and respect their participation - otherwise it can hurt them more at the end of it.

Ending this years GGM was Maria Gustafsson great talk about arranging the Spaceapp Hackathon a collaboration with over 70 countries.

As this post is coming to an end it has no where near touched on all the interesting things that were going on this weekend. If you're interested in having a peek at what was going on you can check out the talks from the main stage (most of them in Swedish though). I will certainly keep busy with the ones I missed.

Right now I'm getting really excited to start planning for the next big GGM event in London. Maybe another successful unconference like the one at Google Campus last year. Or a GeekGirl Hackathon? Stay tuned for more info!

Stickers

PS. Geek girls - if you're interested in getting more involved in GeekGirl Meetup's in the UK - send an e-mail to geekgirlmeetupuk@gmail.com

 

Startup of the month Mailbird with CEO Andrea Loubier

Mailbird Programming Ninjas With our "Startup of the Month", GeekGirlMeetup starts to leverage the power of our international network with helping RT the tweet of the founders choice. We call it "Support a Sister" #geekSiS . RT=♥

Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 14.47.01

Andrea Loubier, @aloubier, CEO of mail client MailBird has just launched her startup and recieved wonderful press from TechCrunch and LifeHacker

How does it feel after launch and wonderful press? Right now I am leading a ridiculously awesome team that spans Europe, Asia, and America. Together we are creating MailBird an email app designed for Windows users. I live and work in Bali and love every minute of what I am doing. Today, I am networking like crazy reaching out to the people who care about online communication in our current world of IT overload. Everyday I am inspired by women who are also taking leading roles in the tech startup world, it is awesome. I enjoy life by the beach, surfing, eating great spicy food (I am the queen of spicy food!), and dancing a lot! What makes me excited most though is working with really talented people from all over the world that totally inspire me. I love being able to be the communicator, the glue that holds our team together, and most of all I love to make people laugh.

You have been called the Sparrow for Windows, thats very flattering. Can you tell us about how MailBird came about? During an entrepreneur getaway meetup in Bal, two of our hybrid OS co-founders (Michael & Michael), dynamically working on both Mac and PC really enjoyed their email experience with Sparrow on Mac. They couldn't find that same experience for email on Windows. Realizing the underserved market of really great UI design on the Windows platform, and the roll out of Window 8's modern design, a "magical mall application" was born. Mailbird. Sparrow was 10 years into development to get to where they are. We are just say of 1 year in, and Mailbird is already better. Our team rocks!

Whats in the future for Mailbird, whats planned? Next will be not only continuing to optimize the app by direct feedback from our beta testers, but unravelling the next hot Mailbird features that take email management and hitting inbox 0 to the next level. We're looking at a unified inbox to manage many different accounts and Wingman. Details and first hands on experience will be exclusive to beta testers. You'll have to try it to get access! Who knows...we may consider dabbling on mobile platforms, since mobile has become a really great sidekick to native email applications.

Geek Girl Meetup partners with WOW Hack In London

Geek Girl Meetup has partnered with the Women of the World Festival and their 2-day hack session taking place on the 9-10 March at the Southbank Centre. This is an unique hack opportunity to make a real difference for women all over the globe. The Geek Girls Robyn Exton (@robynexton) and Magdalena Kron (@MyKron) will be there all weekend,  so get yourselves down there and tweet them if you want to meet up and get working on some exciting stuff!

For more info read the press release below or visit the WOW hack website.

Wow Hackday

 

ABOUT WOW HACK DAY FROM THE REWIRED WEBSITE

 

WE ARE EXCITED TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO RUN A HACK ALONGSIDE THE WOW - WOMEN OF THE WORLD FESTIVAL, AT LONDON'S SOUTHBANK CENTRE.

Women of the World (WOW) is a global festival of talks, debates, music, film, performance, dance, comedy and conversations that celebrates the talents of women, young and old, from all walks of life and all parts of the world. WOW investigates the obstacles that women face across the world, which varies hugely from country to country and celebrates women who are breaking the mould in science, enterprise, law, the arts, health, activism, education, politics, sport, fashion, finance and family life.

Over 10,000 women and men visit WOW that takes place at the Southbank Centre the weekend 9-10 of March . There are also WOW festivals in Australia, the USA and Northern Ireland. WOW has previously presented Paloma Faith, Katy B and Annie Lennox amongst many other amazing people.

AIMS OF THE HACK

The aim of WOW Hack is to use the web and digital technology to help make the world equal for women and men.

We aim to engage and inform developers and the WOW audience, through technology, of the issues women face globally, and highlight the incredible things that women do every day. You will create ideas for real life ways to make change happen as well as a platform to show all the change that’s happened already.

You should consider how to make it accessible for all sorts of people, from a range of backgrounds, both old, young and both men and women.

EXAMPLES:

How can we highlight the amazing achievements of women throughout history and today? (Did you know that the first Briton in space was a woman?) How can we highlight the challenges and obstacles still experienced by women all over the globe today? (Did you know that in some places in Pakistan girls aren’t allowed to learn to read and write, and in many places women literally belong to their husbands)

How can we illustrate the challenges that women face can vary from country to country and how have women's roles changed in society? How can we show people what activities are happening in their geographical area or area of interest that they might want to get involved with? How can people use their real-life experiences that they, their sisters, mums or female friends have encountered to help other women? How can we help people have access to the facts they need about women’s rights?

How can we show men that this is relevant to them too?

AGE LIMIT Due to some of the topics addressed, we have been advised to put an age limit on this event. You will have to be 16 or over to take part.

VENUE

We will be housed in the Southbank Centre right at the heart of the action.

As an overnight event we will be setting up areas for people to stay overnight if you wish. If you want to stay overnight please inform a member of staff and to bring a sleeping bag on the day. All food and refreshments will be provided. Zones will be set-up as per usual, including quiet ‘do not disturb’ areas.

THE DATA

Specific challenges will be posted nearer the time alone with categories and judges.

#WOWHACK