Posts Tagged ‘Zoetica’

Network Solutions Matches $1000 in NextGen Tech Women Donations

Posted on: May 4th, 2011 by Geoff Livingston

Julie & Kami
Zoetica’s Julie Pippert and Kami Huyse

With just two days left in the NextGen Tech Women fundraiser, the team of Danny Brown, Allyson Kapin, Julie Pippert, Kami Huyse and yours truly has raised more than $2,200. All proceeds are going to the National Center for Women In Technology’s 2011 and their Award for Aspirations in Computing, which recognizes young women in high-school for their computing- related achievements and interests. Now, Network Solutions and its Women Grow Business initiative has joined the effort with a matching grant for the next $1,000 in donations (you can donate here)!

As a father of a beautiful young lady and a partner in a majority woman owned business, the reasons to participate and support NCWIT seem obvious. But in the spirit of NetSol’s fantastic contribution, here is a top ten list of reasons why you should back the next generation of women in technology.

10. Women garner just 9% of all angel investment funds, yet they have the same approval rate for applications as their male peers. Educating women to succeed in this market needs to happen!

9. There is an attitude within women’s conversations on the topic that they are meek, don’t share ideas in meetings, routinely discount ourselves, are bad at math and science, and are responsible for twice as much of the housework than men and three times the childcare. Blogger Lisa Barone explains why this is not every woman’s attitude.

8. Sunday is Mother’s Day and what better way to celebrate the great woman in your life then a donation to support tomorrow’s great women?

7. Some male investors still believe that women will neglect their businesses in favor of their children (while men are better at abandoning their kids for business?). See how Paige Craig worked through his prejudices and invested in a female founder.

6. Women-run tech startups generate more revenue per invested capital and fail less then those led by men, according to New York Entrepreneur Week. Hmm, makes you think that matching 14% angel invest rate is off.

5. Within our own little corner of the tech sector, women are often denied speaking engagements. Men dominate! And that is in spite of the fact that a strong majority of social media communicators are women.

4. The gender wage gap is not expected to pull even until 2057. Yes, 46 years from now. Today, women have to work 2.6 hours more per day to achieve the same wages as their male counterparts. Yeah.

3. “Wishful thinking and arguing about female founders, entrepreneurs or gender roles is overriding recognition of the powerful role that the female consumer is already playing in technology.” Read the ensuing stats on women’s incredible use of technology as posted by TheIceBreak CEO Christina Brodbeck.

2. “Companies, including information technology, with the highest percentages of women board directors outperformed those with the least by 66%,” according to research by Catalyst.

1. And most importantly, Network Solutions is matching your donation (up to $1000)! What better reason do you need than twice the giving power? Donate today!

Celebrating 5 Years of Blogging with NextGen Tech Women

Posted on: April 19th, 2011 by Geoff Livingston 15 Comments

This coming Saturday will mark my five year “blogoversary”. A laborious blog post lavishing personal reflections doesn’t feel right. As more time passes, such inward focused accolades tend to make me uncomfortable. Writers write, that’s what we do, and for me blogging is writing, an activity I will likely partake in the rest of my life. It is an honor not only to write, but to be read, and so I want to thank you my readers. To celebrate, I’m breaking this blog’s rule of not using the first person, and asking you to join me in a two week campaign benefiting the next generation of technology women (see my fundraising page).

I have several reasons for wanting to support women in tech, not least of which is that this side of the technology sector — communications media — is dominated by women AND both of my business partners in Zoetica, Kami Huyse and Beth Kanter, are women in tech. But before going in depth into why this matters to me, I’d like to provide some details into the actual cause.

The competitive NextGen Tech Women fundraiser (Allyson Kapin, Danny Brown, Julie Pippert, and Amber Mac also have independent teams) will benefit the National Center for Women & Information Technology’s (NCWIT) Award for Aspirations in Computing. The award recognizes young women in high-school for their computing- related achievements and interests. By generating visibility for these young women in their local communities, the Award encourages their continued interest in computing, attracts the attention and support of educational and corporate institutions, and emphasizes at a personal level the importance of women’s participation in computing.

Anyone can join us and start their own fundraiser. We are going to continue until Thursday, May 5, with a final big push in celebration of Mother’s Day. NextGen Tech Women hopes to achieve $25,000 in donations from individuals. Anything helps, $25, $50 or $100, please give what you can.

Supporting Women In Tech

Soleil, the Google Baby

In last winter’s series of conversations with Robert Scoble, Danny Brown and dozens of commenters about the gender imbalance in the technology industry, several things became clear to me. Blogging about the problem won’t help, and that action needs to be taken highlighting successful, capable women current and future in this sector. It is only through supporting, encouraging and highlighting women in tech that the larger industry will be forced to reckon with what the statistics already show: Executive women in tech companies equate to better run, more profitable enterprises. Thus, my support for NextGen Tech Women.

There is a real need for this. Here are several attitudes that have been revealed or alluded to me as I have blogged about this topic over the years:

  • We try to find women speakers, but there aren’t any out there. That’s why they don’t submit to speak
  • Women in tech are not really tech women if they are not coders
  • If a women is not a CEO, she is not qualified to speak about technology
  • Women are their own worst enemies, and hold themselves back

These statements really bug me. Whether you feel they are true or not, they are all statements that show a system architected towards men. The irony of the middle two statements is that they are often repeated and espoused by men who are often not coders, and often not CEOs. When considering my daughter Soleil’s future (pictured above), I think this is the kind of ignorance she will have to swim upstream against.

I know she can do it if she wants to. It’s in her blood. My maternal grandmother was a successful entrepreneur twice, first owning her own art gallery in Phoenix, then running a winery in Provence. My mom still has the largest syndication of any astrologer in English speaking newspapers globally. But I’d rather try to address this problem now, perhaps her road may become easier, just as today’s women have benefited from the equal rights era decades ago.

Raised in the family that I was, I know that women just like men can set their mind on a goal and achieve it. If given the opportunity,they can be great in any profession. Greatness is a human possibility, not a gender specific one. That’s why we need to support women in technology, and give everyone a level playing field.

I hope you will join me over the next two weeks, and donate, participate, discuss, and share about this important issue. I shared some of the strong women in my life, past and present. Who are some of the great female role models you have known?

Is Amateur Hour Over?

Posted on: April 13th, 2011 by Geoff Livingston 26 Comments

hourglass 4
Image by Graymalkn

Cluetrain Manifesto Co-Author Doc Searls recently observed that the Web has moved from personalized postings and unique micro-publications to an over-commercialized web. Perhaps Searls point is indicative of a larger trend of amateurs losing power online. In the professional Internet communications market, we see a similar movement away from amateurs, too. As someone who straddles both sides of the fence, this professional evolution is welcome.

For a good long period, the amateur has been able to bluff their way into the wallets of corporate clients. Large follower counts, content marketing expertise, social media trailblazing guidance, all yours for $9999.99! Desperate companies that wanted to take part in social media hired these people, many with mixed results. Consider that in 2011 most CMOs still don’t understand how social media fits into their communications mix.

The result has been a burned business and nonprofit marketplace that rightly questions the bejesus out of its independent online practitioners, and demands answers for measurement and ROI. The answers are not necessarily forthcoming either. It does indicate there may be a social media marketing extinction event.

Over the past five years, there have been many teaming opportunities with social media (or even more specialized) communicators. Some have been great while others struggled. Invariably, though great at making themselves famous, the strugglers lacked the communications fundamentals necessary to build online communities that actually want to do things with the company or nonprofit.

This is not an isolated talent management issue. The back channel is full of stories about big A-List names, New York Times bestselling authors (note the plural) that when hired crashed and burned. These personalities trade on what their microfame can bring to the engagement, and their ability to build follower counts and momentary attention. But the emperors have no clothes. What happens? The engagement ends, the client pays out tens of thousands of dollars, and real communicators are called in. Some of us jokingly call ourselves the plumbers that clean up the social media ninjas’ messes.

This brings up the Before Social Media (BSM) problem. What did these so called professionals do BSM? Were they journalists or marketers or PR pros or some other media-related professional? Did they have an understanding of the basic fundamentals necessary for communications success before hanging their social media shingle?

Zoetica recently posted a job description. Note the focus on writing as a primary skill set, and an ask for journalism and prior agency/consulting experience. Without an understanding of basic fundamentals in communications and business (for or non-profit), it is hard to imagine success. Communicating with people from an organizational standpoint requires deep understanding of motives, the media forms themselves, and an organization’s role as a media presence within larger Internet communities.

Doc’s point is a sad one. Strong amateur content from the Fifth Estate has and continues to play a great role holding traditional media and companies accountable, creating real social movements, and yes, forming fun, interesting content niches to dive into. However, let’s hope that amateur hour is over, and that unknowledgeable social media communicators go the way of the dodo bird. Unfortunately, while some will be forced to shutter their doors, the real answer lies in educating the marketplace and upcoming professionals about the basic fundamentals and ethics of communications.