Listening to Shelley Powers about women in tech

Shelley Powers asks yet another conference organizer “where’s the women?” I’m looking at my plans for my own video show and realize I don’t have a diverse-enough set of subjects on my show yet.

I realize that I’ve gotten mostly male voices for my show so far. Partly cause that’s just who is running the tech industry. Head of Sun Microsystems? Male. Person who runs Google Calendar? Male. Person who runs Printing for Less? Male. Person who runs JotSpot? Male. Person who runs Flock? Male. Person who runs eBay’s new research arm? Male. There simply aren’t enough Mena Trotts to go around (speaking of which I’d be honored to have her on my show — her talk at TED was posted on her blog the other day). UPDATE: can you name a CEO of a recognizeable tech company that’s not male? It’s hard to do. Apple? Male. Cisco? Male. Intel. Male. HP? Male. Google? Male. Yahoo? Male. Oracle? Male. Microsoft? Male.

But this is my problem partly cause I just haven’t focused on making sure my show has diverse voices. Truth is that +I+ can do a better job here and haven’t, for whatever reason (UPDATE: we have a segment of the show called “Digital Divas”, by the way, but it still isn’t enough and there aren’t enough women who are hard-core geeks — most of the engineering departments I have walked through lately are mostly male).

Thanks to Shelley and others for reminding us all to think of that.

But, on the other hand, I don’t want to change my process, either, and I don’t want to devalue the accomplishments of women (I remember when men would get together and wonder if I hired Deborah Kurata simply cause she was a woman or because she deserved it — I kept having to pull out speaker ratings and demonstrating that she was always in the top tier of speakers, usually #1. I hated getting that question. I always put the best person on stage that I could and I tried not to care about their physical attributes).

I simply want the most interesting geeks out there to be on my show. For instance, are you an interesting geek like Heather Powazek Champ (who works on the Flickr team at Yahoo)? I wanna talk with you.

So, if you’re an interesting geek, or know of an interesting geek, who is doing something interesting, or running an interesting company (especially one that is using tech in an interesting way) please let me know. Male or female.

It’s helpful for the next few weeks if they are in the San Francisco area since I won’t be able to really start traveling for a few months yet.

Who would you like to see on a video show?

One thing I have feedback for Shelley on is that a few times I, and other people I know, got her invited to events and opportunities and she didn’t make it for some reason or another. When a door is opened that seemed to be closed before, it’d be nice for her to walk through it and take advantage of the opportunity. If only to set an example for others and to make sure the door stays open. But maybe that’s just me.

UPDATE: several days ago Maryam wrote “the women who inspire me.” She also let leak that she was working on a “Digital Divas” segment of our show.

147 thoughts on “Listening to Shelley Powers about women in tech

  1. On your article: Thanks for searching out “undiscovered” women tech geeks. I would love to hear from more of them.

    On the comments following your article: Why engage in such seemingly unprofessional dialogue? For me, it totally distracts from your position as a thought leader in the tech world. I’m all for speaking your mind and sharing ideas, but why the useless banter? My continuing bone with blogging is that it takes to much effort to sort through all the banter to find the golden nuggets.

  2. On your article: Thanks for searching out “undiscovered” women tech geeks. I would love to hear from more of them.

    On the comments following your article: Why engage in such seemingly unprofessional dialogue? For me, it totally distracts from your position as a thought leader in the tech world. I’m all for speaking your mind and sharing ideas, but why the useless banter? My continuing bone with blogging is that it takes to much effort to sort through all the banter to find the golden nuggets.

  3. Oops… The macro issue of great women being accepted as equals and their equal involvement and participation in the tech community, including conferences and events… Robert, I suggest you step back for a moment in order to re-think and quickly get on the right side of this issue (right side = pro women). Women stuggling for equality and respect (and they have had to struggle) in society has a long history. For example, when did women achieve the right to vote in the USA, UK and Canada?

    I’m an old guy so the phrase “Digital Divas” seems to me somewhat more than a little demeaning to women. It also possibly indicates a lack of understanding regarding the issues and problems.

    A number of people commenting made good suggestions with respect to women in technology for your interview initiatives (e.g., Elisa Bauer, Sept. 2nd @ 8:12 pm and LayZ, Sept 3, 9:18).

    The larger issue seems to be basic human dignity including equal opportunities for involvement, participation and contribution. The positions either against or for. Clearly the technological community has some work to do.

  4. Oops… The macro issue of great women being accepted as equals and their equal involvement and participation in the tech community, including conferences and events… Robert, I suggest you step back for a moment in order to re-think and quickly get on the right side of this issue (right side = pro women). Women stuggling for equality and respect (and they have had to struggle) in society has a long history. For example, when did women achieve the right to vote in the USA, UK and Canada?

    I’m an old guy so the phrase “Digital Divas” seems to me somewhat more than a little demeaning to women. It also possibly indicates a lack of understanding regarding the issues and problems.

    A number of people commenting made good suggestions with respect to women in technology for your interview initiatives (e.g., Elisa Bauer, Sept. 2nd @ 8:12 pm and LayZ, Sept 3, 9:18).

    The larger issue seems to be basic human dignity including equal opportunities for involvement, participation and contribution. The positions either against or for. Clearly the technological community has some work to do.

  5. John, we who are not white, male, straight (and Californian) thank you for equating diversity with loss of quality. DO you want us to shine your shoes and bake that cake for you now.

    Of course, when someone disagrees with your agenda, they’re instantly a chauvanist. Even worse, you accuse me of being from Cali, when that’s literally as far from the truth as possible, (try Miami). By raising that strawman, it VERY conveniently allows you to ignore my point, which was that adding women just to jack the estrogen levels is *precisely* as stupid as ignoring them to jack the testosterone levels. But no, that would require you to stop crusading and start listening. How silly of me to think that making sure you had qualified speakers first, and then within that, doing what you can to jack the female/other minority count is the way to go.

    Nope, quality of speaker, knowledge of topic, none of that matters. All that counts is making sure that there’s females in the proper proportion. Get lucid Shelley, i’m not in the “FEAR SHELLEY” club, so if you think you’re going to confuse me with strident declarations and strawmen, think again.

    I happen to believe that a more diverse conference is a better conference; that organizers who don’t see this as a goal are lazy, shallow, money makers who care less about quality and more about sponging off the desperate last days of a bubble even more nebulous than the last.

    However, when your SOLE definition of “good” is “number of women” then you don’t really give a rat’s ass about the quality of the conference, just your agenda. Of course, reconciling this with your heresay – based criticism of Blogher is amusing, since, by your sole criteria, it was the perfect conference.

    Make up your mind Shelley, but until you do, stop bitching about everyone and everything, because after a while it starts to sound like “not enough kissing Shelley’s ass” is the real problem.

  6. John, we who are not white, male, straight (and Californian) thank you for equating diversity with loss of quality. DO you want us to shine your shoes and bake that cake for you now.

    Of course, when someone disagrees with your agenda, they’re instantly a chauvanist. Even worse, you accuse me of being from Cali, when that’s literally as far from the truth as possible, (try Miami). By raising that strawman, it VERY conveniently allows you to ignore my point, which was that adding women just to jack the estrogen levels is *precisely* as stupid as ignoring them to jack the testosterone levels. But no, that would require you to stop crusading and start listening. How silly of me to think that making sure you had qualified speakers first, and then within that, doing what you can to jack the female/other minority count is the way to go.

    Nope, quality of speaker, knowledge of topic, none of that matters. All that counts is making sure that there’s females in the proper proportion. Get lucid Shelley, i’m not in the “FEAR SHELLEY” club, so if you think you’re going to confuse me with strident declarations and strawmen, think again.

    I happen to believe that a more diverse conference is a better conference; that organizers who don’t see this as a goal are lazy, shallow, money makers who care less about quality and more about sponging off the desperate last days of a bubble even more nebulous than the last.

    However, when your SOLE definition of “good” is “number of women” then you don’t really give a rat’s ass about the quality of the conference, just your agenda. Of course, reconciling this with your heresay – based criticism of Blogher is amusing, since, by your sole criteria, it was the perfect conference.

    Make up your mind Shelley, but until you do, stop bitching about everyone and everything, because after a while it starts to sound like “not enough kissing Shelley’s ass” is the real problem.

  7. What about Diane Greene, founder and CEO of VMware. Now that it’s been bought by EMC she has another title but still runs this recognizable tech company.

  8. What about Diane Greene, founder and CEO of VMware. Now that it’s been bought by EMC she has another title but still runs this recognizable tech company.

  9. I actually am only writing at this point because I spend the last few days at Barcamp London. Needless to say, one of the few women.

    And I find this discussion interesting, because I am going to Office 2.0 – mainly because I disagree with a lot which is on the table there and am looking forward to interesting discussions which I intend to add my usual European touch.

    So how do i like the idea of getting women up there to have more diverse voices? Not at all if that means the permier reason being them there is “have a skirt on the stage”.

    We had this conversation over and over again. There is a side which is the organizers job. Which seems not have been done this time and he should have learned out of it. And there is a side for the women to be done also.

    It is not enough to sit on your backs and wait for the organizers to come to you and begging you to do something for them.

    Why don’t I go to him and do what i ask here? Because frankly I cant think of something worth presenting up there to the crowd for this topic. But I am sure that a pre conference podcast will have something valuable added to the conference and it is something I not only like to do but is also received well by the audience.

    Very often, when those accusations are made, it is all blamed on the guys. In part very correctly. But in part also very snobbish.

    If women cannot come to such a conference because they don’t have the babysitter at home, complain about it. And make it clear that this is the reason why you are not coming.

    If you are not coming because you find the ratio of guys coming to be intimidating, mail this and mark that you find the marketing of such an event to be lacking.

    And so many more reasons. This is a game of two parties, not just one. And if you want to score in the game, then you need to actually play it.

    You will not be given points for free just for being a women.

  10. I actually am only writing at this point because I spend the last few days at Barcamp London. Needless to say, one of the few women.

    And I find this discussion interesting, because I am going to Office 2.0 – mainly because I disagree with a lot which is on the table there and am looking forward to interesting discussions which I intend to add my usual European touch.

    So how do i like the idea of getting women up there to have more diverse voices? Not at all if that means the permier reason being them there is “have a skirt on the stage”.

    We had this conversation over and over again. There is a side which is the organizers job. Which seems not have been done this time and he should have learned out of it. And there is a side for the women to be done also.

    It is not enough to sit on your backs and wait for the organizers to come to you and begging you to do something for them.

    Why don’t I go to him and do what i ask here? Because frankly I cant think of something worth presenting up there to the crowd for this topic. But I am sure that a pre conference podcast will have something valuable added to the conference and it is something I not only like to do but is also received well by the audience.

    Very often, when those accusations are made, it is all blamed on the guys. In part very correctly. But in part also very snobbish.

    If women cannot come to such a conference because they don’t have the babysitter at home, complain about it. And make it clear that this is the reason why you are not coming.

    If you are not coming because you find the ratio of guys coming to be intimidating, mail this and mark that you find the marketing of such an event to be lacking.

    And so many more reasons. This is a game of two parties, not just one. And if you want to score in the game, then you need to actually play it.

    You will not be given points for free just for being a women.

  11. John, we who are not white, male, straight (and Californian) thank you for equating diversity with loss of quality. DO you want us to shine your shoes and bake that cake for you now.

    I happen to believe that a more diverse conference is a better conference; that organizers who don’t see this as a goal are lazy, shallow, money makers who care less about quality and more about sponging off the desperate last days of a bubble even more nebulous than the last.

    Real reason I am commenting one last time:

    Dennis, oh we’re sorry, when you were talking about “castration crowd” did you mean Christopher Coulter?

    Putz.

  12. John, we who are not white, male, straight (and Californian) thank you for equating diversity with loss of quality. DO you want us to shine your shoes and bake that cake for you now.

    I happen to believe that a more diverse conference is a better conference; that organizers who don’t see this as a goal are lazy, shallow, money makers who care less about quality and more about sponging off the desperate last days of a bubble even more nebulous than the last.

    Real reason I am commenting one last time:

    Dennis, oh we’re sorry, when you were talking about “castration crowd” did you mean Christopher Coulter?

    Putz.

  13. John Welch, yes I was surprised. I look at my post and these comments, and other than a flare of irritation at Zoli, I do not see where something like ‘castration crew’ came from.

    Shelley, that’s ridiculous. Your style is to bludgeon people with your opinion and your wisdom, such as it is, and then you act all surprised when people don’t react with kittens and rainbows. I’m not complaining about the style, it’s similar to my own, but come on. You hit people with a brick, don’t act all shocked when they fling it back at you.

    This particular ’shit’ you’re discussing is about a professional conference that covers a topic of interest to both men and women, yet had one woman and 52 men as presenters. What surprises me more than ‘castration crew’ is the fact that there are so few of us questioning such. Yet here in this post, I’ve had to defend not our criticism of this conference, but diversity itself. How is it possible that we’ve become so caught up in marketing and making money that we now consider diversity a ‘roadblock’ in the path to prosperity.

    Did it ever occur to you that maybe a lot of women with technical backgrounds just don’t care? I mean, have you SEEN the explosion in small conferences about blogging, “Web 2.0″ and now this crap? Maybe it’s that they’re picking their conferences carefully? WTF *is* Office 2.0? I read the site description, and it sounds like yet another “IN THE FUTURE, EVERYTHING WILL BE PERFECT, WE’LL LIVE IN GIANT ZEPPELINS, AND OUR FOOD WILL ALL BE PILLS”

    Pfah, who’s got time for that crap. Maybe you do, but most of us don’t. I’ve a friend who only speaks at Macworld/Photoshop world – related stuff, and she’s busy as hell with just that.

    No, no, it must be that the organizers don’t want women. Oy.

    But diversity is core to what we say we value.

    Diversity in encouraging really smart people to participate, regardless of genetic makeup, or diversity so that you feel happier about the male/female ratios? There’s a difference you know.

    I am surprised that diversity is sneered at, equated with loss of quality, and generally seen as more of an irritant than a goal. It doesn’t say much for any future with a 2.0 in it to see such, do you think?

    When it comes across as “You must have n women speaking if you have x men speaking” then yes, it is sneered at, and properly so. Sticking women on stage just so you can have more estrogen than thou is not diversity, it’s bullshit, and should be properly called out as such.

    I am also suprised there aren’t more women questioning statements such as those about ‘not selecting based on gender’ and ‘wanting quality’ — with the implication being that women are not quality. I’m also surprised there aren’t members of other groups not represented at these events that aren’t also questioning much of this.

    Oh please. Go sing this song to someone who’ll take it at face value. Me? No, I’m not going to insist on a certain number of female, black, gay, asian, etc. faces, just so we can all feel good about out commitment to diversity. Are the speakers qualified to speak on their topic? Do they want to be there? Yes? then it’s all good. That’s all that matters. If you don’t like that, then why aren’t you signing up to speak at every damned conference on the planet. Macworld Expo 2007′s call for papers just ended, and I know that there are more than a few people who would love to hear from a javascript expert such as yourself. I know Dori’s there, and she’s damned sharp too, but everyone has their own way of approaching the same topic. So of course, you submitted a session, right? I mean, it’s one of the bigger conferences out there, how could you not?

    Stirring up shit. What would you have rather seen, John? That this conference proceed as it was, 53+ men and one women, making decisions about software to be used by both sexes? Not very effective or efficient, would you say.

    Effective at what? Should they be required to get n women for every man just to fill in a checkbox? Is that somehow a good idea? Try again. Unless you’re saying that it’s simply impossible for a man to talk about software to women. Of course, that creates an interesting situation with the opposite. If only women can talk to women about things techincal, then why should any man go to a session with a woman speaker. OBVIOUSLY, she’ll be COMPLETELY unable to say anything in a way he’ll understand. Because, as we all know, women and men are completely different species, with different languages and are really incapable of communicating to each other.

    Or would you rather I had admonished women for not having signed up? Most of the speakers were invited based on recommendations or being known by the conference originator. This conference has not been publicized, nor has there been any effort at outreach.

    I have, in my speaking career only ever been specifically invited to speak at one conference. The last Comdex Chicago. It was, shall we say, a waste of time. Every other time, I’ve submitted sessions in accordance to the rules of the conference. What, is that a male only thing? Is there a separate set of rules for women? As far as the publicity for the conference, or lack thereof, that’s a TOTAL strawman to the issue of “Why aren’t there more women speaking”. So they have crappy PR, what’s that have to do with anything? What, Crappy PR = TEH SEXISM in your world?

    I have heard from people that our criticism of Ismael was wrong, but few have come up with anything remotely reasonable or workable or effective as a solution.

    You do understand that no, every criticism of you does not in fact, have to come up with a different solution to be valid. You can in fact say “I do believe you’re full of crap”, and have that be a valid opinion and criticism on its own. You may not like this, but your opinion doesn’t change much here.

    Fine.
    Will I continue stirring up shit? Maybe. Maybe not.

    I don’t really care. Writing on the web is something I do for fun, and occaisionally money. But if you’re going to stir up shit, then stop whining about the reaction you get. Shit-stirring does not, as a rule, create a calm, reflective, affirming reaction. If that is the reaction you want, then stop working so damned hard to get the opposite one.

  14. John Welch, yes I was surprised. I look at my post and these comments, and other than a flare of irritation at Zoli, I do not see where something like ‘castration crew’ came from.

    Shelley, that’s ridiculous. Your style is to bludgeon people with your opinion and your wisdom, such as it is, and then you act all surprised when people don’t react with kittens and rainbows. I’m not complaining about the style, it’s similar to my own, but come on. You hit people with a brick, don’t act all shocked when they fling it back at you.

    This particular ’shit’ you’re discussing is about a professional conference that covers a topic of interest to both men and women, yet had one woman and 52 men as presenters. What surprises me more than ‘castration crew’ is the fact that there are so few of us questioning such. Yet here in this post, I’ve had to defend not our criticism of this conference, but diversity itself. How is it possible that we’ve become so caught up in marketing and making money that we now consider diversity a ‘roadblock’ in the path to prosperity.

    Did it ever occur to you that maybe a lot of women with technical backgrounds just don’t care? I mean, have you SEEN the explosion in small conferences about blogging, “Web 2.0″ and now this crap? Maybe it’s that they’re picking their conferences carefully? WTF *is* Office 2.0? I read the site description, and it sounds like yet another “IN THE FUTURE, EVERYTHING WILL BE PERFECT, WE’LL LIVE IN GIANT ZEPPELINS, AND OUR FOOD WILL ALL BE PILLS”

    Pfah, who’s got time for that crap. Maybe you do, but most of us don’t. I’ve a friend who only speaks at Macworld/Photoshop world – related stuff, and she’s busy as hell with just that.

    No, no, it must be that the organizers don’t want women. Oy.

    But diversity is core to what we say we value.

    Diversity in encouraging really smart people to participate, regardless of genetic makeup, or diversity so that you feel happier about the male/female ratios? There’s a difference you know.

    I am surprised that diversity is sneered at, equated with loss of quality, and generally seen as more of an irritant than a goal. It doesn’t say much for any future with a 2.0 in it to see such, do you think?

    When it comes across as “You must have n women speaking if you have x men speaking” then yes, it is sneered at, and properly so. Sticking women on stage just so you can have more estrogen than thou is not diversity, it’s bullshit, and should be properly called out as such.

    I am also suprised there aren’t more women questioning statements such as those about ‘not selecting based on gender’ and ‘wanting quality’ — with the implication being that women are not quality. I’m also surprised there aren’t members of other groups not represented at these events that aren’t also questioning much of this.

    Oh please. Go sing this song to someone who’ll take it at face value. Me? No, I’m not going to insist on a certain number of female, black, gay, asian, etc. faces, just so we can all feel good about out commitment to diversity. Are the speakers qualified to speak on their topic? Do they want to be there? Yes? then it’s all good. That’s all that matters. If you don’t like that, then why aren’t you signing up to speak at every damned conference on the planet. Macworld Expo 2007′s call for papers just ended, and I know that there are more than a few people who would love to hear from a javascript expert such as yourself. I know Dori’s there, and she’s damned sharp too, but everyone has their own way of approaching the same topic. So of course, you submitted a session, right? I mean, it’s one of the bigger conferences out there, how could you not?

    Stirring up shit. What would you have rather seen, John? That this conference proceed as it was, 53+ men and one women, making decisions about software to be used by both sexes? Not very effective or efficient, would you say.

    Effective at what? Should they be required to get n women for every man just to fill in a checkbox? Is that somehow a good idea? Try again. Unless you’re saying that it’s simply impossible for a man to talk about software to women. Of course, that creates an interesting situation with the opposite. If only women can talk to women about things techincal, then why should any man go to a session with a woman speaker. OBVIOUSLY, she’ll be COMPLETELY unable to say anything in a way he’ll understand. Because, as we all know, women and men are completely different species, with different languages and are really incapable of communicating to each other.

    Or would you rather I had admonished women for not having signed up? Most of the speakers were invited based on recommendations or being known by the conference originator. This conference has not been publicized, nor has there been any effort at outreach.

    I have, in my speaking career only ever been specifically invited to speak at one conference. The last Comdex Chicago. It was, shall we say, a waste of time. Every other time, I’ve submitted sessions in accordance to the rules of the conference. What, is that a male only thing? Is there a separate set of rules for women? As far as the publicity for the conference, or lack thereof, that’s a TOTAL strawman to the issue of “Why aren’t there more women speaking”. So they have crappy PR, what’s that have to do with anything? What, Crappy PR = TEH SEXISM in your world?

    I have heard from people that our criticism of Ismael was wrong, but few have come up with anything remotely reasonable or workable or effective as a solution.

    You do understand that no, every criticism of you does not in fact, have to come up with a different solution to be valid. You can in fact say “I do believe you’re full of crap”, and have that be a valid opinion and criticism on its own. You may not like this, but your opinion doesn’t change much here.

    Fine.
    Will I continue stirring up shit? Maybe. Maybe not.

    I don’t really care. Writing on the web is something I do for fun, and occaisionally money. But if you’re going to stir up shit, then stop whining about the reaction you get. Shit-stirring does not, as a rule, create a calm, reflective, affirming reaction. If that is the reaction you want, then stop working so damned hard to get the opposite one.

  15. As for your Women leaders in tech “challenge” How about

    Meg Whitman – eBay
    Clare Brabowski – Radio Shack
    Patricial Gallup – PC Connection
    Anne Mulcahy- Xerox
    Patricia Russo – Lucent
    Gail Deegan – Board of Directors EMC
    Safra Catz – President, CFO – Oracle
    Judith Sim – SVP Marketing – Oracle
    (of course these are probably women Ellison is dating)
    Nancy Cooper – CFO – CA

    I’m sure I could go on…

    and let’s look in your former back yard
    Lisa Brummel – VP HR – Microsoft
    Debra Chrapaty – Corp VP MSN Ops
    Suzan Delbene – Corp VP Moble Embedded Devices
    Gerri Elliot- Corp VP – Public Sector
    Kathleen Hogan – Corp VP – WW Support
    Julie Larson-Green – Corp VP Windows Experience
    Mitch Matthews – Sr VP Central Marketing
    Lori Moore – Corp VP Service and Support
    Mindy Mount – Corp VP CFO Entertainment
    Tami Reller – Corp VP Business Solutions
    Mary Snapp – Corp VP Deputy General Counsel
    Allison Watson – Corp VP – Partner Group

    Look at all those women in Tech you could have interviewed!!! now, careful not to be sexist in your repsonse.

  16. As for your Women leaders in tech “challenge” How about

    Meg Whitman – eBay
    Clare Brabowski – Radio Shack
    Patricial Gallup – PC Connection
    Anne Mulcahy- Xerox
    Patricia Russo – Lucent
    Gail Deegan – Board of Directors EMC
    Safra Catz – President, CFO – Oracle
    Judith Sim – SVP Marketing – Oracle
    (of course these are probably women Ellison is dating)
    Nancy Cooper – CFO – CA

    I’m sure I could go on…

    and let’s look in your former back yard
    Lisa Brummel – VP HR – Microsoft
    Debra Chrapaty – Corp VP MSN Ops
    Suzan Delbene – Corp VP Moble Embedded Devices
    Gerri Elliot- Corp VP – Public Sector
    Kathleen Hogan – Corp VP – WW Support
    Julie Larson-Green – Corp VP Windows Experience
    Mitch Matthews – Sr VP Central Marketing
    Lori Moore – Corp VP Service and Support
    Mindy Mount – Corp VP CFO Entertainment
    Tami Reller – Corp VP Business Solutions
    Mary Snapp – Corp VP Deputy General Counsel
    Allison Watson – Corp VP – Partner Group

    Look at all those women in Tech you could have interviewed!!! now, careful not to be sexist in your repsonse.

  17. @58 True I haven’t heard you speak. My opinion can only be based from what I read on your blog. Which I read for entertainment purposes only. ;-)

    As for your briefing with Gates, I still gotta believe tht neither he nor Sinofsky were exactly clueless on the the technology before you supposedly informed them. Neither of them got where they are by relying on low level employees not dirctly within their reporting structure to keep them abreast of technology already being used by some. Particulary someone like Sinofsky, who is legend is correct, made MS aware of potential of the internet well before it was being widely used by anyone outside of some higher education institutions. My guess is they were simply getting another viewpoint. Nothing wrong with that. I’m sure appreciated you confirming for them what they already knew.

    As for comment 57.. well it’s true. Your continuous need to remind the blogging world of your “accomplishments” tends to expose some apparent deep seated insecurity you seem to have about yourself. Your continued defensiveness when “attacked” belies that as well. When the majority of your readers only get exposed to you via your writing it’s difficult to not draw any other conclusions than that you yourself have issues with your own credibility. I know of very few people that have to periodically remind people of what the accomplished when no one asked. You often sound like that guy that used to write the BEST blog on the internet…”The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs” when he would say “I invented the iPod..perhaps you heard of it?”. Your version is: “I walked around and interviewed a lot of people actually doing working within MS (unlike me)..perhaps you’ve seen them?”. No one cares what you did in the past. People only care what you ARE doing or WILL be doing. But getting you to react is like shooting fish in a barrel. It’s way too easy.

  18. @58 True I haven’t heard you speak. My opinion can only be based from what I read on your blog. Which I read for entertainment purposes only. ;-)

    As for your briefing with Gates, I still gotta believe tht neither he nor Sinofsky were exactly clueless on the the technology before you supposedly informed them. Neither of them got where they are by relying on low level employees not dirctly within their reporting structure to keep them abreast of technology already being used by some. Particulary someone like Sinofsky, who is legend is correct, made MS aware of potential of the internet well before it was being widely used by anyone outside of some higher education institutions. My guess is they were simply getting another viewpoint. Nothing wrong with that. I’m sure appreciated you confirming for them what they already knew.

    As for comment 57.. well it’s true. Your continuous need to remind the blogging world of your “accomplishments” tends to expose some apparent deep seated insecurity you seem to have about yourself. Your continued defensiveness when “attacked” belies that as well. When the majority of your readers only get exposed to you via your writing it’s difficult to not draw any other conclusions than that you yourself have issues with your own credibility. I know of very few people that have to periodically remind people of what the accomplished when no one asked. You often sound like that guy that used to write the BEST blog on the internet…”The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs” when he would say “I invented the iPod..perhaps you heard of it?”. Your version is: “I walked around and interviewed a lot of people actually doing working within MS (unlike me)..perhaps you’ve seen them?”. No one cares what you did in the past. People only care what you ARE doing or WILL be doing. But getting you to react is like shooting fish in a barrel. It’s way too easy.

  19. Robert,
    A couple of bits that I think need a little light

    “that’s just who’s running the tech industry”
    If you just look for the head on a stick, you can make that argument, however, if you think about this for a moment, the number of people who ‘support’ those heads is much larger, and as a bunch of folks are pointing out, many of them are women.

    “I don’t want to devalue the accomplishments of women”
    well if you don’t look for them, it is hard to devalue them. This is one of those arguments that if you don’t acknowledge them, then you don’t have to value them at all.

    The last thing regarding your “Digital Divas”. Back in 1997 there were a group of women who has come together as the Digital Divas, who are still active.

    You were still selling stereos then.

    I bring this up as these women were able to mount and win a grass roots challenge to Microsoft, your former employer when MS tried marketing a ‘Digital Diva’ which culminated in MS abandoning that Idea.

    Here a couple of links to get you started
    http://news.com.com/2100-1017-246732.html
    http://www.jamesshuggins.com/h/bas1/memberships_advocacy_1.htm#digitaldivas
    http://home.fullmoonwebs.com/minimouse/index.cfm/NewsItem?ID=23103&From=Home
    I would be very careful using Digital Divas without performing a little bit of due diligence.

  20. Robert,
    A couple of bits that I think need a little light

    “that’s just who’s running the tech industry”
    If you just look for the head on a stick, you can make that argument, however, if you think about this for a moment, the number of people who ‘support’ those heads is much larger, and as a bunch of folks are pointing out, many of them are women.

    “I don’t want to devalue the accomplishments of women”
    well if you don’t look for them, it is hard to devalue them. This is one of those arguments that if you don’t acknowledge them, then you don’t have to value them at all.

    The last thing regarding your “Digital Divas”. Back in 1997 there were a group of women who has come together as the Digital Divas, who are still active.

    You were still selling stereos then.

    I bring this up as these women were able to mount and win a grass roots challenge to Microsoft, your former employer when MS tried marketing a ‘Digital Diva’ which culminated in MS abandoning that Idea.

    Here a couple of links to get you started
    http://news.com.com/2100-1017-246732.html
    http://www.jamesshuggins.com/h/bas1/memberships_advocacy_1.htm#digitaldivas
    http://home.fullmoonwebs.com/minimouse/index.cfm/NewsItem?ID=23103&From=Home
    I would be very careful using Digital Divas without performing a little bit of due diligence.

  21. Robert, reading within the tapesty of this conversation, the tone and general tenor — Oh Man, you have hecka of a challenge – on digging deep looking for ” geekettes” :)-

    Along with this challenge comes also an opportunity for you and your company. I think you have the vision and can make the difference. After all you perecive that they an;t a enough “mena trotts” – but is that a fact ?? A hrd factorid or just an assumption Because you cant digg deep enough ??

    If you ‘re-build they will come” :)-

  22. Robert, reading within the tapesty of this conversation, the tone and general tenor — Oh Man, you have hecka of a challenge – on digging deep looking for ” geekettes” :)-

    Along with this challenge comes also an opportunity for you and your company. I think you have the vision and can make the difference. After all you perecive that they an;t a enough “mena trotts” – but is that a fact ?? A hrd factorid or just an assumption Because you cant digg deep enough ??

    If you ‘re-build they will come” :)-

  23. Kimberly,

    >You’re not going to always find women running the show or leading the project — sometimes they’re behind the scenes actually making shit happen!

    I’d love to find more people who are behind the scenes. They always turn out to be the best interviews. Male or female.

  24. Kimberly,

    >You’re not going to always find women running the show or leading the project — sometimes they’re behind the scenes actually making shit happen!

    I’d love to find more people who are behind the scenes. They always turn out to be the best interviews. Male or female.

  25. Elise: I love Tina. She was over at PodTech just the other night. I had dinner a while back with Janice Frasier. She rocks too. I’ll definitely have both of them on the show. Thanks for reminding me about Sarah. As for Marissa, I got the feeling she didn’t like me last time I talked with her, but I’d be honored to have her on. Hope I misread her.

  26. Elise: I love Tina. She was over at PodTech just the other night. I had dinner a while back with Janice Frasier. She rocks too. I’ll definitely have both of them on the show. Thanks for reminding me about Sarah. As for Marissa, I got the feeling she didn’t like me last time I talked with her, but I’d be honored to have her on. Hope I misread her.

  27. LayZ? Ancient past? The Google talk was from less than a year ago. So was the LIFT talk. So where most of my other talks.

    As far as my letting Microsoft’s execs know, well, Bill Gates had me and two other people in his office to brief him on RSS (and later on Flock). Steven Sinofsky sent me a very long response to my email about the social software world that was happening without Microsoft’s involvement (since then they added RSS and Wikis and Blogs to Sharepoint, by the way).

    But, this is the disconnect. If I stand up for myself against attacks that I’m not a good speaker or I’m not good enough to speak about Office 2.0 then I’m an arrogant jerk. See #57. Whatever.

  28. LayZ? Ancient past? The Google talk was from less than a year ago. So was the LIFT talk. So where most of my other talks.

    As far as my letting Microsoft’s execs know, well, Bill Gates had me and two other people in his office to brief him on RSS (and later on Flock). Steven Sinofsky sent me a very long response to my email about the social software world that was happening without Microsoft’s involvement (since then they added RSS and Wikis and Blogs to Sharepoint, by the way).

    But, this is the disconnect. If I stand up for myself against attacks that I’m not a good speaker or I’m not good enough to speak about Office 2.0 then I’m an arrogant jerk. See #57. Whatever.

  29. LayZ: I only talk when I know what I’m talking about.

    I haven’t accepted the invitation to speak at Office 2.0 yet, have I?

    But, have you ever heard me speak? How do you know I don’t know what I’m talking about then?

    Linda Stone rocks, by the way! And her dinners are legendary.

  30. LayZ: I only talk when I know what I’m talking about.

    I haven’t accepted the invitation to speak at Office 2.0 yet, have I?

    But, have you ever heard me speak? How do you know I don’t know what I’m talking about then?

    Linda Stone rocks, by the way! And her dinners are legendary.

  31. Shelley, are the Office 2.0 organinzers supposed to be clairvoyant. Please list women…hell, African Americans, or let’s get really diverse: African American Women.. or better still, African American women that are lesbian and handicapped..I mean if diversity is our goal, as opposed to information sharing, let’s go all the way with diversity…. that are making an impact in the Office 2.0 space? You can see how silly your point is. Doesn’t knowledge trump diversity? I’d rather hear from someone that knows what they are talking about (which baffles me why Scoble gets such supposedly high scores. And he should have said he’s not qualified to be a speaker at Office 2.0) than a gender for the sake of gender.

    The only one saying there is a problem appears to be you and anyone you can get to listen to you. Frankly I don’t think an audience really cares about the gender, race, color, or religion of a speaker. Only that they are getting quality information and insight. I don’t think women are being ignored, they just aren’t making themselves more visible.

    I’m sure Linda Stone would welcome an invite, for example. Or Jessica Lipnak. Or Johna Till Johnson. But again, I would listen to them not because they are women, but because of what they have to say!

  32. Shelley, are the Office 2.0 organinzers supposed to be clairvoyant. Please list women…hell, African Americans, or let’s get really diverse: African American Women.. or better still, African American women that are lesbian and handicapped..I mean if diversity is our goal, as opposed to information sharing, let’s go all the way with diversity…. that are making an impact in the Office 2.0 space? You can see how silly your point is. Doesn’t knowledge trump diversity? I’d rather hear from someone that knows what they are talking about (which baffles me why Scoble gets such supposedly high scores. And he should have said he’s not qualified to be a speaker at Office 2.0) than a gender for the sake of gender.

    The only one saying there is a problem appears to be you and anyone you can get to listen to you. Frankly I don’t think an audience really cares about the gender, race, color, or religion of a speaker. Only that they are getting quality information and insight. I don’t think women are being ignored, they just aren’t making themselves more visible.

    I’m sure Linda Stone would welcome an invite, for example. Or Jessica Lipnak. Or Johna Till Johnson. But again, I would listen to them not because they are women, but because of what they have to say!

  33. My response to @42…”Hey, how ’bout that!” Yawn. And this gets you a VP title at a no name startup? Woo hoo. I have hard time believing you were the first to inform Gates and Sinofsky of the need for useless wiki and blog tools. Neither of them strike me as being that out of touch that a level 59 needed to keep them up to date on the latest technology (it’s amazing what you can learn about MS from reading mini-microsoft). But if you need to believe that, and you need to keep reminding yourself and others that don’t really care, about your unimportant speaker scores from the ancient past to feel good about yourself, you go ahead. Talk about a delusions of grandeur! Sheesh!

  34. My response to @42…”Hey, how ’bout that!” Yawn. And this gets you a VP title at a no name startup? Woo hoo. I have hard time believing you were the first to inform Gates and Sinofsky of the need for useless wiki and blog tools. Neither of them strike me as being that out of touch that a level 59 needed to keep them up to date on the latest technology (it’s amazing what you can learn about MS from reading mini-microsoft). But if you need to believe that, and you need to keep reminding yourself and others that don’t really care, about your unimportant speaker scores from the ancient past to feel good about yourself, you go ahead. Talk about a delusions of grandeur! Sheesh!

  35. Hi Robert,

    Here are a few suggestions:

    Marissa Mayer, VP Search Products, User Experience, Google – see a video of a talk she recently did at Stanford.

    Tina Seelig, Executive Director, Stanford Technology Ventures Program – I have a link to a talk she recently gave here: http://www.elise.com/weblog/archives/001952tina_seelig_what_i_wish_i_knew_when_i_was_20.php Tina also recently helped host the Always On Tech conference with Tony Perkins, so if you go through the archives of that conference, you’ll see her. She’s a professor at Stanford, a serial entrepreneur, and has a PhD in neurology from Stanford Medical School.

    Sarah Allen, former engineering VP at Macromedia, now at Laszlo Systems – she’s an uber-geek, quite brilliant, and I would bet a great speaker as well.

    Janice Fraser, CEO of Adaptive Path

    There’s a start. If I think of others, I’ll let you know.

  36. Hi Robert,

    Here are a few suggestions:

    Marissa Mayer, VP Search Products, User Experience, Google – see a video of a talk she recently did at Stanford.

    Tina Seelig, Executive Director, Stanford Technology Ventures Program – I have a link to a talk she recently gave here: http://www.elise.com/weblog/archives/001952tina_seelig_what_i_wish_i_knew_when_i_was_20.php Tina also recently helped host the Always On Tech conference with Tony Perkins, so if you go through the archives of that conference, you’ll see her. She’s a professor at Stanford, a serial entrepreneur, and has a PhD in neurology from Stanford Medical School.

    Sarah Allen, former engineering VP at Macromedia, now at Laszlo Systems – she’s an uber-geek, quite brilliant, and I would bet a great speaker as well.

    Janice Fraser, CEO of Adaptive Path

    There’s a start. If I think of others, I’ll let you know.

  37. John Welch, yes I was surprised. I look at my post and these comments, and other than a flare of irritation at Zoli, I do not see where something like ‘castration crew’ came from.

    This particular ‘shit’ you’re discussing is about a professional conference that covers a topic of interest to both men and women, yet had one woman and 52 men as presenters. What surprises me more than ‘castration crew’ is the fact that there are so few of us questioning such. Yet here in this post, I’ve had to defend not our criticism of this conference, but diversity itself. How is it possible that we’ve become so caught up in marketing and making money that we now consider diversity a ‘roadblock’ in the path to prosperity. But diversity is core to what we say we value.

    I am surprised that diversity is sneered at, equated with loss of quality, and generally seen as more of an irritant than a goal. It doesn’t say much for any future with a 2.0 in it to see such, do you think?

    I am also suprised there aren’t more women questioning statements such as those about ‘not selecting based on gender’ and ‘wanting quality’ — with the implication being that women are not quality. I’m also surprised there aren’t members of other groups not represented at these events that aren’t also questioning much of this.

    Stirring up shit. What would you have rather seen, John? That this conference proceed as it was, 53+ men and one women, making decisions about software to be used by both sexes? Not very effective or efficient, would you say.

    Or would you rather I had admonished women for not having signed up? Most of the speakers were invited based on recommendations or being known by the conference originator. This conference has not been publicized, nor has there been any effort at outreach.

    I have heard from people that our criticism of Ismael was wrong, but few have come up with anything remotely reasonable or workable or effective as a solution.

    Fine.

    Will I continue stirring up shit? Maybe. Maybe not.

  38. John Welch, yes I was surprised. I look at my post and these comments, and other than a flare of irritation at Zoli, I do not see where something like ‘castration crew’ came from.

    This particular ‘shit’ you’re discussing is about a professional conference that covers a topic of interest to both men and women, yet had one woman and 52 men as presenters. What surprises me more than ‘castration crew’ is the fact that there are so few of us questioning such. Yet here in this post, I’ve had to defend not our criticism of this conference, but diversity itself. How is it possible that we’ve become so caught up in marketing and making money that we now consider diversity a ‘roadblock’ in the path to prosperity. But diversity is core to what we say we value.

    I am surprised that diversity is sneered at, equated with loss of quality, and generally seen as more of an irritant than a goal. It doesn’t say much for any future with a 2.0 in it to see such, do you think?

    I am also suprised there aren’t more women questioning statements such as those about ‘not selecting based on gender’ and ‘wanting quality’ — with the implication being that women are not quality. I’m also surprised there aren’t members of other groups not represented at these events that aren’t also questioning much of this.

    Stirring up shit. What would you have rather seen, John? That this conference proceed as it was, 53+ men and one women, making decisions about software to be used by both sexes? Not very effective or efficient, would you say.

    Or would you rather I had admonished women for not having signed up? Most of the speakers were invited based on recommendations or being known by the conference originator. This conference has not been publicized, nor has there been any effort at outreach.

    I have heard from people that our criticism of Ismael was wrong, but few have come up with anything remotely reasonable or workable or effective as a solution.

    Fine.

    Will I continue stirring up shit? Maybe. Maybe not.

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