Barcamp 2 – Friday night continues – Where are the girls?

October 18, 2008 § Leave a comment

Next session I’m sitting in on is called “Where are the girls?”   A fair question for such a technology-focused event.   I’d say the event this year has more women than last year, and I think right now 90% of them are in this room (one of about 5 where presentations are going on concurrently).  I count 5 women including the moderator, and about 13 men.

Moderator is a social media researcher seeking funding for a new idea.   Applying through Y-combinator a new hatchery/ incubator for startups.

Last funding round a Y Combinator bbrought out 97 dudes and 3 women.   So the question asked is why?  Where are the women?  Are they not out there?  Do they not know where to look?  So the presentation is about where the women are, where the women are online, and what’s the future.

Stats show male students start earlier on computers, use them more for entertainment and get more comfortable with them earlier.  Computer games are a gateway drug for technology lifestyle.

Gender gap is closing – more women are using the web, but they use it differently. Doing different things influences impressions and behaviors.

Club penguin – virtual environment/game environment popular with 6-14 yr old girls.  Purchased by Disney for $350 Million!  The niche can pay off!

Confidence effects use. Anecdote given. Moderator asked a colleague what she used online, the colleague replied “my Internet usage is boring” — issue of confidence/attitude about Internet experience. Discussion of importance of positive reinforcement.

Discussion of Julia Alllyson – a successful online self promoter often categorized as “famous for being famous”

Lisa Brewster (aka “techslut”) – engineer photographer, web 2.0 entrepreneure and technology culture and geek sexuality — she sells T-shirts with cool startup names,   She has a company called Startup Schwag (maybe they’d like the Equation Arts logo?)

I want a T-shirt that says “I got tackled at Barcamp”

Sometimes the tool is valued more than the content.  Some sites aren’t “hard” but attract large followings of contributors and customers – Etsy is a great example.

Lesson – Get outside the normal developer peer group!  Get input from other circles – find out what other people use and you may gain insights for your concepts and ideas to reach not techie demographics (get outside the “hack shack”.

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