WIT: Marissa Mayer Calls Out Media For Sexist Coverage

Ladies,

Marissa Mayer tenure as Yahoo CEO has been met with mixed reviews. I respect the fact she has the job at all and is reputed to be a genuinely nice person. I hope the higher up’s at Verizon recognize her worth because we need more Marissa Mayers in Silicon Valley.

By Emily Peck of Huffington Post

With little left to lose, Yahoo’s CEO gets real.

Sure, Marissa Mayer made it through the glass ceiling, landing the top spot at Yahoo in 2012, but waiting for her on the other side was a never-ending stream of gender-fueled criticism and commentary. 
Until Monday, she’s never really addressed it.

In interviews, Mayer ― who is one of only a handful of female CEOs in the Fortune 500 ―  would typically say gender wasn’t a problem for her, or in tech generally, an odd remark considering the industry stats that show tech to be a male-dominated place that’s often unfriendly to women.

Then, on Monday, after it was announced that Verizon was paying $4.83 billion for Yahoo and that Mayer’s future as leader of the company was a question mark, she finally cracked. In an interview with the Financial Times, she called out the media for its sexist coverage. (Verizon also owns The Huffington Post.)

“I’ve tried to be gender blind and believe tech is a gender neutral zone but do think there has been gender-charged reporting,” she told the Financial Times. “We all see the things that only plague women leaders, like articles that focus on their appearance, like Hillary Clinton sporting a new pantsuit. I think all women are aware of that, but I had hoped in 2015 and 2016 that I would see fewer articles like that. It’s a shame.”

We needn’t feel too sorry for Mayer, who stands to earn $57 million in severance if she leaves Yahoo. (Falling off the glass cliff has never looked so comfortable.) Still, other women in tech read that coverage, too ― and if tech truly wants to welcome more of them into the upper ranks, the industry needs to figure out how to deal with a female CEO.

But it wasn’t just the media that viewed Mayer through the gender lens.

Shareholders, analysts, professors, other women, pundits ― all focused on Mayer in a way we simply don’t see happen with men who are CEOs. Do you know how much time Bill Gates took off from work when his kids arrived on the scene? Has anyone ever interrupted a shareholder meeting to call Warren Buffett hot, or accused a guy of only keeping his job because he was expecting twins?

From the relentless coverage of her pregnancies and her capabilities as a mother to the constant attention to her looks, Mayer was always a woman CEO. 

“I’m a dirty old man and you look attractive,” one shareholder told Mayer at a meeting in 2013. A business school professor told Bloomberg the only reason Mayer didn’t get fired in 2015 was because she was pregnant.

One analyst dropped a 99-page presentation arguing Mayer should be fired ― just days after she gave birth to twins, an especially difficult time for her to respond to such criticism. Considering the amount of time it takes to draft such a long document, it would seem that the timing was a bit curious.

Some criticized her laugh, others called her out for micromanaging. (Sure, a few people called Steve Jobs a micromanager, but the broader story was that he was a genius who was obsessed with the details.)

And then there was an endless stream of commentary on Mayer’s decision not to take a long maternity leave. She was expected, for better or worse, to be a role model for all the women in tech. 

Monday’s comments seem to indicate that Mayer’s view on women in tech has evolved. 

Back in 2015 she told Steven Levy: “I never play the gender card. …The moment you play into that, it’s an issue.” She even said: “In technology we live at a rare, fast-moving pace. There are probably industries where gender is more of an issue, but our industry is not one where I think that’s relevant.”

Perhaps she’s feeling more emboldened to talk now that her mission to turn around Yahoo is closing out. Mayer might have more to say, and certainly we’ll be listening. With so few female CEOs in the industry, her words could have real impact. Let’s hope she keeps talking.

WIT: How #BuiltByGirls Plans To Build A Network of 20,000 Women In Tech

Ladies,

I loved this story when it first appeared a year ago and I love it more now. We need more of this; Girls helping other girls. Women helping other women. It’s why I started the Blonde Byte and why I believe empowering women will shape the future for the better. We already know what it looks like when men make all the pertinent decisions. It’s time for us, as the majority, to make our voices heard.
Bravo, #BuiltByGirls!

The organization’s new Wave platform is designed to help girls connect with mentors and grow their personal network.

By Emily Price of FastCompany

Last year the group #BuiltByGirls found its way into the spotlight when former First Lady Michelle Obama joined forces with the organization for the Let Girls Build Challenge, a project that encouraged girls to use the power of technology to create solutions to some of the problems facing the 62 million girls in the world without access to a traditional education.

Founded in 2014, the New York-based organization helps girls ages 15-18 get involved in technology, offering mentorship and guidance to help them learn about career opportunities that might be available to them, and get the training necessary to pursue their career dreams. And it’s working. A whopping 92% of the girls who’ve participated in #BuiltByGirls say they feel more confident to be a leader after completing the program. 90% of girls feel more confident to work in tech, and 88% are more confident in pursuing careers in business.

Traditionally a summer internship-like experience at a single company, the group is now launching a new program called Wave, a much longer, year-long experience that will pair 150 girls with a total of three mentors at three different companies like Spotify, Rent the Runway, and Giphy. The hope is to change the “boy’s club” of tech, and help qualified young women enter the workforce.

“The idea is long-term through the platform to build a pipeline of young women interested in technology, and pull together the best tech advisors in the country, to provide their expertise to the next generation of tech leaders,” says Tory Marlin, director of marketing and partnerships for the organization.

With Wave, girls are paired based on their interests with a mentor at a tech company for three months, visiting once a month for an hour to chat with that mentor in person, often at their office. At the end of the third month, the mentor will introduce the girl to two relevant people from their network, helping to grow the teen’s own network in the process. Afterward, the girl will go through the same experience with two additional mentors, ultimately growing those connections to three mentors and six additional introductions in a year. They’ve also been exposed to a tech company office, and have a bit of an idea on how that office works on a daily basis.

To help power the program, #BuiltByGirls has made a mobile app that will help guide meetings between mentors and advisees. With the app, the organization will provide profile information about both the girl and the mentor and facilitate conversations between the duo about everything from how to send a professional email to how to develop products and ideas in a way that makes them viable in the marketplace. At the end of the three months, the two will have also collaborated on solving a hypothetical business challenge, such as opening a new branch or rolling out a new product, for the mentor’s company.

That may seem like a small deal, but it could be a huge one. A good number of tech positions are filled through employee referrals. By building their network early on, these girls are getting not only a feel for an industry they might want to join down the line, they’re actually getting their foot in the door of the club, something that will come in handy when those same girls are looking for their first internship or even their first job when they graduate college. They’re also learning some basic skills that will put them a few steps ahead of the competition when it comes to applying for those positions.

“The goal was to really tap into this network of early to mid-level professionals that were experts at what they do, that don’t have a lot of time to offer, but have a ton of expertise to offer,” says Marlin. “The goal of Wave is to really focus on their area of expertise paired with a young woman in their field, in their role, in their company, and really guide their sessions together using their phone so the conversation is focused, meaningful, and has a tangible outcome at the end of it. It’s designed to be really meaningful on both ends.”

Wave officially launches in beta today with its first group of girls. In order to participate, teens currently need to be located in the New York City area. Girls can apply to be part of the next group, which will begin in May, on the company’s website.

“The idea is that we launch with a private beta of these 150 participants, and eventually scale from there,” Marlin says. “The way that we see this is that by 2020 we would have 20,000 girls participating with more than 90,000 connections.”

Weekly Roundup 2/10

Subscriptions are all the rage…
“The Way You Buy Apps is About to Change.”


Siri is already too pushy for my liking…

“Microsoft Cortana Can Learn Your Email Commitments And Hold You Accountable To Make Good On Them.”

And don’t get me started about how few women there are in Silicon Valley…
“Tech Still Doesn’t Get Diversity. Here’s How to Fix It.”

What happens when the houses can outsmart us?
10 devices you need for an ultimate smart home in 2017: Amazon Echo, Nest Cam Indoor, Ecobee3 and others

Anybody surprised by this? Can I get a show of hands?
Trump’s FCC Pick Doesn’t Bode Well For Net Neutrality

And what do we do in the meantime?
5 Tech Leaders Who Could Take on Trump in 2020

Women in Tech: Hidden Figures

Ladies,

For this week’s Women in Tech Spotlight, I decided to focus on 3 women who paved the way for so many of us in male dominated industries. Not only did they crack the glass ceiling for nerdy girls who excel in math and computers, they had to do so while also breaking down barriers of race in the early 1960’s. Katherine Johnson, Dorthy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson are the 3 American Pioneers whose stories are told in Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race which became a film that is currently nominated for Best Picture of the Year; Hidden Figures.

If you haven’t seen this movie yet, go. Even if the subject matter of space and computers dulls you to sleep, go. Take your mother, daughter, sister or BFF, but please, go. I believe a film this special needs to be seen in the theatre; don’t wait for the DVD release. Not only is it important to know these women and their contributions to history but, we need to show Hollywood that we demand more stories just like these. While all History is important, too often it’s Women’s History that’s forgotten first.

I could write for days about how much I loved this movie, but you have lives and I am no movie critic. So, I’m reposting Rolling Stone’s review for you in hopes that you will see this movie and tell someone the story of these 3 exceptional women.

‘Hidden Figures’ Review: Three Women Make History in Inspirational Space-Race Drama

The story of African-American females who helped NASA conquer the cosmos pays tribute with trio of incredible performances


By Peter Travers

Did you know that three female African-American mathematicians, working at NASA in 1962, were instrumental in getting the Mercury program into orbit and winning the U.S. space race against the Soviets? Me neither. That’s why Hidden Figures is such an instructive and wildly entertaining eye-opener. There’s nothing particularly innovative about the filmmaking – director Theodore Melfi (St. Vincent) mostly sticks to the record in the script he wrote with Allison Schroeder from the nonfiction book by Margot Lee Shetterly. But it’s the smart move. This is a story that doesn’t need frills. It simply needs telling, and the fact it gets three dynamite actresses to tell it does poetic justice to both these women and the Civil Rights movement at large.

Taraji P. Henson excels as Katherine Johnson, a math prodigy who extraordinary talent brought her to the NASA facility in Langley, Virginia in 1961. Now 98, Ms. Johnson has lived to see a research facility named after her. Things were far from that open-minded, however, when she and her colleagues, Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) and Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer, killer good), hit segregated Virginia to work on the space program. Known as “colored computers” – the latter word being the organization’s term for employees who did low-level calculations – these women soon made their mark against daunting odds. In an early scene, the car-pooling trio are pulled over by a white cop who finds it hard to belief that they work at NASA or even that Dorothy is capable of fixing a Chevy Impala herself.

Katherine is first to be promoted to a job with the Space Task Group, where manager Al Harrison (Kevin Costner, getting everything right) sees her talent – even if he clearly favors her peer Paul Stafford (Jim Parsons, nailing the casual racism of the period). Still, it’s Harrison who takes action when he realizes she has to walk half a mile to get to a “Colored Ladies Room.” “Here at NASA, we all pee the same color,” he says, tearing down the restroom-segregation sign in a scene that lets Costner spit out the words with spirited authority.

Mary has to go to court for permission to take night courses needed merely to apply for an open job in engineering. Monáe is terrific in the role, showing here and in Moonlight that she has the right stuff to launch an acting career to match her success in music. Best of all is Spencer, an Oscar winner for The Help, who is funny, fierce and quietly devastating at showing the punishing increments it takes for Dorothy to inch up the NASA ladder. Her white supervisor, Mrs. Mitchell (Kirsten Dunst), refuses to give her a supervisor title even though she’s already doing the job. Spencer delivers a priceless putdown that pays gutsy respect to these boundary-breaking pioneers.
The drama finds little time for the personal lives of its protagonists, though the widowed Katherine is allowed a romance with a National Guard officer, played with humor and heart by Mahershala Ali.

The emphasis here is watching these remarkable women at work. Dorothy sees the future in the new IBM machines being tested to speed up the space program, and takes appropriate action. Mary tells a judge that ordering desegregation of the all-white school she needs to study at would make him a pioneer. Katherine faces the toughest obstacles, working against the NASA rule of denying security clearances to female employees. But even astronaut John Glenn (Glen Powell) dubs Katherine “the smart one.” The story may be corny at times, even simplistic, but that doesn’t stop you from wanting to stand up and cheer. Lots of movies are labeled as “inspirational” – Hidden Figures truly earns the right to the term.

How to add and switch between Instagram accounts on an iPhone

Ladies,

Today’s How To: comes from Roger Fingas of Apple Insider. If, like me, you have multiple Instagram accounts, this will save your life. I struggled with how to do this when I started The Blonde Byte. Of course, I made it harder than it was and the solution was really easy and kinda aggravating, to be honest. While this article reflects use of Instagram on an iPhone, I feel sure it also exists within the Android version too.

Try it for yourself!

By Roger Fingas (of Apple Insider)

Facebook’s Instagram is a convenient way to share photos as well as short videos, but for many reasons it can be smart to have multiple personas on the service. Here’s how to add additional profiles on Apple’s iPhone and switch between them.

 

Within the Instagram app, the first step is to tap on your profile icon, situated in the lower-right corner of the screen. What this looks like will depend on the profile picture you selected during initial setup.

Next, tap on Settings, represented by a gear icon in the upper-right. Scroll down towards the bottom of the menu and you’ll discover the Add Account button.

Here you will find options to log into an existing account, either by entering your username and password manually, or logging in via Facebook. If you don’t already have a second account, a sign-in link at the bottom will guide you through Instagram’s normal account creation process.

Once you’ve logged into one or more extra accounts, the username in your profile will show an arrow next to it. Tap on this to enable a drop-down menu for quick account switching. There should even be another “Add Account” button, letting you skip the Settings menu altogether.

Remember that you can only have up to five accounts active at any given time —realistically, though, that’s probably more than enough for anyone.

Weekly Roundup

Ladies,

Here are the stories form the world of tech that stood out to me this week:

This only seemed fitting…
Daily Report: Tech Tips for Donald Trump’s Inauguration Day


From the neighborhood of “Too Little; Too Late…”

Apple Legal Files Entertainment Related Trademarks for new Apple Music TV Programming


Because he’s the coolest…

Obama’s final bill is aimed at bringing tech to DC

This made me hopeful…
From bombs to bytes: How Beirut’s tech scene is thriving

I think Siri has enough on her plate but, what do I know?
Voice Analysis Tech Could Diagnose Disease

Women in Tech: Safra Catz

 

Ladies,

Let’s talk about Safra Catz. She is the current co CEO of Oracle Corporation which, if you aren’t familiar, is a company that specializes in database softwares and other enterprise programs. Her resume is stellar and at a time when women are used more as set dressings on other tech companies’ Boards of Directors, (I’m looking at you, Apple) it’s a powerful message Oracle is sending to the next generation of all the would be female CEO’s out there; Women can lead tech companies, too.

Here our the highlights of her career per Wikipedia and Oracle:

– Catz earned a bachelor’s degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1983 and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1986. She attended Harvard Law School her final year. She was a banker at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, joining in 1986. Catz served as a managing director from February 1997 to March 1999 and a senior vice president from January 1994 to February 1997 and previously held various investment banking positions since 1986. She has been a non-executive director of Hyperion Solutions since April 14, 2007. She has been a member of the executive council of TechNet since March 14, 2013. She served as a director of PeopleSoft Inc. since December 30, 2004 and Stellent Inc. since December 12, 2006.

– She has been an executive at Oracle Corporation since April 1999, and a board member since 2001. In April 2011 she was named co-president and chief financial officer, reporting to founder/CEO Larry Ellison. On September 18, 2014 Oracle announced that Larry Ellison will step down as CEO and that Mark Hurd and Safra Catz have been named as the new CEOs.

– In 2009 she was ranked by Fortune as the 12th most powerful woman in business.
In 2009 she was also ranked by Forbes as the 16th most powerful business-woman. In 2014, she was ranked at #24. According to an Equilar analysis published by Fortune, she was in 2011 the highest-paid woman among Fortune 1000 companies, receiving an estimated US$51,695,742 in total remuneration.

– In December 2016, it was announced that Catz would join the executive committee of the presidential transition team for Donald Trump, while continuing her position at Oracle. The move prompted the public resignation of Oracle executive George Polisner, who posted his resignation letter on LinkedIn and outlined concerns over Trump’s policies.

 

App of the Week – Fooducate

Ladies,

Not long ago, I was diagnosed with a severe Food Allergy after never having one before. I was overwhelmed with having to re-learn how to cook, shop, and live all over again. I did the only thing I knew to do….I had a pity party. My dad was the one who talked me off the ledge that day by telling me to get on my computer and find out what Apps were out there that could help me. ( Don’t you hate it when your parents are right…) Much to my chagrin, he was right. There were a plethora of Apps for Food Allergy sufferers and my favorite of the lot was Fooducate.

The marketing for Fooducate would lead you to believe that it’s just another weight loss App, but it’s so much more than that. It’s free to download and has paid upgrades for different diets and/or allergies. My favorite feature is a bar code reader that will scan the package and then give you a nutritional breakdown of the food in question, as well as, any allergens etc.

 

The shopping Cart feature is also great because it’ll make suggestions for substituting healthier foods on your list, which can then be emailed to someone else. Grocery shopping can take hours for someone who has to read every label, and this app took the agony out of grocery shopping for me. I highly recommend it. Here’s what the reviewers says:

IMore Says:

”Fooducate provides key information about products like artificial flavorings, colorings, and more. If you want to try a more specific diet like eating just whole grain products or going gluten-free, Fooducate will make the perfect companion as you can compare things you’re debating buying with other alternatives that users and dietitians have rated higher in quality and content.”

Download Fooducate

Got a new iPhone 7 for Christmas? These are the Apps I recommend you check out.

Spark – Free
I have a habit of downloading and trying new Mail Apps quite regularly. I’m always on the lookout for an App to help tame the daily insanity that is my Inbox. This is the one that has impressed me the most.
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Macworld Says:

“Spark works with all of your favorite Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo email accounts, along with plenty of others supporting IMAP. There’s also built-in support for the most popular “read later” services, Evernote, OneNote, and cloud storage providers, which can be used to send file attachments or save them directly from messages.

The app features a unified inbox which can be viewed in two ways: Traditional mode, where inbound messages are displayed in threaded conversations similar to Apple Mail; and what Readdle calls a Smart Inbox that automatically organizes email into personal, notification, and newsletter categories to help focus on what’s important.”

Download Spark

ProCam 4 –  $4.99

I absolutely LOVE this App!! If your a shutterbug that loves digital photography, this App is worth every penny.
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Slashgear says:

 

“While iOS’ own camera app is OK for amateurs and instant captures, photography nuts will prefer one that takes them as close to DSLRs as possible. In that realm, ProCam 4 remains the crowd favorite.The app features all the knobs and buttons you can have in a digital camera and then some, with that “some” referring to the ability to shoot in RAW. And for iPhone 7 Plus owners, the app can also do 3D photos!”

 

Download Pro Cam

Launch Center Pro – $2.99

If you’re busy and love timesaving short cuts, this is the App for you.
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Slashgear says:

“iOS has had notification widgets since version 8, but iOS 10 really puts the spotlight on them, especially in how they’re now available right from the lock screen. With that new focus, it’s time to give widgets some serious thought.

Among power users, Launch Center Pro is thrown around the most. It practically gives you a mini launcher right on your notification panel. Paired with even more powerful apps like Pythonista, you can almost launch anything from anywhere. But don’t worry, Launch Center still respects security settings, so you won’t suddenly find your iPhone unlocking just because you launched an app from the lock screen.”

Download Launch Center Pro

 

Evernote: Free – Paid Upgrades
Evernote is my all time Favorite note taking app. I’ve used it from the beginning and have evolved into a Power User and Premium Evernote subscriber. The beauty of this app is that it adapts to your level of use.
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PC Mag Says:
“Evernote’s iPhone app continues to be a wonderful productivity tool. It’s one of those rare iPhone apps that critics have loved since the beginning.In terms of functionality, however, Evernote is the best note-taking and syncing service, which is the reason it remains PCMag’s Editors’ Choice. You can bend it to your will and use it for practically anything, from recording and sharing meetings, to searching for text inside PDFs, to keeping a daily diary.”
Download Evernote
Pixelmator – $4.99 
Who needs Photoshop? Not this girl with this great Photoshop Substitute that’s a third of the price.
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Stuff.tv Says:

“If your image-editing needs are more creative in nature than fine-tuning photos, Pixelmator’s where it’s at. Essentially a miniature Photoshop squeezed into your iPhone, this powerful, impressive app provides tools for working up complex multi-layered imagery comprising photography, digital paint and text.

Like desktop equivalents, Pixelmator is happiest when it can tap into plenty of power – which makes the new iPhones ideal partners (and especially iPhone 7 Plus with its extra GB of RAM).”

Download Pixelmator
Square Cash – Free
Money sharing Apps very fashionable right now and incredibly convenient. The most popular being, Venmo, PayPal, and Square Cash. Do you homework and find the one that works best for you, but I love everything about Square Cash.
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Life hacker Says:
“If you want the simplest money transferring option for friends and family, or to easily transfer money anonymously, go with Square Cash.”
Download Square Cash
1Password – Free
Hands down, the best Password Manager out there.
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MacWorld Says:
“If you’re looking for a secure way to store your passwords and credit card details that isn’t stored on someone else’s servers, but either on your own device or on your own Dropbox account, use 1Password. With Touch ID, it’s really easy to go into the app, and get the passwords.”
Download 1Password 

I Want You to Think Differently…

 

 

Ladies, throughout our history, we have fought for equal treatment by our government and the laws of our country. We have made monumental strides for Women’s Rights from Seneca Falls in 1848 to Philadelphia in 2016. We are poised to make history once again with our first female Presidential Nominee and there are more serious conversations about the wage gap than ever before.
Women are dominating fields once open only to men; Doctors, Lawyers, and Architects. We can drive, vote, and fight in our military’s combat missions. There are women who are firefighters, cops and truck drivers. And for the first time this season (2016), the NFL will have it’s first female coach after the debut of the first female referee last season.

Yet, with all this progress, there is still one arena where women still lag hopelessly behind men; technology. While 57% of occupations in the workforce are held by women, that figure drops to 25% when it comes to computing occupations. Only 12% of software developers are women compared to the overwhelming 92% that belong to men. Even the world’s most valuable Technology company, Apple, severely lacks in feminine influence in their senior leadership. Of the 19 people that make up Apple’s senior leadership team only three of them are women. It should be noted that those 3 women hold titles in Human Resources, Environment & Social Initiatives, and Retail. All of the titles relating to Apple’s hardware, software and user experiences belong to men. (The one exception to this “Men Only” rule in the tech field is Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer. Though she’s constantly belittled and criticized by her peers and our media.)

So, it should come as no surprise that most women feel disconnected from their technology. Our society has made technology an integral part of our lives while simultaneously alienating women from it. It’s a fascinating and ultimately, depressing study of our times.
The challenge then, is how do we fix this unique problem? Through education and training. With the right information and mindset, women will be able to challenge technology companies to respect us and our demographic. We will not be ignored, Tim.

Let me paint you a clearer picture… We’ve already established that it’s men who build these devices we’re addicted to, right? Hardware and software design are dominated by men. Then, it stands to reason that these devices are designed to think like men do. The idea of men and women’s brains work differently isn’t new. In fact, there is mountains of data to support the idea. Countless, books, talk shows, and infomercials promising to help one sex understand the mind of the other. Gals, these devices have been programmed to not communicate with us. I’ll give you an example: You are making a batch of peanut butter cookies for a bake sale and realize you don’t have enough peanut butter to finish the recipe. There’s one batch already in the oven so you can’t leave to go to the store, so you ask someone to go for you. If you ask a man, he’ll say, “Ok.”and will return promptly with the first jar of peanut butter he came across. It’ll probably be some generic, no name brand that was on sale and featured at the top of the aisle. Mission accomplished, right? Not necessarily. He brought you crunchy peanut butter and you wanted smooth. Well, you didn’t specify that when you asked him. Now, if you ask a woman to run the same errand, she’ll say, “What kind? Smooth or crunchy? Lower sodium or regular? All natural, sweetened with honey?” And so on until she knows exactly what brand, flavor, and texture you prefer before she even gets to the car. Computers, smart phones and tablets have been programmed to think just like men do. You have to be very specific when giving them a command. If you tell a computer to save a file, but not where to save it, good luck trying to find that document when you need it. As far as the computer knows, it did just as you told it and since you didn’t specify where that document needed to go, it put wherever it wanted.

Here’s another example: when I was working for Apple, I was once fortunate enough to be a part of a conference call with a group of software engineers for the Mac Operating System. (I can’t say if I was the only female on the call but, if there were other women present, they didn’t speak up.) We were tasked by the moderator of the call to speak about the features of the OS our customers were finding useful and what features were lacking. I listened as several of my male peers made suggestions that were either completely ridiculous ( Star Trek GIF’s for email) or just not possible at the time (voice recognition). When asked if any women on the call had suggestions, I spoke up and mentioned that several of my customers found Mac’s Address Book lacking. They asked me to explain and I told them that the user cannot print return address labels, nor could you create formal labels when you wanted to. I also told him I was confident there were no women on the Address Book development team. There was silence on the other end of the phone for a few seconds, then some laughter and then he asked me to explain. I told him I had quite a few women ask me about both of these features. Why couldn’t they print out return address labels to put on their Xmas Cards every year? Why couldn’t they tell the address book to print out 40 of the 350 contacts using the formal “Mr. & Mrs.” heading on labels meant for wedding invitations? And why did I have to find 3rd party solutions for these customers when Mac’s were supposed to be so intuitive? Now, I knew why those features didn’t exist; the programming architecture was too simplistic. If I wanted to print out 120 labels of my name and address for return labels, I’d have to have 120 contact cards with my name and address housed in my address book. I told them emphatically that no woman would design a tool to only work some of the time. The response I got from the moderator though, was one I will never forget. He said, “It never occurred to us that those were features were needed.” He then confirmed that I was right, there were no women on that team. A situation that would be corrected soon.

So Ladies, my mission is clearer than it’s ever been. I was put here to teach women to think differently when it comes to technology. And maybe we’ll teach the tech giants there is value in thinking like a woman… Fingers crossed.

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