WIT: THIS UNLIKELY TECH QUEEN WANTS TO BUILD A NEW GLOBAL HUB IN KYRGYZSTAN

Because behind every great app there’s a great team of back-end developers. Some are where you’d least expect.

By James Watkins of Ozy.com

The blinds are pulled in all the windows of the fifth-floor office. Computer screens and cracks of daylight cast a gray-blue glow, complementing the dark grays and dark purples of mismatched furniture, seemingly thrown together yet too cool to be accidental. The only accents of color are lime greens and bright pinks that dance across screens in lines of computer code. This place has style.

One of several artsy-looking signs on the wall reads “Dance like no one is watching. Encrypt like everyone is.” If I were a location scout for HBO’s Silicon Valley, I’d film the whole damn thing here. But we’re 7,000 miles from California. We’re in Bishkek, the capital of landlocked Kyrgyzstan, at a back-end development hub behind some of Asia’s top apps and tech platforms. Another streak of color? The shock of bright-pink hair on the CEO at the center of the room: Alla Klimenko. Her company, Mad Devs, is a leader in Kyrgyzstan’s burgeoning tech scene, which is increasingly pitching itself as a cheaper alternative to Ukraine, yet more upmarket than India, in the battle to be the brains behind tech titans in Russia, Singapore, Thailand and beyond.

Mad Devs became Mad Devs only about two years ago, but the core team of developers who started the company have been working together for more than a decade. Most recently, they were the development team at Namba, a sort of Netflix-turned-Uber in Central Asia. Kyrgyzstan’s most ubiquitous consumer tech company started as an online TV platform, has run an app-based ride-sharing service since 2012 and added food delivery in 2013 (a year before Uber Eats launched). Not satisfied with those challenges, the coders felt they weren’t being given enough to do, says Klimenko, so they started their own company.

It now has more than 50 employees, contracting with Namba as well as Eatigo, a Bangkok-based restaurant booking service with more than a million users across Southeast Asia; Zentist, a Silicon Valley–based dental services platform; an artificial intelligence–meets–blockchain concept called Neureal; and others as far away as the U.K. and Australia. “We don’t work with small projects,” says Klimenko, only meaningful partnerships of six months or more. They don’t have a sales team beyond Klimenko herself, with all their work coming through word-of-mouth.

Tech CEO isn’t the usual career path of 31-year-old Kyrgyz women. Almost all talented young people leave to work in Kazakhstan or Russia, where average wages are four and eight times that of those in Kyrgyzstan, respectively. Klimenko herself spent 18 months working in Almaty, Kazakhstan, returning to Bishkek on weekends. Though the business scene is more developed in Kazakhstan, the region’s economic powerhouse, almost all employees in Kazakhstan’s tech scene are Kyrgyz, says Klimenko. But now, the lack of other opportunities means that tech is one industry where Kyrgyzstan could thrive: “We are hungry,” Klimenko says. “As soon as you give people a chance to earn good money here without leaving the country, they take it.”

That same ambition has driven Klimenko personally as well as professionally. Fiercely independent since childhood, she excelled at physics and mathematics Olympiads as a high school student. Studying computer engineering at university, she was one of the best in her class, and would often be held up as an example to her predominantly male classmates — “Even the girl can do this, and you can’t?” she recalls her teachers saying, though for her it’s more a source of pride than an example of sexism.

Klimenko occupies a strange ideological position on gender politics. She is considering running an all-female intern class next year because she’s convinced that women are usually far better qualified than they say in applications, and yet she doesn’t believe the future is totally female: “There shouldn’t be more women than men” in tech, she says, else “they start to try to dominate each other.”

Klimenko left her first husband (whom she married while still at university) because he wanted her to be a stay-at-home mother; she left her second husband (the father of her 6-year-old son) because he didn’t share her ambition. She is chatty and funny, markedly different from the rest of the employees, whose eyes barely rise from their screens as they eat at their desks. Klimenko hasn’t actually coded since university, after realizing that project management in tech was her forte. It’s “unique” for someone to have Klimenko’s communications and sales skills while still being on the same intellectual level as the coders themselves, says Andrew Minkin, one of Mad Dev’s other co-founders.

Mad Devs is “one of the top local companies” in Kyrgyzstan’s tech scene, says Aziz Soltobaev, co-founder of KG Labs, an organization working to boost the country’s tech infrastructure — although there are a few other companies eyeing international prominence, including software development platform Zensoft. Many of the other leading companies have offices abroad or foreign founders, says Soltobaev, making Mad Devs one of the few to remain in Bishkek. “One of the challenges is a lack of talent,” he says — a problem that Mad Devs tackles by training dozens of unpaid interns in-house, several of whom have no formal training. The team calls their grueling program “The Hunger Games,” which ends with a “hell week” during which the office sofas become makeshift beds. Minkin leads the internship program, mainly because of his size and intimidating physical appearance, says Klimenko.

Of course, it’s still early days for the Mad Devs team, and becoming the go-to back-end development hub for the future economy is a title that emerging economies the world over are fighting for. But if there’s one thing they’ve nailed in the aspiration to bring Silicon Valley to Central Asia, it’s a tribelike company culture. Minkin even has a tattoo featuring the Mad Devs logo. Klimenko’s own tattoo covers her forearm with a “goddess of flame,” and it too was inked with the company in mind — yet another colorful selling point.

Weekly Round Up 6/15/18

 

Um, anything more sophisticated than the Self-Check out lines in Walmart will be hard for the American Public to master, guys.
No more grocery checkout lines: Microsoft may rival Amazon with tech that cuts out the cashier

 

Well, if nothing else is working….
Using tech to stop phone-wielding drivers

 

We don’t hear enough good things about Tech these days….
6 ways tracking tech is changing the world for the better

Whatever happened to just going to camp and being a kid?
NDSU summer tech camp designed to encourage young girls to pursue a career in technology

My favorite story of the week…
Apple closing tech loophole police use to crack iPhones

Please God, No. Make it Stop.
Drone swarms are the new fireworks lighting up China’s skies

 

Trump will never be able to wrap his tiny, barely used brain around this….
The Guy Who Created Oculus Has Now Made Surveillance Tech That Acts As A Virtual Border Wall

Literally what they do best….
Apple Shuns the Tech Industry’s Apology Tour

WIT: In quest for tech leadership positions, Chicago women band together to challenge ‘bro fest’

 

When Betsy Ziegler was named the first female CEO of technology and entrepreneurship center 1871 in February, it didn’t immediately sink in for her what that designation would mean.

The more she spoke with female entrepreneurs, however, the better she understood.

“All of them were like, ‘The fact that they chose you … as a female to lead this organization is a massive sign of … commitment,’ ” said Ziegler, who previously was chief innovation officer at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. “ ‘(1871 is) choosing the right person, regardless of what their gender is, to lead the organization forward.’ ”

Women such as Ziegler are moving into leadership roles in the tech industry, and the state’s largest public university is seeing more women majoring in computer science. But in Chicago and nationally, technology jobs overwhelmingly are dominated by men. Women in the industry say creating a path for more female leaders is an important step toward addressing many of the problems they face, from the lack of funding for companies they create to the lack of flexibility from employers when they pause their careers to start families.

There have been efforts to empower women in the tech world for years, and some expect the conversations about sexual harassment and gender discrimination sparked by the #MeToo movement to accelerate the cause. More companies have those issues on their radars. Networks of women in tech are growing, and they are working to reduce barriers for their peers.

In the Chicago office of Big Four auditor KPMG, Alex Bell, managing director in the insurance technology group, is working to find more female tech talent and propel the women already at the company into positions of power.

She launched a Women in Tech group at the firm 2½ years ago, and now it’s made up of more than 50 women in a range of positions, from partners to new associates. Men joined too.

“When we started this Women in Tech group, a lot of … male colleagues came to me and said, ‘What can I do?’ ” Bell said. “That, to me, says a lot.”

The group has had sessions with the recruiting team on how to find more women for tech roles. It has gone to a high school to talk to students about careers in technical fields and works with KPMG clients to launch similar initiatives in their own companies. Bell is creating a master list of group members’ areas of expertise so women can quickly find resources to help solve problems or build skills.

At Chicago-based Relativity, which makes software that analyzes data gathered during litigation, Jennifer Westropp, the company’s learning and development manager, started a leadership coaching program for female employees in November. The company hired a consultant to help them develop paths to executive roles.

The company was revamping its leadership development program, and women were asking for more resources on how to advance their careers, Westropp said. The pilot program includes eight women at the 829-person firm.

Software engineering manager Cindy Quendangen said it made her feel proud when she was approached about joining the program. But she hasn’t always felt comfortable being one of the few women in the room, a situation she’s faced ever since her college computer science classes.

“One of the big things that drives a lot of women out of tech is that they feel like they don’t belong,” Quendangen said.

In the past seven years, the share of technology-related jobs held by women across all industries in the Chicago area has barely budged, moving from 22 percent in 2010 to 22.4 percent last year, according to data from Downers Grove-based trade association CompTIA.

Nationally last year, women held 22 percent of tech jobs, including roles like systems analyst, software developer and web developer.
The percentage of all jobs in Illinois’ tech industry filled by women, including nontechnical roles, barely improved in recent years, rising to 34.1 percent last year from 33.8 percent in 2015, when CompTIA began tracking that data.

Many corporate boards and senior executive teams in the tech industry are mindful of diversity and have been for at least the past four or five years, said Sally Beatty, a partner in the Chicago office of recruiting and consulting firm Korn Ferry. In recent months, there has been more interest in reducing the gender gap in executive roles.

But it’s still a challenge to find women to fill those roles, said Beatty, who works with technology companies around the world on CEO and C-suite searches.

“There are more men in senior tech roles, which means there’s less of a pipeline of (women) to move up,” she said. “Change is really slow.”

Women in the industry see a variety of obstacles to achieving greater gender equality: Not enough funding goes to startups founded by women; too few girls are being encouraged to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math; and it’s hard for women to get back into technical occupations after taking time off to start a family.

For all the factors contributing to the problem, there are actions companies and leaders can take now to get more women involved in technology, said Julia Kanouse, CEO of the Chicago-based Illinois Technology Association. She is bullish on increasing the number of women in technology leadership roles and in better-paying positions — such as software engineering — at tech companies.

“You can’t keep kicking the can down the road and say, ‘It’s pipeline, it’s pipeline, it’s pipeline,’” she said. “Getting women into leadership roles can happen right now.”

At times, however, having strong and visible women in charge of technology teams or heading events isn’t enough, said Rumi Morales, a local entrepreneur and tech investor. She gave a talk earlier this year on blockchain, the software platform that powers bitcoin, and the women in attendance were vastly outnumbered by the men, Morales said. Some women still don’t feel comfortable or confident attending industry events, she said.

Morales, former head of CME Ventures, said she makes an effort to get more women to participate in financial technology events so women can see that Chicago has strong female leaders in the sector. She is on the advisory council for a group called Fintech Women, which works to attract women to the field. The formation of those types of groups is heartening, Morales said, but she’d like to see more women participating.

Ann Yeung, the new head of technology for Morningstar’s global retirement and workplace solutions group, started getting involved with women in tech initiatives a few years ago when she worked for Capital One. It was an awakening for her, and she realized she should not settle for being one of the few women in the room.

“It was like, ‘OK, this is the norm, but it really shouldn’t be the norm.

Why are we in this situation?’” she said.
Yeung, the mother of a 10-year-old daughter, said she tries to be a role model, since she’s seen many women leave midcareer to start families.

There is a growing awareness among companies of the need to accommodate new moms, which didn’t exist a decade ago when Yeung was a software engineer — and a new mom — at another company. She said she didn’t feel like she could discuss a more flexible schedule with her bosses.

“The first step to being able to make incremental change is to have this awareness and having people talking about it,” she said.

Despite the ongoing problem of underrepresentation, Chicago’s tech industry has become more welcoming toward women in recent years, and the cultural shift is noticeable, said Reva Minkoff, an 1871 member.

When she was launching her two digital marketing companies six years ago, “the tech scene was kind of a bro fest,” she said.

The founder of digital marketing companies Digital4Startups and DigitalGroundUp, Minkoff often was one of the few women at events. She received inappropriate comments at industry gatherings. Once, a man at an event took a photo of her dress without permission.

She hears fewer workplace stories that could just as well have happened in a frat house. “The good news is it’s gotten a lot better,” she said.
Efforts by coding schools, universities and others are tackling the talent pipeline issue.

Coding boot camp Fullstack Academy recently launched a track in Chicago that defers tuition for women until they land a job. The track is named for computer programming pioneer Grace Hopper, and the first group of eight students is set to graduate at the end of May.

At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which routinely ranks among the top engineering schools in the country, the percentage of undergraduate computer science majors who are women rose to almost 26 percent for the current school year, up from 12 percent four years ago.

Among startups spun out of Illinois universities in the past five years, 28 percent have a female founder, according to a recent report from the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition. That’s higher than the 16 percent of startups globally that have a women founder, according to Crunchbase, a tech company database.

At 1871, efforts to further the careers of female entrepreneurs predate Ziegler’s arrival. The WiSTEM program, which connects women with capital and tech resources, began in 2015 with 13 participants.
WiSTEM graduate Jamie Migdal said women in tech are focused on their work, but industry initiatives help bring attention the change they are creating.

“Once in a while we lift our heads up and say, ‘Oh, that’s cool; there are more of us.’ But let’s just keep working,” said Migdal, who founded FetchFind, which provides employee training to businesses that deal with animals.

While women in the industry see progress on several fronts, many say the lack of funding for the companies they create is a persistent challenge.

Only 0.2 percent of the nearly $2 billion in venture capital funding that flowed to Chicago-area companies last year went to ventures with only female founders, according to data from research firm Pitchbook. Companies with at least one female founder secured almost 31 percent.

Those numbers are “horrible,” said Dimitra Georganopoulou, director of commercialization at Northwestern University’s Innovation and New Ventures Office.

The tech industry is starting to pay attention to the lack of inclusion and all the problems that stem from it, said Terri Brax, co-founder of Women Tech Founders, or WTF — an abbreviation that isn’t accidental.

That wasn’t the case three years ago, when WTF launched.

“Women were kind of invisible in the whole startup space, even in tech overall,” she said.

Companies now are discussing how to turn their organizations into places where women can excel, Brax said. There’s a spirit of camaraderie among women that’s driving the change, she said, but there’s still work to be done.

“It’s like when you push a rock up a hill; (it’s) the first push that’s so hard, and you still have the whole damn hill,” Brax said. “But you’re moving.”

Weekly Round Up 5/4/18

Welcome to my world…
Black lawmakers are impatient with tech’s lack of diversity and are threatening regulation to force the issue

 

This is too insane not to be true…
Drone ‘swarm’ buzzed off FBI surveillance bods, says tech bloke

 

Hard to do when the guys that make them are socially retarded….
Making technology socially responsible

 

Great…being single has been so easy up to this point…
Tech is turning love into a rightwing game

 

Wait…what?!
Do patents tell us what’s next for bicycle technology? Not necessarily.

 

Budget friendly and tech are not 2 words used together very often…
Essential (and budget-friendly) tech I use every day

 

I love how this is a thing now…
Addicted to your smartphone? Technology is trying to help

 

This is a cool use of drones.
Intel drones offer high-tech help to restore the Great Wall of China

 

Good idea…
Co-founders of dating app Huggle on their mission to change social media, one app at a time

WIT: How Women Of The French Tech Movement Are Turning France Into A Startup Nation

 

By Melissa Jun Rowley of Forbes.com

When former French civil servant turned venture capitalist Fleur Pellerin was in business school in France during the ‘90s, the dream career of her fellow graduates was to be a consultant at one of the top firms or work for a major corporation like Unilever or L’Oréal. But today she says students want to create their own businesses. 

“The entrepreneurial mindset and spirit is much more present in the younger generation in France,” Pellerin shares.

This is part and parcel of the French Tech movement Pellerin architected when she worked in Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault’s government as Minister of SMEs, Innovation and the Digital Economy in 2012.  Since then, French Tech has been breaking new ground for French entrepreneurs in France and abroad. The initiative brought 320 startups to CES 2018 and has built 32 entrepreneurial communities around the world.

After 15 years working for the government, Pellerin transitioned into the tech startup world and founded the VC firm Korelya Capital, the primary manager of the K-Fund 1, which is investing €100 million in the high-tech industry in France and other European countries. To date, Korelya Capital has invested in six companies, including Devialet, the French speaker company, which has also been invested in by Jay Z. 

What A Difference A Movement Makes

“All the ingredients and the talent to have a great innovation ecosystem in 2012 were already there,” shares Pellerin. “But this initiative [French Tech], taxation of federal gains, and creating crowdfunding helped the development of some businesses. The main outcome is that now French startups know they belong to a movement called French Tech.”

If President Emmanuel Macron has anything to say about France’s place in the global startup landscape, the best is yet to come. He has proposed slashing wealth tax in a further bid to attract investors and boost tech business. And that’s not all he’s setting forth. For the next five years, the French government is poised to spend €1.5 billion ($1.85 billion) to support research and development in artificial intelligence with the goal of catching up to the current AI leaders, China and the US. 

Catching up seems to be a key incentive for French Tech, and not by just a few years. 

“What struck me most when I was minister in charge of digital and innovation was that whenever I traveled around the world France was famous for its wine, Chanel bags and foie gras, but not for its tech,” says Pellerin. “And you know, whenever people mentioned French high-tech things it was always the high-speed train or the rockets, as if the innovation drive in France stopped in the 18th century.” 

Five years ago, Pellerin says nobody thought of France as an innovative country. But now she ’s seeing interest in Asia to invest in French tech startups. She attributes this to France’s strong engineers converging with the country’s creative industry, including cinema, design and 3D animation.

Nurturing Women Founders

Korelya has been investing in startups for one year and has met with more than 250 companies however, less than 10% are founded by women.

“I’d love to invest in companies founded by women, but the problem is there are so few,” says Pellerin. “I might have a bias because my focus is on technology companies, and most of the founders are people with engineering backgrounds. The proportion of women in top engineering schools is low. This probably explains why you have fewer women founders in the digital tech ecosystem. Out of the six companies in my portfolio, one is founded by a woman.” 

Fortunately, there are many groups bringing more women into the French Tech ecosystem, such as StartHer, Girls in Tech Paris and Paris Pionnières. 

With a membership comprised of 50% women and 50% men, Paris Pionnières is the most inclusive incubator in Paris. They’ve come a long way. When the organization launched in 2005, there were only three incubators in Paris at the time.

Paris Pionnières currently runs three startup programs. One that’s exclusively for women is a bootcamp designed to help women “release their entrepreneurial spirit,” as well as test and pitch their startup ideas.

“We’re having great impact in Paris, but in other parts of France the situation is not so good,” says Paris Pionnières managing director Caroline Ramade. “In other parts of the country, 10% of startups are founded by a woman. We also need to scale the ambition internationally.” 

 

With Community Comes Confidence

Audrey-Laure Bergentha is the president of French Tech in her region in the south of Lyon. Her startup Euveka created the first robot able to instantly produce any human being’s size and shape to support the fashion industry, sports, security, and film in the mass customization revolution. The technology is so intelligent it’s able to replicate the body’s aging process, as well as how a woman’s body changes during pregnancy. 

“We [startups] have strong support by the government,” says Bergentha.”

If we are small we can feel big and strong because we have a lot of help, mentoring and advising. The French Embassy brought us to the American market. They’ve also helped us find funding.” 

Bergentha and her team mentor young women entrepreneurs. When asked what she shares with these aspiring female founders she said: “I tell them not to be afraid as I’ve been. It took me too many years to have confidence in myself. I don’t want them to be as slow as I have been. I was my worst enemy because I had no images to refer to, and the way a woman builds a business is totally different than the way men build businesses. I am lucky now that I have two women mentors that have helped me build my vision and have trust in myself. Our [women’s] main problem is lack of confidence.” 

Viva La French Tech Visa

As part of French Tech’s mission to lure talent into the ecosystem, the initiative created the French Tech visa to encourage foreigners to develop their startups in France. The visa is good for a year and places recipients in the incubators of French Tech partners.

France’s Station F, the largest startup campus in the world, is one of them. Home to 1,000 startups and several incubators including its own, the Founder Program, the organization’s management team is 60% women. Additionally, 40% of Founder Program startups are run by women. 

As for the inclusion of women in industries outside of the tech sector, Pellerin is hopeful.  

In 2011, France’s parliament gave final approval on a law forcing large companies to reserve at least 40% of their boardroom positions for women within six years.

“The law was criticized when passed, but now proving to be very efficient,” says Pellerin. “These sort of initiatives create an environment and mindset that will impact all the other sectors.” 

All the French wine, Chanel bags, and foie gras in the world can’t top that. 

How do you feel about the steps thses women have taken to close the Gender Gap in France? Sound off in the comments below!!

WIT: Women in tech share painful stories about getting paid less than the guy working next to them

 

 

By Julie Bort of Business Insider

Imagine coming home from your favorite grocery store and discovering your neighbor shops at the same store, buys the same items — and still pays about 20% less than you do. And when you complain, you’re told that there’s nothing anyone can do, that it’s just the way things are for people like you, despite any laws to the contrary.

How would you feel about this store? Somewhere between disillusioned and duped? Would you still shop there? Think about this analogy as you consider how women are still paid less than men, even for the same work.
Tuesday is Equal Pay day, intended to to bring awareness to the pay gap.

A new report from job-hunting site Hired found that in the tech industry, the gap begins at the get-go. Hired found that 63% of the time, men are offered higher salaries than women for the same role at the same tech company. On average, these companies offer women 4% less than men for the same role, with some offering women up to 45% less.

If there’s some good news in Hired’s report it’s this: San Francisco, a major tech hub, has the smallest pay gap. That may be influenced by San Francisco’s largest tech employer, Salesforce. The cloud computing company has adjusted its payroll twice now, raising women’s salaries to keep them equal.
The second time occurred thanks to all the companies it acquired, CEO Mark Benioff recently told me during an on stage interview at the company’s annual developer’s conference.

Chasing Grace

 

The pay gap is one reason why, after years of covering all the problems women in tech face in their careers, I have decided to become an advisor to something called The Chasing Grace Project, a video documentary series about women in tech that I will provide editorial advice to. (Disclosure: this is a fully volunteer gig, with no compensation of any kind for me — no pay, no perks, no reimbursements, no equity. The project does have some corporate sponsors including the Linux Foundation, Cloud Foundry and Intel, but is independent of them.)

Chasing Grace (named after Grace Hopper, the computer programming pioneer) is a new documentary series shedding light on the struggles of real women and offering as many answers as it can.

It’s a labor of love by Jennifer Cloer, co-founder of Wicked Flicks Productions. Cloer is well-known in the tech industry for her six years running communications for the Linux Foundation, the granddaddy of open source foundations. And open source, despite its kumbaya work ethic, is a decidedly bro club: 97% male and notoriously hostile, a recent GitHub survey found.

The initial episode of Chasing Grace dives into the pay gap and how an infuriatingly unfair system causes an emotional and economic toll.

It documents the stories of several women in tech, including engineers, business people and founders. It shows how they discovered their male peers were getting paid far more than them and how that information threatened to derail their careers.

For instance, in one case the company gave a job offer to an entry-level man that was more money than it was paying a senior woman who had spent years building the company.

One of the women interviewed explained the solution simply: “Don’t lowball her. Give her the fair pay. You know what it is.”

Helping or hurting?

There are those who argue that business shouldn’t pay people equally based on some people’s idea of morality or fairness. Doing such a thing would raise costs and hurt the company.

The counter argument is that by basing pay on what people look like, rather than what they do, a company is hurting itself. Messing with people’s pay creates resentment among employees and drives away top people.

Some researchers say there’s a societal benefit as well.

Across industries, closing the pay gap could add more than $512 billion to the U.S. economy and cut poverty almost in half, according to research from the Institute for Women’s Policy. Doing that would reduce the need for taxpayer-based public assistance.
Even for women in tech who are in the higher-tier of professional compensation, and nowhere near the poverty line, disparities in pay can take a long-term toll on lives and families, says Clair Wasserman, co-founder of Ladies Get Paid, a networking group for women.

“White women are losing about $500,000 over the course of their lifetime over the course of their career. Women of color are losing $1 million,” Wasserman says in Chasing Grace episode one.

That’s the cost of paying off a house.

So on Tuesday, if you are a woman, or you are married to a woman, or you have daughters, mothers, aunts, sisters or female cousins, then you may be motivated to show your support for Equal Pay Day by wearing red to work. Tweeting your support to #equalpayday is a nice gesture, too.

Obviously, outfits and tweets won’t solve the problem but bringing the discussion to work is a place to begin.

The Chasing Grace Project will also tackle other issues concerning women in tech. It is currently available only to private screenings. Cloer is hoping to negotiate a national distribution deal and will eventually release the project online.

Here’s a clip:

Weekly Round Up 4/13/18

 

 

Acting like an entitled douche bag didn’t help F*ckerberg’s case when he appeared in front of Congress this week, either.
Facebook is the least-trusted tech company by a country mile

This is some scary sh*t people…
I Downloaded the Information That Facebook Has on Me. Yikes.

Facebook is the front runner right now, but time will tell.
Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft: Which Tech Giant Will Fall First?

Touche’
Here’s why tech companies abuse our data: because we let them

Maybe if they add more female leadership? Just a thought…
How to fix the big tech backlash? Build companies with purpose

Oracle gets it.
Tech Moves: Jenny Lam joins Oracle as design SVP; Starbucks engineering VP joins DefinedCrowd; and more

Here’s an idea…how about we celebrate these companies when they eliminate the pay gap altogether?
12 tech companies with the smallest pay gaps

I swear to God, if there is a way to milk money out of a fence post, these guys would probably do it.
Big tech companies think they can make a lot of money from the world’s unbanked

Weekly Round Up 4/6/18

 


Thank you.

Why tech titans need an empathy handbook


From bad to worse…

FACEBOOK EXPOSED 87 MILLION USERS TO CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA


Oh, well, that makes it ok then. What a douche…

Zuckerberg says most Facebook users should assume they have had their public info scraped

Damn it, Zuckerberg! Leave my dog alone!
Is technology driving your pet insane?

Not really news to those of us currently working in the tech sector.
As women in tech gain experience, their pay gap with men gets worse

Sometimes, technology is the best drug…
Tech neck, texting thumb: Our bad tech habits leave us in pain. Here’s how to feel better

I’m just gonna file this one under, “Duh! Of course they are!”
IS THE U.S. GOVERNMENT SPYING ON YOU? WHY ‘STINGRAY’ TECH IS SO CONTROVERSIAL

Wouldn’t it be great if this technology worked on members of Congress?
Galaxy-hunting tech used to stop poachers hunting endangered animals

WIT: Women In Tech: Educated, Ambitious And Underpaid

 

By Laurence Bradford , CONTRIBUTOR of Forbes.com

As Women’s History Month nears its close in 2018, many people have been reflecting on the struggles women have faced in the past and the strides they are making toward changing the future.

Tech is one area of specific interest here, as it’s a place where women have traditionally been under-represented. But is that changing too?

Let’s find out. Using data from several large tech surveys, I’ll examine the current state of women in tech and see where things stand.

More Women Are Learning To Code Than Ever

 

While tech has historically been a male-dominated industry, there’s a new generation of women who aren’t intimidated by that fact. According to HackerRank’s Women in Tech report, women now represent the highest number of new CS grads and junior developers (53%) entering the workforce.

What’s more, women often learn to code as young teenagers: almost as many women learned before the age of 16 as men who did the same.

Further illustrating the evidence for the shifting demographics of coding as a profession, twice as many women as men have been coding two years or less. Once these women enter the workforce, we will likely see other statistics continue to shift as well.

The tides are turning, but for now, men still vastly outnumber women in tech careers. As an example, look at the demographics of the respondents to Stack Overflow’s 2018 developer survey: nearly 93% were male.

(But There Is Still A Gender Pay Gap In Computing)

Many industries still suffer from a gender pay gap, despite rising public awareness of the issue. Tech is one of them.

In fact, according to LiveStories’ data for the Computer and Mathematical category, the pay gap was actually worse in 2016 than it had been in 2005. Their numbers are based on income statistics from the United States Census Bureau. Women in computers in 2005 earned 87% as much as their male counterparts, but by 2016, it had fallen to 85%.

Women Prioritize The Skills Employers Want

 

As the data demonstrates, women in tech are overwhelmingly practical.

They tend to pursue proficiency in the languages most in-demand and valued by employers.

Specifically, the top 5 programming languages that most women have proficiency in are,
Java (69%)
JavaScript (63%)
C (61%)
C++ (53%)
Python (45%)

These are the exact same languages that companies value most in front-end, back-end and full-stack developers.

(But Women Are More Likely To Hold Junior Positions)

 

Despite the fact that women have skills in demand by employers, Hackerrank found that women of all ages were more likely to hold junior positions than their male counterparts. The difference was especially striking for women over 35, who were 3.5x more likely to be in junior roles.

It’s unclear whether women are being passed over for promotions out of implicit bias or because of life events–like having children–that stall the journey into senior positions.

However, there are plenty of inspiring women out there who demonstrate that you can have multiple life paths–like Vidya Srinivasan, who defied workplace stereotypes while pregnant and then successfully integrated back to work after maternity leave.

Furthermore, tech companies who are willing to offer fertility benefits like egg freezing enable women to pursue their professional goals during the crucial growth years, without sacrificing family if that’s something they want in the future.

What Women Value In The Workplace

 

As part of Stack Overflow’s annual survey, they ask participating developers what they prioritize while searching for a job. The most popular answers differ when broken down by gender.

When assessing a prospective job, women say their highest priorities are company culture and opportunities for professional development, while men say their highest priorities are compensation and working with specific technologies.

The fact that women actively seek out professional development opportunities shows that there is desire among women to progress to higher roles. They simply need companies who will support their quest to do so.


Laurence Bradford is a product manager at Teachable and the creator of Learn to Code With Me, a blog and podcast for those wanting to transition into a tech career later in life.

WIT: How to make Women’s Day every day in tech

 

By Petra Andrea of Financial Review

It’s 2018, which means we have fridges that are probably better at planning our groceries than we are. We’ve found new planets that could potentially harbour life, and we’re eating stem-cell-produced medium-rare steak burgers without a trace of steak in them.

Innovation in tech and science is creating a whole new world of possibilities at an almost alarming rate. And yet there’s still one area of technology that seems stubbornly untouched by progress: persistent gender inequality in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Multiple reports indicate that women hold just under a third of all IT jobs, and less than 10 per cent of technology jobs in Australia. Female tech entrepreneurs are outnumbered by their male counterparts at a rate of about four to one.
So why is so much progress being made within laboratories and workshops around the country in terms of tech innovation, and yet so little is being made on the gender inequality front?

Below are some of the ways women in technology continue to be held back – and what might be done to address them:

1) Problems in the playpen

Walking down any toy-shop aisle, it’s hard to miss the vast difference between the toys marketed for boys, and those aimed at girls.

Aside from the glaring colour differences – who knew pink came in so many different shades? – girls’ toys are more generally associated with domesticity, physical attractiveness and nurturing. Boys’ toys, on the other hand, are largely more functional – tools for building, creating and achieving. They promote skills in mathematical, engineering and scientific fields in a way the pink cohort sadly doesn’t.

And while a plastic pink tea set doesn’t have to be destiny, there is evidence that this type of early gendered socialisation creates a variety of social and economic consequences that can extend into adulthood. Research demonstrates it can contribute to the education gap in schools, it can affect a child’s choice in tertiary majors and it can even guide his or her future occupational choice.

It may be challenging to influence the purchasing preference of any three-year-old. However, non-gendered toys and STEM toys made especially for girls, are both now on the rise. From friendship bracelets that require programming (“Jewelbots”), to dolls houses with building kits complete with circuits and motors that allow girls to light up the structures they build themselves (“Roominate”), choices are increasing, parents may be relieved to know.

2) Schoolyard blues

Australia’s STEM education gender gap isn’t news to anyone.
Only 16 per cent of STEM-qualified people are female, according to a report by the Office of the Chief Scientist. Just one-10th of engineering graduates are women, and a quarter of IT graduates. Women also occupy less than 20 per cent of senior researcher positions in Australian universities and research institutes.

Dealing with a “boys’ club” culture in the classroom or lab of these degrees, a lack of encouragement into these fields by peers, family or professors, even low levels of female STEM representation in popular culture, all contribute to the ongoing socialisation and pressure on women away from these pursuits.
To address this, institutions must question how their learning environment contributes to or detracts from building interest in women for STEM degrees, and supporting them within the classroom and beyond.

3) A vicious VC cycle
For those women who have overcome a lifetime of socialisation, the challenges unfortunately don’t stop there. Only 5 per cent of female founders of tech start-ups are funded – a gender bias in venture capital that is seriously hurting our female tech entrepreneurs’ capacity to succeed.

This issue can actually be exacerbated when a female founder is seeking funding for a more “masculine” technology. Female founders seeking capital for “women’s” or “children’s” products, such as baby products or fashion platforms, are often far more likely to receive funding than those seeking capital for deeply technological and highly proprietary products.

This is indicative of a blatant subjectivity at play. The subtlety of some of the forces driving this are also likely to make it a challenging issue to address.
Internal bias (experienced by both men and women) can cause scepticism about a woman’s ability to manage a high-growth-potential start-up. This could be as ludicrous as believing women don’t have “what it takes” to make a tech-based start-up succeed, or concerns about balancing family with work. The sense of “sameness” that attracts us to people who are similar to us can also strongly weigh in subconsciously, with the majority of VCs being male.

In the end, tackling gender inequality in tech is likely to require multiple campaigns by numerous stakeholders targeting different individual issues across the entire life cycle of a woman’s childhood, education and career.
But if we can find artificial intelligence applications for the humble pizza delivery, surely resolving gender disparity on our own turf shouldn’t be considered an insurmountable challenge.

Do you think these suggestions will work for the US? Sound off in the comments below!

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