Its Makeover Time

I came across this picture on the  Little Miss Geek website, a project  that aims to inspire school age girls to want to become tech pioneers.

This is the face of an IT person through the eyes of 10 year old Lila. No wonder little girls aren’t beating down the doors of computing classes. But if this is the stereotype that still reigns about tech lovers, the question is why. I think most women would say some of the biggest names in tech, like Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams are pretty easy on the eyes. Even David Karp, founder of Tumblr just starred in a J.Crew ad campaign. And we can’t forget women like Marissa Mayer, with her penchant for full, brightly colored and printed skirts, or Sheryl Sandberg of the perfectly tailored suits and sheath dresses who appeared in the pages of Vogue

The old-school code or die nerd stereotype isn’t the only one that still has its grip, especially on younger generations. Many women still believe the work will be dull and uncreative and their roles will not give them flexibility. Clearly the tech industry needs an image overhaul.

For my digital girls out there, what made you go into the industry and what do you love most about it? Spreading the word is a surefire way to start changing the perception of your industry.

Malikah Kelly is an e-commerce and digital communications pro and Digital Girls Club contributer currently based in Milan, Italy.



Celebrate Ada Lovelace Day


Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) is widely believed to be the world’s first computer programmer. The only legitimate child of the poet Lord Byron and Annabella Milbanke, young Ada followed in her mother’s footsteps and began studying math, which was quite uncommon for a lady in that time. Ada’s notes (which were longer than the actual book!) on a translation of The Analytic Engine by Luigi Menabrea, an Italian engineer, showed a profound understanding programming analytics, even deeper that the ideas of the original author. She saw beyond the document she was assigned to translate, realizing that what would eventually be called the computer could have a use outside of mathematical calculations. Though the engine was not completed in her lifetime, Ada’s notes on the first algorithm to be used on a computer set the stage for the technological systems we all are accustomed to today. Of course there were some haters but Ada’s contributions to modern computing are celebrated each year on Ada Lovelace Day.

If you are in the London area don’t miss Finding Ada  and The Women’s Engineering Society’s event on October 16th, and join in Wikipedia’s Edit-A-Thon in person or online, which will boost the Wiki pages of several  leading ladies in STEM.

Malikah Kelly is an e-commerce and digital communications pro and Digital Girls Club contributer currently based in Milan, Italy.



Amy Jo Martin on innovation in social media and how she became “Digital Royalty”



Women To Watch

These ladies are making waves in the tech industry, introducing innovative programs and lauching online businesses that are changing the world.


                                                    Lisa Utzschneider

                                 VP of Global Advertising Sales - Amazon.com

This Microsoft veteran moved to Amazon.com in 2008, tasked with beefing up the online retailer’s practically non-existent advertising efforts. Since then she has worked to implement innovative strategies to expand that side of the business, making the company a power player in the online advertising arena with over $1 billion in ad revenue. Clearly this woman gets results! They could even be gearing up to take on Google with their Amazon Affiliate Program. Utzschneider will be speaking at today’s Ad Tech conference, where she is expected to share some details about their innovative display advertising programs and related projects currently in development.


                                                   Caterina Fake

                                Co-Founder of Flickr and Hunch.com

Caterina Fake is one of social media’s pioneers, co-founding Flickr, the site that revolutionized photo sharing. After leaving the company she started after its acquisition by Yahoo, Fake created a new site, Hunch.com, which aimed to curate the tastes and preferences of internet users worldwide. But Fake didn’t slow down, even after successfully selling that company to Ebay for a cool $80 million. She recently launched Pinwheel, a new service that “finds and leave notes around the world.” Though still in private Beta, the community seems to love the innovative service, which some are comparing to Flickr for places. Keep your eyes on this one, its sure to explode soon.  



                                                    Jessica Alba

                                    Co-Founder, the Honest Company

The Golden Globe nominated actress embarked on a new path, founding Honest.com in January. Her inspiration? The lack of safe, non-toxic, eco-friendly and affordable products on the markets for families. The new mom spent countless hours researching product lines that would be safe to use on her child. When she couldn’t find anything suitable, she went ahead and started The Honest Company with a dynamic team that includes environmentalist Christopher Gavigan and e-commerce veterans Brian Lee and Sean Kane. The company deliveries bundles of beautifully packaged, non-toxic, eco-friendly products to consumers each month, and a percentage of each sale is donated to Baby2Baby.org. Look out for some rapid expansion and new product development in the upcoming months – the company just landed $27 million in Series A financing.



                                       Jamila Abbas and Susan Oguya

                                                Founders of M-Farm

M-Farm is an innovative service that connects farmers to the global market prices of their crops, letting them buy and sell at the most favorable prices. Jamila Abbas and Susan Oguya (not pictured), two IT professionals launched their company after hearing stories of exploitation of small farmers in their native Kenya. The SMS based service helps farmers easily inquire about prices, in demand crops, and connect with suppliers or vendors of goods. Just 2 years after its launch, M-Farm has empowered 2,000 farmers in Kenya, many of them female, and has expanded their services to offer order management support, as well as group buying and selling tools to encourage collaboration among the smallest businesses. The next steps the company is embarking on include strategic partnerships with 5 NGO’s that currently work with farmers at a grassroots level, with the goal of impacting 10,000 additional farmers in 2012.


                                                     Mena Trott

                                             Founder of Six Apart

Imagine a world in which every would-be blogger first had to learn to code by hand. Mena Trott is the woman who kept that from becoming a reality. Her and her husband created Moveable Type blogging software in 2001, just to make their own hobby easier, but after seeing how instantly popular it became, they dove in full-time. This innovation opened the doors for the blogging revolution, helping create a platform that would enable people to freely share their thoughts, opinions, ideas, and passions. Their company Six Apart, grew rapidly after securing VC funding and acquired several other blogging platforms, including Danga Interactive (the parent company of LiveJournal). In 2010 Six Apart merged with Video Egg, an online advertising network, and is currently a part of Infocom, a Japanese information technology firm. Mena’s passion drove her to create this business, and she continues to engage in her passion daily as a frequent blogger on several sites.



                                                    Hai-Yan Gong

                                           Founder of jiayuan.com

In 2003, then 27 year old Hai-Yan Gong founded a love21cn.com (which she later changed to jiayuan.com) after growing frustrated with the emerging crop of Chinese dating websites, all of which she deemed inefficient. This strong-willed woman had no knowledge of servers or web design and programming, but knew she could build a website better than any of the others on the market. In less than 3 weeks she designed the front pages after a self-taught course, nabbed a programmer and launched the first profile. Gong’s strong entrepreneurial spirit kept her from closing shop, even after receiving job offers from various firms, and an early offer for a 5 million RMB (about $790,000) buyout. Fast forward 8 years later, Jiayuan.com International went public, leaving its founder and current CEO with a net worth of about $70 million. Jiayuan.com is still the biggest Chinese dating site in terms of both active members and revenue, and Gong shows no sign of losing momentum. She recently invested 20 million RMB in Xique.com, a site focusing on wedding planning services for engaged couples.



Where Are All The Women In Tech? On Tumblr!

Tracy Chou,
Google and Facebook Intern turned Software Engineer at Quora

Caroline McCarthy, CNET writer turned Googler

Aubrey Sabala, Googler turned Consumer Marketing at Facebook

Melissa Miranda, Co-Founder of Journly

Lauren Leto, Co-Founder, Texts From Last Night and…