Friday, March 11, 2011

Where Are the Women in Tech ... Karaoke?

Folks who know me know that I like women, tech, and business, and perhaps with some connection between the topics spend more than statistically average thinking about why there are not more women in tech and business and discussing said topic w/ friends and associates.

Thus, when I read MG Siegler's post entitled There Will Be Karaoke: SXSW RVIP Goes East Coast Vs. West Coast Vs. Press Vs. Investors, I couldn't help notice that among seven singers representing four constituencies, that it was all dudes.

Now I realize that most of the reasons for the lack of women in tech and business are systemic (dearth of women in engineering, MBA programs, finance, senior executive positions across the Fortune 500, etc. etc.), and also that there is a lot of backlash that asking about the number of women in tech is the wrong question.

But seriously folks.  This is karaoke.  Can anyone seriously say anything in defense of a karaoke event being all dudes?  

How about looking at it from another perspective: when was the last time you went to a karaoke event that was all dudes, anywhere? (other than a fraternity or one of those fraternity-equivalent-finals-club-thingies in The Social Network)  Talk about low-hanging fruit for having women visibly involved on the tech scene (and for the haters, I'm hardly suggesting that karaoke should be a woman's place or goal in tech, but if you look at who the other participants are you'll see this is hardly about fluff)

Besides the sheer mind-numbing obviousness of it from a PR point of view (at least to me), let's look at the self-interest involved.  I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that maybe, juuust maybe, a guy and a girl together could sing a broader range of songs than two guys alone, and that maybe, just maaaybe, that would be an advantage in a karaoke competition?  To paraphrase MG Siegler's "There Will Be Karaoke" title, where there is karaoke, There Will Be Celine Dion.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Twitter and the Danger of Listening Out of Context

You know that guy that overhears a line of your conversation and jumps in, with the completely wrong context?  With Twitter we are all That Guy - or least the barrier to being That Guy is dropped waaaay lower.

I was just reviewing @christinacaci's tweetstream to decide whether to follow her (I did), when I read this one:

@ I also saw a few parks trending on Foursquare this afternoon, which seems a solid indication of springtime.

I was about to give her shit a la "you know you're in a social media bubble when you use Foursquare to tell the weather"- b/c seriously, who uses Foursquare to tell the weather? b/c I was feeling snarky after finding a time to catch up with her had involved more reschedules than a NY airport in a Xmas blizzard, although in her defense I've been guilty for a couple of the reschedules and she's been incredibly gracious about it - until I saw the context of the conversation and noted that the person she was talking to was a) the head of product at Foursquare, and b) had just made a comment ending in "Screw you Winter!"  Suddenly her tweet made so much more sense, was so much more nuanced than originally perceived to be, and wiped away all snarkiness to the point I felt bad about even the mildly-ribbing tweet I'd made about 4Sq having a new use case - telling the weather.

11:26PM, March 2, 2010.  Note to self: you're already pretty good at being That Guy; be double careful on Twitter!