Blog Archives

The NWEN First Look Forum: early-bird advice

Update: the final deadline is August 23.
Rebecca Lovell’s The Art of the One-Page App has some very helpful advice
Don’t delay! Apply today!

  • If you’ve launched an innovative business with growth potential….
  • And you’re looking for expert coaching and some exposure to the investment community….
  • And you have not yet presented your plan to an angel group membership or VC partnership…

…then NWEN’s First Look Forum could be the perfect opportunity for you!

Indeed!  Dog food, e-forks and other ideas in TechFlash, Software Vs. Medical Startups: Online Travel Is the Winner in XConomy , Why We’re Shouting “Thank You” from the Rooftops, and For the Love of the Craft on Qworky’s blog tell the story of April’s finals, where Mikal’s awesome 5-minute presentation got Qworky to the top five.  We also participated last fall, when we made it to the round of 20 and got some great feedback, calibration, and connections.  It’s a great event, and was really worth the time and energy we invested.

The next FLF is fast approaching, and the application deadline is August 18 has been extended to August 23.  Submitting by the early-bird deadline of August 2 gives an extra round of feedback and a bonus shmoozing opportunity at the “Early-bird reception”. If you’re potentially seeking for angel funding in the next six months or so,  it’s worth investing the time to put together a one-page executive summary.  The application form and the full schedule are on NWEN’s site.

Event chair Rochelle Whelan and NWEN executive director Rebecca Lovell asked me to be part of the volunteer organizing committee to represent the entrepeneurs’ perspective.  My pleasure!  And when I think back on my perspective back when Sally, Mikal, and I were first thinking about applying application, the word that springs to mind is “uncertain”: did it make sense for us to participate?   If we went for it, how to maximize the value we get from participating and our chances of doing well?  Presumably others are in the same boat.

So I’d like to pass on some excellent advice we got from our advisors and a learning from our own experience.  And if other past participants have suggestions, please drop them in the comments.

Continue Reading »

Uncategorized

Comments (6)

Permalink

What would it mean if women were paid as much as men? (DRAFT)

Draft! Please do not link here!

Update, April 20: Rrevised version has been posted on Qworky’s blog, Better Software/Better World

Continue Reading »

political
Professional
qworky
social sciences

Comments (3)

Permalink

DRAFT: Want to make meetings better? Qworky is recruiting for a diverse open source project!

Update, December 17:  Thanks to all for the excellent feedback, here and in email!

I’ll be splitting this into two posts, which will appear on the Qworky blog

Thanks also to those who expressed interest … if you’d like to get involved, stay tuned — or get in touch via the contact information at the bottom of the post.

As a company we view diversity as a vital ingredient to sustained business success.  We value unique perspectives and traditionally under-represented viewpoints in the software design process. We welcome collaborators from every walk of life. We welcome people of any gender identity and expression, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, experience level, discipline, educational background, culture, and political opinion.

— Qworky’s draft diversity statement
Continue Reading »

Professional
qworky

Comments (11)

Permalink

Social network activism and the future of civil liberties

Also posted on The Seminal and Pam’s House Blend

The most recent skirmish on the Patriot Act reauthorization battle ended badly for civil liberties.   Despite passionate speeches all around in the Senate Judiciary Committee public hearings and classified briefings, in the end, only Senators Feingold, Durbin, and Specter stood up for the Constitution. As Marcy Wheeler says, we got rolled.

At the same time, though, the social network activism I discussed in Can Skittles fix the Patriot Act? and on the Get FISA Right blog highlights the opportunity to broaden and recharge the civil liberties community.

Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Care2, OFA and other social network sites:

  • provide a way to engage with Millennials and other diverse groups of people who care a lot about the Patriot Act — but are not currently involved with civil liberties activism.
  • make it easy for people to let their politicians know their feelings — and recruit their friends in the process.
  • allow civil liberties organizations to get beyond the media blackout and provide accurate information to everybody.
  • complement in-person local campaigns like People’s Campaign for the Constitution’s local ordinances and good ol’ fashioned letters-to-the-editor

It’s a powerful narrative.  Social network sites epitomize the wave of the future, Obama’s strength in 2008, and youth.  They’re overwhelmingly in favor of civil liberties.  And civil liberties supporters are getting organized there.  As we continue to make progress, every political consultant and politician thinking about a primary or general election challenge in 2010 or 2012 will be paying attention.

Social network activism for civil liberties has made great progress so far.  Some simple steps from organizations and bloggers can take things to the next level.  Before getting to the suggestions, though, I’d like to discuss the diversity aspects in a little more detail.
Continue Reading »

political
social computing
Tales from the Net

Comments (3)

Permalink

Meetings, diversity, and opportunity (DRAFT)

Draft!  Work in progress!  Feedback, please …

Continue Reading »

Uncategorized

Comments (2)

Permalink

Diversity and technology conferences, part 1: the Government 2.0 Expo

We received 189 valid proposals for talks at Expo Showcase.  A few people, men and women, submitted two proposals, but the vast majority submitted just one.  Of these 189, only 41 (or 22% of the total) were from women, with 147 proposals submitted by men.  I have no reason in particular to offer for this. Perhaps women would like to comment on this blog about why a two month open call for proposals for anyone with a good idea for a five minute talk about Government 2.0 was dominated by 78% men.

— Mark Drapeau’s Government 2.0 Expo: Women by the Numbers

The women in technology community has been doing a great job of highlighting lack of diversity in conference speakers, using mechanisms like the #diversityfail Twitter hashtag and act.ly.   Mark’s post provides some interesting data on how an O’Reilly conference he’s co-chairing wound up with more than two-thirds of the presenters being male.  While I’m not actually a woman, I’d nonetheless like to take him up on his invitation for discussion about how the submission process became so male-dominated.

Continue Reading »

political
social sciences

Comments (27)

Permalink

Qworky: the adventure begins!

Welcome to Qworky!

Pardon our construction, we’re busy designing software to revolutionize the way people work together.

Software doesn’t have to suck. Instead, it should fit in smoothly with your work life — and make you more efficient so that you can get your weekends back. By listening to you and focusing on your needs as an end user, and working closely with a diverse community throughout the design process, we’ll build products that work with how people get their jobs done today.

the Qworky web site

The startup I’ve been hinting at for the last couple months finally has a name. w00t! We’re at a very early stage: just starting the research phase for Qworky Meetings, the codename for our first product. In parallel, we’re working on creating our community, deciding on our technology base, putting together a business plan, and developing our strategies.

Continue Reading »

Professional
qworky

Comments (7)

Permalink

A #diversityfail as an opportunity: guys talking to guys who talk about guys

How can an entrepeneur planning a startup that’s going to develop some revolutionary software that relates to how people work together discover truly game-changing product and business model possibilities?  One approach is to look at a situation in a different way than everybody else.  Easier said than done, typically … unless you’re lucky enough to discover a collective blindspot in current thinking.

Scott Page’s book The Difference highlights the importance of diversity in situations like this. The way I think of it is that a non-diverse crowd will fail to explore a lot of the possibilities.  Strategically the best opportunties are likely to be in the areas that the are getting marginalized today.  So whenever I see a #diversityfail related to the “web 2.0” and mobile technology/business world, my ears perk up and I start paying attention.

2009-07-08_1145

Continue Reading »

Professional
social sciences

Comments (80)

Permalink

New strategies for fighting FISA and the PATRIOT Act

The notes from the “birds-of-a-feather” session I led at Computers, Freedom, and Privacy are written up on the CFP Wiki. Alas, we didn’t get the online aspects to work; still, we had a dozen people there in person, including Get FISA Right members Thomas Nephew and Chip Pitts. It was a great discussion. The opportunities we identified include

  • building a broad, diverse coalition
  • focusing on cost, dignity, and human rights issues as well as privacy and the constitution
  • using anti-corporate activism against the companies supplying equipment and profiting from surveillance
  • involving the technical community and domain experts

and a lot more. We also discussed some of the tactical issues about the upcoming PATRIOT Act vote: the need for an accurate vote count; a pressure campaign on key Congresspeople like Jane Harman, Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, and Harry Reid; and the importance of powerful visual images.

Check it out!

jon

political
Tales from the Net

Comments Off on New strategies for fighting FISA and the PATRIOT Act

Permalink

#p2 and prioritizing diversity: background reading for Thursday’s tweeting

#p2 tweeting* Thursday April 30

7-8PM Pacific/10-11PM Eastern
Draft agenda and discussion here
Please join us!

#p2 logoTwitter is an opportunity to engage with communities currently marginalized by the “progressive blogosphere”

— Tracy Viselli and Jon Pincus, The #p2 Hashtag and Strategies for Progressives on Twitter on The Exception

#p2 is a resource for progressives who prioritize diversity and empowerment

— #p2’s wiki and Twitter profile

Because #p2 (aka “progressives 2.0”) is the closest thing to a broad communication mechanism for progressives on Twitter so far, I’m not sure how many people realize that the primary focus is on diversity. So here’s some background reading about #p2 for Thursday’s tweeting  on how progressives can organize more effectively on Twitter.

Let’s start with a question that I think doesn’t get asked enough.

Do progressives care about diversity?

Continue Reading »

political
social computing

Comments (2)

Permalink

Equal Pay Day: #fairpay and Women don’t ask

Blog for fair payAccording to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2007 the ratio of women’s and men’s median annual earnings reached almost 78 cents on the dollar for full-time year-round workers, up from just under 77 cents in 2006. This is the narrowest the wage gap has ever been, but it’s only an additional one cent on the dollar. One cent is chump change. It isn’t real change.

— from AAUW’s Equal Pay Day, April 28

African-American women earn 62¢ and Latinas earn 53¢ for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men. #fairpay #fem2 #p2

— @NWLC on Twitter

One of President Obama’s first actions in late January was signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law.  That’s only a first step, though; the next battle in the fight against wage discrimination is the Paycheck Fairness Act.  The PFA updates the 45-year-old Equal Pay Act in many important ways, and passed the House with strong bipartisan support, and is currently before the Senate as S.182.

The AAUW’s site has a bunch of ways you can help: call your Senators, wear red,* blog about it, share on Facebook and join their group and cause, and tweet about it using the #fairpay hashtag.  It’s all important; do as much as you can.  There are a couple of things I’d specifically like to highlight.

Let’s start with Twitter, where this is another great opportunity for hashtag-based diversity activism.  Activity via #fairpay accomplishes several things.  Most obviously, it raises awareness: whenever you tweet, all your followers are reminded of the wage gap.  If some of the Twitterati start retweeting, or there’s enough activity that #fairpay winds up in the top 10 “trending” hashtags, a lot more people will see it.  So tweet away!  If you’re not sure what to say, the National Women’s Law Center has some tweeting points you can use as inspiration.

Continue Reading »

political
social computing
social sciences

Comments (4)

Permalink

Cognitive evolution and revolution, part 1: #polc09 and a #diversityfail

Intersectionality and you

Opening slide from early draft of Hashtags at #polc09

Politics Online (1, 2) was a great conference, at least from my perspective.  Starting with the opening session by Secretaries of State Debra Bowen and Jennifer Brunner, every session I went to had great content.   It was a wonderful opportunity to meet friends and colleagues in-person, many for the first time,* and to be on a panel with people like Judith Donath and Clive Thompson.   And of course was also a good chance to continue the Twitter *is* a strategy debate and explore progressives’ bizarre resistance to embrace social network activism; more on that soon.

First, though, I’d like to follow up on the experiment in cognitive evolution and revolution I kicked off in the opening panel.
Continue Reading »

meta
political
social computing

Comments (25)

Permalink