Browsing Tag

startup

News

Female Founders Continue to Rock EdTech

With such a pressing need for innovation and with education being a traditionally female-dominated field, Johnston Rue wouldn’t be surprised if more female founders gravitate toward the niche, expanding on the impressive work they’re already doing.

[ via Women 2.0 ]

News

The Rise of Female Chief Operating Officers: Meet Tech Cocktail’s Jen Consalvo

I see far more male-dominated startups, fewer female-led companies getting funded and lots of gender issues play out across the startup world. Because there are no corporate policies making it really clear not to offend people, startup world is a bit more like a school playground – and people get really stupid. It’s forced me to look honestly at my own behavior and attitudes and admit when I’m trying to fit in with the status quo versus speaking out to create change.

[ via Forbes ]

News

Programming a woman’s job, if you make it appealing

Globally, a series of paid internships are in the works to support Rails Girls students to consolidate and extend their skills. Similar to the Google “Summer of Code” program, the Rails Girls Summer of Code internships will see Rails Girls graduates working with a mentor on an open-source project over a three month period.

[ Via Women’s Agenda ]

Profiles

STEMinist Profile: Alicia Liu, Co-founder, CelebJuicer

Alicia Liu

Co-founder

CelebJuicer



What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
I had an early inclination towards technology, since my dad is a software engineer. I knew it was a viable and rewarding career path. I started building websites and designing interfaces in Photoshop in high school. When I was applying for university in 2001, it was shortly after the dot-com bust. At that time, a lot of people were turned off by careers in high tech. I figured that even if I decided to pursue a career in something else, having a background in computer technology would always come in handy, because everyone uses computers to do their jobs. So I got a degree in computer engineering, which turned out to be a good decision.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
I’m working on a project CelebJuicer.com right now, which provides bite-sized entertainment in the form of celebrity Twitter conversations. Even for people who don’t follow celebrities, the site has some very funny content that’s easy to miss otherwise. After focusing mainly on enterprise software for many years, this site has been a lot of fun for me to
design and build.

Role models/heroes:
Someone I discovered recently is Sandy Lerner, cofounder of Cisco. She was profiled in the 2011 documentary Something Ventured. She is the only woman to appear in the film, which chronicles the history of the beginnings of venture capitalism in Silicon Valley from the 60’s through the 80’s. She relays the difficulties of being a technical woman in a leadership position in a tech company at the time, how she didn’t neatly fit into a box (prescribed female roles), and was ousted in a similar manner to Steve Jobs, and was fired by the same VC that fired Jobs. She went on to found and sell a cosmetics company, and is now an advocate for organic farming and other philanthropic efforts.

Why do you love working in STEM?
Being able to have an idea and then making it happen is very rewarding and empowering. There are so many opportunities for all kinds of learning. Often the impression is that software developers are holed up coding in a cubicle all day, but in reality there is a lot of collaboration and creativity involved in the process. I’d like to see women not just as consumers of technology but as creators. We need more of those.

Advice for future STEMinists?
I hear from women who started learning programming, but give up because they think it was too hard. I think anything worth doing is hard. You have to be persistent if you think it’s a worthwhile endeavor. It took me many years to think I was good at programming. Women tend to give themselves less credit than they deserve.

Favorite website/app:
Amazon.com – it’s so convenient, especially since I don’t have a car anymore. I also interned there as a software development engineer, and had the opportunity to learn a lot about the disparate parts that combine to make the largest e-commerce company.

Twitter: @aliciatweet
Website: alicialiu.net

Profiles

STEMinist Profile: Jen McCabe, CEO & Cofounder, Habit Labs

Jen McCabe

Jen McCabe

CEO, Cofounder
Habit Labs

What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
I was obsessed with biology, particularly zoology, as a kid. For a long time, I thought I’d be the next Dr. Eugenie Clark. Before buying my first pet, a yellow rosella budgie named Sunshine, I researched parakeets – their behavior, habitats, etc. for months. I think my mom still has that folder somewhere. I was in 2nd grade, so some of the spelling may be off…

I read constantly and my favorite series were about animals and science fiction – first I devoured anything about horses (of course) and later Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonrider novels about genetically engineered fire lizards that human colonists use to create empathic dragons that bond with their rider. We’re talking really geeky stuff here.

I was sure I’d do something with animals, like vet school. I was always picking up strays. But then after a car accident I fell in love with human healing. The body and mind as machines that work in tandem fascinate me. It took me a while to figure out I’m not cut out to be a doc (although organic chemistry was a pretty good road block). Then I worked in healthcare management and administration – really boring stuff – before starting to develop freakish theories about consumer engagement in wellness and individual behavior change. Only a tech startup would give me the room needed to play fast and loose with multiple hypotheses about why people want to change, but hardly ever do.

Role models and heroes:
Victoria Claflin Woodhull, the first female candidate for President. Rosalind Franklin, the dark lady of DNA. Wilhelm Rontgen, who invented xray tech and open-sourced it way before open-sourcing was cool. My mom, who is a behavioral health RN, aka Supernurse. My sister, who is a former aeronautical engineer who is engineering a family of 3 kids (Ellen, Ada, and Boden) in Virginia.

Advice for future STEMinists?
Don’t be concerned with prerequisites or rules. These are social hierarchical structures that can be hacked, usually. Demonstrate your competence repeatedly, and then own it. Don’t dilute your value by displaying a lack of confidence in your ability. That said, try not to bludgeon others over the head with it, until it’s time to negotiate pay and bonuses. Don’t ever accept less than ANY counterpart, male or female.

You may have to make sacrifices. Big ones. Still. I wake up every day doing things other women dream about. I am blessed. Acknowledge when you don’t know how to explain your good fortune. Try not to be jealous of the good fortune of others. You are NOT them, whoever they are. Work hard to follow luck whenever she opens a door for you (about 2% of the time) and work your ass off the other 98%. Always ask what you are doing that is in danger of killing project X. If the answer is you, change, or get out. If the answer is anything else, fix it, or tell it to fuck off.

Favorite website or app:
I’m biased towards health apps that are simple, clean in terms of the user experience, and effective at tracking both a new behavior and sustaining a behavior change over time. Other than ours, I’m a new fan of Swole.me. It’s an automatic diet planner built by the Louis DeMenthon, the little brother of one of my YCombinator batchmates, Eric DeMenthon.

I also love 23andMe for making genetics consumer friendly. They’re revolutionaries, although I’ll be much happier when they move from a SNP method to whole genome sequencing. I think we’re still sort of taking a Polaroid of our genomic expression, like a still life, and as soon as we’ve captured it, it’s probably out of date. When we have an app that shows us our own whole genome with complete, constant sequencing in real time – then I’ll get *really* excited.

Twitter: @jensmccabe
Site: habitlabs.com