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XX in Tech

Sheryl Sandberg Leads the Tech Pack on Forbes’ Women in Power List

Boss. (Photo: flickr.com/jurvetson)

Forbes has just released its rankings of the world’s 100 most powerful women. Many of the honorees are exactly those you’d expect–German chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. However, the list also serves a kind of unofficial assessment of who’s in and who’s out in the tech business, as well.

Numero uno is, no big surprise here, Sheryl Sandberg (who comes in at no. 10 overall). The brief accompanying profile of Ms. Sandberg notes: Read More

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Our Favorite Startups From Women’s Demo Night, Hosted by New York Tech Meetup and Change the Ratio

Jeanne Pinder, the founder and CEO of Clear Health Costs and Jessica Lawrence, managing director of NYTM at the second Women's Demo Night.

“How different is this room right now, in terms of the percentages of women versus men?” Jessica Lawrence, the managing director of New York Tech Meetup asked the audience at the second Change the Ratio and NYTM Women’s Demo night on Tuesday. She had a point. The crowd gathered at Facebook’s Midtown offices to watch women-run founders demo their startups was diverse in terms of age, race, and ethnicity, yet predominately female.

Ms. Lawrence kicked off the evening by confessing that, even as the event’s organizer and a former Girl Scouts CEO, she had mixed feelings about the self-selecting event. “In some ways,” she said, “having a whole separate stage just for women sometimes kind of defeats the purpose.” Read More

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Are You a Woman in Tech Who Likes Fashion? Well, Get Ready to Justify It

Before you buy that bag, consider how you're going to explain it at the office! (Photo: flickr.com/megleo)

Many of the tech-talking ladies of Silicon Valley, like so many women with discretionary income to burn, love fashion. Only, if this New York Times piece–dubbed “Breaking Tech’s Fashion Taboo”–is any indication, they’re not allowed to just enjoy a thing that they like. No, they must justify it.

Let us start by trotting out a truth apparently universally acknowledged, which is that style is suspect among denizens of the West Coast tech scene (or at least style that doesn’t involve the latest fashion in socks): Read More

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Sexism in Gaming ‘Isn’t a Joke or a Meme,’ Says a Gaming Tournament Founder, Finally

(Photo: IGN)

As a pretty avid Xbox aficianado and also a person with two X chromosomes, this Betabeat reporter was unsurprised to read in the New York Times today about the seriousness of sexism in gaming culture. We gave up using a mic on Xbox Live long ago, the slew of vicious insults hurled at us just for having a girly voice not worth it when we could happily kick friends’ asses on local co-op mode, no slurs necessary.

But the Times‘s piece hammers home just how rampant the degradation is, and it’s pretty jarring. In one video clip embedded in the article, a female gamer’s coach threatens to “smell her” as punishment for losing a round in Cross Assault. It’s not the creepiest thing we’ve ever seen, but it comes damn close.
Read More

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Ex-NBC News Producers Launch theSkimm: a Newsletter for Women to Appear Well-Read Without, Well, Reading

theSkimm

The siren song of Startupland, it appears, has wafted beyond Wall Street and is now calling journalists to its shores. Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin–both twenty-something New Yorkers and former producers at NBC News–left behind their careers in media to found theSkimm. The daily newsletter, which launched today, addresses the modern dilemma of media overload by digesting the news for you. In some instances, regurgitating might be more apt.

The newsletter opens with the story of the day, broken down into bite-sized segments like “What” and “Why,” followed by a short summary of the day’s top stories in a winking, chatty voice organized under rubrics like “What to say on a date” or “What to say at dinner with girlfriends” or “What to say to your boss.”  Read More

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Tina Fey Hosted an NYC Tech Awards for Female Founders Just to Get Out of the House

Tina Fey speaking at L'Oreal's Women in Digital awards ceremony.

At the Gansevoort Hotel last night, L’Oreal celebrated the five female winners of their Next Generation Award Tuesday night, honoring female leaders in the technology industry. The event honored Kathryn Minshew (CEO and founder of The Daily Muse), Doreen Bloch (founder and CEO of Poshly.com), Bettina Hein (founder and CEO of Pixibility), Sarah McIlroy* (founder and CEO of FashionPlaytes.com) and Vivian Rosenthal (founder and CEO of GoldRun).

The evening’s host, Tina Fey, confessed to “less than no knowledge” of the tech world. But Ms. Fey’s motivation for attending the ceremony became quickly obvious. “As a mom of two girls I have to say, I’m particularly glad to be out of the house with no one touching me,” she quipped, eliciting distracted giggles from the audience still focused on Instagraming a photo of the surprise guest. Read More

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Can Marissa Mayer Have It All On a Glass Cliff?

marissa_new4

When the news broke yesterday afternoon that Marissa Mayer would be taking over as Yahoo’s CEO, one detail was left out until long after market hours: Close to midnight last night, Fortune reported that today Ms. Mayer will be starting her new job six months pregnant.

As a 37-year-old, female CEO of a major public tech company, Ms. Mayer was already in a rarefied position. But the latest development is without precedent, leaving tech reporters debating whether pregnancy is a “material fact,” and wondering if it would be covered in Yahoo’s earnings call this afternoon. Read More

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Go Daddy Unsure How Not to Offend the Ladies

More like .NOPE. (Screencap)

Oh Go Daddy, what are we going to do with you? The domain registration company is embarking on a campaign to rehabilitate its frat-tastic public image, and today, the New York Times provides a preview of the commercial that’s meant as an opening salvo. And how, pray tell, are they hoping to convince us?

The spot includes a barely dressed woman, but she is treated in a tongue-in-cheek manner. “Behold Charlene,” intones an announcer. “Charlene is how GoDaddy attracts domain name customers.”

The nymph is joined by an awkward-looking GoDaddy technical employee. “But there is also Carl,” the announcer declares. “Carl is how GoDaddy keeps customers.”

In the unlikely event that that message was too subtle for you, the commercial concludes by saying outright that Go Daddy is, “Charlene on the outside, Carl on the inside.”

Because we are nothing if not generous here at Betabeat, let us offer Go Daddy a spot of free advice: Maybe don’t attempt to solve your lady problems with a commercial that is, basically, the very definition of the double standard? Here’s what that voiceover says to us: “Ladies are for breast-gawking, dudes are for computer-fixing.”

Just a thought.

XX in Tech

Twitter Partners with Reshma Saujani’s NYC High School Program, Girls Who Code

(Photo: twitter/reshmasaujani)

On its blog today, Twitter announced a new partnership aimed at changing that ratio. The company will be investing “time, energy and money,” to partner with Girls Who Code, a intensive program designed to get New York City high schoolers comfortable with software development.

Girls Who Code was launched by Reshma Saujani, a former deputy public advocate under Bill de Blasio. Ms. Saujani, who is running for Public Advocate in 2013, has strong ties to the tech community both here and in the Valley. Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey and Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes both came out to support her (ultimately unsuccessful) bid for a Congressional seat from New York in 2010. She also recently married LocalResponse founder Nihal Mehta. (Mazel!) Read More