Halloween Costumes Inspired by the Digital Age

Growing up, I would plan my Halloween costume out for over a month. Building it would take several afternoons, and I always found joy to parade it around at night with my friends. Back then, my ideas were inspired by the classic movies or TV shows that shaped my world. My friends and I would go trick-or-treating throughout our neighborhood, carrying plastic pumpkins full of candy, dressed up as ghosts, witches, mummies, pirates, clowns, and the such. My coolest costume that I designed was in 8th grade, when I made a one-piece Gumby outfit, inspired by Eddie Murphy’s Saturday Night Live skit. “Yo, I’m Gumby!”

Today, being a mom, and having exactly 10 days before Halloween, I am feverishly working with my kids to pull their outfits together. But, their dream outfits inspiration source is nothing like mine… my kids want costumes about characters that are found on YouTube, from a video game, or are completely CG. Glimpsing through Pinterest, this internet inspiration becomes more obvious, that even lazy, grown up costumes consist of a t-shirt with the inscription: “404: Costume Not Found.”

According to my very accurate sources (my 9 and 6 year old kids) there is a new Halloween costume hierarchy for 2015. Old people (over 30 years old), you may need to ask Siri what these actually look like.  And by all means, if you are the one serving candy this year, and a bright-eyed, squatty purple monster comes to the door, do not ask what it is.  Just say “That’s better looking than what’s on the internet!”

Hottest Costume Trends for 2015

  • Leading YouTube stars (think PewDiePie who made $12M in pretax money in 2015 – so don’t laugh too hard at kids idolizing him.) My 9 year old is going to be Nyan Cat, who’s annoying song has had over 125 million views.
  • Any BYOC Roblox Player (that’s Build Your Own Character, which my 6 year old can show you how to do this). Move over Minecraft, Roblox is the 2015 hit for 8 – 14 year olds. Think it’s not sticking, check out the Roblox pizza parlor game that has over 50 million plays.
  • Everything Star Wars. With heavy anticipation of the next sequel and the now adults who were dressed up as Luke Skywalker in the 80’s, will ensure that every child considers participating in the legendary story. Thanks to the Disney franchising mastery, you can turn any baby into Yoda, and any adult into a storm trooper.
  • Any adorable CG characters from Home, Inside Out, or The Minions Movie. All it takes is face paint, some silly outfits easily found at the local clothes recycling stores, and a few good lines from the movies.
  • Retro video game characters, thanks to the movie Pixels. Likely you will see an entire family dressed up as Pacman, Pinky, Blinky, Inky and Clyde.
  • Zombies are undeniably the scariest costumes you’ll see, thanks to the countless video games, Netflix series and movies like Warm Bodies that make zombies likable. But get ready to spend lots of time preparing every gash and wound.
  • Day of the Dead skeletons. Walking around showing a skull mask and a femur is not enough. Get ready for a 2 hour face painting session and a corset that restricts breathing as this is likely the hottest and scariest combination look.
  • Pixelated Outfits. Perhaps my favorite tech influenced costume. Instead of appearing naked, wearing a pixelated outfit making you PG friendly really shows how our society self-moderates on the web. Besides, these are so much more imaginative than the full green suits popular a few years back.

If you have other digital age inspired costume ideas, please add them to the comments!

My OC Behavior (Obsessive Connected)

My OC Behavior (Obsessive Connected)

On the first day the iPhone 6 came out – I bought two. One for my husband and one for myself. I’m that person in our family who is the tech junky, finding, installing and fixing everything. I’ve got my kids and husband trained to just give me the device, and I’ll get it going again.

My Obsessive Connected (OC) behavior has been cultivated by all of the new devices that are:

  1. very inexpensive
  2. very specific with their purpose, and provides immediate benefits
  3. very easy to install, manage and interconnect.

If there’s something new to the market that hits those 3 criteria, likely it’s in my home.

Today, I look around and have to say that these devices are truly making my life easier to manage.

  • My family is healthier
  • My family is better monitored (I hate using the word “safe” because I don’t think that’s what devices really do)
  • My family can focus on what’s important to us vs. worry about remedial things

These are my favorite devices that are currently feeding my Obsessive Connected behavior:

Pebble Time SmartWatch

pebble time - whiteFirst thing that’s been amazing to use for alerts and monitoring is our new His & Hers Pebble Time smartwatches. Disguised as a birthday gift for my husband, we became one of the 73,000 backers on the Kickstarter campaign, and having the watch has been extremely helpful tracking our activities & staying in the know on the important things.

Sonos for home & Jambox for bike

sonos-theaterTo keep us mentally engaged, we always have music going on in each room or outside, thanks to Sonos & Jambox. Both controlled by our phones or our Pebble Time smartwatches – which is really convenient to use. Sonos allows us to control wired patio speakers through the phone via “connect:amp”, and also allows us to control their wireless speakers which are equally amazing – like the Sonos 3 – in our kitchen.

Jambox (by Jawbone) is nothing new, but easily amazing. For being a family that loves music, we carry this little guy everywhere we go and are always playing our favorite tunes.

Piper Security Camera + GE Z Wave Light Switches

Piper-1We have an elaborate home quasi-security/ monitoring system installed, where we use Piper Security camera including Night Vision, which is our Z wave hub for our device controlled dimmer switches. If Piper detects something wrong (like movement or sound) during times when the house should be silent, it turns on lights and alerts those within the “trusted circle”. Piper also notifies us for severe weather alerts, reminding us when to cover outdoor furniture and the like.

There are many Z Wave light switches out there, in the end, we chose GE. I am impressed with the 600 W capacity and are compatibleGE Smart-Dimmer with most Z wave hubs, including the one built into our Piper camera. Synching them was a synch, and then adding the lights onto an alert workflow was also extremely easy.  The Piper app is also the mobile interface we use to control the light switches.  Hopefully soon, Piper will make a Pebble app, so all of this can be controlled through my wrist.

Skybell Doorbell

skybellWe also installed Skybell, which is a wifi-enabled smart doorbell, that has a tiny color camera with good night vision and a 2 way mic, mounted above the button. When someone rings the bell, it alerts us through our smart phone that there’s someone at the door, shows the video display, and allows us to have an actual, audible conversation with the visitor without even answering the door. I also get alerts that there’s a visitor at my front door on my Pebble Time.

Sidenote: Skybell is great because it also allows me to see packages when delivered, and left on my stoop.

Sense by Hello

Sense Sleeping Monitoring SystemJust 2 nights ago, we began using Sense from Hello – which monitors our sleeping habits to understand what are the ideal conditions for us to get the best sleep! The Sleep Pill that clips onto your pillowcase is one of the smallest and most intelligent devices I’ve seen, whereas it knows when I’m laying down and wide awake, or actually asleep, and the level of sleep I’m in.  The pill connects to the Sense (ball), which monitors the bedroom for sound, light, temperature and humidity, and correlates conditions to my actual sleeping pattern, giving me a “sleep score” in the morning. The Sense also knows how & when to wake you up, so you can stop wearing-out your snooze button.

It’s been really eye-opening on our whole shut-eye (sorry – had to).

Evernote on my wrist

evernote

To manage those pesky HoneyDo lists, Home renovation punch-lists, and to manage all of the kids’ activities, we use Evernote. Thinking the “Premium” subscription plan that we’re on should be renamed to “Life” because that’s really how we use it. Sharing these tasks with family to contractors has been helpful to understand what’s going on. It too is integrated on our Pebble Time smartwatch, so when tasks are complete, or I forgot what I was supposed to get, I have it on my wrist.

If you’d like to know about other devices I’m obsessing about, or have recommendations of your own, please tag onto this post through comments! I take pleasure in meeting other OC people like myself.

Surviving WFH + Home Construction

Surviving WFH + Home Construction

construction-smallI’m 5 weeks into a home construction project, and have been challenged daily on surviving this endeavor. Did I mention that I run my company primarily from home 24/7? On top of having two kids and a paranoid cat that hates loud noises? Plus a husband who works 45 minutes away, and must. be. at. his. job. by 7am every day?

Yeah, that’s me.

We decided to add a “mud room” onto our home – so basically I can stop obsessively cleaning and griping that my formal living area is littered with kids shoes and sports equipment. Now that we’re in the throws of construction, this grand idea is perhaps kicking back at me.

And because I work from home and am known to be detailed oriented, (hey – this addition is my brainchild), I can just add this onto my plate, right? Easy-peasy. It’s certainly not as demanding as coding a prototype, running strategy for companies, or launching a product, right?

Wrong.

After I have learned these lessons the hard way, I hope each lesson can save your sanity, work, project and personal life.

Construction 101 – 201

Like it or not, since you are the person that everyone will see the most, you will be on point to make critical decisions, unexpectedly. My advice to personally survive this is to educate yourself before the project begins.

Learn how to read plans. Understand the type of help that will do each line, squiggle, block and circle on the plans. Even though you are not responsible for project management, knowing what’s going on and how it could impact your work schedule is critical.

Know the “contact points” where two different workers need to work together, and know the demarkation between the crew’s objectives. If the sequence does not make sense, ask your GC about it. When new crews are coming onto the site, they may ask you questions, and the more you know, the less time you spend away from your work, or worse – giving them bad directions. I have been surprised how many times two crews looked at me for the answer on these little yet important decisions.

The GC is your new BFF

Know that your GC is on your side and will do a great job handling the contractors. But if there is too much or too little interaction with your GC a myriad of problems can arise. You and the GC should establish a communication pattern covering the most critical project elements that is most conducive to your sometimes unforgiving work schedule is critical to maintain sanity.

Start and end the week with a GC project meeting. Cover the important things like: daily work and contractor schedule, inspections, onsite management and decision points, and most importantly payments due. We also talk about my work travel plans (so there’s someone here to secure the place and give help) a week in advance. If these meetings are regimented and routine, the stress around your project management participation is alleviated.

Spousal Involvement

“Let’s chat later.” I’ve had to establish with my spouse when he wants to talk about the project and I need to get work done, and just cant talk now. He just has to wait as most big construction decisions don’t need to be talked about at 10:30am on a Tuesday. Putting brain energy toward your business instead of directing it to your construction during the workday is a must do.

Our Saw Horse Dance. Every morning seahorses awake, and do a dance with their spouse before taking off for the day. My husband and I do a “Saw Horse” dance, because we catch up every night and discuss the projects and any upcoming decision points. I usually have a list written down to cover, and use that as our agenda so there’s a beginning and end to the shop talk, and we can then talk about being a family or something else important.

Weekend work is now the norm. There’s always extra business that can’t get done during the construction cacophony. I’ve been adjusting some work activities that are not compatible with loud noises and interruptions to be finished during the weekend. Planning out your projects that accounts for your tolerance to noise and interruptions will reduce your stress. It may mean no more late nights/ late mornings, but the better quality output is worth the sacrifice. Having a spouse on board to support the extra work and play with the kids while you’re finishing projects is super helpful too.

Personal Planning

Project manage the construction to avoid your worst fears. Put in place the right tools to help you avoid stressing out and stay focused on your work, not the project.

For better budget management:

  • Build your own project management spreadsheet and bonus points if you add in cash flow/ payment tracking.
  • Take pictures of every contract, invoice, and keep them on your phone.

For better project management:

  • Get everyone to use a project management tool. We use Evernote, and it’s been a saving grace. Checklists, reminders, collaboration spaces (chat rooms) super helpful vs. always adding important ideas on text strings.

For better work efforts:

  • Add a new calendar type called “Construction” onto your calendar and block out noisy/ distracting construction times a week in advance. This way when you need to set up a meeting, you know if you can actually talk at your house or if you need to pick a different location.
  • Get earplugs or noise canceling headsets. Not hearing the contractor conversations is really helpful.

For the emergency work conversations:

  • Find out where you have the best noise cancellation and access to WiFi. I found out that by being inside my parked car with the doors shut is still in my home’s WiFi signal reach for those unplanned / must-do calls.
  • Delay conversations until the crew is on their 30 minute lunch break. 11:30 – noon every day I have critical calls, planned.

For making better construction decisions:

  • Our kids are getting used to our Saturday mornings filled with construction discussions and then something fun. Going to hardware stores, lumber yards first thing on Saturday helps keep decisions moving.

For accommodating hard deadlines:

  • To accommodate restricted commercial hours, I’ve been taking a late lunch break before the kids get out of school, and visit the businesses who have restricted hours. It meets the deadline requirements, and sets time aside for good decision making.

Know Thyself

I know I’m the most productive in the morning. And I’m the GC for my business, so I need to spend that brilliant and depleting brain power on my company’s projects, and not on the construction project. I’ve adjusted my schedule to now account for the potential construction distractions in addition to the other responsibilities that I’ve signed up to fulfill. If something arises that’s not worth my highest brain power, I try to delegate it to later in the afternoon or night. If decisions require more thought than 3 minutes, I delegate it to my GC, or put it on my list to review that night with my spouse.

I also know when I need a break. I hit that wall earlier last week, and my husband took time off of work to jump in, and it’s been a saving grace. We got things accomplished that I could not shoulder alone – and that too has kept my stress down.

Construction and Working From Home can be a brutal combination if you don’t stay on top of what can affect you the most adversely. Be honest with yourself about your thought and contribution quality, and get everyone involved to understand those needs. And always remember, this too shall pass.

From Silicon Valley To Silicon Slopes

California Roots and Love Utah Snow

Confessions about making Salt Lake City our new home

Confessions about making Salt Lake City our new home

In June 2014, my family underwent a very radical decision process, and concluded that we were not meeting our family values and virtues, or living to our fullest potential. One of the biggest contributors to this problem was our current location and surroundings – as we lived in Silicon Valley.

The commitment to move was a huge feat, because my husband was born and raised in Santa Clara County, and had to trust me that moving to a new location outside of the Bay area would indeed be opportunistic – as I’ve experienced this every time I moved to a new location over a dozen times in my life.

We took a year to research potential cities, and we watched 2 of our very close and deeply respected family friends leave the Bay due to similar reasons. Based on what we wanted our life to be, we selected to move to Salt Lake City also known as “Silicon Slopes.” We bought a home in a thriving and eclectic neighborhood within Salt Lake called SugarHouse, got our kids enrolled into the local school, and started to re-establish ourselves, focusing on the lifestyle that reinforces things we deemed important and what we want to teach our kids.

Silicon Valley has many amazing qualities. It attracts some of the best and brightest human beings on the planet that we were lucky to befriend. But it’s merciless in other regards, which we had to address, or it would consume us. Our friends applauded our honesty and our family supported our virtue driven pursuit of happiness. Over the Father’s day weekend, we packed up a u-haul carrying our hopes and dreams and drove 765 miles to Salt Lake, which would become our new home.

The Decision Aftermath

I’ve been asked how has decision process has affected me, and that’s an easy answer – I’m a doer, and my family is too. Our value driven commitment and execution proves that, hands down.

The other question that’s asked is how does living in Salt Lake City affect me – as a mom, as an entrepreneur, and as a strategic business consultant. Honestly, my answers are being formed as each day passes. However, the moment we made this change – it’s done a lot for me personally.

Moving out of Silicon Valley has opened my awareness aperture, inspired more creativity, and honed my awareness of a work-life balance that was almost unattainable while I lived in the Bay Area. As a 40 year old, it is very liberating to break down my purpose as a human being, get to the basics and re-build it with precision and intention to provide the best life possible for my children, husband, and myself.

Disconnecting from Silicon Valley

My big fear was that when I moved away from Silicon Valley, I would loose my industry cache, my value in the tech marketing and innovations, and the connection to my surroundings that inspire my disruptive business approach. Would I be isolated and deprived of the essence that attracts those amazing people to Silicon Valley? It was a risk, which I ultimately accepted while humming along at 53 miles per hour along I-80 east in that jam-packed U-haul. After a month of moving in and re-engaging my professional network, I noticed that because high tech is booming right now, there is this natural “pull” that drew me back into Silicon Valley companies, who had no problem with me contributing while not being in their office, every day.

The Disconnect was clear to me that when in the Valley, there’s an inescapable full-time employment pressure. If you’re a hot-shot executive, you can command extraordinary salaries and RSUs, but the tradeoff is that you have to work hard and long hours in SoMa. That pressure contributed to my family commitment and life-balance problem.

The moment we picked up and committed to leaving – that full-time employment pressure evaporated. Because the talent demand is high right now within the tech industry, there’s a need for strategic consultants – accommodating different working relationships and remote contributions. Viola, I move to SugarHouse and by concentrating on my consulting company, my business grew 3 fold in 6 months.

Silicon Slope Talent

Once the new business demand settled in, I needed to figure out how to back-fill it. Instead of using my Silicon Valley based rolodex to hire folks, I looked around my new SugarHouse community. Boom – there’s amazing talent that’s right here, who want to work and learn about the ways of Silicon Valley. After quickly finding 4 local contractors who would execute marketing plans, I’ve created a great face-to-face team and an actual Hen House headquarters here in Salt Lake.

Hen House HQ

The super talented Kristen in Hen House HQ

Where I’ve been surprisingly pleased is the high quality and availability of great talent here in Salt Lake.

Kids learning to 3D print

My daughter watching the 3D printer make a ring at Zaniac.

First, Salt Lake people have a thriving technology background that’s been engrained in them since they were kids. Technology awareness is rampant in the schools; with curriculum encouraging innovation and problem solving (my daughter is taking a 3D printing class at Zaniac, and uses several software programs to design a keychain… oh and she’s 8.) and is strongly supported by the parents’ education expectations and efforts.

½ mile away from my home is the University of Utah, offering a thriving business and engineering programs, and is home to one of the biggest BioMed research parks in the country – employing 50,000 people within the Wasatch foothills campus. I coincidentally met a digital marketing company CEO who also teaches marketing at the “U” (local slang for the University folk), and his company (PoleVault Media) has established an internship practice so students can get real exposure to digital marketing careers. This environment is encouraging kids to become technologists at every age, and provides many opportunities for academic technology learning to become their career path.

Second, “Utes” (also slang for the locals) are eager to cross-pollinate with outsiders, especially when they may glean new approaches and insights that originate from Silicon Valley. I have been super pleased with the courtesy, commitment, and curiosity each of my local contractors has shown during these projects. People from Utah are very polite, and are naturally interested in education and perpetual learning, especially around technology. I’ve partnered with some great people and their ramp-up time has been faster than what I expected. It’s been a saving grace with the increased business for my consultancy practice.

Third, everyone HERE appreciates the work-life balance. Perhaps it’s enforced with the phrase “Silicon Slopes” alluding to the dozen world-class ski resorts that are less than 45 minutes away from our SugarHouse home, everyone in technology out here appreciates what a “Blue Bird” is, and that sometimes adjusting work hours for some slope time is perfectly acceptable. I never heard encouragement when living in the Valley to enjoy the surroundings and weather patterns, it was always 100% about work.

Last Wednesday, I picked up my season pass at Brighton, and made a few turns to get my ski-legs back. On the way home, I stopped by Sports Den, to check out the new Volkl Kenja skis. The gent who was helping me named “Bubba” asked what did I do. I failed at brushing him off because my answer “software” was enough to peek his interest, and he peppered me with questions until I confessed my real corporate identity. Reason why he kept on asking me these things is because he too is a tech head, but born and raised in Salt Lake, graduate from the “U”. He worked with enterprise software, but focused on POS, and experienced the rapid advancement when the cloud swept his sector. We chatted about B2B innovation, what’s coming down the pipe, and of course the technology that’s compressed in those brilliant skis. After catching up about the ideal skis for my new local resort, we talked about the stashes and hikes, and how to swing a schedule to ski, work, and still pick up the kids from school.

I feel like my transplanted self is rooting just fine, as I never held a conversation like that in Silicon Valley.

If you are contemplating to change your environment, and are concerned that you will not thrive outside of Silicon Valley – my experience says otherwise. Silicon Valley will always be there. Relocating to other cities that are home to innovative people and technology is totally doable. And as for Silicon Slopes, it’s given my professional and personal growth a tremendous uplift.

How to do it… Founding a start-up

How to do it… Founding a start-up

When your personal frustration and that great idea just becomes the natural place your brain goes during its “down-time,” you’re ready to become a founder.

I’ve been there and done that, and have developed and progressed several ideas into software apps and hopeful businesses over the years. Just ask me about being at startups like SugarCRM, or designing Perfect Gift, or launching BenchPick. I have a track record that can cover the gamut of completion and success – which I’m lucky to have done.

Recently, I’ve been asked about how to develop a business out of a software idea, so I’ve put together this infographic that makes founding a software company more manageable. May it help you understand that every step focuses around a validation as to what your customer needs, and less so about the “great idea” ownership.

Also one other very important note: ANY step that you complete on your founder journey is an AMAZING feat. Most people don’t have the courage to fail, or the motivation to truly succeed. Good luck, and people like me are here to cheer you on while you incubate an idea into a fundable business plan.

Steps that will get you to incubate an idea and turn it into a fundable business plan.

Steps that will get you to incubate an idea and turn it into a fundable business plan.

Desperately seeking Susan to design better software

Desperately seeking Susan to design better software

The future of software requires a stronger feminine touch.

Good news, in software companies, women are easier to find as employees nowadays.  The bad news is that women are not placed in the driver seat to influence software design, interaction and value delivered to their customers — which may be why some new business software feels like it’s 30 years old. For enterprise and infrastructure software to keep customers happy, they desperately need a woman’s touch in design to improve profitability..

In the US, women control the purse strings, estimating a total purchasing prowess of $5 to 15 Trillion annually. This goes beyond buying grocery and retail items – whereas major consumer facing technology companies and services like Sprint have acknowledged the lipstick economy. Sprint has revamped marketing, packaging, and contextual appeal, and then grew their business 13% YoY in EBITDA after their 2013 about face with appealing to women by skipping the tech market jargon. This lesson is one that the software industry needs to pay attention to, and the first step is to get more women into software product management roles.

Breaking into the wallet

Appealing to women is not answered by changing the price to be impulsively attractive and packaging to be pink.  It needs to understand that women think about products differently. Women think contextually, and make decisions upon our personal experiences and lessons learned, weighing community opinion, common knowledge, emotional reactions and trust in a very non-linear manner. Women are very much masters of unstructured data abstraction that is often explained as women’s intuition because most times seems illogical.

Breaking down the mental model for purchasing, women’s point of view, women heavily value product attributes that are greatly under-designed in software – especially within Enterprise (B2B software), Infrastructure/ Platform software and Software delivery services.

Women need to connect with the software, and often it’s through these techniques:

  • personal trust and transparency with product
  • product community and their personal contribution impact
  • an engaged and guided product usage experience
  • personal emotional recognition
  • usage time commitments and capabilities
  • personal results for using product (the reward)

Time for more Femmefluence in software design.

According to Nielson NeuroFocus, women’s complex decision making extends the sticking power after purchase, and more likely to share with others. Talk to any software CEO, and product sticking and sharing power is what they constantly seek to grow their revenue stream.

“Women remember more and differently than men do, so talk to both her emotional and rational sides and acknowledge her attention to detail. Layering emotional decision-making opportunities with rational information will increase purchase intent and will have strong “sticking” power. According to Nielsen NeuroFocus, the female brain is programmed to maintain social harmony, so messaging should be positive and not focus on negative comparisons or associations.”

My bet on the winning enterprise and office software will have a predominant feminine touch in design, engagement and reward. Want to start now? Answer these questions to identify your breakout path:

  • How can software acknowledge the user’s emotions? How can that emotional connection improve quality of work?
  • How can the software interactions evolve based on the different times of the day? Living in a multi-device world requires software to be smart about human capacity and expectations.
  • How can the software have a close and personal connection with the user? Designing the engagement to be a trusted experience, and providing more insight than asking the user to give is key.
  • How can the software tell the user exactly what they need to do to achieve their goal? I am personally biased with this point as I’m from the enterprise world, where reports are made for managers, and end users only get a dashboard of what’s next for them to do. I think every professional should know how their work contributes to the bigger picture, and the software can become their trusted source for keeping them on track.

Bringing in empathy, compassion, trustworthiness into software design can create high loyalty high dependability with every user, and differentiate your product at the emotional level as well as tapping into higher profit margins.

The dollar and cents about feminine software design

Not saying that men can’t think about emotions and identify a path of engagement that “clicks” with the user’s heart and the head – but that’s what these complex software categories are often missing. Consider how business driving software solutions could interact differently, and how that design could improve the software company’s business.

  • What is the abandonment rate from the download of the software to the distribution of the software to the end users? If your revenue derives from usage (read subscription model) this could be the financial justification to get more engaged.
  • What is the retention rate of new customers to returning customers once the contract terms expire? The cheapest way to grow your customer base is to keep your current customers. If the retention rate needs improvement – is it because the software didn’t deliver what was promised? Create a connection with the user? Get the user to be successful themselves?
  • What is the cost difference between attaining a new customer from a referral compared to your standard marketing lead acquisition spend & conversion ratio? And, how many leads do you get from customers compared to general marketing activities? If the company is spending too much on sales and marketing, perhaps investing into the product relationship with the customer is the appropriate next step.

Women in the software industry

Recently, DOL reports that there’s a female hiring trend in the tech sector – whereas there’s over 536,000 of us women employed full time. 60% of the new tech jobs created over the last year went to women, too.

So the big question, is: what are women doing within the software industry?

CNNMoney analyzed the hiring within the tech industry by job function – and the data pointed that women were often the business moms as 50% were in administration roles. The next job functions popular with women ranged from professionals, sales, and management all in the 20th percentile.

There are numerous articles placing attention on the lack of women within engineering roles and executive roles within Silicon Valley. insightful statistics collected by Tracy Chou, a software engineer at Pinterest researched 131 tech companies and found only 18% of software engineers are women. And the gender imbalance is even found with women VC’s making up around 10%, and who are twice as likely to leave their post then men.

Product design and Product Managers

Drilling deeper into the roles, I asked a technology industry executive recruiter to go through his database, and let me know what was the ratio of women to men within the product management role.  After tracking 120 product managers, his statistics brought attention to the problem – it’s a 1:6 ratio of women to men product managers (16.7%) which is less than what Tracy discovered within Software Engineers. I ran a similar unscientific analysis of product managers within my LinkedIn network and found 4 women out of my first 40 search results. Telling, isn’t it?

The “Seeking Susan” Challenge

If you are a leader within a software company, and the above dollars and cents makes “SENSE” to pursue a more feminine approach – start by looking at your product design team. If it’s not gender balanced, be creative on getting a woman’s perspective heard to accomplish your business goal. Likely, they’re ready to lean in, and can contribute a very profitable perspective.

I welcome your comments and insight to this topic.

~ Tara Spalding