There have been quite a lot of headlines lately highlighting the tech and STEM gender gap and the programs that are helping tackle this issue. Just a few weeks ago we at Social Driver highlighted the issue in our post, The Tech Gender Gap.
A lot of publicity has gone to nonprofits and organizations tackling the issue, but how can individual companies and females themselves make a difference in the gender gap? As an aspiring female developer at Social Driver my experience has been none other than positive. Here are some first-hand tips for females and companies to successfully integrate diversity into your tech teams.
If you don’t take risks on yourself others will not take a risk on you
Taking risks goes both ways. If you are a female wanting to break into any new field (not just STEM), take a risk, try something new. If you are really passionate, quit your job and take the plunge! The more risks you take, the more passion it shows, and the more likely others will be to take a risk on hiring you because they will see your passion. Enthusiasm and passion will go a long way to overcome doubts about breaking into a male dominated field. When you can focus on your passion and what you need to do to achieve your goals it is easy to ignore worries such as potential gender bias.
If you are a company, take risks on diversifying your team. It is always a big decision bringing new people into your team, but look for those who have taken risks to pursue their passion. Social Driver took a risk on me as I had no prior tech experience, but they saw my passion and saw the potential for my new development skills. Diversifying your team will not only benefit your office culture, but will also benefit your companies bottom line.
Women don’t need hugs and daisies, recognition for a job well done will do
A big reason the risks Social Driver and myself took have worked out as a great experience, is because of the supportive environment within the company. Women – if you are interviewing with a new company or team and aren’t feeling the support right away, RUN! Support is not referring to a hug at the end of your interview, it means finding people that are confident in your skills and see your potential.
As women, we often undersell our abilities and accomplishments. Having professional supporters that recognize these accomplishments and talents helps provide the confidence we as females need to keep giving our best. Social Driver recognizes a star employee every week at a company wide meeting. Having this public announcement of achievement for employees makes it easier for employees to feel accomplished and supported. It also provides an equal opportunity for all to be recognized, not just males or females.
Do your job with intent and success is inevitable
This piece of advice is for everyone, not just women. When working on a project, it is critical to understand the users, desired outcomes, and purpose. Understanding these pieces of the puzzle and being mindful to always be in line with them better ensures successful products.
Social Driver is constantly re-evaluating company and project goals to make sure project deliverables are inline with the project mission. As a company, holding yourself to these standards allows for more personal satisfaction for employees. If everyone is on the same page with company and project goals and missions, it allows employees to feel like their contributions are making a difference. If employees feel like their contributions make a difference it creates a more collaborative and open working environment for all employees regardless of individual differences.
You cannot be anyone else better than yourself
The last piece of advice is to be bold and be yourself! Women – don’t be embarrassed to discuss how your friend from book club disliked a new website because she felt it was too masculine and couldn’t relate. Men – don’t hold back from your stories of epic video game battles and how elements of the game may better your product. Or vice versa! Don’t shy away from your experiences and opinions that may be gender specific or gender nonconformist.
One of the best things about the Social Driver team is that everyone is an individual and feels comfortable relating their individual experiences and opinions to help better the products. This not only leads to a more empathetic product but it also hits that “more diverse team equals better results” research that has recently come to the surface. Don’t relate every suggestion to being a female or male, but also don’t let yourself second guess those thoughts just because you think it’s only due to your gender. Chances are other people are thinking those same thoughts, they just might not be bold enough to express them (or there might be no other females on the team to think those thoughts).
As long as you remember to take risks, be supportive, be conscious, be bold, and be yourself you can never be unhappy with the work you or your company is doing. If you are looking for a new position in a diverse workplace, you are in luck because Social Driver is hiring! Now get out there and chase your passions!
Interesting tech trends can often be hard to find considering the data overload we deal with every day. Search no further; we’ve got your back! Below are 7 links that the Social Driver team found technologically cool, entertaining, and informative:
The shoe-niverse gained an awesome new addition as Google revealed an interactive shoe at this year’s SXSW. The Google Advertising team placed a small computer in the tongue of a pair of Adidas. Equipped with technology to assess your movements and connect to your phone, the shoes are fully capable of telling you to be more active if necessary. “The Talking Shoe is an experiment in how you can use connected objects to tell stories on the Web today,” said Aman Govil, head of the advertising team.
Recently announced, the new feed redesign for Facebook plans to offer minimized sidebars and a more intimate approach to convey a personalized feel. The design also plans to offer more real estate in individuals news feeds to those who promote post or own sponsored stories on Facebook. Find out more interesting changes in our What the New Facebook News Feed Redesign Means For Nonprofits post!
Could your workplace noise level (or lack there of) be hindering your creativity? Coffitivity, an online ambient noise provider, claims that studies show ambient sounds boost creativity. Using a coffee shop setting, Coffitivity suggest that working in too quiet or too loud of an environment can increase chances of unproductivity. Try it yourself! Visit Coffitivity, plug your earphones in, and let the creativity flow!
Should patients’ text or email their doctors as an added form of communication in healthcare? This question raises a lot of arguments and the article above reaches even more brow raising points. Considering digital progression and the many ways we communicate, the article shares that still less than “90% Americans have never emailed or texted with their doctor.”
Business Insider shared a list of 25 most innovative businesses in DC. From LivingSocial, a daily deals website, to Black Jack, a bar with a bocce ball court, the district is definitely home to some innovative businesses. Other interesting businesses that made their list include Capitol Bikeshare, Clean Currents, and Genius Rockets.
Nerds are not the only personalities on the programming scene. Douglas MacMillan shares the rise of the “more testosterone-fueled breed of coder.” With the onset of the “Brogrammer” meme’s floating around the Internet, the article shares interesting ideas and quotes from new age computer intellectualists who come from diverse backgrounds.
And here is an added bonus! If you often enjoy your friends’ playlists then you’ll enjoy Turntable. The online app allows a group of people to create a playlist for everyone to enjoy at the same time. Each person is deemed a DJ and has a chance at spinning their record and impressing the group. Even better, the app is also downloadable for iPhones.
What did you read about this week?
Startups had a great year in 2012 but 2013 is looking even better. The most successful startups this year are bringing innovation to mainstream industries in need of disruption. Here’s the startups you should be watching in 2013:
Crowdtilt is the easiest way to collect, fundraise, or pool money with your group… for anything! With Crowdtilt you can easily bring your friends together to pitch in for something as small as a birthday present, football tailgate, drinks for a party, all the way to something as big as a community project or a large fundraiser for the Red Cross. The best part is that nobody gets charged until everybody has committed to pay.
Fab is changing the way people discover and connect with greatly designed products. On Cyber Monday 2012 the company sold $1.3million worth of products and recently launched in the UK. They’re in for a great year and leading the way in a changing e-commerce atmosphere.
Getaround is shaking up the transportation industry and solving car overpopulation. The company is bringing carsharing to everyone in a safe and fun environment. You simply log-on, rent a car from someone nearby, and get going. With a recent expansion to Chicago they’re making their way into a city near you soon!
LendUp is bringing tech innovation to payday loans. LendUp provides a simple online or mobile loan application and grant process along with ways to earn Trust Rewards. The Trust Rewards aim help customers rebuild credit and reach long-term financial wellbeing.
Coursera is a social entrepreneurship company that partners with the top universities in the world to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free. The company envisions a future where the top universities are educating not only thousands of students, but millions. With Coursera adding top-notch universities daily to their course list in the US and internationally it is on its way to being a global education leader. The company also recently announced it will be partnering with the American Council on Education to eventually offer college transfer credit for some courses.
Sherpaa helps companies optimize health coverage plans and then provides them with around the clock email and phone access to their network of friendly, tech-savvy doctors. Since launching in NYC this past year, they’ve saved companies from Tumblr to Skillshare thousands in unnecessary health fees, optimizing their insurance plans and advising on healthcare usage to ensure dollars are spent wisely. Companies that use Sherpaa pay a minimal monthly fee and end up saving many times that in health costs, creating for a service that pays for itself. Innovation in healthcare has come at last.
Google Analytics Tells You What Happened, KISSmetrics Tells You Who Did It. Instead of vanity metrics such as bounce rates or time on site, KISSmetrics focuses on people tracking. People tracking enables KISSMetrics to impact your business in a positive way by showing metrics that other analytics solutions can’t, such as: true conversion rates, lifetime value of customers, how users engage with your website or app over time through a co-hort, and even churn data.
With participation ever increasing in adult sport leagues the headache from managing leagues and teams is also increasing. RecBob is harnessing the power of social networking and back-end smarts to change the way team members interact off the field. RecBob is an app that manages adult rec sports teams, making them easy, fun and more social. He sends game reminders, collects payments, tracks who’s in and who’s out on game day and finds subs as needed so rosters are always full!
Platfora is making big data relevant and usable. The company’s platform transforms raw data in Hadoop into interactive, in-memory business intelligence with none of the IT friction or complexity of existing approaches. Platfora allows business professionals access raw data that has been previously hidden in data warehouses.
Sponsorfied brings brands and opportunities together through specially designed software. The company launched in August 2012 and has already facilitated 200 sponsorship deals. Sponsorfied is looking to do for sponsorship what Google did for targeted adds.
What tech startups are you most excited for in 2013?
At a recent Social Driver's Ed, Adam Gerber, a Senior Associate from M+R Strategic Services, discussed Facebook's promoted posts. He talked about how this tool has worked for some of his clients, sharing a step-by-step process of how to use the tool, what it does, who it reaches, and how much exposure your business could potentially receive for relatively low cost. Check back later for the video, but in the meantime we want to give you three takeaways from his experience with Facebook promoted posts:
Do not worry about slick infographics or a polished image-shares. The best images are the ones that capture your organization's goal in the most authentic way possible. All you need is a camera, a piece of paper, and a marker. Photograph a colleague holding the paper with your key ask handwritten out and sa
ve yourself the photoshopping.
If you can wrangle $10-20 bucks, then you have the budget for a couple great experiments with your promoted posts. Most people will never visit your Facebook timeline and will only see your posts in their own newsfeed so the risk of re-running similar posts is minimal. Try two variations on your call-to-action on the same day and see which wins.
Facebook wants to show your posts to people who will engage with it. Oddly enough, many of those people live in Asia where Facebook has high penetration and but little original content. That means that, unless you target your post to the United States only, you're going to get a lot of unexpected international comments, likes, and shares. It may boost your ego to see that level of engagement, but unless it contributes to your business goals, they're just a waste of money.
Popularise is an online crowdsourcing platform focused on local development. They are our new favorite startup in Washington, DC. Popularise buys commercial real estate, renovates it, and leases it to local businesses. However, instead of letting the businesses decide who should get the lease, Popularise asks the local community. They created a platform where a user can login, vote for a specific project, post an idea of what they think should be in the building, comment and discuss. It is sold as software as a service so anyone who has a project where they want to engage the community can use it as a tool to reach
out to their customers.
Popularise recently launched Fundrise, a crowdfunding platform for commercial real estate. Anyone can logon and for $100 a share, buy into the building that they are developing, help get the tenant into the building, and support the concept. In just 3 months, Fundrise has raised $325,000 of shares to locals in the H Street area of DC to fund 30% of a new development there. This gives people the power to help develop their neighborhood. Incredibly awesome.
We visited our friends over at the Capital Area Food Bank during their open house the other week. We were both inspired and excited about the incredible work that CAFB is doing for our community. We had the honor of working with them on their new responsive website this year and we look forward to seeing what else they accomplish in the years to come.
Check out what’s been happening over at Social Driver’s YouTube Channel!
Once Social Driver’s Anthony Shop saw BidPal in action, he wanted to learn more. Area director for BidPal, Josh Meyer, presented his new innovation to replace those pesky silent auction bid sheets with handheld devices. BidPal is helping traditional galas “get with the future” using tech-savvy auction automation and that’s why we love BidPal.
All you need is your credit card, iPhone, iPod Touch, or Android and you can monitor the auction in the palm of your hand. Extra motivation and competition are incorporated as guests have access to the highest bids and the donation totals. Watch the video to learn more!
We are so happy to welcome Julia Rocchi, the Managing Editor for the National Trust for Historic Preservation back to the Social Driver blog (see her previous post 5 Essential Tips for a Successful Nonprofit Website Redesign). At our most recent Social Driver’s Ed, Julia shared 5 tips for finding and engaging influencers through social media.
Julia talked at our event about a multimedia documentary project called “Buffalo Unscripted.” They initially wanted to do a documentary of Buffalonians talking candidly about their city, but what started out as a marketing piece just for Buffalo turned into a great marketing piece for the Trust because of the incredible engagement they found with the people of Buffalo. Here are the 5 tips that Julia talked about in her talk:
LinkedIn: Whether you use it as an electronic Rolodex or your inbox is accumulating invitations from colleagues inviting you to join, Social Driver can help you get the most out of this professional social network.
We hope you join us for a very special Social Driver’s Ed event, “Getting Hands On With LinkedIn,” led by Anthony Shop. Anthony has helped hundreds of busy professionals take control of LinkedIn through his hands-on workshop geared toward beginners. Together with your peers, you will learn how to make the most of your network – find prospects, send group messages to colleagues, research companies and more. You’ll find it most useful if you bring your laptop and create a LinkedIn account (or dig out that old username and password) in advance!
This event will be hosted at Social Driver’s new HQ in Penn Quarter. We’ll provide fuel for you and your laptops!
What: LinkedIn Workshop led by Social Driver Managing Director, Anthony Shop
When: August 23rd from 12-2 PM
Where: Social Driver HQ, 406 7th Street NW, Washington DC 20004
How Much?: $50, includes lunch.
Signup to attend here.
Social Driver officially has new neighborhood!
Our new offices are located in Penn Quarter at 406 7th Street. This thriving area of the district is home to Chinatown, the Verizon Center and now, Social Driver. We are extremely excited about this office space because we feel it signals a new chapter in the story of our company. Buoyed by our new physical surroundings, we are cultivating an office culture built on the same tenets we use with our clients, partners and peers. The open-plan spacious interior means we have a workspace that matches our ambition to grow and innovate, all the while continuing helping our clients get with the future.
Check out the photos and let us know what you think of our new digs. And if you are one of our new neighbors we would love to hear from you!
You may have seen us mentioned in the news this week. Here is a roundup of the articles from Tech Bisnow and The Washington Post for more information on Social Driver and the move:
Here are some photos of the new space. We’re still decorating and re-arranging, but ain’t she a beauty!