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!
We’ve heard it time and time again: “it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know.” Indeed, networking is more crucial than ever, but let’s be real – who has time for all those follow-up emails, phone calls, and lunch dates when we already struggle to balance our current professional and personal relationships? Contactually, we have a solution.
Yes – Contactually, created by dynamic entrepreneurs Zvi Band, Tony Cappaert, and Jeff Carbonella, is a relationship management tool developed to link with your email account to ensure your relationships and conversations remain consistent and meaningful. Personalized alerts are sent to your inbox reminding you to contact prospective clients, old college friends, and family members you haven’t connected with in awhile. Contactually remembers to keep in touch with your connections for you.
One of the most difficult things about moving to a new CRM or email contact management tool is retroactively assigning categories (or “buckets” as Contactually calls them) to your individual contacts. Contactually solved this with a clever feature called “The Bucket Game.” With keyboard shortcuts and visual cues, you’ll be able to sort hundreds of contacts in a matter of minutes.
The idea behind Contactually began while Zvi was consulting at his previous venture, skeevisArts. He realized success happened by connecting people, learning about what they do, and exchanging ideas. However, no platform was available to warn him if he was falling out of touch with his email contacts. Zvi followed his entrepreneurial drive and focused on building a strong product and team to solve his networking conundrum. Contactually has been featured in various media outlets including Mashable, The Washington Post, and TechCrunch.
Business aside, Zvi is passionate for the local DC tech community and is proud to headquarter his business in the District. He strives to foster growth for the DC tech scene and keep it thriving. Learn more about Contactually by watching Zvi’s presentation at our Social Driver’s Ed series.
With the passage of the JOBS Act, securities-backed crowdfunding for small companies has become a reality. A lot is not yet known about this new fundraising tool. Luckily, we have our good friends Sara Hanks and Brian Knight of CrowdCheck to help us through the thick of it.
Here’s five big take aways:
Your venture is worth a billion dollars, right? When your just starting off, you can pretty much presume that your company is worth whatever you think it should be worth. When crowdfunding though, you will have to go through a valuation process to prove to the crowd why you think you’re worth what you are worth. Are you using future revenues? Are you basing it on current cash flow? How did you get to that number? You will have to disclose it.
2. Early Investors
You aunts and uncles are loaded and generous. That’s great! But, if you are someday planning to turn to VCs for big time funding, you’ll have to provide clear plans for how these early investors get to influence the business before bringing on the big guys.
You can market your product, but you can not market your crowdfunding at all. If so, the SEC will be angry. That means no statements on your site asking for funds or directing people to a page. All marketing must go through a crowdfunding portal.
What is a portal? The new law provides the formation of online “portals” for crowdfunding, basically websites that will be online clearinghouses for investors and businesses to raise money. These portals don’t yet exist, but when they do, there will be a variety of options for investors and entrepreneurs alike.
5. Wait and See
When we say that a lot is still not yet known, we really mean it. Everyone is still waiting for the SEC to consider public comments and determine many of the open ended questions that crowdsourcing poses.
Crowdcheck gives business a tool to demonstrate that they are a bonafide business venture and a pathway for investers to avoid fraud. Watch Sara and Brian’s video below and be sure to check them out for any additional thoughts or questions.
Sometimes it seems that Facebook changes up its look just often enough to drive users absolutely bonkers. If you look at the whole history of Facebook design changes, it’s pretty clear that Facebook is just experimenting with making it easier for people to connect and share with each other.
And, they’ve been pretty successful at it! Just look at the companies that have flocked to Facebook over the last few years. Companies invest in their Facebook presence because that’s where consumers spend their time, making it an easy way to connect with customers in a scalable way.
How should you be using Facebook? It depends on your goal. We’ve got tons of great examples of companies using Facebook to engage with their audience. Watch Adam Gerber from Social Driver’s short guide to the new Facebook Timeline and let us know your favorite corporate Facebook pages in the comments below.
Earlier this year, we launched a series we call Driver’s Ed. It started as an internal lunch and learn where our team could share trends, technology and tools with one another. We soon started inviting close partners in to present, and eventually, expanded the guest list to colleagues, clients and friends who could enrich the conversation. We don’t just talk about cool technology for technology’s sake. We look at how people, as a result of this technology, can come together and do amazing things. Due to high demand, we’ve made this a regular series.
The development of Driver’s Ed was a natural evolution that mirrors the success of our clients. Creating opportunities for members of a community to engage with one another achieves results that could never be realized through simply talking at someone. We’ve learned that inviting colleagues, clients and friends to join us in dreaming, believing and doing gets us there a lot faster. So we are sharing as much content from Driver’s Ed as we can on the Blog.
We’d love you to join us, as a presenter or attendee. To learn more about Driver’s Ed, drop us a line.