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How women can break barriers when working in tech

barriers women in tech past

Today is International Women’s Day and while I’m heading to a conference in Italy to share my experience being a woman in tech, I want to share my thoughts with you.
‘Cause we shouldn’t talk about barriers women in tech face just today. But all the year long.

Barriers women in tech face

Everyone has, at this point, read about Susan Fowler and her bad experience working as an engineer at Uber. Even if this might be just a drop in the ocean, it’s very important in order to raise awareness. Maybe it will take a lot of time for things to change, but at least the misconduct of one of the top tech companies in the world is known.
Other engineers have also followed her example, like AJ Vandermeyden working at Tesla, forcing famous CEOs to admit that something strange is going on if women with the same skills and experience of men are not treated at the same level.

IWD Hackathon - barriers women in tech

The IWD hacktahon I attended a couple of years ago (and we won!)

A recent research by Business Insider says that more than 70% of 941 startups surveyed did not have a single female board member, up from 66% of the year before.
Scores of recent studies have linked companies with increased gender diversity to increased ROI. If you care about revenue and profitability, you should be focused on getting a more gender diverse team.

“There are 500,000 open tech jobs in the US today, and that number is expected to double in the next five years. It’s pure math. It’s very difficult to see how we can meet the technology workforce needs if we’re literally leaving more than half of the available talent pool sitting on the bench.”

So, which are the barriers women in tech face?
Why aren’t there many women willing to start and pursue a career in tech?

I think there are multiple problems: fear of working in a men-only environment, an aggressive company culture and a salary which is typically just 80 percent of men.
From a salary point of view, there’s the law(*) which help. But there’s not much we can do when we talk about culture, self-confidence and skills.
We can learn, we can study, we can be the best in the team. But we need to be more confident and been able to be leaders (even incompetent men have fewer career incompetent compared to women).

(From April 2017, in the UK, companies with more than 250 employees are forced to publish the difference in average pay between men and women workers.)

What should do we do to gain more self-confidence?

Women should be more aware of what to do, now and tomorrow. We need to know we’re great, we’re skilled, and that we can do amazing things. Even if we’re doing things differently from men. Certain barriers are easier to reduce than other. We need to start from the inner part of ourselves.
Jade Daubney
 
is an amazing, inspiring woman in tech I met at First Code Girls conference, in November last year. And she’s the one telling how we can beat those barriers.

1) Hi Jade, tell us a bit about you and why you’re passionate about women equality.

I am a Northerner living in London.  I work for ThoughtWorks and spend most of my time heading up our graduate programme in the UK, trying my best to inspire our younger female generation to be fearless and brave and to, generally, have fun. Cheesy, I know, but true! Why am I passionate? I just am. I don’t know the answer to why, but I always remember the time I learnt about the suffragettes and their struggle for equality made me incredibly angry and frustrated as a child, which has driven me to be the person I am today. I was 17 when my younger sister was born and she is my motivation and inspiration to do everything and anything I can for gender parity. I am a feminist on a mission!

CFG conference 2016 Jade Thoughtworks2) Today is International Women day, the day of the year where everyone is empathic towards women. But we need to talk about it even in the others 364 days, why it’s a very difficult topic to drive awareness to, even if we have stats saying that women are paid less than men in 90% sectors. Why in your opinion?

I don’t find this an issue on a daily basis as I get to discuss women’s equality 365 days of the year at work.  To answer your question, I think some of this is down to women in leadership roles.
It is not surprising to hear that many leadership roles within businesses are filled by males and I believe it’s an education piece.  Women bring a different perspective and the most diverse teams are the most successful teams.

3) You recently said, “women not supporting other women have a special place in hell”. And I totally agree with it. But why do you think sometimes it happens? And what’s your advice to face those situations?

Women who do not support other women really frustrate me and it has taken me a long time to learn to empathise and understand why this is. I still don’t fully understand but I know the industry is different now.
Times have changed, women are feeling empowered and are literally changing the world. Not so long ago, women were fighting to be heard in the workplace and pushing hard for their position – the recently released film Hidden Figures is a perfect example of this. I can imagine it was ‘dog eat dog’ and transitioning into an environment where every woman’s voice is valued and every woman can be a success is probably difficult to do.
My advice in those situations?  Don’t compete but definitely do not ignore it.
Speak with this person and ask how you can collaborate, share knowledge and learn from them. Usually, you both want the same outcome, so make that clear and be supportive.

4) “Sorry” it’s a kind of a “bad word” to say in a professional environment. Especially when you say it too many times without proper reasons. I promised myself to stop saying it. Why is it that bad? And how can we replace it?

‘Sorry’ is appropriate if you are genuinely sorry for doing something that you shouldn’t have done.
But saying ‘sorry’ for no reason could be considered as apologising for having an opinion. I still do this and I am still learning. I see women doing it every day and I think the only way to replace it is with practice.
If you find yourself saying it in a professional environment, then stop and start your sentence again.  Do not ever apologise for having an opinion because your opinion matters.

5) Your 3 tips for women to get more self-confident. 

  • Ask yourself: ‘What would you do if you were not scared?‘  Fear can be good, use it as a motivator.  If it does not frighten you a little bit, then you are not dreaming big enough.
  • You can achieve anything.  Anything! All the best things happen outside of your comfort zone, so try and surround yourself with people who inspire you and get yourself a mentor that can help you achieve your goals outside that comfortable place.
  • Find your best you…and own it. Whether you are the quiet person, the serious person, the introvert, the extrovert, the creative one, the dynamic one, the process-driven one…we need them all! Nothing would work if we were all the same, so find who you are and push that forward.

6) Tell us who are your role models. 

Emmeline Pankhurst and Iris Apfel.  Emmeline for her bravery, and Iris because she is not afraid to be different – and I hope I am half as cool as her when I turn 90!iris apfel barriers women in techemmeline pankhurst suffragette

 

Tech

The technology trends everyone will talk about in 2017

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I’m finally back in London, with a loads of stuff to do and many people to meet again. After having spent some time abroad, it’s always good to be back and keep in mind why you’ve actually chosen to live in this super competitive, tiring but also forward-thinking city.

(If you’re curious to learn more about what I thought about the 6 weeks I spent in Italy click here, it’s public!)

I’ve spent the first few weeks on writing stuff, so I blogged out and there, and read a lot about what will be the technology everyone will talk about in 2017.
We’re just a few weeks away from Christmas, it’s time to get your say!

What do you think will be the 2017 technology trends?

Smart car? Smart cities? IoT? I know, those replies are super generic, and, in other words, all of them can be the most important tech trends. So, let’s try to be more specific.
Cars are starting to talk to each other so we’re not very far away from plugging more technology into this “more than 100 years old” invention. But still far from a very innovative product. google-home-google-assistant
AI virtual assistants are coming to our houses, whom you can talk with, to ask questions about everything, get details about your daily schedule and interact with your Home. Google Home has been announced a couple of days ago but Amazon Echo has been launched last year and it’s still niche, I guess. (When I say niche, I always benchmark Italy, as my beloved country is very slow and conservative to adopt new technologies)
IoT and Wearables are growing industries but there are still a lot of barriers in terms of privacy and data ownership, let’s see how this is going to develop in the next few months.

So, what’s left? Virtual Reality!
PlayStation VR is here soon, and soon as all the hard-core gamers will start using it massively.
So here what I think:

Virtual Reality will finally be applied to a few more industries and not just gaming, film, sports and entertainment.

Massive adoption means a massive opportunity for a lot of other industries, as the technology is already here and you just need to apply it to your specific product.
So, if your business is in one of the following industry, roll your sleeves up and be ready to catch the opportunity!

  1. Real Estate
    How about having the chance to walk through the house/flat you want to rent or buy instead of spending time going there or meeting builders to approve plans on paper you don’t really understand? Super interesting, especially when you’re spending millions on renovating works.
  2. Travel
    Would you try an immersive experience around the country you’re planning so hard to visit if you would have had the chance? I would, especially if committing to that holiday is not very affordable.
  3. Journalism
    Thanks to ad-blocking, publishers and editors are facing difficult times. How about delivering a very immersive value-driven experience for their paid subscription? Members are not very keen to pay to have access to content, but I bet it depends on the kind of content.
  4. Education
    I already approached that topic when I talked about the first surgery operation filmed on VR and used for education reasons on my Linkedin Pulse (it’s in Italian though). But, would you imagine how many more startups are doing the same, providing tools to teach kids about space, science or history?
  5. Shopping
    How big is the opportunity for e-commerce store and fashion brands? Imagine shoppers using a VR set not only to choose what they’d like to buy but also immerse themselves in the store and attend fashion shows, living immersive experiences around it.

I will be really keen to know what you think, hit me up around and tell me what you think!

Tech

Web Marketing Festival 2016 in Italy: what did I learn being a speaker?

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What’s the Web Marketing Festival 2016?

After 3.5 years away from Italy, it’s always nice to be back, attending events and meeting people not only working in online marketing. Even if in the past I’ve worked with Italian companies, in the last three years I mainly focused on international projects, that’s why I thought it was time to give it back to the community my passion was born.

My giving-back time has started with a speech at the Web Marketing Festival where I talked about Growth Hacking, having the chance to meet with a lot of people working and interested in marketing.

I was nervous, it was ages I wasn’t having a speech in Italian and wasn’t really sure how people will react. And the organisation of the festival asked me to make my presentation a bit more generic just one week before as it was too specific on tools and tactics. That’s how I am, I thought. But, I agreed to change it.
I tried to enter the room before the first speech. Failed. The room was full.
So, I ended up just waiting for my turn and grabbing some words from the previous speaker.
Green light, it’s my turn. The room was packed, I had a look at my presentation, it was working.
There wasn’t a wifi mic, I had just to stand in front of it on the stage, in front of a computer covering half of my face, I couldn’t move. Panic. The moderator wasn’t doing anything to help.
What should I do? You-just-need-to-breath-and-talk.

Step out from your comfort zone

learning-motivational-quotesAnd that’s what I did. I didn’t care about the fact people couldn’t really see me. Or the fact that I added too many English words. I just pushed the accelerator and go. I know, sometimes I turned too hard or I asked a silly question and I should have nourished the conversation. You always learn. But if you’re not stepping ahead from your confort zone, you’ll never understand how much you need to steer.

What did I learn speaking at the Web Marketing Festival 2016

It was fun, got an amazing turnout, a lot of great questions and people met.
But now, it’s time to think. It’s important looking back and understand what I did learn attending the Web Marketing Festival. What can I do to improve myself?

  • Hook the audience & tell your story. I know it’s hard. In my case, extremely hard, as I was feeling completely disconnected with that audience, I didn’t now what they were interested in. But I should have told my personal story, full of memories and hopes.
  • Ask as many questions as you can
    You need to gather information about your audience before starting your speech, so you’re sure you understand their expectations. If you can’t just ask them a lot of information before, for example questions or fun facts. Coming from a country were people don’t really want to know about your story, especially when you talk to small and super specific events, I haven’t thought it was that important. But now, I know it. Especially when you’re in a big festival.
  • Share as many examples as you can
    Practical approaches always win, so better starting with one or two business cases, and then wrapping up to one-two definitions. In my case was a bit too difficult as there aren’t many examples of Growth Hacking strategies apart from social media or online platforms, but probably I’ll add more examples in my next talk. 

    When you learn you always win, you just need to be patient and keep going!
About me Tech

Step out from your comfort zone!

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**{Italian version at the end}**

Such a busy time people! But today I’m happy to invite you to step out from your comfort zone.
What’s your comfort zone? I was watching this amazing video by TEDxVicenza where Steve Haley was explaining the same thing. So, I’m not going to explain you, watch him! 😀

So, I hope you watched it ’cause it’s a great one. Step out from your comfort zone means pushing your limits, make mistakes and do everyday something that scares you.
step-out-from-your-confort-zone-london-startup-motivationIf you’re not stepping out your comfort zone, you’re not learning and you’re not growing.
In the last months I’ve been pushing my limits a lot: take on new side projects, a new job (I’m full time with Rentecarlo now, the UK marketplace to rent cars from owners living nearby), planning a crowdfunding campaign, organise an amazing tech conference for early-stage startups and I’ve been speaking to Social Media Strategy Meetups
Sorry, what are you saying? Where do I find the time? I told you I’ve been busy, lol

I’ve been extremely busy but also really satisfied, ’cause I think I’ve learnt more in the last 3 months than in the last year. Stepping out from my comfort zone has allowed me to learn a lot and I’m happy to share this learning with you.

1) Create conversations and collaborations
. Power to people, I think I’ll never stop saying that. And I’m not only talking about the online world, talking with people and sharing ideas is extremely important not only if you want to learn but also understand what you like doing.
2) Say YES. 
Don’t be scared. You’re scared of falling ’cause now you’re feeling really comfortable in your confort zone. Find people who can help you, and never say no. Do one step after the other one, but learn to take risks.
3) Find your energy booster
For sure you have it, somewhere. Find what makes you happy and do it. You won’t believe how much positive and energetic you’ll start to be!

Is there something else you’d like to add? Tell me in the comments, always keen to listen to other points of view!

***

Un periodo super busy! Ma oggi vi vorrei invitare ad uscire dalla vostra confort zone.
Che cosa significa confort zone? Stavo guardando il video di Steve Haley al TEDxVicenza e visto che anche lui esprime esattamente lo stesso significato, vi invito a vederlo:

Spero l’abbiate guardato, comunque, per riassumere uscire dalla comfort zone significa spingersi oltre i propri limiti, commettere errori e fare ogni giorno qualcosa che incute timore, della quale non sei sicuro. Purtroppo (o per fortuna) è vero e rappresenta uno dei pochi modi per imparare e crescere. Ve lo dico sulla mia pelle: negli ultimi mesi ho spinto sull’acceleratore: nuovi side project, un nuovo lavoro (sono full time con Rentecarlo ora, l’online marketplace per affittare l’auto direttamente dai proprietari, una sorta di Airbnb per le automobili), sto pianificando una campagna di crowdfunding, organizzando una tech conference per startup early-stage e sono stata speaker a meetup di social media marketing.
Al di là  di tutto quello che sto facendo, ho imparato tantissimo grazie al fatto di essere coinvolta in tanti progetti, vedere nuove cose e conoscere un sacco di persone. Credo di avere imparato di più negli ultimi tre mesi che nell’ultimo anno.

Ecco perchè vi invito a seguire questi consigli e ad uscire dalla vostra comfort zone, sono sicura ne varrà la pena!

1) Create conversazioni e collaborazioni. Potere alle persone, e credo non smetterò mai di ripeterlo. E non sto parlando solo dell’online, ma del fatto che parlare con le persone e condividere progetti ed idee sia estremamente importante non solo per imparare ma anche per capire che cosa vi piace fare.
2) Dite di SI. 
Non abbiate paura. Se avete paura di cadere è solo perché vi sentite comodi nella vostra comfort zone. Trovate alleati, persone che vi possono aiutare e non dite mai di NO. Fate un passo alla volta, ma imparare a rischiare.
3) Trovate il vostro amplificatore di energia
Sicuramente acne voi avete il vostro energy booster, da qualche parte. Trovate e iniziate a fare qualcosa che vi rende felici. Non crederete alla positività ed energia che avrete in cambio!

C’é qualcosa che vi piacerebbe aggiungere? O curiosità? Usate i commenti e condividete le vostre idee!

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Mobile Tech

What’s the future of online payments?

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Boring. I think it’s what you have thought after reading the title. But, keep reading, I think you’re wrong.
In this article, I’ll talk about an e-commerce startup, a Geek GIRLS event and current payment tools China.
I told you, I hate being boring. 😀

So, how to make your e-commerce successful? Thanks to my experience at Moorbi, I can tell you should focus on 3 main things:

  • Branding strategy: make sure you have a determined value proposition and a branding strategy, to picture your company on customers mind. You need to be reliable and distinguished yourself from the mass!
  • Customize people’s experience: it’s all about analytics and target audience. You have to reach an audience, create particular offers and help your customers to come back and then buy again. So, forget about social media and paid campaigns and focus on your website before!
  • Online Payments: this is the most delicate part of the journey so expect a lot of drop-offs if:  the whole experience is not integrated with the rest of the website. And don’t forget about people’s payment habits.

And here my post: how do you know what people’s payments habits are? Well, this is quite tricky, especially because: 1) it really depends on our culture, sensations, ecc… 2) everyday there are new payment solutions.

So, last week I’ve been to a meetup organised by Geek Girls to learn more about it!

All Saints’ and Badoo people were awesome giving us a lot of tips and suggestions to improve the customers experience when it’s related to online payments.

For example I did learn that adding a new payment option, for example Paypal or Amazon payments to your e-commerce website could terrifically increase your conversion rate (a 34% rise)! In fact, as I was saying before, customers behaviour depends a lot on habits so if people see their favourite payment option, it will be easier for them buying your items. Also, comparing a few options you’ll find out that the time it takes to make a purchase is really making a difference [thanks to Christiane Binder for these great insights!]

Also, if you’re serving a global market, you should understand that the performances and habits are really different: there are countries where mobile payments are not a trustworthy method.  In fact, even if mobile platform revenues have overtaken the Web, but payouts and flows are still very poor.

Finally, to have a better idea of how the culture has an huge impact on this topic we digitally went to China to learn more about payment methods there. And well, Monica Chien‘s speech was very impressive!
Do you know that before making business in China you should became friends and people are easily adding you on Wechat?
So, people using online payments are 20yrs old, they’re using 3rd parties features for personal financing planning reasons (P&L accessible anytime). Also, they mainly used online payments to send money to their parents in the countryside.

Payments gateways are mainly driven by 3 key players: Alipay, Tenpay and 3rd parties tools.

Finally..what’s the future of online payments? Well, for sure integrating those tools within a B2b environment, for example using Alipay to pay salaries. Are we so far away from this scenario?
Or, how about selfies? Nope, I’m not getting crazy, don’t you think that facial recognition could be an interesting option to reduce fraud losses? Check out this article and let me know what you think!

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