Monday, October 09, 2006

Ah, memories...

Some interesting stats, good advice and sometimes funny anecdotes from the conference.

What happens when 1,300 women in computing take over a convention centre:
  • Women walk right into the men's restroom
  • There's a designated breast-pump room for lactacting mothers
  • Dancing on the dancefloor doesn't involve getting winked at or groped
  • Chocolate is served (with fruit on the side)
  • They can get away with purple conference totebags
  • Lunch is salad, and no one's able to finish
Ironic comment by bellboy about the number of women in computing at the conference:
"I'm kinda intimidated."

Shirley Tillman, President of Princeton, on why women planning to have families are afraid to become professors:
"I attended a conference when my children were small. After the evening session, the women were drinking beer, talking about lives, fretting about being so long away from the children. The males were bragging about how long they've been on the road, how long it's been...the longer the better. Imagine the effect on grad students at the table...40% of women find that work-life balance is a challenge vs. 2.8% of men"

Interesting study on how confidence plays a role on performance:
"Michael Inslek looked at undergrad math performances by giving math tests, placing girls and guys in separate rooms. In presence of men, women performed more poorly, and when adding more men, they performed even more poorly."

A woman from NY reminisceses back to when she was only female faculty member in CS:
"The school of computer science was going to hire a faculty member. Sometimes, it makes sense to say something like, oh, this person's a statistical specialist, we don't need another one. In our case, they were interviewing candidates for a faculty position, and one of five candidates was a woman. Right in front of me, a fellow faculty member commented, referring to the gender of the female candidate, "Well we already have one of those, why would we need another one?"
... LOL

After a Microsoft representative introduced her as "beyond the 'queen of search' title", cited her as a Stanford award winner for her impact to undergrad education, and a happy alternative to Paris Hilton on magazine covers by gracing NewsWeek, BusinessWeek and Fortune, Marissa Mayer, VP of Google, wins us over by her humility: "That's a really intimidating introduction!"

Seinfeld-esque 'so-true-it's-funny' comment about asian women's culturally engrained auto-self-deprecation and second-guessing (ie. "Maybe I'm wrong but..."): "Ever notice how even when you're 200% sure about something, you say it as if you're 70% sure? And our colleagues who know something at 50% will say it as if they know as if they're 100% sure...?"

On setting concrete, prioritized goals when developing a product: "95% of users use 5% of features"

Marissa's tips:
  • On trying - "You can't win the lottery if you don't buy a ticket."
  • "Creativity loves constraint." eg. google desktop was constrained by limiting memory, processor, download size, and thus they had to become more creative to overcome despite constraints
  • "Surround yourself with "allies" not "adorers". That is, the people who will support you but be honest, not the ones who will just tell you how great you are.
Skytrain paranoia kicking in at San Diego above-ground trolley station: "Omg they're all just *walking* accross the tracks!"

On walking past the line-up at the Panda Exhibit, craning our necks to glimpse the bears through the 'exit' door: "It's like that simpson's episode: Get them! They're trying to learn for free!"


Noah said...

Dancing on the dancefloor doesn't involve getting winked at or groped

Maybe you should spend less time at sleazy night clubs ;)

Angelica said...

Good thing I don't!

Jen said...

Yeah, that was my comment. And it doesn't matter how posh or sleazy a nightclub is, creepy guys are everywhere!

eugene said...

What, there aren't creepy lesbians that grope other women?

Just wondering.

bishnu said... did you find the urinals?

Maryam said...

Hey Angelica, looks like I finally found your blog :D I love this entry, you've definately summed up the gist of what the conference was all about, thanks for the reminiscing!

Btw, you're a really good writer, so keep it up!

Oh and I'll send you the pics from my cam by tomorrow the latest :) Cya!

erica said...

Hi Angelica! I really love this post -- in fact I love all your GHC posts! Keep them coming!

Ah, good memories, indeed. Now I'm back to work (and i was reading some of your posts at work today :P), and I really wish I stayed in San Diego longer!!!

Keep in touch!

Angelica said...

Urinals stink. But to be honest, I didn't go into the ones at the GHC hotel, personally. It was just word on the street till I found the picture evidence.

Thanks Maryam and Erica for the awesome time! Let's keep in touch ^^

Jen said...

The urinals didn't stink at all, surprisingly. Though I just stuck to this one washroom that had just a single urinal and a single stall. It was always empty!