Why Do We Need Women in Tech?

I was recently asked an interesting and challenging question by a female colleague. In her experience (as a female and a programmer) she’s often asked, “How do we get more women involved in technology?” to which she proposed a “more interesting question”: “Why do we want more women [in technology]?”. She challenged me to come up with something better than a “generic ‘increased diversity’ answer.”

Here’s my attempt …

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Detectives & Super Powers

As a kid I used to buy ”spy junk” at the toy store. Unlike most kids I had a singular purpose growing up. I didn’t promiscuously flit from one career trajectory to another: fireman, astronaut, policeman, whatever. No, as my parents recount from my earliest years through about eleven or twelve I knew exactly what I wanted to be. I wanted to be a detective.

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Communication & Process

A while back I wrote a talk on the importance of process as a communication tool. At one point during the writing I decided to try my hand at Aesop’s style. It was a fun exercise and I was relatively proud of the result. For what it’s worth here is what I came up with.

The Two Weavers

Weaver Bird and Nest

Once a small weaver bird asked another to help him in building the family nest. The second weaver bird agreed and was put straight to work. He flew off and found a twig for the nest. 

“No, not there,” said the first weaver bird. So he left his twig and found some twine. “No, not yet,” said the first weaver bird. So he scrounged for some mud and began to spread it. “No, not like that,” said the first weaver bird.

So, the second weaver bird flew off and sat on a nearby phone line and watched as the first bird went on busily building. After a little while the first bird noticed the second was no longer participating and flew over to ask him what he was doing. “I’m learning your way,” replied the second bird.

You must share the way before you share your work.

Idea—Anthology

Here’s an idea I wish some television producer would run with.

In this golden age of television I would love to see a new kind of variety show based on well-loved or undiscovered short stories. I imagine a show that would take cues from the old Twilight Zone presenting short episodes sometimes narrated directly, sometimes simply acted. An episode of the show might include more than one story around a theme, somewhat like This American Life.

The stories would be kept as absolutely close to the original writing as possible, eschewing embellishment in favor of preserving the author’s voice. The stories could be acted by a rotating cast of high and low-profile actors and potentially directed by similarly varied directors.

This concept could be particularly interesting for non-traditional networks like Netflix. The short form (especially of individual stories) would be easily shared and the ideas infectiously viral.

I would call the show Anthology and Stephen O’Regan has already produced a pilot based on Terry Bison’s short story They’re Made of Meat.

Read on for the video.

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