So I spent this past week at TechCrunch Disrupt. I must say, I had a great time and it reinvigorated my interest in technology and its benefit to people around the world. After seeing Eric Schmidt and Beth Comstock speak and just hearing the conversations in the hallways, I realize we are truly blessed to be part of such interesting times.
As you may know, I took part in a panel about women in technology. I didn’t feel we really got anywhere with it and it felt awkward to witness what felt like a cat fight on stage. Ugh. Don’t let that sway you, please. There were some really interesting women up there and it was really hard to get a word in edge wise. There were also some interesting women on panels, like PayPal’s Laura Chambers, who discussed geolocation and mobile payments.
Panel aside, what I noticed was this: most guys were happy I was there. Women complain there is a lack of women in tech. Guess what? SO DO MEN. Imagine you work 12 hours a day on a startup. You don’t have much time to go out. It can be really hard to meet women, not just to date, but even as friends. I found the vast majority of guys at TechCrunch Disrupt to be very supportive and kind. They want women in the space just as much as women want to be in the space.
So while it is indeed true that some guy claiming to be an angel investor from Connecticut pitched me for sex not long after I pitched a startup, it is also equally true that all guys I told this too found it as appalling and funny as I did, and many of them thought it was awesome that I am going to apply to YCombinator. It’s all in our perspective. Life is full of misogynist boogie men and if you let them get you down, you end up missing out on a lot.
So now that that’s said and done, here were some of the highlights of the conference for me:
Eric Schmidt Talks About AI: This talk reinforced my admiration for all things Google. They aren’t just interested in being a search engine. They want to incorporate the ability to find things into our everyday life. Unlike Schmidt, I sorta like driving my car though and would be sad if it drove itself.
Steve Streight Discusses What It Was Like to Found Green Dot: Green Dot isn’t a sexy startup. It’s just one that makes sense. I like that. It was also great to hear from someone who didn’t start a company at 22 with nothing to lose. Streight had six kids and I can’t imagine what it would be like to start a company in that situation.
Michael Arrington Sells TechCrunch to AOL: This was a smart move. Money doesn’t corrupt unless you are corrupt already. Having more cashflow means TechCrunch can do bigger and bolder things for more entrepreneurs. I approve.
Chamillionaire Points Out How Far We Have to Go: It’s easy to get caught up in the insular world of early adopters. Chamillionaire pointed out that there are a lot of talented people who have no clue what this scene is about. They don’t know about Spotify or Creative Commons, and they really should. We can’t just focus on what’s next–we need to see who we are leaving behind and how much good it will cause to bring everyone up to speed.
J’aime Ohm Wins the Hackathon. J’aime created an iPhone app that helps women stay safe called WiseDame. She is awesome and WiseDame looks like a great app. Follow her.
MC Hammer: The guy is too legit to quit. Just ask Erick Schonfeld.