BloggerCon IV, Day 2: Building Bridges

 Elisa, BlogHer 


 Civil disagreement. don't want to all say kumbaya and go to lunch early.

 backup what you say, be prepared to..


 what would it take to make a conf for humans, and not men or women?

 if we look at one version of the truth, women are not a moniority, and more than half of internet users.

 also bout half the bloggers.

 for the dev commuity, the emph on commerce is interesting.

 we can bring up things that are true in society. who gets vc money, writes on opd pages, speaking rosters, are women not underrpresented in these things?

 look at blogging confs. 

 women 10-20%. SXSW got 33%. Blogher has 100%. when we asked out community about blogher 05, two responses. 1) yes. 2) a male speaker, if you can't find a comkpetent woman. Put us in a bind.

 What will it have to look for BlogHer to have to allow womens speakers. 


 ___: one guy can drown out a room full of women. related to fact that men read men and women read women and men (some survey sourced). post-patriarchy... when we have gender equity... it's tough to be a woman in tech. I don't think we're ready. Question back: who wants men? why have them? 

 Elisa: would it be be4tter if conferences became 50-50? Who has an alternate or opposing view? 

 Susan Mernit:  

 not just about gender. it' about focus. saying it;'s about equality in a tech conf is great. but a divdersity of voices is more important than gender equity. I want to see a culture of openness andhearing from different people.


 maybe that assumption is a def of your conference and maybe it will never change.

 I can't see a bloggercon that ever allows commercial pitches. maybe (that will change or fail). but until then, why change?

 Ryan, videoblogger 

 one day putting together schedule for Blogher... tried to get peole from the midwest, non-known bloggers... so few women showed up. I'm holding up 3 women to 80 men. 1) why? 2) how do I pull women out of the woodwork?

 I am always collaborating with men. As it happens. I;'m alwayst he only woman. There are a ton of women videobloggers, but we don't normally connect. Whyis that? why aren't we all talking to each other? something about always being the techie girl.

 Elisa: that's why we beghan BlogHer. maybe this is the first step. Pro-active seeking out. 

 Lisa Stone: Trhying to ... what is the mission of B.ogHer? we thought it was better than sitting aorund complaining. we could get off our butts... mission was to create opportunities for women to go out and create greater exposure, community... you hear all these points occurring in the same conference. We've been overwhelmed by the number of women who want to speak.  

 We ;hve a place where you can be the the dumbest consumer alive... also the IRC waws very different. 


 interesting that there is this duocracy... the peole in volved help crteate the conversnce. creates buy-in. one of the most active groups at blogher are the mommybloggers. they've helped th conf thrive. I get calls from advertisers about how to reach these peoploe. had no idea there would be this level ofinterest.

 Critical aspect has been allowing it happen. just letting it happen. managed to really work.

 Elisa: ask yoiurself the same "why is it hard" then ... what your answers are... 


 I had the same problems when it came to Gnomedex. we were lucky to get a few women . most were turned down. in the community men are3 about selfpromotion and women are not.

 Liz: when you invite women speakers to come. remember the problems of tokenism. noblody wants to go and be attacked and annoyed and get your boobs talked about. I;'m only here because I'm part of BlogHer's posse. 


 I used to run the Davos summit program. This was the problem there many fold over. never solved. what are the things that would suprise you in ten years time was one question. I said in ten years time half of you will be women. the 90% in the audience looked uncomprehendingly. Now the ten years have passed and maybe it's 20%.

 They have an institutional problem, in that the people who go are CEOs of the thousand-member companies. Directors of the world's largest corporations. The odd carlie fiorina or meg whitman may show up, but ... it's male.

 Elisa: (to chris) who reads your blog, dude? 


 a lot of the suggestions I get from women are on behalf of clients and such rather than for themselves...

 partis an ed process. part a perception process. recuritment that is.


 it's more difficult to get diverse voices in any sense.

 if you think of blogher as a tech conference, then a lot of the potential speakers won't be there.

 think of lynn johnson w2ho gets asked to speak because she's black or a woman or hip-hop... and she wants to talk about tech.

 if you want to create diversity and not tokenize people., it will take work. spread the word.


 i went to 29 conf and spoke at 11. they created themes with boundaries, no sharp edges, and recruited the most passionate, able and ...

 one of the things you can think about doing is growing yoiur speakers, and pushing thjem out to other conferences.


 I want gender ballance. Was required at Harvard. I hate making gender distinctions. problem isn't lack of demand, but rather than women don't want to speak if there is a room full of men -- I throw that out as a challenge: what's the problem?

 Lisa Stone: 

 Not my experience at all. I appreciate the observation.

 mentoring is important.

 go to mary hodder's blog where there are acouple hundred women, men too, listed as candidates...

 we have resumes. we know people. Elisa,k for example.


 you're letting speakers off too easily. If you want to speak at conferences you have to seek out the places where you're qualified to speak.

 we're making gross generalizations here...

 Elisa: It's my job to find qualified speakers.  

 Andy Edmonds:  

 the problem isn't the organizers. it's the companies that send the people. sometimes they'll swap out the panelist. they bait and switch.

 problem is finding the woman who's allowed to speak. I wrote a post "where the girls are" check it out.

 Doc: fix the whole conference business. 


 women are under the spotlight, under more scrutiny. need to kick ass. will have their qualificaitons quest5ioned more. representijng all of women. as a kid I was a kickass geek, but If I lost at chess it was "girls can't do that."

 Elisa: if the guy who runs american express gets fired, will people quesion what that means for black leadership? what does htis mean about feminine leadership and style? 


 thye wsj asked, when Carly F left, if any woman...

 Yobie Benjamin: 

 peolple asked if I worked at the airport, becauseI'm philipino. social change is a deep-seated thing. you have to ingtroduce change one person at a time.

 change the people around you.

 Elisa: from the Mercury... why isn't a woman in the white house. Main reason, the article says, is effort by the women themselves. this supports the notion that women need to gel together and make things happen. what happened in the media was minorities getting together and saying they matter. 


 change the conference format. everybody participates. noblody has to be a leader. the question is moot.

 E;lisa: people still use speaking engagements for self promotion.  


 what's great about blogher is that feminists are in charge.

 Robert Cox: 

 Ken Chennault, or Carlie Fiorina... I don't see them being hired because they are black or female. I went to Notre Dame. Being the head football coach at Notre Dame. was interesting when they fired the black coach who came from Stanford. the university stuck with Dan Fouts, one of the worst coaches ever. In the case of Ty Willingham, they did not honor his contract.

 in the group I work with, I get lots of calls from people looking to fill conference slots. I make a point to give 8 names, inc ludijng 4 women.


 When Carlie F was canned, I didn't care because I didsn't want to be a CEO of a fortune 500 dompany. What is a model that is relevant to women, then worry about whethery they're there.

 Let's look at the format again. we matter exonomicaly, and how we're pulling together ... so... how do we make somethig that matters for the women who will be there. Dn't just look at the speakers. Look at topics. make those interesting.

 consider what we're talking about. not just the tech.


 if yoiu look at who is speaking at these events, are they the best? or the loudest in the 'sphere? would I ever want to speak at blogher? No, and I might be a bigger feminist than many who would be there.

 Elisa: do you think if leaders made it more of an effort to generate divfersity, would it degrade quality? 


 if you ever think of starting a conference, just shoot yourself. I have to give the audienc what they want.

 I took a risk by extending an invitation to a political figure,k and that hasn't blown up yet.

 are we talking behyonde idealism here?


 the piont of this is extend the unconference revolution into the planning. why is one gy deciding for all of us what's interesting?

 one of the things I like about BlogHer is the room of one's own concept. sure, a conference organizer... somebody has to rolll a rock uphill and crteate a nodal point. Find some other oway of letting participants take meaningful responsibilt8iyt for what the conf i about.


 I want to second that yoiu have to take responsibility...

 yoiu can't make efverybody happy.


 Vloggercon... at v we were able to get a lot of women... we tried to craft concepts that would work... (missed it)

 Eliza: some people like structure... 

 Frank Paynter: 

 I inow this is about building bridges. The way the WSJ framed Carly's failure was of more concern than the failure. I'll thank and inform ... conferences themselves also need to find a way to find an incentive for pelple to come out and do the thing... a typical incentive is money. I guess people here aren't being compensated... If the WSJ is really screwing up our framing of our understanding of women, it behooves us to route around them. we don't have to give them any more credibility thyan they deserve. their model doesn't include me and I'm not interested.

 Elisa: yet the WSJ is still important and influential. I don't read it, but it still matters. 


 I'm close tothe oldest guy here. What I've seen in my life is the rise of the meriticocracy. Carly F got fire3d because she managed badly. thje next woman CEO will get hired becuse she manages well.

 the reason tUSA today is on the floor of the airplne is because they have nothing substantive to say. Scoble outpulled USAtoday by a wide margin (on something).

 if peolple are intelligent agents...

 because Walt Mossberg writes a column on thursdays it doesn't mean he makes or breaks companies.

 Susan Mernit: 

 I;m frustrated. reminds me of the bloggers vs. journalist debate. Is there anybody here who needs to be reminded...

 whtat I'd like to hear is, more of a continuation of what we can do as individuals.

 I'd applaud you, and dave and chris, for what we can do to extend our communities and reach.


 I would liek to be able to write about this without getting trashed.

 I feel that any time I write about anything in this area is like the third rail. So I'd like some air cover with that. Building bridges needs that. I would like to write about this later and being listened to respectfully. not agreed with or obeyed. I don't want the power to tell anybody what to do. Just to be heard respectfully.

 Elisa: a lot of people don't feel comfortable talking about race, for example. It;'s not just about gender that these things ahppen. There is a general reluctance to speak if you're not in the group...  

 Liz: I organized wolfcamp as an alternative to blogher... tried to make it as girly as possilbe. women with computers and blogs... something of a feminist consciousness-raising session. the unconf model is really cool. we practice being asserrtive and putting ourselves out there. easier to do that in a friendly environment. 

 Elisa: if the goal is building bridges and being humans... 


 to yoiur point about building bridges... I applaud Dave for inviting (names pelope) who invite friends, and so on. ...

 part of it is staying in dialog and not shutting off. that's why[ the room has expanded. yoiu have to be willilng to have the users be smarter than you.

 jake luddington: 

 overlooked in building bridges... how bout international bridge building. that's of even greater world importance.


 we certainly know that U.S. blogging is becoming a minority activity.

 Susan: (in response) globalvoices.org. 

 Sylvia: Also... who left the toilet seat up? 


 (example...) chance, receptive, patronizing ...


 (responding to challenge to not create fear)

 I live in fear.

 Got sick of being confined, restrained... we livfe in a culture where you are supposed to be like one of those guys running for president and not say anything. I started blogging so I could say anything... also why I stopped blogging.


 I was filled with buckshot for being "these three women".

 i was at a Harvard conf where one of the women in the women in the room challenged Jeff Jarvis and others to make X links to nonwhite nonmales by the end of the month. I;'m not sure fifty links will change the world.

 I think the challenge is figuring out how to talk about gender safely. challenge is not to control.. there's on;y so much air cover we can give...

 we have to get beyond saying "I;'m a white male so I can't speak..." we're breaking stereotypes here.


 it takes guts and intellectual depth to pull this off. BlogHer is doing the positive thing. to build up and not cut down. Do what you can.



Last update: Saturday, June 24, 2006 at 7:04:14 PM Eastern. Number of updates: 21.