About a year and a half ago, I was hired by Kevin to help run the NY Android Developers Meetup, the largest meetup on the east coast concentrating on mobile specific Android topics. Watching the meetup grow every month has been a gratifying experience - we're almost at 2,500 members. One thing I'd like to improve on though? The number of female developers at our meetup. So when I was invited to speak at the International Women's Day 2015 Women Techmakers GDG NY event, I instantly agreed. I was curious to hear stories from other women in tech. The day long event kicked off in Google's beautiful cafe space with energetic greetings from the organizers, Nitya Narasimhan (Google Developers NY Group co-organizer) and Maria Hollweck (Lean In, Columbia University).
Diane and Irene, co-founders of Monarq.co, gave the keynote. They're working on a network for women who want to do fun things with women who share their interests. They stressed the insignificance of failure in the long scheme of things; forget them and celebrate the small victories. They also stressed the importance of picking a great partner because you'll be seeing them for most of the day, everyday. When someone asked them about their strategy on staying relevant into today's fast moving tech world, their answer was to treat everyday like launch day and plan, plan, plan.
One of my other favorite talks was from Jill Munson, a front end software engineer at Nickelodeon. She talked about sharing knowledge. We shouldn't be selfish with what we know. If we encounter people who are, don't be afraid to annoy them.
As for my own talk, I shared tips that helped me in my roles so far in tech. I do whatever it takes to help my bosses run the business, whether it's organizing meetups, project management, planning team outings, or even accounting (tax season was fun). For my first tip, I asked the group to refocus. These days, we're constantly inundated with notifications. We'll start drafting an email and then get distracted by another one coming in. Don't forget the Facebook likes, Tweets, Whatsapp messages, etc. I asked the group to think about how they work. Perhaps consider turning their phones facedown on their desk (or put it away. I know, it's crazy); maybe only have one tab open at a time, and only switch to the next task when the current one is done. I think if we learn to refocus our thoughts and move away from distracted multi-tasking, we'll be able to move our work and teams forward.
There aren't many things that I'd wake up at 7am on a weekend for, but I'm glad I went to the IWD 2015 Techmakers event. The social networking lunch and smaller working groups added to the feeling of community and inspiration; I even invited a few developers to join our NY Android Developers group.
Many thanks to Nitya and Maria for organizing, and for inviting me to be a part of it!