Girls, promote your success


Dolores peacock costume


Few months ago I wrote some thoughts I felt important to share with girls in tech. It was about killing usual culture, that refrains some girls (but also boys), from being free and natural at work, like feeling miserable or sorry for no reason. I now realize that part of girls (and boys) success in tech, is also about promoting correctly their achievement, realization, contribution. This may be a general worker problem, not a gender problem, but it seems to me that girls tend to forget more that special part of our job : promoting our success. This stroke me when I heard a colleague of mine commenting after a presentation I gave on a successful project ‘Well, Virginie, wonderful, that was clear and understandable, as usual, thanks you so much’. I did not have the feeling that I was outstanding, I just made my job. But I just got from that remark that promoting my work was beneficial for me and for the project. But the key is to do it efficiently.

What does it mean to promote efficiently ? It means building a message, adapted to your audience. A message, that will not get them lost, and overload them with inappropriate details. Of course it depends on the context, audience, and topic. Working on technology innovation scouting, meeting lots of people and companies and having to report different aspects, from market to strategy and technology, I had to think about my own classification on what to say to whom, and when. That classification might not be universal, but you can get the principles, depending on the context. Here it is.

But first. Never ever. Whatever is the situation, never ever get into the direction of sexist joke and naked girls (or boys), footbalistic analogy, Apple and Google systematic reference. This is forbidden – if your plan is to stay credible. While this may be the easiest way to have people with you, this is simplistic. And by avoiding reproducing that simplistic view of the world, you do not really miss anything, you just show you worth more then that.

Jump on opportunities. You meet the right person in the corridor, you need her or his advice, don’t miss it. Target one sentence and one smile. That is teasing time. You’ll have to say what is stake, which solution you believe you should go and make your request. Then smile and be silent to get an answer. Note for weird people : I am not talking about hot seduction attitude here, but just staying tuned, kindly.

The people agreed to meet you and you have time. It’s serious stuff, here, you are consuming time from some people. They have to know why you are here, what you are talking about. And to do so, I recommend to stay high level, talk strategy, express the key notions, expose the frictions, list the market actors and suggest solutions. And, because, you need to keep them happy with you, you can make jokes (aka, be relax and smart, alright, not making bad bar jokes). You must keep some time for concluding, making sure everyone agrees on the solution (action plan, next steps, …). That is normal communication rule. But (and that is the key point). During all this interaction. You should say ‘we’, when it was a team work and say ‘I’, when it was your own work. Don’t dilute your contribution, be transparent-cristal-clear about it. That is key to value your work.

You are on stage, in a conference. You may not have anything to learn from me if you already made the decision to be on stage. The only recommendation I would give is : build your talk like a story. You need a ‘fil rouge’, you need little anecdotes, you need surprise (taddaaaaaa, here is my program, wouaou, here is my design…). For the others. And if you are just thinking about applying for a conference talk, I would say that you should not hesitate anymore. Conferences are key event to force you to be synthetic and clear. This will give positive visibility to your project. And conference organizer will make their best to help you to be good on stage (it is their interest). Finally, you will be able to re-use your talk elsewhere. You just need to find the right conference, with the right audience.

You need to talk about your work, but... I know you want everyone to know that while going go from SuperProduct v1.3 to HyperProduct v1.4, you made some choices, you managed some shit, you were about to be killed by 2 engineers, and had to dance with your enemy, but… lets admit that, sharing those details in a decision meeting, or while reporting about your project success will not help you. You are professional, you are managing correctly your tasks and making decisions. That is why you are getting paid. But the good news is that you will have to leave evidence of your work. Digital archive, for voluntary and curious colleagues, or to have it somewhere for later reference. In this archive, you can play with all the secret details of your work. You can use your every days professional life vocabulary and habits. Acronyms, architecture, references to geek literature, bugs number, product version, test suite, clickable urls, little stories of your battles, multi-bullet points slides, matrix (with titles), text with different policies for super cool effects, resource planning, exhaustive list of participants, detailed figures… And this is the only place where you should play that game of entering into the boring details. Right ? Unless someone weird ask you detailed questions about it…

My 2 cents, hoping it will make you going out and showing your technical work to the world…

Girls, kill your culture !

best in classIf you are a working girl, stuck in the middle of xx (replace here xx by : life, scale, jungle, siesta, your forties, all fit here), or if you are just curious on how to make your life easier, this post may be for you.

Girls (and curious), let’s be honest, life is sometimes complex. We are overloaded by multiple situations, decisions, contexts and we need to save our energy (and other’s one). Here are few thoughts I learned in the past months, that made my life of european girl in tech, really-really sweeter and lighter. By magic, I spent time on things I missed, like relaxing, family, friends, tea (because working girl only drink tea, yes, of course).

Stop explaining. If you have something to ask, don’t bother people with context, rationale, (good) reasons. Be direct, you will save everyone’s time.

Stop saying sorry. Apologize only if you really-really hurt someone.

Stop justifying why you are here. You are a reasonable adult, full potential (except when you are drunk, but that’s ok, you are funny anyway). Just admit that you are in the right place, and this is not by accident.

Stop planning each step. You survived enough drama and crisis to trust your high capability to find the right tone and answer, on stage, on the phone, in meeting, during projects.

(I see you, I know you are getting nervous reading that : all these sounds like making one step back. And this is normal, in the last 10 years, you have been trying to do everything perfect – perfect life, smart kids, beautiful house… Now don’t run and read next.)

Kill your best in class culture. Don’t try to deliver the best stuff ever, the mvp will be alright. You will improve it later.

Last but not least. Answer questions people ask about your vision, project… You saved time and energy by avoiding flooding people with inappropriate explanations on what you want in your life. But they might have questions. So just answer to it (and keep in mind, it’s not challenges, it is not insulting, it is not saying you are not capable, it is just questions).

My 6 cents.

That post is coming from excellent advices given by friends, and experiences I made, hoping it will help make your life sweeter.

Interview avec Stéph pour Duchess France

Dans mon parcours de girl in tech, j’ai rencontré des filles bien, des filles motivées, dont Stéphanie, developer evangelist chez Microsoft. Elle m’a récemment demandé d’expliquer en quoi consistait mon travail. Si vous avez envie de savoir ce que fait Virginie Galindo de ses journées, c’est par ici : http://www.duchess-france.org/interview-de-virginie-galindo-experte-securite-chez-gemalto-et-au-w3c/

More women in W3C, and why not in W3C TAG ?

The W3C is a nice place to be. It warmly welcomes all web developers from all around the world and all companies involved in web planet and business. That is an interesting statement which is true in general. Nevertheless, this place still need to make effort in terms of diversity. International representation, small business representation, equal gender representation… The good news is that there is a coming election, which might be the right time to have minorities jumping in. The W3C Technical Architecture Group is renewing 5 seats out of 9 seats. This working group is made of participants, elected by W3C members. Its mission is to maintain the technical consistency of the open web platform. A nice mission, right ? That would fit to any good architect of the web, man or woman, I guess. How do elections work ? W3C TAG candidates are nominated by W3C members. Then among the nominated people, the W3C members will choose 5 of them.

The reason why I am advertising that election, is that I believe that more women should join the W3C TAG. Just like anyone should. But my voice here, is more to say “listen, girls, you may not realize it, but you may fit the job”.

So if you are working for a company being a W3C member, or not. And if you feel that your skills and experience will be valuable for better shaping the web. And if you would like to be part of a great team, at least, made of Daniel Appelquist (@torgo, from Telefónica), David Herman (@littlecalculist from Mozilla Foundation), Tim Berners Lee (@timberners_lee from W3C) and Peter Linss (@plinss from HP). Don’t think twice, contact your W3C representative to be nominated or look for people in you network that could nominate you. This W3C representative will have to answer the Call for Nomination here https://www.w3.org/2002/09/wbs/33280/tag-201411/ and will give you a chance to run for the W3C TAG election.

Few days left to run for that election. The deadline for being nominated  is 23:59, Boston time on 30 November 2014. Go girls !

About girls, tech and innovation

GITLast week, I visited The Familly offices in Paris for the Ladies Pitch Night, organized in collaboration with Girls In Tech Paris @GITParis. The pitch exercise is something that has always been attractive to me, combining the effort of form and  content, with emphasis on acting and innovation, two of my favorite topics. Not to mention that girls in tech is also an important society topic for me, that event was just tailor made for me.

What is GIT ? Before listening to the candidates, we had a chance to realize how GIT network was powerful. The founder of GIT, Adrianna Gascoigne @afgascoigne, came on stage to remind us the rationale that lead to the creation of Girls In Tech @GirlsinTech. Her story which started in 2007 was nice, it was about making the technical and entrepreneur world more keen to welcome girls, and she used her energy to create a program focusing on girls education, engagement, solidarity, friendship and fun. That nice story was similar for most of the other female speakers supporting that event, on stage Joanna Shields , Digital Advisor to the Prime Minister of the UK, on the video with kind messages to the ladies : Nellie Kroes VP of the European Commission, leading the digital agenda @NeelieKroes, and Sheryl Sandberg from Facebook @sherylsandberg. Last but not least, Roxanne Varza @roxannevarza was representing Girls In Tech Paris, together with The french governement was supposed to be represented by Axelle Lemaire, but regrets were duly sent.

To complete the demonstration that Girls In Tech had a worldwide coverage, kind messages from some of the 42 GIT chapters all around the world were shared. It happened that some of them were represented, among the 200 attendees , together with some funding companies, some girls in tech, some boys in tech, and a lots of enthusiastic people. Yes, the nice and large The Familly lounge, located under a glass dome, was fully packed! All got the message that a study related to female entrepreneurship demonstrated that women, when setting up a business and making money, are superior in the following area, compared to male entrepreneurship : investing in education and familly, innovating, and job creation, thus creating more wealth. I felt strange that this business argument had to be stated clearly, and that emphasis on gender equity was not mentioned, but this evening was about innovative economy.


Then, the startup pitch. Five girls went on stage to pitch, in front of a jury made of prestigious people.  

The pitches were 6 minutes long – which actually made them long enough to allow the audience to get the style and character of each presenter. Most of them were following the fil rouge ‘I wanna a tell you something personnal, i/we/she/the world has a problem, here is how to solve it, here is the way I’ll make money out of it, look at our nice team, thanks I love you’, the all with nice slides. Well, a standard pitch.  

Easy Size @EasySize. The system allowing online clothes shops to make life easier to customers. When ordering a trouser, no need anymore to give your size, to measure the length of your leg or the tour de taille. You just indicate another item (from any brand) that you have already bought and worn with success, and the prediction algorithm will calculate the translation into the item you are willing to buy. 79 % of the predictions are correct. See more http://www.easysize.me/

Cocofarm. An application allowing farmers to manage their eggs and follow their production and productivity. The energy of the lady pitching impressed all people, specially when she cracked an egg on the floor… That little business target seems to be just a beginning for that startup, willing to make life easier to country side small businesses.

Cortechs @cortechs_ab. That solution aims to help kids with light mental disorder related to concentration. It requires an headset, to measure brain activity of the patient, together with an application offering games. Objectibe being here to bring back patient into a focused and quite mood. That presentation while looking like a research topic was really intereting and demonstrated some real business potential. See more here http://cortechs.ie/

Fojo.me. A mobile application, allowing to take picture (sounds regular), make some nice effects on it (looks normal) and develop with your vintage old dark room. Yes, the idea is to ntegrate your mobile phone into the process of the actual picture development. Niche market, but a smart way to bring back digital photos into paper pictures on your wall. See more here : http://fojo.me/

Gemmyo @gemmyoParis. A online shop, where jewels can be ordered, and will be 3D printed, at a price which will make luxury jewellery affordable. Well, that’s the promise. You will find the same quality, similar design, but will avoid the sometime uncomfortable situation where you just dont believe the little ring you want to buy is soo expensive. More here : https://www.gemmyo.com/

Five girls, five characters, five positioning, five countries. The jury rewarded EasySize startup, and everyone went to the nice buffet. One should anyway keep from that event that girls are not special entrepreneur, they have great ideas, impressive willpower, but they found here an amazing network to put them on good tracks !

Keep track of it, by supporting Girls In Tech whatever your town or country ! GIT Paris or GIT everywhere.

French local note: girls from Marseille, please be aware that Girls in Tech Marseille has now an ambassador

[Musée] Niki de Saint Phalle, une Grande Femme, au Grand Palais

Niki de Saint Phalle est une belle femme, qui sait bouger, s’exprimer, avec grâce, mais pas que. Niki de Saint Phalle sait aussi recevoir les visiteurs de l’exposition au Grand Palais. Elle les attend en haut de l’escalier conduisant à la première des cinq salles consacrées à ses œuvres. Elle sourit sur un écran, puis nous vise de sa carabine. Elégante et calme.

Niki de saint phalle fusil rondOn l’aura compris Niki de Saint Phalle, n’est pas une femme ordinaire. Née en 1930, décédée en 2002, sensible, bouillonnante, intelligente, elle interroge son temps par sa création. Ce temps qui a intégré la révolution industrielle, a éteint les conflits armés en Europe, découvre les joies de la société de consommation, et oublie de se pencher sérieusement sur la condition des femmes. Que sont les femmes ? Jeunes filles à marier, épouses sérieuses, mères, puis rien. Des corps pratiques et beaux, soumis au pouvoir des pères, des époux. Des corps écartés de la mise en œuvre du monde, concentrés sur les fonctions de reproduction et de gestion domestique. C’est en bref ce que Niki de Saint Phalle exprime dans ses œuvres les plus revendicatrices. Sa voix baigne les salles d’exposition, elle explique inlassablement. En français, en anglais. En collage, en peinture, en sculpture.

niki_s_phalle_white_goddess– The White Godness (1963) – Un assemblage de laine, poupée, animaux insectes, fleurs, recouvert de blanc.

 niki de saint phalle leto ou la crucifixion– Leto ou la Crucifixion (1965) –  Une représentation de la femme objet de désir et mère.

niki de saint phalle la toilette– La toilette (1978) –  Une sinistre séance de maquillage pour une femme à tête de squelette

Certes, Niki de Saint Phalle est animée d’une violence, d’une protestation, mais elle dispose d’une énergie, d’un bouillonnement créatif, et propose aussi des pistes à travers ses créations. Les Nana, femmes épanouies, constituantes potentielles d’une société matriarcales. Ces statues immenses sont rondes, colorées, et de l’avis de tous joyeuses. On suivrait volontiers leur pas joyeux, leur danse vers le ciel. Niki de Saint Phalle a su imposer ses Nana partout dans le monde, on les retrouve sous tout pretexte, statues de papier, polystyrène, mosaïque, ou construction gigantesque intégrées dans des paysages, des parcs, des musées, ou encore poupée de chiffon dans les mains d’enfants du monde entier. les Nanas recouvrent le monde – faute de le diriger.

 Niki de saint Phalle dolores– Dolores (1968-1975) –  Une des célèbres Nana …

niki_de_saint_phalle_nanaUne Nana de l’œuvre Les Trois Grâces,1995-2003 – Mosaïque et argentée

Le couple subit également son regard lucide et critique. En témoigne cette sculpture de mariés endimanchés, qui promènent leur amour, symbolisé par une bête noire effrayante, rehaussé d’un cœur rose – so girly. Mais Niki de Saint Phalle n’exclue pas la générosité ou l’amour de son œuvre. On trouvera donc de ci,de là quelques signes (heureux) d’apaisement.

Niki de saint Phalle promenade du dimanceh– La promenade du dimanche (1971) – Une ode à la tristesse des couples

niki de saint phalle vive l'amour

– Vive L’amour (1990) – Un dessin coloré et joyeux…

Enfin, Niki de Saint Phalle a beaucoup joué le jeu de l’installation. Sa mise en spectacle favorite fut, un temps, une technique requérant un fusil. Après avoir assemblé et collé des objets contenant chacun de la peinture, l’artiste tirait sur ces préparations, et créait ainsi en direct, sous les yeux des spectateurs des œuvres d’art colorés. Les films qui rapportent ces séances de création mêlent un sentiment de violence et de force créatrice. Les coups de feu répétés. La peinture qui coule, gicle, goutte, glisse. La foule qui acclame, commente, se bouche les oreilles. Niki vise, tire, et l’œuvre se créée.

Niki de saint Phalle séance de tir– Grand Tir, Séance de Stockhom 1961 – au premier plan

Afin de comprendre la force avec laquelle Niki aura mené son combat toute sa vie, on pourra retenir une des tirades qu’elle prononce dans un de ses court-métrage nommé Daddy, datant de 1972, où elle figure l’assassinat de son père. Elle tire au fusil sur une de ses œuvres en devenir, et récite avec froideur et retenu un texte bouleversant, dont je reproduis ici une traduction personnelle : “Good bye Daddy, ça n’a pas marché, ça n’est pas grave, les esclaves se sont libérés, et profitent maintenant de leur pouvoir, comme tu as profité du tien.” Une déclaration d’autant plus saisissante que Niki écrira plus tard dans un livre autobiographie que son père avait abusé d’elle alors qu’elle était âgée de 12 ans.

L’exposition est rythmée, merveilleusement installée, chaque pièce recréant une époque, une ambiance. La parole et l’écriture de Niki de Saint Phalle y ont une grande place, ce qui permet de comprendre son énergie créatrice. Rendez-vous donc sans hésiter à cette exposition au Grand Palais [1]. On pourra également redécouvrir l’oeuvre complète de Niki par le catalogue très complet de l’exposition [2], suivre sur les réseaux sociaux #NikideSaintPhalle [3] ou effleurer l’émotion des visiteurs sur Instagram [4], et jouer avec l’appli android [5].

[1] http://www.grandpalais.fr/fr/evenement/niki-de-saint-phalle

[2 ] http://www.boutiquesdemusees.fr/fr/librairie/niki-de-saint-phalle/7284.html?par=113

[3] https://twitter.com/search?q=%23NikideSaintPhalle&src=tyah

[4] http://instagram.com/grandpalais_rmn

[5] https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=fr.rmn.expoNiki.fr

Note : les autres billets sur mes visites de musée : https://poulpita.com/tag/musee/