Where’s Gloria? Philly Tech Week 2016!

I’m getting a lot of “let’s meet up during Philly Tech Week” requests so I am taking a tip from my good friend Tracey Welson-Rossman and writing a post with where I plan on being during #PTW16.  Hint – here’s where you will find Tracey during #PTW16.

Every year it gets harder to choose between all of the amazing events happening during Philly Tech Week, but here is where you will find me from April 28th to May 7th.  I hope to see you at one or more of these events or grabbing a quick bite in between some of them.

Thursday April 28th, I am kicking off #PTW16 with Through a Prism: Why Diversity Matters in Design and Tech 

Friday April 29th will find me at Techniculture in the morning and the Philly Tech Week Kick-off Festival in the evening.  I’m sending sacrifices to the weather gods for no rain for the gang at Technical.ly.

Saturday, April 30th I was hoping to go to the Philadelphia Museum of Art Tech Tour, but it is sold out. *Insert sad face & lesson learned to sign up early here*  So it looks like it will be my day to rest up before the craziness of the upcoming week.

Sunday, May 1st – Happy May Day! This day will be dedicated to family and getting ahead on work.

Monday, May 2nd brings an abbreviated version of  Let’s Talk About Tech with my good friends at Slice Communications  and then off to How Can Philly be the Capital of Gender Equality in Tech.

Tuesday, May 3rd is a full day starting off with Data Management for Non-Profits: Turning Information into Shareable Knowledge.  I’m be a little late but the next stop will be Technical.ly’s Media Conference.  I’m hoping I can make a quick stop at the Lesbians Who Tech Do Philly Tech Week Happy Hour before I head to the Rad Awards.  (Yikes! Did I leave any time in that schedule to eat?)

Wednesday, May 4th – does anyone have a cloning machine I can borrow? If not, then it means I will be attending a few different events but probably not for the full time – The Future of Technology in Business, The Philly Startup Leaders Entrepreneur Expo and the 2nd Annual Women in Tech Soiree.

Thursday, May 5th is another need a cloning machine evening that will start with the merriment at the #PTW16 Cinco de Mayo Block Party.  Then it is off to figure out how to be at From Philly to DC: Building Powerful Inclusive Tech Communities, FailFest, and an invitation-only networking event all at the same time. Most likely it will be a little while at each.

Friday, May 6th, after a week of insight and education, I’m looking forward to relaxing with some fun and friends at the PTW Signature Event.

Saturday, May 7th, #PTW16 wraps up with Techies Who Brunch (if room opens up on the waitlist) and The Hacktory’s Robot Universe Showdown.

There are also some TechGirlz  and TechShopz in a Box events happening during the week so be sure to check them out for your middle school age girls! (Hint – YOU can run your own TechShopz in a Box)

Saturday May 30th – Intro to Video Production  and MATLAB Motion Tracking

Saturday May 7th – Intro to Linux

It is going to be an AMAZING week!!  What are you going to?

Looking forward to seeing everyone. 

 

 

 

 

 

My 3 Words – 2015 edition

I stopped making resolutions when I turned 40. All I was doing was setting myself up for failure.  I stopped having carved in concrete goals within a year or two of that.  Because every time I did my life became the epitome of the old saying “want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans”.  Instead, I tried to find something that would give me direction and put structure around my goals for the year without making me carve them in stone and set myself up for disappointment.  Something that would allow me to lay a path that was flexible enough to allow for inevitable change, but clear enough to keep me on the right trail.

Then my wonderful Twitterverse of friends exposed me to the annual My Three Words and I had my blueprint.

My words for 2014  – tolerance, listening and reading/writing – ending up being somewhat prophetic for what the year was going to bring.  2014 required a lot of tolerance, a lot of listening and consisted of a lot of reading, but not as much writing as I would have liked.

Following in the tradition I started in 2013, I let my three words come to me as I envisioned what I wanted from 2015.  They couldn’t be just any three words though.  They had to be words that embodied an overall attitude for 2015 and words that implied or would move me to action.

So here are My Three Words for 2015 –

Words – This is essentially a evolution of Reading/Writing from 2014. I want to absorb and share more words.  I want to read more.   I want to read many different things.  I want to re-read some of the classics and my old favorites.  I want to read the Bible cover to cover again and really absorb it this time.  I want to write more. I want to finally take all the things that are in my head whether it is inspiration, musings, marketing and social media opinions or fictional stories and share them with the world.  Lastly, I want to do more public speaking.  Having spent a year away from it, I realize how much I really love speaking, training and educating.  I have made a commitment to myself to do more of it this year.

 

Service – I learned this year the difference between saying you want to be of service to others and actually, actively, selflessly being of service to others.  I have always tried to be of service to others, but this past year put me squarely into it.  I realized that making the time and effort and going after opportunities to be of service is different than doing it when it comes your way.  I want to do more of the first and will still accept opportunities that come the second way.

Another lesson that I have committed myself to this year is learning to let others be of service to me.  I have always been the one that took care of everything and everyone, fixed everything, did it myself because it was easier/quicker than counting on someone else to do it.  This year that changes. I will allow others to be of service to me.  I will not rob them of the opportunity to give of themselves.  I know how satisfying it feels to do so.  It is time I let go and give others the space to feel the same way.  I will not stop being a caretaker.  It is who I am.  I will start allowing others to also take care of me.  This one will not be easy, but it is necessary.

 

Routine – This is one of those concepts that I know what it means to me but it may be a bit hard to describe to someone else.  The last few years have been a unpredictable mish-mosh of being in a routine and not being in one depending on the needs of others – friends, clients, loved ones, volunteer commitments, etc…  This last year has held a completely different kind of routine interrupted by frequent detours.  In 2015, I want to start figuring out the routine that suits me best.  Having a routine of working, speaking, reading, writing, exercising, cooking, sitting still…whatever it is, I want to figure out the rhythm of MY life and then add in all of these other things to it.  I have always worked best and been happiest with a little structure in my life.  For me, routine is not about only being structured.  This year it is going to be about having the time, energy and focus to accomplish the things I set out to do and that still allow me to roll with spontaneity, joy, excitement and a need for stillness.


What are your words for 2015?  How can I help you with achieving them? 

 

I want America back!

 

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Reading my social media feeds today, it feels like we have forgotten how to agree to disagree and still respect each other and the other party’s right to their opinion.   I am seriously disgusted by the amount of vitriolic name-calling that I am seeing on all my social media feeds today.

I respect your right to have different political / religious / whatever beliefs then mine.  However, I will not tolerate, and what will quickly get you unfriended, is obnoxious name-calling and berating of anyone, politician or not, that you do not agree with.  Whether you like and agree with a politician or not, they got elected, by a majority, and if you believe in our country and our political system, that affords them some respect, no matter how minor an amount.  I do not necessarily like how many of yesterday’s elections turned out, but they were fair, honest elections in the democratic tradition of this great country.  I have to respect that.  The people who got out the most vote, whether I agree with them our not, have the right to have elected representatives who represent what they want and believe in.

It is as if people on both sides of the aisle have forgotten why we have two sides to the aisle.   If we all agreed on everything, it would not be a democracy.  There would not be a need for one.  Our country and our political system require the checks and balances inherent in a multi-party system.   The reality of that multi-party system is that some elections are going to result in people being elected who don’t represent our own individual views or beliefs.  That is the way it works.   If you don’t like who got elected, then you get off your ass and go to work getting someone elected next time who does represent your beliefs.  You don’t resort to schoolyard bullying and name-calling.

We have drifted so far away from being a nation of tolerance and working together that it is scary.   The divisions that have arisen are tearing our nation apart.  When the reaction to not getting something that you want is to start throwing accusations and calling names instead of working together to create a better world for everyone, then we have gone down a spiral that could spell the end of our country.  It is not who is in office that will ruin our country.  It is our own individual inability to be tolerant, informed, patriotic and compassionate adults who respect our country, our elected officials, our military and each other that will harken the end.

Our country was at its greatest when we still remembered that we were AMERICANS first, not Republicans, Democrats, Tea Partiers, Libertarians,  or whatever…    When we remembered that whether we voted for guy/gal in power or not, it was our patriotic duty to support our country, not continually tear it down by demeaning and debasing those in power.  We respected them and, if we didn’t agree, we worked to get someone elected who we did agree with.

I want that America back! I want back the America that understood we did not all have to believe the same thing, it was actually better when we didn’t, but that we all had to agree to disagree and respect each other.

Fans, Friends, Followers & Circles – Oh My!

Every day we hear from people who want to know to how to manage the constant input from their social media accounts.  There is no one right answer for everyone.   The only one constant for everyone should be one basic question – What are you trying to achieve?

Whether your goal is to stay connected with your friends and family or it is to increase sales for your company, the question should always be the same.  All decisions on who to connect with, how often to post, what to post about should all be directly related to what you are trying to achieve or put another way – what do I want out of this network.  Keeping this simple question in mind will make sure that you are always taking actions on your social media account that help filter out the noise.

No matter what your purpose in social media might be, having a purpose or a plan will help you keep the flow of information under control.  For example, this is how I navigate the constant connection requests and keep the influx of information under control on my Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and now Google+ accounts.

First, each account serves a different purpose for me.  I respond to friend/follow/connect requests differently based on the role each account serves in my overall “plan”.

Second, I got over the “I have to be liked by/connected to everyone” feeling.  That feeling that encourages us to accept or seek out every possible friend request and connect to everyone we ever encounter in our personal or professional lives.   It is a feeling that we have to let go of or we will find ourselves overloaded with connections that we can not manage.

I break down my connections on each of these networks into specific categories based on my goal for that network.

LinkedIn is reserved for my professional connections.  I only accept or initiate connections with people I know well enough that I would recommend their work.  These are people who I either know personally, have worked with or know enough about their work through other trusted connections that I would write a recommendation for them.  For me, there is an implied recommendation in that connection on LinkedIn so I am very selective about who I choose to associate myself with on that network.  LinkedIn is my professional social network.

Facebook is a more varied but carefully monitored and constructed collection.  My Facebook friends are a mix of family, personal friends, high school friends, members of the tech, entrepreneurial and social media communities (especially in Philadelphia) and professional connections.  The one thing that all of these people have in common is that I have a personal relationship with all of them.  We have either met in person, have spent time together offline or I have spent enough time communicating with them online that they are more than just an acquaintance.  I care about the pictures of their kids, puppies and kittens.  I want them to share in both the personal and professional portions of my life that I choose to share.  I may share professional information, links, etc… on Facebook, but it is not my professional network and I do not want it to be.  That is what I use LinkedIn for.  That is why I do not accept every friend request from people in my profession.  Also why I will not participate in applications like BranchOut.  While I may have professional contacts as friends on Facebook, it is not the place I use to manage my professional network.  Facebook is the place where I connect with people I would invite to sit down around my kitchen table.

Twitter is my window on a big, wide, wonderful world.  It is a medley of friends, family members, colleagues, personal and professional acquaintances, potential business partners and clients and more.  However, I do not follow just anyone and do not allow just anyone to follow me.  I review each and every new follower looking at their bio, location, at least the first page of their tweets and any followers we may have in common.  I block the spammers and the questionable.  I follow back those that I find educational, entertaining and those  I am likely to have an actual conversation with.  Twitter is the network where I have my “arms” the widest open.

And now we have added Goggle + to the mix.  I am still figuring this one out.   Does it become restrictive or do I leave it wide open?  I am still not sure.  I can see the pros and cons to both approaches.  The biggest advantage I see to G+ is the Circles feature, which will allow me to restrict certain posts to specific groups.   However, as someone who only posts things that I do not mind the public seeing, I am having difficulty figuring out how this will fit into my patterns of behavior.  I am going to have to spend more time in G+ trying different methods and combinations to see what works best for me, but I will sort it out.  It will have a place in my plan. I will find my set of “rules” of how and whom to connect to.

One of the other keys to managing all of these fans, friends, followers and circles is be flexible.  Make changes when you need to, add and drop connections as it feels right to you.  Do not let anyone tell you what is “right” or “wrong”.  Just be open to learning from others.   So, how do YOU do it?  How do you manage all the fans, friends, followers and circles?

It starts with believing in Philadelphia…

I ended up in a lively conversation this morning on Twitter about why tech companies are leaving Philly. It started with my comment to Technically Philly about their new feature “Exit Interview“.  I applauded their efforts to look at why companies were leaving the city but also inquired whether they were going to look at how to get them to stay.

Someone I respect responded that the way to get them to stay was more tech companies, that there was not enough in Philly.  As a member of the Philly StartUp Leaders Leadership team, I know better.  There are plenty of tech companies in Philly.  They just do not get the attention they deserve.  The counter was that because there was no Google, Amazon or HP in Philly that we will never be a good tech city.  There will never be a large pool of talent or the competition to keep salaries high.

I disagree.  There is a tremendous pool of talent in Philadelphia.   I also do not think we have to have one of the “big” companies in the area to become a world class tech community.  There are plenty of companies across the spectrum – startup to big – in Philly.  We just have not done the best job getting them the attention they deserve. Which in turn means they do not get as many resources, support or funding.

So how do we fix that? I have some ideas, but  I would really love to hear your recommendations.

My #1 – Start supporting this city and this community in what we say.  The more we continue to talk about what is wrong instead of how to fix it, the more everyone else (meaning the world at large) will believe it.  Until we quit being our own worst enemy and looking down on ourselves.  Until we quit talking about how much better New York, the Silicon Valley or other places are than Philly.  We will never be anything more than we are right now.

To make others believe we are better, faster, stronger, smarter, we have to believe it first ourselves.  And we have to start telling everyone else, all the time.

So what is your #1 solution on how we get Philadelphia’s tech community to be more than it is right now?

A whole other side of me

Yep, exactly what the title says. I’m going to expose a whole other side to me.  I am a woman (yes, I know you all know that – or at least I hope you do!).  I am a passionate, caring, sensual woman.  I believe in the beauty and power of sex. Yes, I really did say that  – I believe in the beauty and power of sex.  The power to bring two people close, the power to enhance and strengthen our bonds through the sharing of intimacy.   I believe in using the power of our sensuality to relieve stress and to center ourselves.  There are few things better than a really good orgasm to get me focused, centered and to put me in touch with the strength and power that is my femininity.

So add that to the fact that I am a bit of a geek, who loves gadgets,  it should not surprise you that I am a firm believer in the use of sex toys – alone or with my partner.  A high quality, imaginative sex toy can add a different dimension to either solo or partner play.  Whether it is sexy lingerie, massage oil, a simple vibrator, a new lubricant or something a bit more adventurous, I’ve found that the intrigue and diversity can help you discover not only new heights of pleasure, but new pathways to understanding and intimacy between you and your partner.

I was so excited when my friend Cecily accepted a position working for EdenFantasys.com.  Cecily is a very talented writer who is helping bring Eden Fantasy’s message to a whole new audience.  Intrigued by the new company Cecily is working with, I did some exploring on their website.  And was I impressed!  The site is professional, clean, easy to navigate and full of wonderful toys, lingerie, candles, DVD’s, oils and ideas.   They sell quality products at competitive prices.  I especially loved the Adult Toy Guides which give the novice or experienced user reviews and advice on different types or uses for their sex toys.  All in all, it’s a great site and I can’t wait to order some of their products!

Best part – you, my lucky readers, get a chance to order something from them too!  EdenFantasys.com has given me a $50 gift certificate to give away to one of my readers!   All you have to do to be entered to win is to leave a comment on this post.  Peruse the EdenFantasys.com site and send me a link to a product you like, own, would like to own or that intrigues you and a few words about why.  The most imaginative story (as judged by me!) will win the $50 gift certificate.  Looking forward to your insights!

Community or Clique?

Or more appropriately – Are you building a community or a clique?

We are all a part of many communities, both on and off line.  We are inundated with constant buzz about “building communities”.   How often though do we stop and look at whether what we are building or joining is really a community or is it a clique?

There are many different definitions of community.  Some having to with interests and some having to do with geography.   What we seem to have accepted as one definition of community (especially offline ones) is a group of people with similar interests and an agreement as to goals.  The question arises when do we cross the line between being an inclusive, supportive community to a clique (a small exclusive group of friends or associates).

So what do we really mean when we talk about building communities? What really differentiates a community from a clique?  In every community that we belong to, we have those who we feel more comfortable with, those we have more in common with.   But just a like a family, there is always that old aunt or uncle who tells the bad jokes or insists on pinching our cheeks.  There are the people we have less in common with, that we are not as comfortable being around.  When we talk about building a community doesn’t that mean including those people?  If we do not, aren’t we just building a clique?

Communities are multi-facted. If we accept that a community is a group of like-minded people working towards similar goals, doesn’t that mean we have to accept the ones we have less in common with, but who still meet that definition?  In your community, how often do you reach out to those people?  How often do you take the time to find out about them?  Do you reach out and try to help them?  If you are the “leader” of the community, isn’t it your responsibility to foster that environment?  If you claim to want to build a community, shouldn’t you be doing everything possible to foster communication, acceptance and cooperation among your community members?

Are you taking the time to learn and share the negative as well as the positive?  It is easy to share and celebrate all of the good things, but are you also willing to commit to helping your community members through the bad ones?  Do you have a community member who is having a hard time personally or professionally?  Do you even know?  If so, what are you doing to draw the community together to help this person?  Are you using all of the avenues and tools available to know what going on with your community members so that you can act on the good things and the bad things?

We all have our buddies, our friends within our communities and this is not to say that we should not have those we hang out with, socialize with and support those individuals.  But when we revolve our actions around those individuals and not everyone in our community, then we are not really building a community.  If your stated objectives include anything about togetherness, support, sharing or communication and you are not actively reaching across your entire organization and beyond with these concepts, then you are not building a community.  You are building a clique.