Smart is Sexy

I went to my first demoCamp last night! Apparently it wasn’t the best demoCamp ever. Actually, Rohan thought it was the worst (yes, that’s right, I met Rohan!). However, it wasn’t the actual presentations that impressed me about the event, but more the community that is built around it. Everyone seemed to know each other through several different channels, or at least had read each others blogs. The funniest thing I overheard was an introduction being made and instead of a “hi, nice to meet you” one of the people said “hi, I think I read your blog this morning”.

I was surprised to find that I actually knew, knew of, or had some connection with a fair number of people there. Who knew I was a part of a community I didn’t even know existed?

That’s the whole spirit of the event, really super smart techy people are able to meet and discuss ideas with other super smart techy people in a very open environment. I hate to use the word “networking” because I feel as though it has icky connotations, but it was a great, non-icky networking night.

The only problem I noticed…90% of the people there were guys. What’s up with that?

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9 Responses to “Smart is Sexy”

  1. Rohan Jayasekera Says:

    Yes, it’s 90% guys which is very unfortunate. (Mark Kuznicki noticed your comment and agreed.) But maybe you wouldn’t be asking “what’s up with that?” if you hadn’t got back together with Chris: those odds are pretty good. (Though as I once heard Accordion Guy Joey deVilla quote, “the odds are good, but the goods are odd”.)

    Speaking of which, a blog post entitled “Smart is Sexy” in which the only person mentioned is me? I’d better not show my wife or she might start to wonder about all these “technology” events I go to!

    You’re quite right about all the networking going on (yes, icky term but I agree that this kind is non-icky). A year ago I hadn’t met any of the other people there! And the person you heard saying “hi, I think I read your blog this morning” told me later that he’d learned of her blog because I’d linked to it in my blog. As much as many of us learn a lot about each other online, there’s a lot missing until we actually meet in person.

  2. Jenny Says:

    Hahahaha, Rohan you got me with the title.

    Mostly, I just like that it’s attention grabbing (what, me, like attention?) and I wish it were a statement that more people considered a truism.

    Unfortunately, this has a lot to do with the reason why there aren’t a lot of women at these types of events. But that’s for another blog…

  3. BryceJ Says:

    Yes I think we can all agree the event was not stellar. I think though this shows the limitation of the Format as much as it is about bad presentations. David, Joey and Jay own the event and they are already planning changes.

    As far as the whole “boys club” issue I don’t know if that is something that needs to be addressed by “the Boys”. Deb Hartmann, Jen Nolan, Mira Jelic and the omnipresent SachaC are active members of the community I think people like them and yourself Jenny are better suited to tackling this issue. I know I feel myself that it is an problem but I don’t know how to address it beyond squelching the lockeroom talk and trying to remind myself that I truly value an inclusive community.

  4. Jenny Says:

    Hey Bryce, thanks for stopping by. I just put up a long post regarding this issue. It’s not specific to demoCamp, more that the event really showcases how male-dominated the tech industry is. I just hope that everyone can become more aware of this problem in the future and we can all work towards making some changes.

  5. Bobby Says:

    I have to agree with Jenny’s entry on this, and Slava’s take as well; it’s scarcely any kind of functioning community when certain members dismissively feign off such important imbalances upon others.

    If it’s truly going to be cutting edge and indicative of the things to come, men and women alike should be welcome to come and go, observe and absorb. Even those who aren’t in the tech or comm-sci field. I mean, we’re all going to experience the technology and practices of the future as equals, right?

    Don’t rule out that demographic of individuals and all their insight simply because they don’t fit the current image of a DemoCamp attendant. Everyone should take it upon themselves to expose their ideas to everyone else. Isn’t that what shit like TED and IdeaCity et al is for?

  6. Rachel Says:

    Well put, Jenn…here and in your next post — you’re very right; it’s not a them/us, either/or kind of situation. It’s deeper than that and it’ll take more than just “the boys” saying ‘come out and play!’ or the few girls who gain a foothold to bear the burden of it all. It’s societal, it’s systemic, it’s all those things that every social science class ever taught us. If it were so easy to say “Stop. Change.”, that’d be great. It’s not, though, and it’ll take baby steps — but bringing it up, putting it out there and talking about it one of the crucial first steps to making something happen.

    So, again…well done. 🙂

  7. Jenny Says:

    Thanks Rach! High fives all around.

  8. Joe Says:

    It was “90% guys” because more girls didn’t show up to this open event. QED.

  9. Jenny Says:

    Hey joe, congratulations on completely missing the point!

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