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Nokia, Opera, ESPN, Admob, Oracle + leading industry bloggers to speak at Mobile Web Megatrends ..

 
Picture of Ajit Jaokar
Nokia, Opera, ESPN, Admob, Oracle + leading industry bloggers to speak at Mobile Web Megatrends ..
by Ajit Jaokar - Saturday, 9 August 2008, 11:39 PM
 
Many forox members are speaking/attending this event. Should be very interesting and I look forward to meeting you there ..

Mobile%20Web%20Megatrends.jpg


I have blogged about the Mobile Web Megatrends conference before .. and a lot has happened since then.

Here's where we are at! Please sign up ASAP if you are interested.

The event is on Sep 8 2008 at the pacific film archive theatre at the University of California Berkeley for only $195. Link is Mobile Web Megatrends

Speakers include companies who are doing some cutting edge work in the Mobile Web space including Nokia, Opera Mobile 9.5 , ESPN mobile , Oracle atomdb , Admob

StartupsMoblast, , skyfire, cellfire, mynumo

Thought leaders and bloggers - Ajit Jaokar, Michael Mace , Barbara Ballard , Mike Rowehl

Operator strategies - OMTP Bondi , Gemalto SCWS

Emerging markets – Brazil – Mobile trends and digital inclusion

Co-Created and Chaired by Ajit Jaokar, the simple idea behind Mobile Web Megatrends is to create a small, niche event focused on developments that are key to the Mobile Web, currently (2008/2009)

This means that the conference will be focused and granular and have much more interaction from attendees and speakers than is usually found at such events.

Topics to be covered include:
Browser evolution(Opera mobile 9.5, Nokia S40 6th edition, flashlight)
location based services including CellID databases
iPhone including iStore and iPhone applications
Android
Mobile web advertising,
Emerging markets(Brazil and Digital inclusion)
Network API's (OMTP Bondi)
Widgets
Offline browsing
And much more.

The discussion will focus on the strategy, implementation, competitive advantages and the pitfalls of these trends with a unique opportunity to get unbiased opinions. You will clarify your thinking from the experience of others and keep the conversation going through an ongoing attendees only discussion forum.

For more information and registration, please visit Mobile Web Megatrends conference
Picture of Helen Keegan
Re: Nokia, Opera, ESPN, Admob, Oracle + leading industry bloggers to speak at Mobile Web Megatrends ..
by Helen Keegan - Wednesday, 27 August 2008, 6:05 PM
 

Why only 2 women speakers out of 17 Ajit (and any other conference organiser out there)?

And don't tell me this is representative of the industry because I know it isn't - we have good female representation at Mobile Mondays, more women come to Swedish Beers now and the women in the Women in Mobile Data Assocation are plentiful! I even hear long the grapevine that the MMA has a strong female contingent.

And yes, this is a particular bugbear of mine. But with good reason. So bear with me.

I'm fed up to the back teeth of the established conference companies ignoring women in the mobile industry (Informa being a recent obvious culprit) and coming up with lame excuses as to why women aren't involved.

But to have the opportunity to have a home-grown event as it were without relying on the Informa's of this world, and *still* to only have 2 speakers out of 17, is this acceptable in 2008? Still, at least it's 2. And 2 is better than none.

I'm not a bra-burning feminist by any stretch of the imagination. But come on, this is the 21st Century and we've had the vote a while now. Women make 80% of buying decisions, women are more prolific on the internet than men, women are driving social networking - why aren't they (we) visible at potentially game-changing events where real decisions are made about all our digital futures, when potentially, it will probably impact most on women's day to day lives than men's.

I don't expect to get to 50/50 but to get to 25% visibility would be a start and not unreasonable I'd have thought. Or am I deluded here?

And don't give me the comment 'well if it's a choice between a man and a woman speaker and the man's the better qualified speaker then we choose the man' because in *most* cases in my 8 year experience of attending mobile conferences and events, there are few 'brilliant' speakers on the circuit at all - male or female - so there isn't usually an issue of having to choose between them. And with different formats, different styles of speakers get a chance to shine.

It still feels like women are pretty much invisible and that the mobile industry is still very much a boy's club. [And yes, I know it's not just the mobile industry.]

So..

1. Do we need to rethink event formats to make them more accessible to women? And if so, what are those formats?

2. How do we boost the confidence of female participants so that they say yes more times than they say no when asked to contribute as a speaker, panellist, moderator, whatever?

3. How do we encourage women to take networking and conferencing at this level seriously and make it a core part of their jobs rather than something they do once in a blue moon?

4. How do we encourage companies to put women forward as speakers as often as, or sometimes instead of the men in their companies?

As a woman, you might think I qualify to answer these questions. Unfortunately, I don't suffer from a fear or reticence of speaking at events. I don't work for a big company so I don't have a glass ceiling to break through (I've experienced it in the past though), so I don't necessarily understand some of what's going on here and why these problems persist or what to do about them so I'm particularly interested to hear others views and perceptions - and that's from men *and* women please!

I do believe this is a problem. And I do think we can change it if we want to and hope that if I keep piping up about it, something positive may happen.

Happy to start another thread about this if appropriate.

Some further links here too (and it's worth looking at the comments and links to other posts to get the full picture):

http://technokitten.blogspot.com/2008/08/ilovemobileweb-awards-should-be-renamed.html

http://technokitten.blogspot.com/2008/08/ever-wanted-to-know-gender-and-age.html

Picture of Luca Passani
Re: Nokia, Opera, ESPN, Admob, Oracle + leading industry bloggers to speak at Mobile Web Megatrends ..
by Luca Passani - Wednesday, 27 August 2008, 9:45 PM
 


> As a woman, you might think I qualify to answer
> these questions. Unfortunately, I don't suffer
> from a fear or reticence of speaking at events.
> I don't work for a big company so I don't have
> a glass ceiling to break through
> (I've experienced it in the past though), so
> I don't necessarily understand some of what's
> going on here and why these problems persist


hold on a sec, you come here, you bitch about a big discrimination problem for which conference organizers are responsible (and organizers of a different conference before them!), and then you blithely admit that you don't quite understand what the problem is in the first place.

Something doesn't sound right here...if you are not sure what the problem is, starting your rant with "don't tell me this is representative of the industry because I know it isn't" is not the safest choice.

Luca
Picture of Helen Keegan
Re: Nokia, Opera, ESPN, Admob, Oracle + leading industry bloggers to speak at Mobile Web Megatrends ..
by Helen Keegan - Wednesday, 27 August 2008, 11:33 PM
 
There is massive discrimination Luca - whether that's intentional or not is a different case. The fact is, it exists. And I understand the problem. What I don't understand all the underlying causes.

Re my qualification on the topic - I have no qualms in saying yes to speaking requests, nor am I shy in coming forward when there is an opportunity. This is the reverse of most women I know in the industry. I don't understand this because it is not my personal experience. So I'm asking other people who may have more direct experience of this to comment as to why they perhaps don't participate, or don't ask women to participate because their perception is that women won't be up for it.

What we are seeing are symptoms not causes. To solve the problem, we need to find the causes. Perhaps then we can find a solution.

Any ideas Luca?
Picture of Luca Passani
Re: Nokia, Opera, ESPN, Admob, Oracle + leading industry bloggers to speak at Mobile Web Megatrends ..
by Luca Passani - Thursday, 28 August 2008, 10:19 AM
 

> There is massive discrimination Luca

if there is, you have egregiously failed to demonstrate it.
Your argument "only x-small% women => discrimination" does not cut it. One could prove that NBA discriminates white basketball players this way.

So, I think you should either come up with a sound proof that there is discrimination or, if you really really have to bring this up here and now, be a bit more humble and *suggest* that there *may* be discrimination in the field.

Luca
Picture of Helen Keegan
Re: Nokia, Opera, ESPN, Admob, Oracle + leading industry bloggers to speak at Mobile Web Megatrends ..
by Helen Keegan - Thursday, 28 August 2008, 11:15 AM
 

So lack of female participation doesn't demonstrate discrimination?

I'm not saying it's deliberate, I'm not saying it's men's fault either. I'm saying it exists and it's a problem and we should do something about it and we are actually in a position *to* do something about it.

Half our mobile customers are women. Ergo perhaps women should have a say in what happens? Diversity is important for an industry to grow. At the moment the industry is insular and won't attract new talent and ideas to help it grow if it doesn't become more inclusive. And that means embracing the views of *everyone* in the industry. Female share of voice is very much part of that but is very much missing, particularly at events and conferences.

I organise plenty of events and I know what it's like, but it's not insurmountable. And some good ideas are emerging which is fantastic.

Or perhaps women *are* invisible to you Luca and we're so invisible you (personally) don't notice (or care) whether we are there are not?

As for humility - so you have been known to rant on topics that you're passionate about but not everyone agrees with you on, but because I'm a woman, I'm only allowed to speak humbly about a topic and *suggest* there *may* be a problem? Is this further evidence of discrimination Luca?

Picture of Luca Passani
Re: Nokia, Opera, ESPN, Admob, Oracle + leading industry bloggers to speak at Mobile Web Megatrends ..
by Luca Passani - Thursday, 28 August 2008, 12:34 PM
 

> Is this further evidence of discrimination Luca?

No, it's not. If you look at my rant, you will see that I said "Vodafone is abusive because they did this, this and that. Here are the logs that prove it and here is further evidence of how user experience is disrupted"

http://wurfl.sourceforge.net/vodafonerant/

You did not provide anything like that, but just an abstract argument that lack of female participation must necessarily mean discrimination, which, in itself, is not enough to be so assertive.

I would be OK with you using this argument to suggest that there may be discrimination, but not with you accusing specific organizers (which already have a hard enough nut to crack) of specific conferences of discrimination.

Luca
Picture of Helen Keegan
Re: Nokia, Opera, ESPN, Admob, Oracle + leading industry bloggers to speak at Mobile Web Megatrends ..
by Helen Keegan - Thursday, 28 August 2008, 12:50 PM
 

The facts:

There is discrimination against women - period. I'm not going to collate the evidence here. It's all over the internet for you to look at. Women are still paid less than men for the same jobs. Women are working, yet still do more housework and chores at home than men. And if we go beyond the UK, women still don't always get the vote and still have to obey their husbands or are bought and sold as slaves.

The issue re visibility at events is a much smaller subset of all of that that still exists. Event organisers, although not necessarily the root cause of the problem, do ensure that it persists, in the most case by just not doing anything about it or not even recognising it as an issue. So yes, I'm putting a shout out to event organisers about this. Because, on the whole, they run conferences just like they always have, the same results appear. If you do the same thing over and over again, you'll get the same result. And that's what's happening. So something needs to change, otherwise we will *always* have this problem.

Event organisers are generally not particularly pro-active in looking for and/or finding talent to take part in their conferences. They go with the easy or safe option and 99.9 times out of 100 that will be a man. Ajit has done better than most in getting to 10% participation for women and has put an interesting agenda together. But it still isn't enough. It's also down to companies to put their womenfolk forward too. And I know it's a hard job. I run enough events myself to know that from first-hand experience. But it still doesn't make it right that women are more or less invisible at conferences like these - be that mobile, online, whatever.

That's why I'm putting the questions out there - how do we address this? What do we do about it? How do we nurture diversity?

What solutions can you offer Luca?

Picture of Luca Passani
Re: Nokia, Opera, ESPN, Admob, Oracle + leading industry bloggers to speak at Mobile Web Megatrends ..
by Luca Passani - Thursday, 28 August 2008, 3:06 PM
 

> There is discrimination against women - period

> And if we go beyond the UK, women still don't
> always get the vote and still have to obey
> their husbands or are bought and sold as slaves.

I find this attitude sort of arrogant. You come here with an attitude. Make claims that you are not demonstrating and, when asked to present the logic behind your claims, you respond with a few well placed blows below the belt (take the drama away and you will realize that the connection between women being sold as slaves and women not being incentivized enough to move their asses and go speak at a conference is very feeble).

> What solutions can you offer Luca?

show me that there is a problem and I may start thinking of a possible solution.

If the problem is, as you seem to suggest, that women are discriminated everywhere, then I think that you are in the wrong place to discuss. We are simply discussing the mobile industry here, not fixing all of mankind's problems.
Wrt giving someone *extra* incentive to talk at a conference exclusively on the ground that this someone is a female is not something I am personally willing to fight for at the moment (and I suspect this is not what many women would want to see either).

Luca
Picture of Helen Keegan
Re: Nokia, Opera, ESPN, Admob, Oracle + leading industry bloggers to speak at Mobile Web Megatrends ..
by Helen Keegan - Thursday, 28 August 2008, 3:20 PM
 

Luca, I'm not asking for positive discrimination. Nor am I asking for extra incentives.

I'm asking for ideas so we can get a balance - for the good of our customers and our industry. A dominant male industry voice is not a balanced approach. Diversity is good. We do not see diversity at conferences currently.

I'm not talking about a battle of the sexes, just fairer representation and inclusivity. At the moment there is neither fair representation nor enough inclusivity, yet there are many women working in the industry at all levels.

If you feel this isn't a problem then that's your call. And you're right, if you don't see a problem then no solution needs to be found. I disagree with you.

On the other hand, I know I'm not alone in acknowledging that this is still an industry issue (from both men and women) and I, and others, still feel very strongly that something should and more to the point, can, be done about it.

You're entitled to your opinion but we need men *and* women to survive.

2009 head shot
Re: Nokia, Opera, ESPN, Admob, Oracle + leading industry bloggers to speak at Mobile Web Megatrends ..
by Barbara Ballard - Wednesday, 27 August 2008, 10:21 PM
 
I know what problems I had when recruiting speakers for Design For Mobile. I was trying to fill specific company types, functions within the companies, and expertise (e.g., operator, marketing, user research); we put together this nice grid and tried to fill in as many slots as possible. Oh, and I wanted to focus on North America, what with it being a North American conference.

The women I asked tended to decline, or even ignore the request. I think we would have had 6 of 16 rather than 3 of 16. It actually seemed like part of the issue was "I have better things to do in my life than travel for some conference", but I could be wrong.
Picture of Helen Keegan
Re: Nokia, Opera, ESPN, Admob, Oracle + leading industry bloggers to speak at Mobile Web Megatrends ..
by Helen Keegan - Wednesday, 27 August 2008, 11:49 PM
 
I think you have a good point there Barbara.

I think the travelling element is an issue and it does impact on participation but more importantly, the conference (or networking) is not seen as a priority and the travel element is used as an excuse to not go.

What I'm trying to get to the bottom of is the root cause of the reasons to not participate, perhaps including...

I know anecdotally that women *do* get leered at by men at conferences (It's happened to me more than once) and/or there's a perception that that is likely to happen. How big a deal is this? It doesn't put me off, but does it put off a lot of others?

There is an assumption that conferences that have a predominantly male line-up will also be testosterone-fuelled and therefore not a fun place for women to hang out. And might suggest a focus on talking rather than listening. Women's working and networking styles are very different from men. Are these accommodated in conference formats?

I know that women lack confidence in many cases to get up and speak, or put themselves forward. Is this down to lack of practice or is it the format or both? How can this be addressed?

We desperately need diversity in this industry to help it grow and to attend to the needs of the whole industry and the whole of its customer base. This is actually business critical not a personal gripe.

Carlo at Mobhappy has also picked up on it
http://mobhappy.com/blog1/2008/08/27/would-you-ever-willingly-ignore-insight-into-half-your-customers/

I've also been chatting to another well-respected industry veteran on the topic where there is perhaps an underlying issue of a talent gap - the mobile industry is somewhat insular so where are we going to find the talent to grow - be that female, Afro-Carribean, Asian, senior, junior, whatever. It was also commented that women are more creative in how they communicate their subject matter.

I don't actually think the mobile industry is anti-female and there are plenty women working in it at all levels. This is why it particularly troubles me that there is still a lack of visibility for women for whatever reason and that it's no longer acceptable and it's definitely time for change.



Picture of Dean Bubley
Re: Nokia, Opera, ESPN, Admob, Oracle + leading industry bloggers to speak at Mobile Web Megatrends ..
by Dean Bubley - Thursday, 28 August 2008, 12:48 AM
 
Helen / Barbara

On the travel issue, is it also maybe related to the social & evening side of events?

I tend to find that a substantial part of the value I get from events are the "offline" conversations I have with other speakers/delegates in the bar, or over dinner. On the other hand, there are sometimes occasions where I don't meet people in the evenings, and I have no qualms about going out in a strange city and having dinner/wandering around on my own. To me, that's part of the attraction, especially in an interesting place like (say) Berlin or Madrid.

My perception (correct me if I'm wrong) is that some women would be relatively uncomfortable going out for drinks/dinner with other attendees (especially one-to-one), and also less likely to want to go out solo. It's obviously easier where the event has some sort of organised evening function, but that's often not the case.

Dean
Picture of Dean Bubley
Re: Nokia, Opera, ESPN, Admob, Oracle + leading industry bloggers to speak at Mobile Web Megatrends ..
by Dean Bubley - Wednesday, 27 August 2008, 11:02 PM
 
Helen

One interesting counterpoint to your comment about gender imbalance:

I've just looked through my emails for people who've invited me to speak at conferences over the past year or so. 7 were men (Ajit was one of them), and 13 were women.

In general, this reflects what I perceive as a distinct bias towards female conference producers (and coordinators) in the mobile industry.

You may wish to address them as to why it is that they seem to invite (or get acceptances from) more men than women. I suspect Barbara may be right about differing attitudes to travel, but I've got no hard data on that.

Dean
Picture of Helen Keegan
Re: Nokia, Opera, ESPN, Admob, Oracle + leading industry bloggers to speak at Mobile Web Megatrends ..
by Helen Keegan - Wednesday, 27 August 2008, 11:54 PM
 
Thanks for that Dean.
I have addressed it to them - publicly on my blog and privately by email.
I've received pretty lame excuses as to the underlying reasons and little commitment to make a change (it would make their job harder).

A comment from an industry colleague suggested that actually many conference organisers wouldn't necessarily spot talent anyway as they're not close enough to the industry and what's going perhaps.

Carsonified is not in that camp and made extra effort with their Future of Mobile conference to not make that same mistake. Instead of looking at it from the outside, they came and hung out with mobile people. They made an effort to see us on our territory (at a variety of networking events - some of which I attended, and via twitter, facebook and our blogs). They also made a particular effort to get women on board, despite the difficulties in doing that. And they certainly seem to have done a better job than the usual suspects. But maybe they weren't being dictated to by sponsors (do people still buy their way into conferences??).
David Doherty
Re: Nokia, Opera, ESPN, Admob, Oracle + leading industry bloggers to speak at Mobile Web Megatrends ..
by David Doherty - Thursday, 28 August 2008, 1:00 AM
 

Hi Helen,  

Might have been good for you to start this as a separate thread – but too late now!

As a sometime conference organizer (sadly not in Mobile but in the Healthcare and Private Investment sectors) this is a considerable problem and I think we can change it if we want to and agree with your method - keep piping up about it and something positive will happen. Increasing the visibility of women who are participating in Swedish Beers, MoMo, Women in Mobile Data Assocation and the MMA is also very important… BTW a big congratulations on joining the MoMo London organization team.

As to your points:

1. Do we need to rethink event formats to make them more accessible to women? And if so, what are those formats?

Yes. Make sure events are scheduled mid week and at quieter times of the year. I know and work with a lot of very successful women who won’t put their life/business on hold to attend another me too conference. Make the agendas focused and invite the right people.

2. How do we boost the confidence of female participants so that they say yes more times than they say no when asked to contribute as a speaker, panellist, moderator, whatever?

Barbara made a point on which I too share experiences ("I have better things to do in my life than travel for some conference") and I feel that this has something to do with women in business feeling the need for less of the ego massaging that male conference speakers require. Men often jump at the chance to take a trip somewhere to talk in front of their peers whereas women more often require a financial justification and quite possibly a different type of recompense. More generous expenses would get more female speakers – and yes I am saying they should be bribed if need be!

3. How do we encourage women to take networking and conferencing at this level seriously and make it a core part of their jobs rather than something they do once in a blue moon?

Raise the incentives and make them more attractive to prospective female speakers, they say it’s better to promote a male with a flash company car than a pay rise whereas with a female employee it may be the opposite or something else like a nicer office or more generous clothing allowance. In a healthcare investment conference that I organized I ensured that the keynote was provided to the only female we had speaking. Although it also happened to be the case that she was probably the most qualified, relevant and respected speaker regardless of her gender!

4. How do we encourage companies to put women forward as speakers as often as, or sometimes instead of the men in their companies?

Better conference organizing teams typically do a better job and this is a particular problem facing emerging areas such as those in which people like Ajit have their skills. Often these are smaller events that grow into bigger things and it’s expensive to recruit and train organizers when things are as fast paced as they are in the world of Mobile Web 2.0.

These issues aren’t insurmountable but additional visibility that people like you can give women in mobile is important so keep it up.

How about a talk at the next MoMo London with the best of the UK’s women in Mobile?

Picture of Helen Keegan
Re: Nokia, Opera, ESPN, Admob, Oracle + leading industry bloggers to speak at Mobile Web Megatrends ..
by Helen Keegan - Thursday, 28 August 2008, 11:21 AM
 

All great suggestions David and will be added to the pot and thank you for the support.

Good point re MoMo London - there is a lot of support within the Mobile Monday community to support women in the industry and, in fact, women are very active in that community - in the US, Europe and Asia. I'm in discussions with a few of the chapter leaders about this topic.

I've also had very interesting feedback from other quarters and once I've digested it all, I'll be updating my blogposts and the forum post here.

Keep it coming!

Picture of Ajit Jaokar
Re: Nokia, Opera, ESPN, Admob, Oracle + leading industry bloggers to speak at Mobile Web Megatrends ..
by Ajit Jaokar - Thursday, 28 August 2008, 12:24 PM
 
Helen
Like David, may I propose that you start your disccussions on another thread and post all the feedback you have collected there? kind rgds Ajit
Picture of Helen Keegan
Re: Nokia, Opera, ESPN, Admob, Oracle + leading industry bloggers to speak at Mobile Web Megatrends ..
by Helen Keegan - Thursday, 28 August 2008, 12:51 PM
 
Is it simpler to rename this thread and move your single post Ajit? As admin, perhaps you can do that?
Picture of Ajit Jaokar
Re: Nokia, Opera, ESPN, Admob, Oracle + leading industry bloggers to speak at Mobile Web Megatrends ..
by Ajit Jaokar - Thursday, 28 August 2008, 1:03 PM
 
No. I will not rename the thread and remove my post Helen.

As a networker you will know that what you have done is hijack a thread.

I have no problems to you creating a seperate thread - but to ask me to remove my post and to rename it just for you is in poor taste

If I do that - then every noisy, vocal person will get carte blanche to hijacking other people's threads to promote their cause.

A precendet I do not wish to set.

kind rgds Ajit
Picture of Helen Keegan
Re: Nokia, Opera, ESPN, Admob, Oracle + leading industry bloggers to speak at Mobile Web Megatrends ..
by Helen Keegan - Thursday, 28 August 2008, 2:50 PM
 

I didn't hijack the post Ajit. My point is valid. There isn't enough female representation and you (amongst others) are in a good position to do something about it. I'm sorry if you feel I hijacked the post.

And my suggestion was for ease of admin alone, nothing else was inferred.

Picture of Helen Keegan
Re: Nokia, Opera, ESPN, Admob, Oracle + leading industry bloggers to speak at Mobile Web Megatrends ..
by Helen Keegan - Thursday, 28 August 2008, 5:28 PM