Diversity In Tech: How Coworking Supports Nerd Girls

women in coworking GCUC

Ask anyone to list off the most famous nerds or successful geeks they can think of and you’ll hear a laundry list of dudes:

Bill Gates
Steve Jobs
Mark Zuckerberg
Biz Stone
Craig Newmark

These guys are the creative minds behind some of the most successful technology ventures of our time, and we love/hate them for how much money and time they’ve stolen from us, but you’ve still got to wonder: where are all my ladies at?

Sure, like every industry, men have dominated the highest paying and most prestigious positions in tech for many years. But also like every industry, that’s rapidly changing. And coworking is helping.

Some stats to go with your coffee:

  •  The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by 2020, about 65 million Americans will be freelancers, temps, independent contractors and solopreneurs, making up about 40% of the workforce.
  • As of 2012, there were almost 2,100 coworking spaces around the world.
  • 38% of all coworking space members are women (as of 2012)

Diversity is essential for continued growth and creativity in business. It doesn’t matter which type of business, but especially any business related to technology. We sometimes joke about “bro-working” but the truth is that more women entrepreneurs are finding homes in coworking spaces than ever before.

Empowered by the supportive community of their coworking spaces, these women are changing social and economic norms right before our very eyes. No longer strapped to their basements or dining room tables, these women are turning hobbies into companies, and hidden talents into new income streams. (Case in point: both start-ups that have launched out of Cohere are owned by women).

These women are also setting a long-overdue example for younger females, demonstrating that it’s no longer necessary to choose career or family, but that with coworking as a tool, it’s possible to balance both with grace and ferocity. More women in tech means a stronger, more creative tech industry, and that’s pretty awesome!

For more inspiration, please enjoy the following infographic which depicts some of the fiercest women in tech and the shape of things to come:

NewRelic_FiercestWomeninTech_FINAL1Infographic courtesy of New Relic

Top image via GCUC

Yahoo! Disses Mobile Workforce, Becomes Even More Irrelevant

Marissa Mayer, Yahoo, mobile workforce

When’s the last time you used Yahoo! for a web search? Or visited its front page to get the day’s news? The once-popular online destination is now a ghost town. Anyone can tell that the company desperately needs an image makeover, and when they hired Marissa Mayer “First Ever Pregnant CEO Of A Fortune 500 Tech Company” last summer, many people thought they were headed for new pastures.

A 30-something herself, surely Mayer would be in touch with what young professionals want and need from a web destination. As a woman, I hoped she would help to elevate the discussion about the need for women in tech, and demonstrate how a penis and a power tie are no longer the only requirements for a successful executive.

Instead, Mayer has shown an embarrassing willingness to continue the status quo, and in the process, nailed yet another nail in the coffin of Yahoo’s irrelevance in the modern market.

A few days ago, Mayer announced through the company’s human resources arm yesterday that Yahoo employees will no longer be permitted to work remotely. “Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home,” says the memo from HR director Jackie Reses, and reprinted by Kara Swisher on allthingsd.com last night. “We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.”

Apparently, Mayer is ignorant of the plethora of studies that show flexibility improves worker productivity, morale and health. She must be oblivious to the rise of the mobile workforce and the entire coworking industry. She must also be unaware that some of the world’s most successful companies (aka Yahoo’s biggest competitors) not only acknowledge the value of telecommuting, but basically insist that their employees get out of the office.

The idea that a team is only a team when sitting right next to each other is so 20th century, it’s kind of painful to even attempt a civil rebuttal. Just ask Al, Alex W., Alex C., Medberry, Darrin and Julia (Coherians that are all successful remote employees). As HuffPo points out, “Rather than championing a blending of life and work , she is calling for an enforced and antiquated division. She is telling workers — many of whom were hired with the assurance that they could work remotely — that they’d best get their bottoms into their office chairs, or else.”

Now maybe, as some have pointed out, Yahoo is doing this as a slick way to force people out, and thus reduce overhead. While this is a valid (if not despicable) possibility, it still doesn’t stand up. Several well-known studies have shown that companies can save a pile of money by allowing employees to telecommute, and as the annual Global Coworking Survey has shown repeatedly, those who telecommute from coworking spaces see an almost instant increase in productivity, personal satisfaction, confidence, health, etc.

Mayer clearly has a lot on her plate. New mom, new CEO. Maybe she’s spread a little too thin. Maybe she’s not thinking clearly. But someone at Yahoo better get a clue, or the best and brightest are going to hit the road in search of more flexible pastures. Innovation, something Yahoo desperately needs, doesn’t only happen when you’re chained to a desk. In fact, it rarely happens when you’re chained to a desk.

Business is changing whether you like it or not, Marissa. You can either join the party, or get left behind. And right now, it looks like the bus is leaving without you.

Spring Forward! New Technologies For The Modern Entrepreneur

Future Technology

In honor of Daylight Savings (yeah, that might why your day feels a little off) Cohere members are springing forward in time–and chiming in on futuristic inventions that would help them at work.  Take a look at these clever ideas—this office is brimming with creativity!

Hologram Meetings

Many independent professionals have clients and customers all over the country (or world). In-person meetings are the best way to gauge a client’s character because so much is communicated without words. Skype is an improvement over the regular phone call, but it’s still not as good as the real thing. That’s why we want holographic screens already. Then we can interface with our computer by simply gesturing with our hands at a holographic image. We’ll never misunderstand someone’s tone again. Win.

IT-Person-In-A-Sack

Computer glitches, bugs, freezes, and crashes are the bane of our mobile, online existence. We want a single USB device that can be plugged in without installing a driver, then diagnose and fix our laptop’s ailment. No warranty needed.

Transportation Tubes

We like working in different places with different people. We like going to conferences and meetups, and festivals that allows us to make new connections and learn new things. But long distance travel is for the birds, and flying is a drag. We want pneumatic tubes that will allow us to travel in a fraction of the time, all while playing relaxing music. C’mon, we’ve all seen Futurama–we know the technology exists! (We will also accept the transporter beam from Star Trek).

The Holo-Desk

Speaking of Star Trek…coworkers are fine with working at a different desk everyday, but sometimes we just wish that desk was in Paris, or the beach, or in a peaceful meadow. Instead of the Holodeck, we want a desk that allows us to invent our own surroundings, depending on mood and the type of work we’ve got to do. Cranking out a project while enjoying own personal paradise? Yes please :)

OK, most of these are a little silly, but hey, we can dream right? Besides the “Easy Button,” what futuristic technologies would make your life easier as a business owner or freelancer? Tell us in the comments!

 

Image credit: Flickr – opensourceway

 

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