"Guinea Pigs in Technology" or geek girls are cool

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The slide deck of my TEDxYerevan 2011 talk. …

The slide deck of my TEDxYerevan 2011 talk.

Here's the video of the talk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXqT1Ybc2yg

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  • Do you know what guinea pig and women in technology have in common? Any guesses? This is an old joke i used to hear a lot a while ago. The popular answer is this: the common thing between women in tech and guinea pig is the fact that women are related to technology the same way guinea pigs are related to pigs. I'm here to tell you that this is complete and utter… nonsense. Let me tell you a story.
  • So it’s about a girl, who was born in a very typical Armenian family. Normally her destiny would be pictured like this: she’ll go to school, enter university, find a husband, have some kids, become an exemplary housewife who can cook excellent dolma… and work as a teacher maybe..
  • well, in this particular family i'm going to tell you about, things went a little different. Something somewhere went wrong and the first signs of the troubles have started to emerge as the family bought their first PC back in 1996
  • and their teenage daughter started to show signs of computer addiction.. becoming a «computer rat» in their words. Her initial plans to become a journalist quickly vanished and she started to dream to become a hacker .
  • Since the age of 13 she became the computer expert for her whole extended family, getting emergency calls when someone couldn't find a certain key on the keyboard, or couldn't change the font properties in the Word processor.
  • Since then, “Let Me Google It For You” has been a phrase she used a lot. Well and the RTFM.
  • One of the happiest moments of her life was buying a laptop. She needed a portable computer so she could use it even in bed and when she had it, it was not very common to walk in the streets with big laptop bags yet.. and she occasionally felt herself like little the Tiffany from MIB.
  • With the web 2.0 and new media emerging, she became an early adopter, and was labeled as a tech evangelist. One who signs up for all the new social networks, manages to be aware of all the industry news… has built some impressive online personality with big network, sharing interesting news, with many followers etc…
  • She was labeled as a geek. And then she started to explore what’s in that word.
  • So who are geek girls?
  • These are the most common perceptions for geeks I’ve brought together. -not feminine
  • lack social skills, mostly hang out with other geeks Other perceptions include. They are… -using techno-slang -must know good programming -work just in tech industry Some of these things are truly just myths. In reality geek girls are:  
  • Independent or better to say - self-dependent Geek girls (can) solve (most of) their own problems :) They can easily setup a home wireless network, configure a router, even without a particular training or prior knowledge. They are just know how to find it out digging throught search results and technical forums.
  • Smart, witty, tech savvy
  • Gadget and connectivity dependent They are actually very good at quick self-learning. They know how to google stuff, or youtube things like “how to fix damaged headphones” or simply “how to gift wrap a box”. Even though they don’t depend on other people for their problems, but they are very much dependent on their gadgets and network availability.
  • Learn really quickly
  • Info-junkie, love sharing Geek girls are info-junkie. They have to be up-to-date with the latest information on their interest and they all love sharing information and useful hacks. That’s why they are active in social networks.
  • Can be really really cute
  • Just like a socialite. Not convincing? Well.. for the socialites we all know that they are:  
  • Obsessed with shopping and worship shoes
  • They actually admire lady gaga.
  • They are obsessed with SATC and frequently quote the heroines.
  • I know a geek girl who’s a shopaholic, with a particular passion for shoes. Well, she recently told us, she counted about 27 pairs in her 2011 spring-summer collection. And not only her… among my geek girlfriends there are ones who think that Lady Gaga is actually cool. They read Cosmo and yeah, Sex and the City is one of their favorite shows of all time, they were noted to be stylish and pretty. Not quite like the perceptions, right?   Now lets go back to the girl I was telling you about in the beginning.
  • The netbook that’s the default accessory in her purse is actually pink. It has Google, Firefox, Android and Hello Kitty stickers next to each other. Among her 200 RSS subscriptions, there are many fashion, gossip blogs. Her smartphone has more fashion apps than you know existed  She meets her friends not by calling and asking where they are, or telling where she is. They have foursquare and other geolocation services for that. She tracks her not suspecting sister with the google latitude she had setup on her cellphone.
  • You can meet geek girls in some glamorous party, all dressed up, on towering heels, talking on her smartphone.. Explaining someone from her workplace how to fix the server..
  • You can meet a girl restarting that damn router at a café when they badly need a wifi.
  • See this girl? It’s Ani, she has written an alarm clock application for her friend’s phone, because it didn’t have one.
  • These girls - Nelly and Gayane, have created a very popular website dedicated to indie music all by themselves, coding, promotion and stuff.
  • Geek girls were active in Yerevan Barcamps’ organization, well; I was one of them and guess what? I was telling about “how to date a geek girl”.
  • Somehow this presentation became a viral hit on the web, becoming the top presentation of the day, then week, then most tweeted and ended up getting about 20K views in couple of weeks. And I got featured in a Taiwanese website with a special mention of my netbook which turned out to be a Taiwanese pride. It got a huge positive feedback and I want to share some of the highlights.
  • When geek girl is dating a geek guy.. well. That’s predictable. They communicate via messengers (even when they are in the same room), they schedule meetings via google calendar invitations, their computers are sweetly connected via a shared folder in dropbox…
  • and they express their emotions via likes and comments…
  • When geek girl is dating a non-geek. Either the guy gets paranoic thinking that their (potential) girlfriend can hack everything of theirs, starting with text messages on the phone, ending with email and social media accounts. And nothing good comes out of it.
  • You can never know that a pretty girl you’ll be flirting with in a bar, might have already checked your FB profile on her smartphone while you were looking away, and might have tweeted how bored she is with your conversations. But, if guys are smart enough, they start exploring her ‘territory’, signing up in the social networks she’s in, following her posts and reacting to them.
  • If you follow these simple steps, a geek girl can give you the root password for her heart.
  • But actually, being a geek girl is really cool. Being a geek girl makes you feel more confident, independent. You can solve your own problems actually. You become needed and demanded by everyone around, from your boss to your friends.
  • So what do guinea pigs and girls in technology have in common? Yes, they are both cute 
  • We, the geek girls of Armenia have decided to establish a community of our own. So i invite the girls to join us. At last, I want to tell you that a geek’s image for girls actually comes with a ‘dumbness filter’. If you’re a geek girl, you can attract all the right guys and scare all the wrong ones  Girls, enjoy being geeks.

Transcript

  • 1. By  WOAW
  • 2.  
  • 3.  
  • 4.  
  • 5.  
  • 6.  
  • 7.  
  • 8. © Sony Pictures
  • 9.  
  • 10. Geek girls?
  • 11. not feminine…
    • © mcphee.com
  • 12. mostly hang out with other geeks
    • © Tanya Zommer
  • 13. independent or self-dependent
  • 14. tech savvy
  • 15. gadget and connectivity dependent
  • 16. learn really quickly
  • 17. actively sharing
  • 18. Marissa!
  • 19. Socialites?
  • 20.  
  • 21.
    • by Domain Barnyard
  • 22.  
  • 23.  
  • 24.  
  • 25. spot the geek girl?
  • 26.
    • […]just wait until all those things end scrolling on the black screen, then type ‘ fsck –y /data’ . Wait again until the scrolling stops, in the end type ‘ init 6 ’. It should reboot. Ok, well, bye”
  • 27.  
  • 28.  
  • 29.  
  • 30.  
  • 31. Geek girl + Geek guy
  • 32.  
  • 33. Geek girl + Non-geek guy
  • 34. she’s about to tweet...
  • 35. How to date a geek girl ©
    • Subscribe & follow
    • Interact
    • Find her
    • Be nice 
    • Don’t be always on
    • Be informed
    • Don’t play too much
  • 36. How to date a geek girl ©
    • Subscribe & follow
    • Interact
    • Find her
    • Be nice 
    • Don’t be always on
    • Be informed
    • Don’t play too much
    Disclaimer : the method is not guaranteed and I am not responsible for any loss or damage caused by the actions undertaken under the influence of this presentation.
  • 37.
    • a happy pic
  • 38. By  WOAW
  • 39.