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5 Things I Wish I Knew Then & The Fire Starter's Manifesto

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Sarah Bird covers 5 things she wished she knew early in her career. The presentation closes with the Fire Starter's Manifesto--a statement of core beliefs about increasing diversity in tech.

This presentation was designed for and delivered at ACT-W, a conference for women technologists held in Seattle on May 18th 2015.

Published in: Career, Lifestyle, Technology
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5 Things I Wish I Knew Then & The Fire Starter's Manifesto

  1. Sarah Bird, CEO of Moz @Sarah Bird I Wish I Knew Then…
  2. Things I wish I knew then…
  3. The Fire Starter’s Manifesto
  4. Transparent Authentic Generous Fun Empathetic Exceptional Hold me to it!
  5. Brief Intro to Moz
  6. Moz Basics $35.6 million/year in total revenue
  7. 155 talented team members Moz BasicsMoz Basics
  8. Over 30,000 paying customers from all over the globe. Moz Basics
  9. Moz makes software that helps marketers understand and improve their SEO, business listings, social media, links and brand mentions.
  10. It looks a little like this…
  11. And this…
  12. And this…
  13. Lots of Awards ‘N Stuff Best Places to Work
  14. Brief Intro to Me…
  15. I’m on my journey.
  16. I started as a cleaning lady.
  17. Chains!
  18. College Librarian
  19. Studied Literature & Philosophy
  20. So… Law school then!
  21. Practiced law For a few years…
  22. Rand’s company was taking off right at the moment I decided to leave the firm.
  23. Joined Moz as General Counsel in 2007
  24. I can’t go on.
  25. Fuck it.
  26. That’s my job!
  27. Things I wish I knew then…
  28. Get out of your own way.
  29. This Is Water by David Foster Wallace
  30. “The most obvious and important realities are often the hardest to see and talk about.”
  31. We don’t see the world as it is. We see it as we are. Initial conditions
  32. We’ve inherited layers of culture.
  33. Helen taught me that you can fly, if you want to.
  34. Find people who ‘see’ your potential better than you do.
  35. Find people who ‘see’ your potential better than you do.
  36. The Confidence Gap
  37. I’m still growing.
  38. ALL YOUR MENTORS ARE BELONG TO US
  39. They don’t come with a capital ‘M.’
  40. Take what you want, and leave the rest.
  41. Invest heavily in professional development.
  42. It takes technique.
  43. It’s not like riding a bike.
  44. It’s more like weight training.
  45. Manage your energy Like an athlete.
  46. Why?
  47. Shit happens
  48. Don’t pray for easy times, pray for the strength to endure hard times. --Bruce Lee “Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.” --Bruce Lee
  49. Google It
  50. Let go of the guilt.
  51. Figure out matters to you, and let go of the rest.
  52. What my dad taught me.
  53. McBird Family Dinner
  54. Don’t lose track of what’s important.
  55. Keep reminding yourself “this is water.”
  56. Make your subconscious choices… Conscious.
  57. The Fire Starter’s Manifesto
  58. Access to technology is not optional. It is not a lifestyle.
  59. Technology fundamentally transforms… Access to capital and critical services
  60. Technology fundamentally transforms… Access to capital and critical services Employment opportunities
  61. Technology fundamentally transforms… Access to capital and critical services Employment opportunities Human connections
  62. Technology fundamentally transforms… Access to capital and critical services Employment opportunities Human connections Health & wellness
  63. Technology fundamentally transforms… Access to capital and critical services Employment opportunities Human connections Health & wellness Education
  64. The rate of innovation is increasing.
  65. Technologists, therefore, have an outsized impact on our experience of the world.
  66. There is a widening chasm between the urgent need for qualified technologists and our ability to develop them.
  67. The technology industry does not reflect the diversity of experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds that make up our communities.
  68. The overwhelming homogeneity of the tech pipeline is acute early on…
  69. The overwhelming homogeneity of the tech pipeline is acute early on… And becomes excruciating at executive levels.
  70. We believe a person’s opportunity should not be limited by gender, skin color, religion, or socio- economic background.
  71. Fostering a diverse and rich tech industry is a moral imperative.
  72. Access to technologies created by and for diverse perspectives will improve income equality and social justice.
  73. Although we face powerful structural barriers that erode the tech talent pipeline…
  74. …there is nothing inherent about technology that makes it unfriendly to women and underrepresented minorities.
  75. The structural barriers are man-made and they will be unmade.
  76. We believe in tackling big, seemingly insurmountable challenges by breaking them down into smaller tasks.
  77. As Martin Luther King reminds us, “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.”
  78. Every small act of virtue creates a ripple effect beyond measure.
  79. Together, we are creating a more welcoming, enriching, and equitable technology industry.
  80. It is difficult to dream about something that you have never seen.
  81. Many people are discouraged from pursuing tech careers simply because they either do not know anyone who works in these fields, or they do not understand what people in these fields do.
  82. We believe that telling our stories matters.
  83. You can change the course of someone’s life by sharing the right idea at the right moment.
  84. Telling someone “It’s important to me that you’re here” and “You can do this” makes a profound difference.
  85. "Education isn't the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." --William Butler Yeats
  86. We believe in lighting the fire and inspiring everyone -
  87. We believe in lighting the fire and inspiring everyone - especially women and underrepresented minorities
  88. We believe in lighting the fire and inspiring everyone - especially women and underrepresented minorities - to explore the compelling world of technology.
  89. We are the fire starters.
  90. It’s important to me that you’re here. You can do this.
  91. The last thing that I wish I knew then…
  92. I wish I knew then, that I belong here, with you.

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