22 October 2012

Networking as a Hackbrighter

Last week was a week of events. In San Francisco, coding is not just about coding. It is a whole culture. There are events almost every single night.

The week before last, we went to hear some women from Survey Monkey speak. The title of the event had the word "dinner" in it, but after an hour and a half of driving, we showed up to find that there were cheese and crackers. Kind of disappointing, especially for my friend who can only have gluten-free stuff. The talks were interesting, though. One woman talked about how when she travels with male members of her team, people automatically assume that he's the boss. Another woman seemed really witty, so I talked to her afterwards, and she told of how she accidentally went into an interview holding a half-drunk bottle of beer. She figured she may as well drink it, so she did, between answering questions.

Here's a picture of some of us at that event (if you look closely, you'll notice I'm holding a plant, which I got to take home with me):


Then, on Tuesday of last week, I attended a Technovation event at Airbnb--more about that later. I do have to mention here that I perhaps a little too exuberantly met Angie Chang from Women 2.0.

Wednesday, we met our mentors--I was sooooo glad to be paired with the one I had hoped for (Julia Grace), and she's already affecting me positively--I've done pushups every morning since meeting her, because that was her reason for having good-looking arms. ;)

Thursday, we went to Twiliocon, a huge tech conference, where I started handing out David's Hackbright cards like crazy and ran into some people I almost consider my work family even though we've never officially worked together. I skipped the crazy, all-night party to go to a panel moderated by a Bloomberg correspondent named John Erlichman called "Tech Industry to Disrupt Status Quo of Women at Work?"--there they had real food (not pizza or crackers! Samosas!), and Michael and I were able to hear from these women:

There were great discussions and points. I was also able to talk to a recruiter there, and meet many women who wanted to talk about a comment I had made. I handed out even more cards.

Luckily for me, David was willing to bring more Hackbright cards on Friday, because on Saturday, I went to an all-day event called "Confident Coding" at Microsoft. I heard of so many resources new to me that I may never be able to close my zillions of tabs, and in return, I gave people cards and told them about how great Hackbright is. I also debated going to two different hackathons (this one especially because I'm passionate about transportation and because their website is so cool), but in the end, I wanted to learn during the weekend rather than sitting around wishing I could contribute.

Yes, learning coding for hours and hours and spending all day with people is tiring. But there is strength in numbers--these events refreshed me more than I thought they would. We'll see what the next weeks bring. I have so much more to say and so little time to even study . . .

If you want to know more about everyday goings-on at Hackbright, check out my Twitter feed, because that's where I am able to post on the fly. :)

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