Friday, 18 April 2008

Google Geek Girl Dinner

Getting together with a whole bunch of geeky women and talking about interesting developments in IT in a toy-filled environment. That's a great way to spend the evening! Especially with speakers such as Rob Pike, Lindsay Ratcliffe and Stephanie Hannon.

Google provided the venue and catered the event. Google's Sydney office is right in the centre of town. It's a friendly, open environment full of geek toys (eg a Guitar Hero setup in the cafe) as well as wonderful and interesting people to chat with. We had a brief tour of the office, including being shown the Google rule of thumb that you should never be more than 100m away from chocolate at any time.

Then Rob spoke about the future tech trends, and a few things google is working on. Apparently there are lots of other applications in the works that he couldn't talk about, but promised they'd be amazing.

Lindsay followed with an entertaining overview of the process of bulding Customer Experience. Especially in having to translate between the very different world-views of the technical developers, the creative designers and the problem-focussed business people.

Finally, Stephanie gave a great overview of the GeoWeb - showing all the various ways in which people use mapping technology to share geographically-based information. Including such programs as Google Outreach's Crisis in Darfur project which overlays the sites of burned-out villages on satellite imagery to underscore the extent of the genocide occurring there.

I was really enthused to meet such a variety of interesting women from a wide range of technical backgrounds. Geek women are almost always a minority in the IT world. It's rare to have more than one in a development team, and so the chance to meet up to share both technical and cultural experience is a great opportunity. I suddenly feel that I'm not alone anymore. I even met one lady who shares my interest of someday going into space

GirlGeek Dinners has been instituted to support women in the IT community - to provide opportunities for women to create strong networks with others in the field, and to attract more young women into the the industry. There is A GirlGeek blog to let you know when events are scheduled, and a Facebook group if you wish to keep in touch with the others.

I enjoyed the evening and look forward to many more to come.

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