Speaking in Portland and San Francisco

Speaking in Portland and San Francisco

I’m speaking at two upcoming events—I’d love it if you came!

First we have Donut.js, a casual gathering that is so very Portland. “A fun night of code and donuts” is the slogan, and your entry includes a donut, come on! I’ll be presenting on Tuesday, May 30th, talking about online dating (but more from a UX perspective than a dating advice perspective). Tickets are $10 atCup & Bar, I’d love it if you came to join us!

Then on June 15th at 1 PM, I’m speaking at AltConf in San Francisco. AltConf is a free conference that runs parallel to Apple’s WWDC; I’d be honored if you came to hear me, but the session will also be recorded if you miss it. This talk will be more about my transition from The Heartographer to working at Microsoft, why online dating is kind of a garbage fire these days, why I made the shift away from entrepreneurship, and partly about App Camp too. It’ll be a longer time slot and a much more robust discussion, plus I think you’ll find my slides funny. :)

Speaking of, I’m also in town for the James Dempsey and the Breakpoints/App Camp for Girls fundraising party that night, which you should absolutely buy tickets to before they all disappear. (And by the way, you can always contribute whenever if you just wanna be rad.) Hope to see you there! Fuck it, hope to see you at all three things! (Might as well go big, right?)

Support Live Captioning at UIKonf

Support Live Captioning at UIKonf

My friends and acquaintances in the tech industry constantly impress me. It’s inspiring and humbling to know so many people who are determined to help change tech by making sure it’s a welcoming community for marginalized people.

My pals Doug, Jeff, and Ashley over at SoundOff are in Round Two of fundraising, this time for live captioning at UIKonf in Berlin in May. Live captioning for UIKonf is not only going to open up the conference to the deaf community and the hard of hearing, but will be indispensable for many of the attendees for whom English is not their first language. Like all conferences SoundOff works with, UIKonf features a strong Code of Conduct to set expectations for attendees, speakers, and sponsors.

Captioning for the two days of talks will cost $3,000. They’re nearly there now, but they need your (and my) support to meet their goal! Donate now to help SoundOff make UIKonf accessible to as many people as possible! I’m off to make my contribution now. If you’re one of those wonderful allies who’s always wondering how you personally can help make a difference in our broken industry, this is a great way to start!


Back to Big Tech :)

Back to Big Tech :)

I started a job at Microsoft last month. That’s right, I’m no longer an online dating coach! Now I’m a full-time Program Manager, working with early access customers to improve our products. I’m SO excited. (You might be surprised that I’m leaving behind the company I’ve built over the course of a decade, but the fact is, I’ve been burnt out on self employment for a few months now and have been actively seeking a role just like this one. I feel very fortunate to have made this move… and I’m keeping the podcast!)

Despite my elation, a change in routine is always challenging. There are so many things I have to readjust to, especially after three years of home-office-based self employment for my own one-woman company. Here are some of the odd adjustments I’m still getting used to:

Business Casual

Oh my god, it’s weird having to dress up for work again. Sure, I had to look good for my clients, but I was also mostly interacting with them via video chat. So, you know, nice shirt, nice lipstick, mascara, visible earrings, decent lighting on my face, cool backdrop = that’s all I needed to make a good impression. Now I have to worry about so much more!

HAIR. I have a lot of hair. (I started growing out a shorter cut when my husband proposed to me in early 2009 so I’d have “wedding hair;” I’ve basically been waiting for an excuse to stop growing it out ever since then.) I’m actually really liking my long locks these days, but they can be hard to wrangle in a manner that is both attractive and professional.

If I wear my hair down, which everyone agrees is the most flattering on me, it can get sorta vavoom/Jessica Rabbit real quick. Not a great “take me seriously as a new coworker” vibe. And yet, frumpier sleek coiffs make me less attractive, which generally harms my likability and therefore effectiveness because everyone everywhere is implicitly sexist. Yes, even other women, usually subconsciously; this is a Society Thing and not a Workplace Thing but I’m far more aware of it in a workplace where I inherently pay more attention to how professional microsociety views me.

And, like, when do I shower? At night, and risk Crazy AM Hair because you never know what you’ll get when you sleep on it wet? In the morning, and work out some sort of car vent system that simultaneously dries my waves while preventing condensation on the windshield during damp winter weather?

Don’t pretend this isn’t a real workflow I need to develop. For now, I have an entire drugstore stashed in the filing cabinet in my office. We’ll see what sticks.

SHOES. Business-appropriate footwear that’s comfortable, fashionable, and professional can be tricky. Sure, on regular weeks I can get away with a much more casual vibe, but I started my tenure here by jumping right into a massive customer-facing event. (Followed by a global all-hands among my distributed team, in case you were wondering.)

I gotta BRING IT with the footwear, espeically with an international audience (trust me, we Americans are slobs with our footwear and other countries judge us, I think often appropriately, based on this; wear better shoes; you probably need them). I also gotta be able to walk somewhat long distances with no warning because that’s what event planning occasionally requires. And yet I gotta keep it office appropriate.

I’ve been doing OK-ish on new footwear acquisitions, but I’ve probably bought four different pairs f because I truly didn’t have anything suitable and comfortable. (I have angry feet; don’t ask. Doesn’t help that I’m a size 11, a wide calf, AND a tall calf so sleek boots dip in for the knee joint about four inches below my knee, you know, right in the middle of my calf muscle bulge. It’s real attractive, trust.)

These have been wonderful for fancy days; a few other recent acqusitions help on chiller days. I’m astounded by how much I spent on shoes in the space of a month; totally worth it but like these are the actions of a woman with a suddenly regular paycheck, haha.

CLOTHES. I think I dress well in public most of the time, but the challenge is that now I have to actually remember what I’ve worn recently and mix it up enough to look like I actually change my clothes. I have TONS of stuff, but I tend to get fixated on two or three pieces that I feel really good in, and then re-wear those VERY frequently. Running my own home-based business allowed me to do this with few people noticing, except for my husband, who doesn’t count in this context, obvs. I might need to start documenting my outfits in some sort of insanely pragmatic yet ridiculous selfie journal for this express purpose instead of whatever look-how-wrinkly-I-got usual purpose people do that for.

Oh, and that customer-facing event with the business casual dress code? CHALLENGING clothing-wise (although I think we all did great, tbh). I tweeted about it and there were some helpful (though occasionally inconsistent) replies, in case you want to peek. It’s just psychologically much more fun to dress up because you want to than because you have to, haha.

COMMUTE GEAR. Is there any more hideous and forlorn retail category than the commuter bag? They’re so depressingly pragmatically ugly. And the ones that look halfway decent hurt your tech and your back. Unacceptable. The very few exceptions to these rules cost like my entire hiring bonus (btw first one of those ever, what’s up future new bag). And much like my feet, my back/shoulders/neck are wrecked from the nefarious and confusing spread of chronic tennis elbow.

Please, send me links to acceptable commuter backpack (not messenger for me) models for me to hand-wringingly reject privately but appreciate publicly because we all know I’m going to have to make some kind of lame compromise. I HATE spending money on something that doesn’t feel exciting or well designed, haha. (I can’t believe I once owned an LG Chocolate phone, but that slider mechanism was incredible. Where is the LG Chocolate of commuter backpacks, I need that.)

Office buildings

BATHROOMS. Let’s talk about corporate restrooms. Specifically, auto-flushing toilets. Note to toilets: I will tell you when I’m done. You don’t need to interpret every shift as I pull my shirt back over my waistband or fish in my purse for a tampon as an auxiliary flush cue. You can just flush the one time, when I’m truly done, not before and not after and not when the door bangs slightly ajar either. Our state is still technically in a drought, you know! I know it’s confusing because of all the rain, but it has something to do with snow melt and global warming and I’m seriously not making this up. Quit wasting all that water.

(Athough, to be fair, another Big Tech former employer’s way-too-low-flushing toilets were definitely worse, and they also seemed like they over-taxed the local sewer system so the air around the urban campus smelled like sewage all the time. Point to Microsoft, even with caveats.)

Also, real quick: paper towel machines with automatic sensors. I am a Paper Towel Ghost. I can get soap and water just fine most of the time, but I stand there waving like an idiot dripping on the floor begging you for a towel. Have mercy on the new hire and let her dry her hands! (The kitchen towel dispenser mysteriously works fine every time; different model.)

KITCHENS. Sepecifically, CORPORATE KITCHEN SINKS WITH SPONGES. UGH. Sponges in corporate kitchens are always disgusting and stinky. I made the mistake of washing out my mug with one on my first day and my hand smelled like spongefoul all day long.

Here’s my handy if slightly wasteful trick, if you don’t want to literally bring in your own sponge like I plan to do:

-Get a paper towel
-Squeeze some dish soap into it
-Pour some sugar on [me] [er, on the soap]

Now you have the abrasion power of a scrubby sponge with none of the icky smell. And I checked with facilities; this is compostable when you’re done scrubbing. You’re welcome!

OFFICE EQUIPMENT. Despite having great coverage for equipment, I find all office furniture and gear wanting. The furniture pieces are ugly, the color palettes are boring neutrals that somehow always still manage to clash and depress, and the standard-issue equipment is never quite good enough. In addition to the stuff I’ll be getting via the ergonomics department, I have like four keyboards I brought in from home, and monitors sitting on reams of copy paper. Sigh. At least they’re free.

Actual tech company stuff

Okay, now that I’ve griped about the sometimes silly challenges, let’s talk about some WONDERFUL changes this brings to my life.

SALARY. Listen, sometimes it’s nice to have a paycheck that comes from someone else. It’s been a while. That’s all I have to say on this matter. :)

BENEFITS. It’s been ages since I had benefits that covered me, or were at all luxurious. Not having to worry about in/out of network is golden. Knowing that even with a high dedicutible my out-of-pocket max won’t be insane is also wonderful. I’ve had some scary and expensive ER visits and surgeries in the past couple years that we only just finished paying off, because emergency stuff is expensive and our benefits sucked. It’s insane how broken this system is in our country, but I’m super-duper-grateful to have cushy corporate coverage again.

PERKS. I get to ride a privilege bus! With Wi-Fi! It’s confusing and sometimes hard to book seats on, but it exists and I’ve never not gotten a ride when I wanted one yet. I’ve never worked anywhere that operated its own bus service from my home neighborhood to my work neighborhood before. Ridiculous. I haven’t yet gotten into the swing of doing actual work on the bus; we’ll see how that goes. Today I made a Twitter list. (Baby steps.) Oh, and I get a free gym membership to a gym so great that there is an individual spray bottle and towel roll at each and every machine in all rooms. Think about that. That is a fancy-ass gym. For FREE.

AN OFFICE. I’ve never had an office at an actual job; it’s great even though you have to be proactive about seeking out coworker interaction with anyone not immediately across the hallway. I swear there’s a whole Door Status Etiquette thing I could get into here, and its various translations and misinterpretations, but the point is, the ability to close a door when you need to focus or talk without disturbing others is amazing. And I bought a rug, and a lamp Grant hates and wouldn’t want around our house. And hey, my whole team happens to work from home every Friday, so I still get to enjoy my home office.

Pro tip for people in windowless offices like mine:

-Buy multiple plants and lamps
-Buy multiple grow bulbs; I like this one because it’s also full spectrum for SAD help (can’t hurt, right?)
-Buy multiple outlet timers; this two-pack works for me
-Set up lamps to point at plants, depending on plant light exposure needs (read the damn tag silly)
-Set up timers to light up about when you want to get in and shut off about when you want to leave
-The click off is jarring enough, I find, to serve as a signal to go home!

I’ll post more about office design as it evolves. But to tease the next section, I was able to put in a request to have my bright orange wall painted soothing gray. Heck yeah. :)


INFRASTRUCTURE AND RESOURCES. Today I got a free flu shot at the Microsoft Living Well Center, which has doctors and a little drugstore and pharmacy and an ergonomic assessment center with incredibly in-depth equipment options. That’s not even half of it! There are cafeterias in walking distance from any building. There are free parking spots if you just keep looking for them. There is a phone number for helpdesk, a website for facilities requests, an intranet to answer your every question that’s much easier to grasp than most intranets I’ve seen. I love a place with resources and infrastructure like this so you can self help and solve problems and be more effective.

There’s insanely helpful personality testing to improve collaboration across teams with diverse people. There are training modules on like everything. Eventually I can even formally seek a mentor. FORMALLY. I’ve only ever gotten on-the-fly soak-it-up-when-you-can mentorship in my life. To have a program that facilitates and formalizes this process just blows my mind. I haven’t been there long enough to take advantage of this, but I look forward to learning from Microsoft badasses with insights to share someday.

There is also a fridge in each kitchen full of free beverages that are mostly a bad idea for me but still nice to have, and nice filtered water and ice machines and vending machines that take Apple Pay, and if I remember to keep Wi-Fi turned on I can stretch the range on my Apple Watch to make vending purchases with my phone sitting on my office desk many meters away. Cool. It sells apple chips (not Apple Chips though). I love apple chips. I think they’re even organic.

Oh, and during events there’s lovely catered food for free, and in the cafeterias there’s lovely infused water for free. I like cucumber best. And there are Coke Freestyle machines. And really fresh healthy meal options including a totally well-stocked salad bar, which has a price cap so if you get all heavy items like I do you can never be charged more than a certain reasonable ceiling. #smokedsalmon

VOLUNTEERING. Microsoft has great volunteering campaigns with encouragement and matching. I’ve never worked anywhere that made my dollars count this much more when it comes to causes I care about. My first question in my first sync with my boss was how/if I could work App Camp for Girls volunteering into my schedule successfully; I’m confident that I won’t feel like having a day job cramps my volunteering much at all even if I now have to take official vacation time to pull it off. In fact, I think the structured giving and the increased connection opportunities with more women in tech will only help in the bigger picture.

All in all, I might seem quieter on Twitter than usual, but don’t fret—it’s because I’m soaking up all the joy this new gig has to offer. And now I only blog/tweet/podcast evenings and weekends. :)

Let’s all cry at conferences

Let’s all cry at conferences

I just got back from xoxofest; I almost immediately set upon writing this piece on Medium.

… I cried a lot. And so did a lot of other people I know there. And we were all sorta embarrassed/ashamed. Which is weird, if you think about it, because if it’s common enough that lots of us did it, why isn’t it more normalized?

Give it a read and/or recommend if you like. It seems like it has legs, because a lot of people really resonated with what I said—I’m quite a bit prouder of this than most of my work that ends up going modestly viral, because this one feels more meaningful and emotional and less, you know, retail based or silly tech humor based.

Oh, and if you’re a Twitter-like person, maybe you feel like RTing it instead? I don’t know. Do whatever you want. I had fun writing it.

Here are a few after-the-fact notes and questions:

  1. Most people got that my parenthetical in the above tweet was totally a deliberate parody of shitty clickbaity article headlines from sites like Upworthy etc., but two guys replied being like “ew, no way will I touch that icky clickbaity link.” I like to think I had actually conveyed the parody pretty well, by deliberately frontloading the actual thing the article was about before listing the joke headline, and also stripping capitalization which is counter to my usual Serious Person Style Guide vibe (which only people who know me and pay attention to that sort of thing would pick up on). But what do you think? Given character limits, are there any tricks you flippant-yet-serious writers would have employed to more clearly convey that that parenthetical was satire/a joke? Would you just kill it? Would you worry about people misinterpreting it, or trust that those who got it were more your people anyway, or what? I’m genuinely curious now.
  2. I thought about including a header image in the post, but I didn’t really feel like it needed one, and I dislike the modern blog trend of having to come up with images when most of what I actually want to convey can be done via text, and I wasn’t sure about copyright issues if I used the amazing HBO show Enlightened’s cover art with Laura Dern, so I didn’t go that route, and I didn’t want to have to spend a stock photo credit on a post since I generally use those for my business only, and I seriously considered trying to find a pic of me crying but then I was like “I’d have to stage it to get that full mascara-runny effect and that seems like too much work” so I didn’t, but then all my social media preview tools pulled this image from my Medium.com bio, and that’s kind of the opposite of a crying lady so it felt like a weird unintended juxtaposition to me, and only some sites let you strip out the image preview in a native link preview, and hey for once Facebook is doing something better than all the other sites, and anyway how would you fellow blogger types have handled THAT mouthful? ;)
  3. I also thought about posting it here and cross-posting it to Medium, because I’m big on personal blogs and putting my weight behind something that I run and control as opposed to throwing in with whatever the new trendy outlet is, but I actually really love the blogging experience on Medium and I love the way comments/footnotes work and I struggle to replicate that on my own WordPress-based site and I tend to do a bunch of little fine-tuney edits all over the place and I didn’t want to have to keep track of them in two places so I just posted the whole thing there instead and linked to it here, but now these numbered things have become weighty enough that they’re sort of worth exploring (I think?) and I’ve bifurcated this very blog post experience from the far more visible Medium one and maybe that’s a mistake? Guess what…. can you guess? I’m also curious how you’d handle THAT.

OK, done now. Bye for now, Internet!

iMore piece on Apple Watch bands

iMore piece on Apple Watch bands

Hey y’all! In case you missed the tweet, I worked my old Apple Watch band blog post into a piece for iMore this week. Enjoy! (Or rage-comment, if that’s your thing! I employed my good husband to filter the useful constructive criticism so I don’t have to read the parts that make me want to bury the entire internet under a little stone cairn in the backyard and never look back.) Cheers!At least "she" comes first here, right?


This picture makes me mad all over again every dang time I see it, heh. But hey, it prompted me to add the category “feminism” which I’ve apparently never done before. So thanks Apple, I guess? :)

NSBrief and Watchscreen

NSBrief and Watchscreen

Back in June, I was interviewed by Saul Mora on NSBrief Podcast, talking about app development and whatnot despite having very little voice left after a busy WWDC week! Give it a listen here.

And earlier today, I was featured on Mark D. Mill’s “Watchscreen” series, talking about how I use my Apple Watch. You can peruse that here.

Happy geeking!



Here's my not-particularly-well-organized Watch screen.

My red and gold Edition review

My red and gold Edition review

I recently purchased an Edition in red and gold. Given that this was an expensive item, I wanted to review it thoroughly in case it helps anyone else make this purchase decision.


My Edition came in time for me to bring it to WWDC, but it cut it a little close. It would have been nice to see a more specific delivery date, or for the package to have been delivered closer to when I ordered it. But I know Apple is big on pre-hyping stuff and I heard there were supply constraints with this model.

I saw a couple other people wearing this and other Edition models throughout the week, so I’m glad it worked out for us all to receive this product in time to show it off.


The packaging was VERY disappointing compared to most Apple products. I can’t believe it. I had also ordered an Apple Watch Sport on launch day, and that product came with an incredible unboxing experience.

This Edition was just packed in a basic foam bubble pack, leaving much to be desired. They really dropped the ball here. The one upside is that I felt no guilt or concern about immediately recycling the packaging, and I definitely didn’t feel the need to Periscope opening it this time.

Gold quality

I had heard rumors about some special thing where the gold is mixed with ceramic to make it more durable. That doesn’t seem to have helped in this case. The gold part puckers and pulls over some parts but not others, making it look inconsistent and cheaper than an Edition-level product should look, in my opinion. It also stretches more over the uppert part of the bezel than the lower part. This may just be how any version would work on my body, but it’s a bummer.

I bought this item to showcase my poor financial judgment and be part of an elite club, but also to look *good*, you know? The gold should look better than the steel or sport options and I’m not sure it was worth the extra money.

Red quality

The red is slightly different than in photos; a little more blue and a little less orange. I’m mostly okay with this, but it made it hard to match other accesories like a lipstick ahead of time. (I’m obsessive and like matching things.) An exact Pantone value would have been awesome, but I know Apple didn’t do that for their Sport bands either so I’m not that surprised, I’d just appreciate that much more attention to detail in the future. It’s not like I’m going to file a radar or anything though.

However, my main disappointment comes with the way the red part wears over time. When I first put it on, it seemed too long and too short. That continues to be the case, with the largest women’s size possible. I’m disappointed that it wouldn’t fit my female colleagues, but I’m even more disappointed that a) it got even shorter after I attempted to clean it, and b) it got a bit tougher instead of getting softer the way most leather products do over time. It definitely felt like the overall size and shape were designed by men for men without much thought to female wearers.

Overall purchase decision

Despite these shortcomings, I’m happy with my red and gold Edition. I got lots of compliments, knowing nods, and “Nice Edition” head nods during the week of WWDC. Marco and Casey from ATP even commented on it. Athough shelling out for an Edition was an extravagance, I think it was worth it. I would probably purchase a red and gold Edition again if a new model were offered, especially if there were improvments in the design or ordering process.

Oh, and I saw a few people complaining on Twitter about how stupid you’d have to be to spend money on an Edition, but I’m pretty sure they’re just jealous.

apple watch


(And hey, when I’m not trolling you with gag reviews, I’m helping people figure out online dating and modern love in general. If this intrigues you, maybe you should subscribe to my blog, podcast, or newsletter!)

(And oh yeah, go donate to the App Camp for Girls Indiegogo Campaign! I will add some sort of unofficial hand-drawn-or-written personal thank-you perk if you donate more than $100 based on this blog post call to action right here. Honor system. Make me proud, nerds.)

Why I volunteer with App Camp for Girls

Why I volunteer with App Camp for Girls

You’ve probably heard of App Camp for Girls by now, right? It’s a fantastic organization founded by Jean MacDonald, who is a friend of mine as well as a an amazing, smart, experienced, well-connected, fun, patient, and tireless advocate for women in tech. The camp helps middle school age girls learn about mobile app development, from ideas to coding to pitching investors. I was the MC for Seattle’s camp last year, and will be again this year. I also help organize and recruit as much as I can.

I wanted to take a minute to write about why I’m so passionate about App Camp for Girls and women in tech in general. I think a lot of people (particularly men) I’ve worked with over the years assume that things are pretty darn OK for women in tech. Well, guess what—they’re not! :( They weren’t when we worked together in a tech job back in 2007, and they aren’t now. Things have actually been pretty terrible for women in tech, myself included, and in some ways are only getting worse. That’s why App Camp for Girls is so important to me, and why I think it should be important for you, too.

I’ve been sexually harassed, passed up for countless advancement opportunities, and generally regarded as less than my male counterparts in every tech role I’ve held. I’ve also bought into this myself, assuming I was less capable or knowledgeable even when I was confronted with evidence to the contrary. Even when I had capable, technical female managers as role models. This stuff runs VERY deep. But I think if I’d encountered more targeted support such as App Camp for Girls at a younger age, it would have had an impact in my overall career trajectory as well as my confidence in my own potential.

Here’s me, frizzy and exhausted, as I prepare to record a podcast from the App Camp for Girls HQ.

Let me tell you a story from my own adolescence. When I was a junior in high school on Bainbridge Island (a suburb of Seattle), I took a short trip to the Bay Area to visit college campuses. A friend of the family took me under her wing, introduced me to people she knew, drove me all over the area, and generally made it exciting to look into college life. I didn’t yet know what I wanted to do with myself career-wise, but it was a rad trip that left me feeling like my future was full of promise.

On the plane ride home, I ended up sitting next to a woman who worked as a developer at Microsoft. We got to chatting, and she mentioned that she could go to work in much the same attire she had on the plane—Birkenstocks with socks (hey, it was 1998), jeans, and a non-ratty sweatshirt. I was in AWE. The idea of having a proper grown-up job where you could NOT WEAR A SUIT was kind of mind-blowing to me at that age.

I remember thinking to myself, right then and there, “What a shame I’ll never get to work somewhere cool and chill like Microsoft.” You see, because I fully believed, at age sixteen, that I wasn’t capable of being technically savvy enough to work at a software company.

By the way, after I graduated high school, I ended up attending an all-female college with a strong STEM program. But the damage had already been done by then—I didn’t think I could possibly survive as a CS major, so I pursued another path (linguistics) despite being surrounded by incredibly capable and technical role models and classmates.

Why on earth would I think I couldn’t work in tech?

It wasn’t because of my awesome badass career-driven mom, who had been working in a complex field her entire career. It wasn’t because of my encouraging driven dad, who had been nagging me about how smart I was in math and science since birth. It wasn’t because of my innate abilities, because trust me, I’ve now worked at some tech companies and there are plenty of folks less innately tech-capable than myself. So what was it?

Society. My lame condescending boyfriend at the time. My teachers. The entire educational system. The entire culture! Books I read, movies I saw, TV I watched, games I played, men who talked over me or condescended to me, women who implicitly coached me to pursue female-friendly fields. Who the hell knows? It was EVERYTHING about our world.

If a program like App Camp for Girls had come along when I first started getting excited about computers and realistic career possibilities, I might have taken a different approach to my education and my post-college work. Heck, I remember coding games with my dad on our Commodore 64, and chatting with random people via something called Q-Link on an incredibly basic modem. There was such an exciting appeal to computers and technology and the early Internet back then—where did that excitement go? Why is it that, by the time I reached high school, I was *certain* I had no place in that world?

Sexist biases start young

Here’s another story: when I was about three, I had a book that my parents would read me about careers. In it, the doctor was a woman, and the nurse was a man. I got *so distraught* by this, and regularly engaged my parents about how they must have made a mistake in making this book (future tester in the making!), because it was so weird to me that there were ladydocs and dudenurses in this book. That wasn’t *correct*, according to my knowledge of the world.

THREE YEARS OLD. Can you think of any explanations other than ALL OF SOCIETY, even at an amazingly young age, teaching me to conform to crappy gender norms? Ugh.

This is why I volunteer. This is why I donate my time and energy and hardware and connections and expertise. This is why I uncomfortably ask for money, tap people I barely feel competent about emailling, tweet at famous folks who don’t usually give me the time of day. This is why I force the conversation towards donations, towards equality, towards feminism, towards topics that sometimes feel too frequently discussed or burdensome in some social situations. This is why I bug everyone I know on Facebook and Twitter and beyond to get involved, to donate, to like, to share, to comment. I do it so my future three-year-old daughter won’t have already made up her mind about what she can’t do for a living, because that is INSANE.

How you can help us

You don’t have to be a woman to help us. You don’t have to have a daughter. You don’t have to volunteer your time, or even donate money. You can still help a TON!

Donate what you can afford, and ask others to chip in. Corporate relationships are particularly valuable, as they can often afford to sponsor more than any given individual. All of your donation info can be found at http://appcamp4girls.com/contribute/. Make sure your employers know about us. Ask about donation matching policies. Really dig deep to see if you can increase the reach of smaller individual contributions.

Volunteer your time, sponsor a team, or connect us with people who might be good volunteers or sponsors. Volunteer info can be found at http://appcamp4girls.com/volunteer/. The most helpful thing you can do is to fill out the form on this page, so we can capture you in our system and tap you when the appropriate need arises.

Share our Indiegogo fundraising campaign with your world! Comment on the post, donate there even if you’ve already donated elsewhere. Pay attention to our milestones and stretch goals, and consider helping us get over hurdles as the campaign progresses. Info about the campaign can be found at http://igg.me/at/appcamp4girls/x/3845393.

Like us on Facebook and share our statuses, possibly with your own custom message. Tag people you think might like to be involved. Tell stories about how gender inequality has affected you or people close to you. Take a second to personalize your sharing from time to time, so that people understand and relate to the cause and feel more compelled to engage. Put up with the fact that I use words like “engage” when talking about this stuff. :)

Follow us on Twitter. All of us. Signal-boost our voices by retweeting important messages, and tagging people you think would be interested in volunteering, donating, or otherwise furthering our cause. Consider keeping us un-muted even when we might be noisier than your typical following habits permit—recognize that hearing our voices at full volume is a small part of effecting change. It helps you and everyone you follow understand the very real struggles that women in tech face even in 2015, and it helps normalize a more balanced and diverse gender breakdown in tech and in general. Twitter lists of all App Camp for Girls volunteers can be found at https://twitter.com/superpuppy/lists/app-camp-for-girls/members and https://twitter.com/macgenie/lists/ac4g. We’ll consolidate at some point. For now, just click twice; you can handle it. :P

Follow us on Instagram. C’mon, that stuff’s just fun! ;)

-Remember that no matter how great an ally you are, you (and I and all of us) still have room to learn and grow. We probably harbor implicit biases and internalized sexism that takes FOREVER to dismantle. We’ve probably been accidentally sexist or judgmental in a way that harms our own cause at some point. We have to aim to do better moving forward, but we can’t let every misstep hold us back. Be gentle with yourself, be gentle with us, and be gentle with everyone you encounter as you try to help us all bridge the significant gender gap in STEM fields. This is a moving, shifting, learning process for all of us. It’s hard work, and it sometimes puts us all in an uncomfortable position, but the end goal is so totally worth it.

Thanks for reading and for your support—see you around WWDC next week!



Why I kept my Apple Watch

Why I kept my Apple Watch

I bought an Apple Watch, which arrived (kinda late) on launch day, April 24th. I got the 42mm Sport with a white band, despite reservations about that exact model. I dithered for a while about whether to keep it or not, but I ultimately decided to hang on to it, at least for now. I thought some of you might be interested in why, as you may be going through similar decisions.

Wrist texting.

I love being able to see text messages and iMessages on the fly. While not all my texts are important or time sensitive, most of the ones from my husband and a few key business contacts are. I like being able to see texts immediately on my wrist, even if I’m out and about or in a meeting. I can always just ignore the ones that don’t merit immediate attention. But, if I’m waiting on something specific, and I’m with another person, I used to have to let them know the reason and keep an eye on my phone for the incoming text informing me, say, whether Grant would be joining us for dinner or not. Being able to monitor this kind of input on my wrist feels less rude and more reliable—and lets me stay in the moment easier.

Dating app videos.

I made this video about online dating apps on the Apple Watch, which was a lot of fun to produce. (Grant helped a TON with all the editing, by the way!) I’m mostly unimpressed with the current dating app ecosystem, but I think it will be fascinating to watch the apps mature to this new device over time.

Reading Marco Arment’s post about his redesign of Overcast for Apple Watch also egged me on—I don’t get the sense that most of the people making design decisions for apps like Tinder have quite the same indie level of passion and thoughtfulness, but I’m looking forward to being proven wrong… and possibly making more videos to showcase new or different functionality as dating apps mature.

It’s fun being part of the club.

This is a ridiculous reason to keep a $439 purchase, especially when money is pretty tight for us right now. BUT I haven’t had the joy of having the newest hottest gadget at the time of launch in many years. I know it’s a little cheesy, but it’s SO much fun to feel like part of the club, you know? The geek club, the early adopter’s club, whatever. I also made the point in this prior post that having a super tech-geeky gadget sort of visibly identifies me as a technophile, which people might not otherwise assume from the rest of my appearance. (Which is ridiculous, but that’s a whole other problem.)

Even though finances are tight, I managed to justify keeping it because it really doesn’t take that many client hours for me to pay for the thing again. The problem is that I haven’t been able to work over the past several weeks due to some medical stuff I’m going through, but the fact is, I can rekindle my usual client flow soon enough that I was able to talk myself into not returning the thing. Barely. :)

And I LOVE when strangers talk to me about the watch! I’m sure that’ll get old at some point, but it’s fun to have a hip new thing right now. And I’ve been really surprised and pleased by the diversity of the people who are interested in it—it’s definitely not just the expected white male cis straight software engineers, haha. I’m loving the observations and interactions that come with the watch.

OMG Apple Pay!

I’ve still got an iPhone 5s, so I was new to Apple Pay. Using my wrist to check out is SO COOL and futuristic! I can’t get over how convenient and easy and fun it is to use—I’m one of those people who is a ball of chaos in most grocery checkout lines. Anything that means no fumbling for cards or phones is a huge boon. This is seriously the way of future payment processing; I’m convinced of it.

About a week after I’d gotten the watch, I wandered into a random boutique staffed by two 20-something gals. They both recognized the watch and talked to me about it in detail. It was so cute; one of them even ran around the counter and cuffed my sleeves so it would show off more prominently and spark more conversations with strangers! :)

Anyway, the cuffer-gal, who managed the store, mentioned that she was looking into getting new payment processing technology. She was planning on getting something other than an NFC-enabled terminal, most likely chip and pin, but I talked her out of that and into NFC by explaining Apple Pay and that this technology was available in lots of other devices, not just Apple Watches and recent iPhones. I truly believe NFC is going to change the way we transact over the next few years. I’m glad I won her over; I think I did her store a favor!

Fitness tracking.

I’ve never been a huge fitness buff—one time in 2006 I completed a sprint triathlon, and I’ve basically never *really* worked out since. Ugh, that was so exhausting. :) So while I need to lose weight and focus more on health, it’s just not something that’s very high on my list. I would never wear a dedicated fitness band like a Fitbit or Garmin, as many of my friends do—I just don’t spend enough time or energy focusing on fitness to justify the cost.

However, since I wanted an Apple Watch primarily for notifications, I was happy to also get to benefit from its built-in fitness features. I’m surprised to say I find them quite enjoyable—even though I think the “stand” sensors are a bit off, and should probably be smart enough not to tell me to stand while the watch is actively giving me driving directions, haha.

When I set up my watch a second time after initially wiping it to deal with some buggy dating apps, I took the opportunity to increase the activity goals from the bare minimum, too. It feels nice to have an easy, techie way to encourage myself to move my ass a bit more. When I recover medically and can actually work out like a normal human, I can totally see having fun with the sensors to better track stuff like calories and heart rate.


I’m a sucker for doodling. I have so much fun with it. I don’t really care for the heartbeats or the weird morse code or gauche oddly-textured animated emoji, but the little drawing app is a BLAST! It’s also a big reason I’m glad I got the 42mm—those four millimeters make a huge difference in terms of being able to write legibly or draw clearly.

I only wish that you could use more than one color on the same doodle canvas, and that things didn’t necessarily disappear quite so quickly—I’d like a way (besides screenshots) to save doodles someday, too. But I get that this isn’t meant to be a fully featured drawing app. I just kind of enjoy using it like that.

You know what my dream Apple Watch game would be? Draw Something, only watch to watch. I find it hilarious to have to come up with a decent pictorial representation of something on a tiny wrist screen. Maybe it’s just me, but I think Zynga should get on that shit.

Of course, there’s the ecosystem issue right now—I can only share my doodles with a select few people who also have Apple Watches. But it’s fun, and we communicate more than we would otherwise; I feel like we’re sharing little private jokes that bring us closer together than other communication channels would be able to do. This is the least “important” feature of the Apple Watch, but so far, it’s the most enjoyable!

The good outweighs the bad.

There are things I don’t love about the Apple Watch. But I think I’ll save those for another post, or just sit on them and hope they go away with a 1.1 release. Overall, I knew I’d be getting a somewhat low-featured first-gen product, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much I like it so far. For the most part, the beneficial features outweigh the frustrations.

Right now Grant has my Apple Watch because I made him take it with him as an icebreaker while he’s out of town at a conference—I really miss my husband, but I also miss my watch! :)