By Emily Moss & Kathleen Meil (Product, Groupon)
Last week, we visited the Computer History Museum in Mountain View for the fifth annual Women 2.0 PITCH Conference. PITCH is a conference for women in tech to gather and mingle and learn from one another. As Groupon employees we were excited to spend the day schmoozing with developers, designers, and startup mavens and learning from some of the most influential women in the tech world.
The Women 2.0 crew pulled in the big guns for the thousand attendees, recruiting the founders and CEOs of some of the most well-known startups in the world as speakers and panelists. These women waxed poetic — literally, Caterina Fake of Flickr recited some Wallace Stevens — about humanizing vs. dehumanizing technology, bootstrapping strategies, and influencing company culture from the top down. Here are a few pearls of wisdom, but follow them yourself to hear it straight from the source:
Robin Chase (@rmchase) – Founder of Zipcar and Buzzcar: “Build companies people write love notes to.” More than any of the myriad of Zipcar accomplishments, Chase was pleased as punch to share literal love notes her customers send to the company. Build products that inspire fan devotion, and you know you’re on the right track.
Sheila Lirio Marcelo (@smarcelo) – Founder and CEO of Care.com: “Collect people,” was the oft-repeated mantra of Care.com founder. She advised aspiring entrepreneurs to work their networks with regular coffee dates, one-on-one dinners, and frequent check-ins. Don’t focus on business all the time, and make sure your mentors, sponsors, and partners know you’re invested in them as people, not just as resources.
Katie Mitic (Visit her Facebook Page) – Director of Platform and Mobile Marketing at Facebook: When you build a new product, it’s your baby, and it’s hard to push a less than perfect baby out into the world. But, as Mitic pointed out, the only way you get real-world reactions to your product is just put it out there, imperfections and all. Do people like it? Are you on the right track? Ship early, ship often, and constantly iterate.
Caterina Fake (@caterina) – Co-Founder of Flickr, Hunch and the newly-launched Pinwheel (in private beta): Conventional startup wisdom these days says that the most successful companies are ones that cater to people’s weaknesses. The seven deadly sins are a sure bet for success (just think about how much of the internet is dedicated to lust). Focus instead on humanizing technology that connects people. Build something that brings people closer together (like, for instance, a photo sharing site), instead of pushing them further apart.
Women 2.0 is about reminding women that tech does not have to be a lonely place for the ladies. It is a rich and diverse community with a hefty knowledge base and resources to share. If you want to get involved with Women 2.0, sign up for the newsletter and follow them on Twitter (@women2).
This post was originally posted at Groupon’s blog.