Startup life is hard and sometimes crazy frustrating, yet liberating and hugely challenging (both good and bad).
By Karla Stephens-Tolstoy (Founder & CEO, Tokii)

Having spent my career in hi-tech businesses, any gal in my position will tell you that being the only female in the boardroom was generally the rule 15-20 years ago, as opposed to being the exception. As competent women climb the corporate ladder in the hi-tech industry, more of us gain the opportunities to attain the executive level and that’s a positive trend.

To be honest, in those earlier days we were all so enthusiastic and so hungry, that I never really focused on the imbalance. And yet, I must admit that it was always a little crumby not to have a shopping buddy or somebody to share a Cosmo with, after a long day of meetings, especially since we were always travelling to foreign venues offering us pretty exciting things to see. Yes, our DNA is wired differently and that’s a good thing!

The odd time I would drag a work colleague out shopping, by telling him he should pick-up something for his wife/ girlfriend, I found that if you kept a man in a mall for more than 20 minutes he became so antsy that we had to cut the visit short, leaving me unfulfilled. It was that ‘girl’ DNA thing again! Needless to say, if I ever wanted to check out the spa scene, going alone was my only option.

As the years passed and the industry exploded, more and more women sought careers in hi-tech companies and before long I had more “girly-time” downtime. By the time we hit the millennium, my executive team’s composition had a gal/guy ratio of 50/50! This benefited both groups, as the guys were more than happy to let us have our gal outings; assuring them the opportunities to get into all the classic situations men on business trips enjoy unhindered, namely enjoying local pubs while trying to find venues to watch sports, preferably in English! What can I say, that’s their DNA!

I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by strong and competent women. I grew up being quite close with a few key girlfriends as well as my two sisters. I’ll have to admit that on reflection, I’ve always been more comfortable with the fairer sex.

My new startup team is mostly comprised of females (a definite rarity in the web startup business) and I’ve been lucky to handpick some great lady-talent from top to bottom! My husband always said that generally his female managers were more thorough, harder working and more focused on details and I concur. I guess we gals are making up for lost time!

Startup life is hard and sometimes crazy frustrating, yet liberating and hugely challenging (both good and bad). We gals can always use some inspiration (along with loads of caffeine) to keep us going. So with that in mind, I scoured the internet to track down the best ‘female-techie’ quotes I could find to post them in our office, to inspire the Tokii tribe!

The long hours in the office mean that laughs and pick-me-ups are essential, thanks especially to the fact that our ‘times of the month’ have all synced up (the poor Tokii males). I thought some quotes could help, but it seems internet humor hasn’t exactly caught up to the new sexual paradigm, so for starters, I found some awesome “Girl Power” quotes:

  1. “You don’t become what you want, you become what you believe.” – Oprah Winfrey
  2. “Don’t settle for average. Bring your best to the moment. Then, whether it fails or succeeds, at least you know you gave all you had. We need to live the best that is in us.” – Angela Bassett.
  3. “It’s not what you call me, but what I answer to.” – African proverb for women.
  4. “Can you imagine a world without men? No crime and lots of happy, fat women.” – Sylvia Plath.
  5. “Nature has given women so much power that the law has very wisely given them little.” – Anonymous

Good stuff right? But I failed to locate any hi-tech quotes! So what do you do when the Internet isn’t giving you what you want? Crowdsource! I went right to my trusty eLance and put a job spec out for someone else to track down what I wanted. No luck! And so, I decided to try and whip them up in-house! That was a terrible idea as I ‘suck’ at writing and my team is too busy and focused to set off on a tangent to create inspirational quotes. So once again I reverted to eLance. Seven days and no replies. Augh!

On the eighth day someone did respond, a guy! He said “I’ll try my best but are women really in hi-tech?”

I spent the next 15 minutes fuming before I resigned myself to the fact that it seems we gals still have some way to go! And so, between the two of us we put together the following quotes!

Thus, with no further ado, I give you Tokii’s Inaugural Inspirational Female Tech Quotes! And by the way, we did base these on some research we conducted to guide us in the right direction! Laugh, cry and shout out if you like, and ladies let’s remember that our unique DNA has all the necessary properties to enable us to take a leadership role here also!

  1. Men are like computers. If they don’t do what you like, just turn them on and off a few times.
  2. I slapped my boss when he asked about my C+. Turns out he was talking about my programming skills and not my bra size.
  3. My boyfriend thinks assembly code is standing for the pledge of allegiance.
  4. I usually beat my computer at chess, but once a month I beat it at kick boxing.
  5. I told my boyfriend I loved the intimate & sexy look of a Dell. He was so
    disappointed to find out she was a laptop.
  6. My boyfriend asked what ipad was short for. And I said it’s “I paid too much for a computer that doesn’t have a keyboard”.
  7. They kicked me out of the computer assembly room. I didn’t order any chips, I kept stealing the guy assemblers ones instead.
  8. I told my boyfriend I’d been rebooting all day. He said it was nice I’d gone to the gym just for him.
  9. What did Bill Gates wife say to him on their wedding night? “Now I know why you called the company Micro Soft.”
  10. How can you tell a guy’s a nerd? He chooses a nice Apple over a nice pair.
  11. Medical technology is amazing. Not only did my ultrasound let me see my new baby, it let me email him too.
  12. My boyfriend’s so stupid, when I complained my computer was overheating. He asked why I didn’t just open the Windows.
  13. PayPal? Isn’t that just another term for an ugly guy you take on a date?
  14. Poor Amy had to leave work today. When the nerds found out her name was Key they wouldn’t stop pestering her. (don’t get it!)
  15. Del put on 40lbs at work. He said he couldn’t get Control or Alt but the third one was easy. (don’t get it!)
  16. If you have a road accident, the police won’t believe your computer crashed.
  17. The guys I work with are such slobs we’ve had to change all our laptops to beer gut wobble on tops. (don’t get it!)
  18. You know a guy’s nerd when he asks you to bring your sexy little black berry on a date.
  19. Definition of VOIP the sound you make calling in sick on Skype with a hangover.
  20. I’m so worried about my weight I use carb-free source code.
  21. I told my boyfriend I had to use a different platform at work and he moaned about me buying more shoes.
  22. If Paris Hilton has an iPhone is it still really a smartphone?
  23. My new boyfriend’s name is 145 characters long, he’s untweetable!
  24. I tweet so much my doctor prescribed me Twitterlyn.
  25. I knew I’d been working in hi-tech too long when I called my unborn child “deliverable”.
  26. I’ve been in a hi-tech company so long I got rid of my cats litter tray to help him think outside of the box.

Women 2.0 readers: What kind of humor or rituals help get you through the long workday? Let us know!

About the guest blogger: Karla Stephens-Tolstoy is the Founder and CEO of Tokii, the first interactive self help relationship management platform, specifically designed to enrich and strengthen relationships through interactive games, quizzes and trading. Tokii gives couples a private and secure venue to work on their relationship online or via mobile app. Karla is a business and brand maverick, skilled in building startups and brand management teams in North America, Asia and Europe.