My mum and dad had their 50 wedding anniversary on Saturday. Yes, they married the day before New year’s… So a few of us went on a cruise to celebrate, which is by the way what we always used to do on their anniversary growing up. So it was a bit nostalgic too. It was a lot of fun and everything went so well with the kids, I was so surprised! No chasing, we could eat in peace and so on.
I started thinking about how some, usually men, want to claim that us women have a lot of privileges when it comes to like boarding life boats etc. I remember when going on the boat as a kid we always took the stairs. Having prams now though, we had almost no choice but to take the elevator. But everyone wanted to take the elevator, well every young, strong man with a travel bag and case of beer. Oh come on… Like my mum said, then they stress about going to the gym. They even cut in front of us to get in the elevator. Things like that can really trigger me. It shouldn’t, because you can’t change people that way and it only drains me of precious energy.
It’s ridiculous though. And by the way that women go first in life boats is no rule or law. That it happened during the Titanic going down was only because the Captain threatened to shoot every man that went in front of a woman.
In the real world though, the are other privileges that takes precedence over this and here we are, a seventy year old woman and her 36 year old daughter tuning people out on a ferry with little result.
One of the most stupid things I did when going to the Summit was forgetting my power bank/solar panel charger and/or my dash charger for my Oneplus 5… Major fail!
But still, managed to keep my battery alive all days. So what did the second day bring about?
Well, one thing that was very interesting was listening to Microsoft talk about Cyber Security. Especially when talking about the WannaCry malware attack that took place on May 12 this year. A date that will go to history as the scale of the attack is unprecedented. According to the news just the last few days North Korea was behind it.
Lesson learnt, don’t open it.
THURSDAY – third day & last day
The last day was FULLSTK developer conference. Mozilla got me excited about their new browser, Jon Skeet absolutely got on my list of people to admire with his rant about equality in tech and his “Code like a girl”-t-shirt!
Jon Skeet, from Google and Stack Overflow genious.
Al Gore finishing off the Summit
Also listened to Susie Wee from Cisco talking about network APIs, was drawn to a corner were Wyclef Jean was giving a production master class. And finishing off was Al Gore, passionately talking about the earths future and techs role in this.
Full-packed days and many interesting meetings. My LinkedIn is alive again. But there was so much more than what I have described here, or tried to. My flight was early the next day and I was spending the last night by myself. I went to a hotel near the airport.
One funny thing that happened on the flight back to London was that when we boarded the plane I went to the toilet. I asked the female stewardess if she knew if there was any available seats nearer the toilets as I had a UTI (although in all honesty I didn’t think I actually had a UTI, but didn’t want to explain it in detail so just said UTI. Turned out I had one and it made me massively sick the next day) ANYWAY… She told me to sit down and she’ll let me know when we’re airborne. But before we took off a male steward came to me and said;
“I believe we have better seat to accommodate your… situation”
embarrassed but relieved I was now sat very close to the toilets. Thank you EasyJet!
Thank you Web Summit for an awesome conference and for taking action to engaging and lifting women in particular in this business. Thank you Women in Tech for the ticket! And grateful my job encourages these type of things!
Argh, I started writing about my Web Summit 2017 experience here, but I just got to the Opening Night, I didn’t even make it to the actual conference. By now I’m sure I will have forgotten most of it, highly annoying! I wanted to try to save some of that inspiration and motivation I gained during the conference.
But I’ll try to report on the first day of the conference (and the rest cause it would disturb me too much to leave it unfinished). Once I get started I might remember more and more, who knows.
So… Anna and I lived very conveniently, when I think back. It wasn’t our original booking because that turned out to be a disaster. But Anna found a sweet, modest spot that was on the same tube as the Summit. But it was before the big crossing station, which meant we could get on the tube get a seat and the next station all the rest squeezed in. Perfect! It was close too.
The conference area was huge, there’s 4 big tents with exhibition areas and stages for the different talks. And then there’s the big arena with the big names and topics. Web Summit is actually 25 different conferences in one. Some of them cover several days and some just one. “My” day was thursday – the Fullstack day. But I had plenty on my custom-made schedule for all the days. More talks than I could fit in and physically run between.
One of the first things we did was head to the Centre stage to listen to Jared Cohen from Google Jigsaw, which is a collection of project with one objective – make the internet safer. The project covers areas like safe conversation, cyber attacks, extremism and so on. For example they’re using Machine learning to curate online conversation, he talked a lot about “online toxicity” and how to combat it.
When he talked about violent extremism recruiting online he shared the insight that what matters most to young viewers is how well the video answers their questions and not the quality of the video itself, which is very interesting. Depending on your message it could be a good or a bad thing to be able to effectively influence young people with a small budget, but well thought through message.
An ongoing theme throughout the 3 days, was the responsibility of the tech community, brought down to every developer individually, to take responsibility of what they are taking part in building, no matter how small.
I also listened to the topic of “When machines outsmart us…” with Max Tegmark author of “Life 3.0: Being human in the age of artificial intelligence”. This was one of the things I made a note of;
One of the things I had been looking forward to the most (and I was not alone in this) was seeing Sofia the Robot and Einstein the Robot from Hanson Robotics. Ben Goertzel, Chief Scientist of Hanson Robotics, was the curator for a debate set to take place between the 2 robots. Sofia said she will take our jobs, but that’s OK. (Ben explaining because we can have more time to do more creative things. One must wonder if he’s the one putting that idea in her head in the first place – literally)
The surprise of the day was ending up by the Swedish hotspot and meeting people there. We were told about a conversation about the topic of women in tech and we decided to come back for that (although I was told it was about FemTech – which is something totally different to me).
The panel was Ishtar Touailat from Tieto (and IT Woman of the year in Sweden 2016), Ditte Hammarström from Snowfire and Sofie Lindblom from ideation360 and moderated by Jonas Almeling from Business Sweden. Very interesting discussion, but as I remember Ishtar commenting – it would be nice to not have to discuss the issue itself year after year, and just involve women in the actual tech discussions going on. It’s troubling it still has to be discussed as well – that it’s still needed, but it is I guess and it was on the main stage several times as well.
After the conference finished we headed over to the Sunset Summit that was in direct connection with the conference area. We got a taste of Portuguese culture.
After this we headed to a mingle hosted by the Swedish embassy, which was a very interesting network opportunity. We had a brief stroll along the Night summit (read chasing after the shortest cue to the bar). Before being dragged away from one queue by our company I met a tech podcaster from the UK (I love listening to podcasts in particular tech podcasts when working out), in the next place I met a young, female engineer student (who also works out to podcasts!) and had an interesting conversation about Bryan Johnsson (see my previous post).
This was the first conference day of the Summit. I met so many people in queues, sitting down for food, well, everywhere really. I love that. Love hearing entrepreneurs as well and their ideas and passion.
So I wanted to share some thoughts from the Web Summit with you. It was my first time attending and I had so much fun, gained knowledge and tied connections, but I also got very inspired and motivated.
I had a Woman in Tech ticket, like many other women there. Which might have been a contributing factor to 42% of the attendants being women. And I really felt that! The first day I was speaking to a woman who said it felt like 50/50 and I said “I know right?! Last night at the opening ceremony, we were suppose to stand up and greet 3 people sitting close to us and for me it was 2 women and 1 man (excluding the woman I was there with)”.
So many women wanting to be there shows there’s a huge interest. I believe it helps change the perspective from other people to a certain degree. When people see the Web Summit badges out on the street it’s not just a stereotypically looking tech man. And that we’re not getting the feeling it’s “#men #menslife #menslifestyle #guys” that I saw hashtagged on the websummitlisbon Instagram account…
Surely we can’t attend a tech conference talking about how AI-robots will take humans jobs and still discuss if women belong in the tech industry… But there are several diversity issues in tech and some were discussed on stage. I also unfortunately heard stories of women not being taken seriously, inappropriate speech when being out during the night summit and 2 women told some of us that they had been denied entry to the developer lounge by someone by the entrance pointing out it’s just for developers. These women have been developers for over 15 years.
Now that I’m writing this I realise that i walked pass that lounge several times, it said “All developers welcome” but I never even tried to go in. Not a conscious decision, but still. Whether you have 15 or 5 or 1 years experience you shouldn’t feel like you don’t belong. And you certainly shouldn’t be judged by your appearance if you belong somewhere or not.
I’m sure I’ll cover this topic again as I go through what I got up to at the Web Summit. I was staying with Anna, a C# developer at H&M, we both had tickets to the opening night, so we started heading that way around 5 or so, because the doors closed at 6. Sharp. If you were late, you weren’t let in.
The opening night had a few speakers lined up, first up was the CEO and founder of Web Summit Paddy Cosgrave. Then the special guest, presented by Feedzai, was a filmed talk by Sir Stephen Hawking, talking about the dangers with AI. (Found this on YouTube if anyone wants to have a look.) He says AI can be the best or the worst that has ever happened to humanity. It can either destroy us or help us with our challenges.
Then we got to listen to Bryan Johnson from Kernel talking about advances in neuroscience that is making the brain more accessible and closer to be understood. Rebooting the brain his speech was called. He’s working on tools to change and enhance the brain. We already have knowledge to change the brain with medication and therapy and our own routines and habits of course. But what if there was a whole range of technological tools of doing this.
When talking to an engineer student from Dublin the evening after, we discussed Bryan Johnson and his statements. There wasn’t any details of what they were actually doing or how, just a bunch of buzzwords as the engineer student said. Like “hacking the brain”, “walk a mile in someone elses shoes”. The last which the engineer student pointed out has partly already been done, referring to this experiment. But being able to even more so hack the empathy system, share memories etc. And not to mention about how much more efficient therapy can be in the future, thinking of PTSD for example. It’s definitely worth following and I added Bryan Johnson to my Twitter right now. A little West World over the whole thing but still…
After this we got to hear Margrethe Vestager from the European commission being interviewed by Kara Swisher, they discussed fair play in the tech industry and it was interesting to hear about how they work to keep it as fair as it can be. After this it was government officials talking, welcoming and then the official opening.
It was a fun night and teaser for what was to come. Me and Anna headed back to the hotel for an early night so we could get to the conference on time the next day.
Well, this didn’t turn out the way I thought. Coming back from Portugal I fell really sick. I thought it was a bad case of the flu, but after landing and sleeping another night with high fever and vomit I phoned I went to the hospital. After being shipped around a bit, my local GP saw that my CRP, infection value was through the roof and he sent me back to the emergency ward, where I was hospitalized for 4 nights. I’ve been out since monday late afternoon, but I’m exhausted. Maybe because I’m still on antibiotics. But pills now, not intravenous.
I started summing up my Web summit experience in a blog post, but that was all put on hold as I’ve been so sick. I’m feeling better now. So maybe on the weekend I’ll get an opportunity to get back that inspiring feeling I had when leaving Lisbon that has been totally overshadowed by being so ill.
I’m sitting at a the airport, waiting for the Web Summit registration to open at 7:00. Me being me, a little stressed out, decided to get up at dawn with Jon to the airport and see him off, then register here. I need to register before 15:00 to get my accredation for the opening night. Which is tonight!
So I’m drining a coffee and eating a croissant. And thought I’d give my blog a few lines, sum up the weekend!
So we left on friday for Lisbon and had a bit of a shock coming to the Airbnb place. It was not what I expected. The description used private and so on, but it was a room you couldn’t lock because she lost the keys and a shared bathroom, and the whole place stank of weed. Not what you expect for a romantic weekend away… The mattress was terrible, if you can call it a mattress. Hips and both our backs where hurting. But we still stayed in bed to try and find another accomodation. First lesson learnt; if something is too cheap to be true, it is.
We found an hotel to a decent price and went for that. I’m so glad we did! Totally save the weekend. But before we checked in, we went to this busy, little café with great breakfast and awesome coffee! Brick Cafe Lisbon
So what about Lisbon so far – great coffee, lots of walking and lovely food.
We went for espetada by the water on the saturday evening. It was absolutely lovely! This is the place.
We took a few tourist buses around Lisbon to get a good overview and some history.
That was the weekend. Last night I attended the Women in Tech pre-dinner and met some interesting ladies. But tonight the actual Web Summit starts with the opening night that both me and my room mate Anna got tickets to. We also had accomodation problems and will tell you all about it another time.
So sometimes things don’t work out the way you want it. The little one coughed through the night and was awake for a period, making tiny noises and felt warm. She had to stay home today so that means no work for me either.
Something else that didn’t really turn out how I thought was the last post. I said I lost everything I wrote. Lie. Big lie. I must say I was surprised about my post not being auto-saved, until it turned out – it was. All along it was lying there in the post list. Haha
As you might have picked up already I have started re-posting some of my old post starting from 2014 and going back. I’m going through them all manually though looking at the text and pictures to see if I’m still comfortable with it being online. And so far I’ve been with almost everything. So if you’re interesting in some of my old life there’s a few post re-published already.
Oh well, I need to care for the baby climbing on me right now. See ya
So this is an interesting week. On thursday we fly to Englad to “drop” the kiddos at granny’s and on Friday Jon and I are off to Lisbon for a weekend getaway. First time away from the kids for that long. I’m nervous and anxious about it so say the least. But hopefully, once we’re off and away we will be able to relax a bit. Such luxury to be able to do this. The opportunity arose and we grabbed it.
We’re staying in an Airb’n’b. First time for me so we’ll see how that goes. But the lady letting it seems very good and it has good reviews.
On Sunday we move to a hostel and I meet up with Anna from Stockholm, who I will be sharing a room with during the Web Summit. Jon goes back to stay with the kids in England.
Today it was 25° there. I need to do a little more research on what to do when we get there. Any tips?