Women in Technology (The Book)

All of the articles written for O’Reilly’s Women in Technology series, including my article about careers in technology, will be included in a book scheduled for publication in October.

All of the proceeds from Women in Technology will be donated to the Alliance of Technology & Women (ATW), a non-profit organization providing scholarships and other encouragement for women and girls preparing for careers in technology. I also just learned that we have a chapter of ATW right here in Portland!

You should pre-order now and buy a copy (or two). 🙂 It’s a great book supporting a great cause.


I attended the LUNARR dinner last evening where they launched the alpha version of their product. It is always nice to see another Portland tech company launch a product!

The answer to the question on everyone’s mind: “Do they compete with Jive Software” is No. We have a large, open collaboration platform, while LUNARR is laser focused on document collaboration, but with a different spin. In Clearspace, people collaborate on documents openly with everyone viewing everyone else’s comments. The LUNARR model is to make the document available to select people, but the discussions / comments on the document are more private (like an email back channel for every document.) What they have is pretty cool, but it is a very different model.

I was talking about them with Selena over lunch, and she thought it would be great for the education market. Because you control the document and the email back channel associated with it, I could see students and teachers using it for assignments. For example, a student completes the first draft of a paper, uploads it to LUNARR, gets feedback from the teacher, makes revisions, gets more feedback and eventually a grade. Later, the students can share the final paper with the rest of the class while the back channel with the teacher feedback / grades stays private.

I also think this is a great solution as a light weight way to share a few documents with friends, co-workers, contractors, etc. If you do not want discussions, blogs, and other features that come with a full collaboration platform (like Clearspace), the LUNARR solution would be an easy way to collaborate on documents.

You can learn more about them on their site or in this article

I also have a few invites – drop a comment here with your email address if you want an invite to play with their application.

Why You Should Avoid Mozy Backups

Note: Update from 9/20/07 with resolution to this issue can now be found at the end of this post.


Ugh. I rarely use my blog to rant, but here it goes.

I started using Mozy to backup my MacBook a couple of months ago. In keeping with my sys admin background, I dutifully made my first backup and then did a test restore of a few files – worked beautifully. Simple, online, and free backups for my Mac. I have been doing backups every couple of nights since then. About once a week, I even checked to make sure that the data was being backed up.

Last Thursday, my Mac crashed and refused to reboot. Chris (Jive IT guy extraordinaire) attempted to save the data, but eventually the hard drive had to be reformatted. Total data loss. Oh well, it is a pain to reinstall everything, but I take regular backups, so no problem.


On Monday, I kicked off a full restore on the Mozy web site. This is what I ended up with:

You have 1 restore currently building. In the restore requested about 2 hours ago, 0 out of 11025 files are finished building. You will receive an email when the restore is complete.

At this point, I contact Mozy support to get an idea of how long these typically take. This was prior to 1:00 pm Pacific Time. I received an auto response stating that they would get back to me sometime the following day. Hmmm, maybe a less ambitious approach would be warranted? Yesterday around this time, I decided to try for the 11 files that I wanted right away. Still not working.

I got this email at 9am this morning:

That’s weird your restore is taking so long. Obviously something is wrong and it isn’t restoring correctly. I would try again.

You also have the option to restore from your virtual drive. If you click on your Mozy icon on the menu bar (the four square icon) and choose restore files you’ll be able to view and restore your files from there. This is typically the best option for a smaller amount of files like you are trying to download.

Let us know how it goes.

Sigh, yeah I already tried all of this (and they should have been able to tell that I already tried again), so no help here.

As I was writing this blog entry, I got an email requesting a copy of mozy.log. Interesting, I was performing a web restore, so there won’t be anything in the logs.

My current Mozy status:

You have 1 restore currently building.

In the restore requested 1 day ago, 0 out of 11 files are finished building. You will receive an email when the restore is complete. Click here to view all your restores.

A quick Google of “mozy restore” will show that this is not an isolated issue.

You may be asking yourself, “what kind of moron uses beta backup software?” ahem. OK, I am a bit lucky. The vast majority of my data is stored in other online services (Gmail, Jive’s Zimbra server, Clearspace collaboration platform), so hard drive backups are less critical for me than for most people. However, I still do not like losing data, and other people who rely more heavily on hard drive files could get seriously burned using Mozy.

My advice to you? Run away from Mozy as fast as you can!

UPDATE 9/20/07: Woo hoo! I have my data back. Mozy’s COO contacted me yesterday in response to this blog post. After a short email exchange, my backup of 11 files completed fairly quickly. I submitted a restore of the rest of my data ~800MB, which completed and was ready to download in an afternoon. The download went well, and I have verified that the files look good. Despite the rocky start, they were able to get my data to me. I have learned my lesson about using beta software for backups, and I will most likely still switch to a more reliable service (E3 from Amazon most likely); however, I really appreciate the responsiveness that Mozy displayed.

Advice on Careers in Technology for Geeky (and not so Geeky) Women

My article in the O’Reilly Women in Technology series was published today. In this article, I admit to always being a little geeky (big surprise), and I talk about the evolution of my technology career along with a bit of career advice for other women in technology.

Keep an eye on this series. More articles from some very successful women are still in the queue to be released throughout the month!

BarCamp Portland Informal Tech Meetup

Want to hang out with other Portland techies? Join us at the BarCamp Portland Informal Tech Meetup.

Thursday, September 27, 2007
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
At Jive Software

The Portland meetups are intended to be a little less intense and more frequent than a full BarCamp Portland event. The intent is to get a group of cool people interested in technology together to chat over drinks on the fourth Thursday of every month. Anyone working in high-tech is welcome to attend. Conversations usually range from wikis to open source to blogs to who knows what!

Note: We have moved the signups for this event from the wiki to upcoming. Please RSVP on Upcoming to help us get a count for the event.

You can visit http://barcamp.org/BarCampPortlandMeetups for more information.

Also, Please add yourself to the Google Group http://groups.google.com/group/barcampportland so that we can let you know if there are any last minute changes (we will send a note to the Google Group along with posting an update here).

LUNARR Coming out of Stealth Mode on September 17

Another local Portland collaboration company, LUNARR, is coming out of stealth mode with a product demo / networking event on September 17th at CubeSpace. The Japanese founders have promised to have Japanese food and drinks at this free event. If you want to attend, you can RSVP on Upcoming.

I hear you asking the question, “Hmmmm, another Portland collaboration company; wouldn’t they compete with Jive?” To be honest, I’m not sure yet, but I think that the competition between the two companies is minimal, since we seem to be focused on slightly different aspects of collaboration. From the minimal pre-launch information on the Lunarr website, they seem to be focused on document collaboration and projects, while Jive’s focus is on providing a broad collaboration suite with forums / discussions, wikis, and blogs along with our realtime collaboration (XMPP-based instant messaging) platform. While Jive provides a broad collaboration suite, LUNARR seems to be laser focused on serving a specific niche, and I suspect that there is plenty of room in this market for both solutions!

Please keep in mind that I am working with limited information, so most or all of the above could be incorrect. Anyway, I will be there on the 17th to learn more!

O’Reilly Women in Technology

O’Reilly just started a series of articles on Women in Technology with an article every day for the month of September. I will be appearing somewhere in this series along with Anna Martelli, Audrey Eschright, CJ Rayhill, Dru Lavigne, Gabrielle Roth, Jeni Tennison, Jill Dyche, Juliet Kemp, Julia Lerman, Kaliya Hamlin, Kirsten Jones, Lauren Wood, Leslie Hawthorn, Selena Deckelmann, and Shelley Powers.

“This series is comprised of articles written by women on the topic of “Women in Technology,” which will run through September. My hope is that the myriad of experiences you read about here will showcase how valuable it is to hear from different women at all stages of their careers and lives. Whether you believe that there is gender inequality within the tech community that we should all work to improve or if you think that there are no issues at all, one underlying truth is that we should support each other as individuals.”

(Quoted from Tatiana Apandi, the Women in Technology series creator and associate editor at O’Reilly Media Inc., on Women in Technology)

What Does it Take to Manage a Community?

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post, Reflections on Community Management: AKA “What Do You Do”, with thoughts about what community managers do. I promised to follow it up with another post about the skills it takes to manage communities. It was Seth Godin’s post, Jobs of the future, #1: Online Community Organizer, that originally got me thinking about this topic. Godin says:

“It would help if that person understood technology, at least well enough to know what it could do. They would need to be able to write. But they also have to be able to seduce stragglers into joining the group in the first place, so they have to be able to understand a marketplace, do outbound selling and non-electronic communications. They have to be able to balance huge amounts of inbound correspondence without making people feel left out, and they have to be able to walk the fine line between rejecting trolls and alienating the good guys.

Since there’s no rule book, it would help to be willing to try new things, to be self-starting and obsessed with measurement as well.” (Quote from Seth Godin’s Blog)

What skills do I think it takes to manage a community?

  • Patience. The community manager should not be the one responding to all of the questions. She needs to hold back and let others within the community participate. This is especially true when someone in the community is being particularly difficult. It can be easy to fire off an angry response that might be regretted later, but waiting until the emotions cool a bit can make the response more thoughtful and constructive. This includes patience with newbie community members. She may have heard the question a million times from other newbies, but this is probably the first time this particular person has asked the question. Taking a little time to welcome new community members while pointing them to a list of helpful resources (nicely) can go a long way toward helping to grow your community.
  • Networking. The best community managers are the ones who seem to know everyone and have a large group of colleagues who can help in various ways. These people do not typically acquire large networks by accident; they have good networking skills and are constantly meeting new people and growing their network.
  • Communication. Community managers should be great communicators. In some communities where the interactions are primarily online, good writing skills are essential. Public speaking skills can also be required for those community managers who also spend time organizing community events, evangelizing, and speaking at conferences on topics related to the community.
  • Facilitation. I spend a fair amount of time making sure that the right people are involved and engaged in the community. No one person can (or should) respond to every question or comment, so the community manager is frequently in the position of facilitating the discussions.
  • Technical Skills. Having at least a basic understanding of the technologies used in your community are important. This varies widely depending on the community. In my case, the ability to administer the Clearspace installation, maintaining and writing web pages, bug tracking software, svn, etc. have been really helpful. I find that my background as a sys admin has been really helpful in this job. Not all community managers need to be highly technical. It certainly helps to be able to do some things yourself, but in my case, I do what I can and rely on our hosting provider, our web developer, and other developers at Jive to help with the tricky stuff.
  • Marketing. For those of us managing developer communities, marketing may seem like a dirty word, but yes, marketing skills are a requirement. The community manager needs to be able to promote community activities, solicit new members, and in general get the word out about the community.
  • Self Motivation. In most cases, no one will be looking over the community manager’s shoulder telling him what to do. He needs to be self motivated to do whatever it takes to keep the community active and healthy without much direction from others.
  • Workaholic Tendencies. I do not mean that the community manager must work all the time; however, most communities do not exist in the 9-5 work hour schedule. People from all time zones participate at all hours of the day. Community managers probably want to at least check in on the community outside of business hours and respond to any hot topics or heated debates. This ties into the self motivation skills described above.
  • Organization. Community managers should also be organized. Keeping track of loose ends, making sure that questions are answered, being able to organize events, etc. all require good organizational skills and attention to detail. This is probably the toughest one for me. Although I tend to be highly organized, I tend not to be particularly attentive to details. I’m working on it 🙂

I have no doubt that there are more skills required for community managers, but I think this is a pretty good start. This list may also be a bit skewed toward those who manage developer communities or open source communities, since these are the types of communities that I have managed. I would be very interested to hear perspectives from other community managers here in the comments. What skills do you think are most important for community managers?