5 Steps to a Digital Detox, New Tech City-style

Feeling taxed by 2014 already? Promised yourself you’d stop being a slave to your phone? Maybe it’s time for a digital detox. Watch the 1-minute video…

5 steps to getting closer to digital inner peace:


1. Limit yourself to charging your gadget ONCE for the week. You’ll begin rationing those Pinterest sessions instead of going on hours-long binges.


2. Pretend it’s the year you were born and only interact with people via the communication tools that were available that year. (I, for example, would only be able to talk by landline.)


3. Organize yourself with tactile products, like Post-Its. Unlike on your phone, that list of tasks will be a constant visual reminder… and you may actually complete them.


4. Send a tweet or status update that says you’re taking a break from Twitter/Facebook. You’ll look like a loony addict if you login before your self-imposed hiatus ends.


5. Reward yourself with something sensuous for every day you refrain from Facebook/email/CandyCrush. Treats could include a beautiful box of hand-printed letterpress cards, a foot massage, or a cuddle session with the neighbor’s pet rabbit. So soft. 

Liked this? Found it silly but true? Get your New Tech City love every week by subscribing to our podcast, following me on Twitter, or checking out the website. We’re all in this together.

Posted in media tips, Popular, smartphones, social media, tech, WNYC
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I Took a 1-Day Coding Class and Barely Survived

Learning to Code In One Day and Losing My Mind….

(Jennifer Hsu/WNYC)

My New Year’s resolution was to confront my fear of coding.
Considering that I host New Tech City, my inability to do more than dabble in a smidgen of HTML seemed unacceptable.

In fact, when I had my personal website built two years ago, I often didn’t even understand the developer’s questions. Would a small change to the size of an on-screen box take five hours or five minutes? I had no idea.

So I signed up for Code in a Day, a class run by the British startup Decoded. The instructors claimed that we would learn the ins and outs of coding and then create an app in just nine hours.

Video produced by Jennifer Hsu

I had my doubts that I could learn so much by the end of class, but I hoped to leave with an ability to ask programmers better questions in interviews and work more intelligently with WNYC’s digital team.

Talk the talk even if I couldn’t walk the walk.

A History of Math Aversion

At the very least I wanted to have a showdown, a reckoning of sorts, with my life-long insecurities about computer science and math.

Let me take you back for a moment. When I was in tenth grade, the head of the math department at my high school told me I didn’t have a natural aptitude for the subject.

This was before all the talk about empowering girls to study STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and catering to students’ various “learning styles.” These days, my professor’s outright dismissal of my lack of numbers savvy wouldn’t fly.

Nevertheless, I’m not sure he was wrong. My instinct has always been to focus on the “why” rather than the “how.” Case in point: Last week’s New Tech City podcast about the internet mystery Cicada 3301.

Rather than walk you through every obscure reference and piece of encryption, we told the story behind the cryptography challenge. Words and stories, not numbers and code.

What I Learned in Coding Class

Journalists who can code are still rare (h/t to WNYC’s data news guru John Keefe), and I was the only one in the class.

My Decoded classmates included the head of a travel startup, the CEO of a private equity group (with his CTO along for the ride), an MTA marketing exec, and Jared Grant, a strategist at Paper Magazine.

Jared’s Twitter bio reads: “My blonde hair makes me glamorously hard as nails.” Clearly Jared’s another storyteller, and needless to say, we became fast friends. The instructors were two Brits who claimed to have transformed from English Literature majors into coding dynamos. They said we could (sort of) do it too.

By the end of the day, I did learn the difference between HTML, CSS and Javascript. And that’s not all.

The most meaningful takeaway for me: It turns out you can search, cut and paste your way to coding. Kind of like using a phrase book in a foreign country in lieu of actually learning the language.

Most coders go to Github or Stack Overflow to share code or post code questions.

But let’s say you’re a beginner like me who, for example, wants to make your font bigger on a website. You can just google, “How can I make my font bigger in HTML?” Then just copy and paste. (Here’s the answer from HTML Goodies).

I Made a Functioning App (and Had an Existential Crisis Along the Way)

In addition to actually creating (mostly) an app that allows my kids to “check-in” when they get home (yes, geolocation included), I also had a bit of an existential crisis.

Here are some of the thoughts that ran through my head throughout the day:

“Am I letting womenkind down by admitting this is extremely difficult for me?”

“Would this class have been easier for me if, in third grade, I had actually learned what multiplication is instead of memorizing the times tables?”

“Why doesn’t anyone else here want to talk about how this class is making them feel????”

So, Did I Conquer My Fear of Coding?

In the end, yes.

To put a finer point on it, I think I gained an even greater deference for code.

The whole “learn-to-code-in-a-day” experience reminded me of my dear friend’s wise words from a decade ago.

We had just completed a three-day “hostile environment” survival training course for journalists where we had tripped over fake IEDs and been “kidnapped” (complete with sacks over our heads). Afterward, I turned and asked her, “So, what did you learn?”

“I learned I never want to go to war zone,” she said.

Just as my friend realized covering international conflict wasn’t for her, I learned coding isn’t for me. But you don’t really know unless you try, right?

Resources for Learning to Code in an Hour, a Day or a Few Weeks

If you have an HOUR, check out Khan AcademyCodecademyUdemy or Code.org.

If you have a DAY, try Decoded or General Assembly.

If you have several WEEKS, consider Coding DojoNoble DesktopThe Career CenterThe Flatiron School or Dev Boot Camp.

Go on, subscribe to New Tech City and follow me on Twitter….thanks!

Posted in Popular, reporting work, tech, WNYC
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A Juice Cleanse for Your Brain: 5 Steps to Relevance in Today’s Workforce

 We used to classify ourselves as either artsy or analytical. Not only has the myth of left or right-brain dominance been debunked, limiting yourself to one or the other won’t further a career these days.

As technology infiltrates every part of our work, we need to be able to find the human side of all things digital and express creative ideas with code.The New Tech City team and I try to do this every week by putting heart and the human experience into tech coverage on our podcast.

Creativity and Tech

Earlier this month, I moderated a panel of unusual educators at the CreateTech event. They believe you’ll only find work and success in the 21st century by exploring where your creativity and technology intersect.

I asked each panelist to give the audience something quick they can do to get their juices flowing….to get creatives to think analytically and techies to find their artsy side.

The First 4 Steps

Here are their excellent ideas:

1. Go to events & meetings you weren’t invited to, says Mark Avnet, Dean, 36iU. Mark runs a school within an advertising agency. He doesn’t mean you should crash meetings- just go to events that other people didn’t think would interest or pertain to you. You’ll learn more that way.

2. Write a daily list of questions, ANY questions, says Zach Lieberman, Artist and Founder, School for Poetic Computation. If you haven’t heard of this new school, check it out. Zach is all about finding beauty in the technical. More from Zach at the bottom of this post.

3. Talk to someone about something out of your comfort zone, says Georgia Krantz, Senior Education Manager, Guggenheim Museum and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Communications, NYU ITP.  Georgia says she doesn’t write code and yet she teaches at NYU’s famous Interactive Telecommunications Program. A beautiful thing.

4. Find someone really young and MAKE something says Limor Fried, Engineer and Founder, Adafruit Industries. Kids find joy in discovering the smallest thing. So should we says the inimitable Limor Fried.

Basically, to survive in today’s economy, we need to mashup our brains.

The 5th Step

So I’d like to add a 5th thing you can do RIGHT NOW. Get your ticket to WNYC’s Creativity, Technology and Education event on November 19 at The Greene Space. We are calling it “Tech + Today’s Worker: Upgrading Your Skills in Every Phase of Life.”

I’ll be hosting an evening of insight, advice and networking (and wine!) to help you figure the next stage of your working life and understand how continuing education can fit in.

Questions we’ll answer include:

  • What can recent graduates do to make themselves more attractive to employers in this tough job market?
  • How can mid-career professionals stay relevant and advance their careers in a quickly changing digital marketplace?
  • As we live longer lives, what role do these subjects play for seniors, whether they are retired or looking for work?

We’ll have experts with deep experience helping people of all ages find their calling and pay the bills:

Carmen Scheidel, Vice President of Learning + Development at Time, Inc.

Tom Kamber, founding executive director of Older Adults Technology Services (OATS), the largest municipal technology program for senior citizens in the country

Larry Harris, Chief Marketing Officer of PubMatic, a startup ad tech company in Manhattan

Plus we’ll have a whimsical and thought-provoking demonstration from the founder of that new School for Poetic Computation, Zach Lieberman, who will help you find where YOUR creative and technical sides intersect.

Join us!  Any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Leave a comment here or tweet me @manoushz

Posted in conferences, freelance work, jobs, Popular, start-up, tech, WNYC
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What a Year in Public Radio Has Taught Me (+Happy Birthday, New Tech City)

New Tech City podcast

“Happy Birthday, New Tech City! You are 1 year old this week. Your daddy, Charlie Herman, and I are very proud.” 

This week marks one year of public radio for me. Last September, the first New Tech City segment aired on WNYC during Morning Edition.  We featured a visit to one of the first software-centric high schools in the city.

We were pleased to find that listeners responded to our take on tech: looking at how technology is changing the way we live and work; the “hearts and minds, not just bits and bytes” of tech, as Collin Campbell* put it.

Feedback was good.  So good, in fact, that we were encouraged to develop New Tech City into a longer podcast in the hopes of growing the brand beyond New York.


We always posted our episodes on the WNYC website and as podcasts on iTunes.

But since I came aboard WNYC full-time in July, Dean Cappello and Jim Schachter, the station’s Chief Content officer and VP for News, respectively, have pushed our team to think of the on-air segment as a portfolio for our now longer podcast.  The podcast is now our top priority.

It’s been an interesting trajectory for our little show.
So here’s what I’ve learned in my year at one of top public radio stations in the country:

 1. Don’t underestimate the platform.

Launching our segment on Morning Edition immediately delivered us all the New Yorkers who trust their mornings to Soterios Johnson and the WNYC newsroom. Those listeners accepted us in part because of that time slot…and maybe because they couldn’t be bothered to turn the dial as they got in the shower. But we’d also like to think our treatment of tech spoke to them.

On iTunes, being listed alongside WNYC big hitters like Radiolab, Freakonomics, Studio 360, and On The Media immediately gave us cred too. Obviously we are striving to live up to the precedent that these ground-breaking shows have set.

Having said that…

2. The audience is very split.

I was shocked to learn last weekend that my tech-savvy brother-in-law doesn’t know what podcasts are. He switches between 2 stations during his 45 minute drive to work: ESPN radio and his local public radio station. His habits are a reminder that podcast listeners can be a select group and potentially skew under 40.

It was also a reminder that subbing for John Hockenberry on The Takeaway, as I did earlier this month, is a great way to reach radio listeners across the country who would never hear of New Tech City otherwise.  (It was also very fun to work with the awesome Takeaway team.)

But I also remember a young tech investor I met while waiting to board our plane home from South by Southwest in April. When I told him I was in Austin for WNYC and asked if he’d heard New Tech City, he told me, “Sorry, I don’t listen to local radio.” But when I asked him if he knew Radiolab, he answered, “Of course!” and pointed at his iPhone.  He had no idea Radiolab comes from WNYC.

Which brings me to…

3. Your tone is your brand.

Radiolab and Freakonomics are KILLING IT on iTunes. I love that WNYC appeals to the New Yorker in everyone, even if they live in Montana.

But for New Tech City to even get near that territory, we realized we needed to change our tone for the podcast.

Our newsy presentation works on-air; people are getting dressed, taking in the day’s headlines, knowing that they are part of a huge listening community.

But that tone doesn’t work for a longer podcast.  Who knows when someone is listening to a podcast? It could be while riding the C back to Brooklyn or in bed at night. It’s a quieter, more intimate relationship between host and listener, as Dean Cappello points out.

And so…

I’ve adjusted my delivery, writing, and storytelling for our podcast. The weird, silly, and nosy part of me that used to occasionally surface on-air has now been given space to breathe…and rock out.

We’ve** worked hard this summer to turn our show into a podcast about technology that sounds like nothing else you’ll find on iTunes, I Heart Radio, Stitcher, or the app of your choice.

Our “point-of-difference” counts more than ever in this crowded market.

We have a very long way to go, but last I checked, New Tech City was in the top 20 tech podcasts on iTunes.  We’d love to know what you think of the new podcast.  Leave a comment on iTunes and I’ll embed a secret, silent message to you in the next show…or something :)

*Campbell,  formerly Freakonomics’ Executive Producer, was brought on to help us transition into New Tech City 2.0. He’s now Managing Editor at Southern California Public Radio.

**A big shout out to producer Dan Tucker and reporter Ilya Marritz for all their hard and stellar work.

Posted in entrepreneur, future of news, media, Popular, Publishing, smartphones, start-up, tech, WNYC
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What Leadership Really Means: Teens + Tech

Female campers uses iPhone at summer camp
Campers were allowed to bring smartphones, tablets and other technology to Longacre Camp for the first time in the summer of 2013. (Jennifer Hsu/WNYC)


Will a bold experiment in Pennsylvania create good habits for kids, or ruin a summer ritual?

I would totally send my kids to Longacre Leadership, a camp in rural Pennsylvania New Tech City first profiled in July.

Set on a woodsy hilltop dotted with tents, it has exactly the organic-farming-community-building-exhuberant-but-not-too-crazy-competitive spirit that would attract a lot of yuppie Brooklyn parents who are nervous about sending their offspring away for the summer.

The campers refer to each other as “farmers.” They milk goats, collect eggs, pick fresh lettuce and go on wholesome outings to nearby Hershey Park and the local bowling alley.

So you might think, “Wow, what a great chance for teens to unplug and enjoy nature and make new friends! No distracting video games and social media apps!”

But the camp’s director had something else in mind this year.

Matt Smith is the son of Longacre’s founders. He’s 31 years old, and this is his first summer in charge. He has a different philosophy than his parents when it comes to leadership.

He feels that, for teenagers today, “leadership” isn’t about learning to take charge. It’s about learning how to make decisions for yourself, take considered actions and set boundaries.

Our constant immersion in gadgets is making it harder and harder for kids to develop those skills, Smith says.

So rather than mandate a digital blackout, he decided to help his campers develop ways to cope with technology.

As Smith explained, “This generation is the first to be grappling with this. They grew up with screens and smartphone technology. We just figured if we are going to prepare them for life, part of that preparation has to be learning to find balance in their lives with technology.”

When I first talked to Smith in June, before camp started, he was nervous about Longacre’s new “Anything Goes” policy.

The camp encouraged the teens to bring along their smartphones, tablets and other digital devices, but on Day 1, they had to hand their gadgets over to Smith and stay tech-free for the first week so they could get to know one another face to face.

When the campers were reunited with their gadgets, all hell broke loose.

Kids ran to The Octagon, the only cabin with electricity, to plug in. They ignored each other and holed up in tent corners to tweet, update Facebook, text, call and be gamified.

Kimmy, a girl from Long Island, described those first hours back with her phone as an out-of-body experience: “I know this sounds strange but I didn’t even know where I was. I was like wait, am I talking to my friends or am I at camp?”

In late July, when I went to visit the camp with WNYC’s Jenn Hsu and Collin Campbell, the kids had gotten used to having their gadgets back. Some of them had grown philosophical about technology. Many decided to set limits for themselves…and for their friends.

Kids who wore their headphones too often got dirty looks. Some campers restricted themselves to texting during quiet time. One girl even handed her phone back to Smith. She felt the constant contact with her friends and family reignited the homesickness that had abated during her first week.

Looking back, Smith says he thinks his campers were less anxious when their gadgets were tucked away.

“Adolescents want to socialize, be accepted, try new behaviors, separate from their parents,” he said. “Those are all normal behaviors and I understand why social media can be an allure. But camp and other kids can provide that.”

During our visit, I saw a lot of hugging and hand-holding at Longacre. There was kitchen duty, gardening, lasso instruction, swimming, lots of singing and a cave exploration field trip. Fun stuff.

One teenage boy told us, “People don’t see technology as tools anymore. They see them as friends.”

Despite his disgust with what gadgets can do to real-life relationships, he confided that after trying out his bunkmate’s iPhone, he was definitely going to buy one when he got home.

“I’m not going to use it as much as other people, but I still want to know about it,” he told me.

This camper had discovered where he drew the line on technology.

At least one mission accomplished, Matt Smith.

If you just liked what you saw, please check out New Tech City on iTunes and rate us.
And I’d love to know where you draw your line with tech.  Let me know on Twitter @manoushz #myline

Posted in media, Popular, smartphones, social media, tech, WNYC
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Autism, Media, and Technology: A Brooklyn Story

This week’s New Tech City episode is about a woman I met nearly 6 years ago while walking my colicky newborn around Brooklyn.

Melissa Morgenlander had little ones too: weeks-old twins—a boy and a girl—and while she wasn’t pushing a double stroller, she was finishing up her PhD at Columbia, studying how children learn from television.

Melissa and I moved to different neighborhoods but stayed in touch. I recently went to visit her to discuss the interesting experiment happening in her house…

An Experiment at Home

While Melissa’s daughter is a neurotypical Kindergartener, her son Quentin has been diagnosed as autistic. Now an education consultant, Melissa has changed her focus from TV to interactive technology and has a blog called The iQ Journals where she chronicles the special relationship her 6 year-old son has with technology and especially the iPad.

“He highlights the search box and comes up to me and says ‘McDonalds’ and I will give in to him because, quite frankly, when you have a child who is not speaking ask for something so clearly, you are obligated to [respond]—you want to reinforce him positively for that,” she told me.

Quentin isn’t just obsessed with his iPad, he’s obsessed with corporate logos. It’s all he wants to look at. He spends a lot of time spotting logos on YouTube and watching ads over and over again. I must have heard the CVS ExtraCare card commercial 50 times during my one-hour visit.

Melissa says Quentin engages with the gadget in a way he never does with people or toys. But she’s nervous about some of the iPad’s side effects—like an app that was supposed to encourage Quentin to talk more but had the opposite result.

As a mother, I was also interested in Melissa’s journey. She went from researching educational TV to parenting a child who is interacting with screens in ways we could not have imagined 6 years ago.

“I’m trying to figure out what is he doing so that we can put it into something new that he can learn from. I always felt really strongly that television, long before touch screens came along, should be used as a teaching tool,” she said.

Where App Developers Fail

But, while educational television took years to develop, Melissa believes app developers are rushing the process.

“App developers aren’t there yet—they don’t actually understand the need for research before throwing an app into the iTunes store. Tons of app developers who know nothing about child development say, ‘I have a great idea!’ They throw together an app, put it in the Itunes store under ‘education’ and parents are overwhelmed by choice,” she says.

Read Melissa’s blog for more on how specials needs are being met (or not met) by media and technology.
And listen to my interview with Melissa (and Quentin!) on WNYC on Tuesday at 93.9 FM at 5:50am and 7:50am or online and on iTunes (please rate us while you’re there).

Meanwhile, here are some of Dr Melissa Morgenlander’s picks for the best educational apps for special needs kids…

Melissa’s App Picks

1. Kid in Story – Social stories are step-by-step picture books that help children with autism understand a social event that might otherwise be confusing, frustrating, or simply upsetting. This app allows you to create your own social stories and include your child’s photo and record your own audio.  I loved using it to prep my son for our trip to Disney World.

2. Model Me Going Places – This great little app does not get nearly enough praise as it should, in my opinion. It uses video modeling to depict some social situations that children with autism often struggle with. Quentin has watched all the videos, multiple times. The best part? It’s free!

3. VAST Autism 1 – Core – This app uses video modeling for speech. Like so many children with autism, Quentin learns best with visual imagery. This app is packed with extreme close-up videos of a mouth speaking basic words and phrases. A little odd to watch, at first, but for children who struggle with expressive language, it could prove to be really helpful.

4. Toca Boca Hair Salon – While this app is not specifically for children with autism, I discovered it helped my son so much with something he struggled with: getting a haircut. Like most apps from Toca Boca, this is about open-ended play. Being able to be in control of an animated client in the salon chair can really put your haircut-fearing child at ease after several rounds.

5. Go Go Games – This app, designed by graduate students at Stanford University, is a set of games specifically designed for kids on the autism spectrum.  The games focus specifically on the skill of matching objects, which can be difficult for some people with autism.

Posted in media, moms, Popular, smartphones, tech, WNYC
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Why We Love Events: 4 Conference Attendee Personality Types

internet week: events, panels, conferences, forums galoreIt can feel like the events, conferences, meetups, and hackathons never end.

Recent events I have been invited to include: PSFK, Project Connect, Techcrunch Disrupt, Paid Content, NY Tech Day, NYT Energy Tomorrow, StartupCity, New York Ideas Forum, OpenCo, Inside 3D Printing Conference, Parting the Clouds, Shorty Awards

Now it’s Internet Week in NYC.
Chances are you or someone you know is either planning, watching, sitting on, moderating, streaming, or avoiding a panel AT THIS VERY MOMENT.


Why are we so obsessed with events and conferences in an age when everything can be accomplished online? Maybe you’re desperate to get out because your butt hurts from sitting at your desk all day (or your back hurts from being subjected to a poorly hacked standing desk).

But it’s also likely that you fall into 1 or more of these 4 categories:

1. The Personal Brander
You proudly refer to yourself as an “event whore.” Every event is a chance for you to spread the word about your startup…or just you. You pride yourself in having actually met most of the people you follow on Twitter. You stopped calling yourself a freelancer and started referring to yourself as an entrepreneur way back in 2009. There’s lots of Seth Godin on your Kindle. You understand the new paradigm of the workplace.

2. The Constant Content Maker
Conferences are your goldmines—you run around tweeting, blogging, interviewing, and shooting video on your phone. You come armed with an extra battery pack, know where all the outlets are at every city venue, and attack panelists the minute they walk offstage. You are a Social Media Beast. Hear you roar.

3. The Reality Checker
Going to events confirms that you do indeed know your stuff. You mostly sit in the audience, feeling annoyed, and thinking, “I could be sitting up there. This is nothing new.” You vow to stop attending so many conferences but then check Gary’s Guide and feel a wave of FOMO wash over you.

4. The Mind Melder
Between managing your colleagues’ “workflow” and sorting out the intern’s security clearance, you hardly have time to live up to your impressive title. Then you discovered that conferences are a chance for you to turn off your phone, sit quietly, and actually use your brain. So once a week, you sneak out of the office, listen to some “thought leaders” and remind yourself why you got into tech/media etc. in the first place. It sure wasn’t to fill out timesheets for a living.


Feel free to be one or more of these “types” at the events I’ll be hosting, speaking, and moderating this week:

Brand Camp, May 20, 2013

WNYC Presents: STEM is the New Space Race, May 21, 2013

Social Advertising: Sharing and Powering Relevant Conversations, May 21, 2013

Multiscreen: Getting It Right, May 22, 2013

If you haven’t downloaded WNYC’s New Tech City from iTunes yet, please do! I’d love to hear what you think @manoushz.

Posted in conferences, entrepreneur, media, Popular, social media, start-up, tech, webcasts
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Women, Work-Life, + Tech: 4 Things You Can Do Right NOW

If you missed New Tech City’s first ever (and sold out!) event at The Greene Space, no worries.  Check out the video, download the podcast, and read on.


When we scheduled “How Tech is Changing the Way Women Work” (this was the inspiration) we had no idea just how timely the topic would be: with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In just out, Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Myer decision to ban working from home, and Anne-Marie Slaughter morphing into a feminist rockstar, holy moly, this was the place to be.

But we were determined to push the conversation forward without rehashing all the work-life balance discussions and articles already out there.  So we hit 3 topics:

  • Digital tools and how they have broken the traditional model of work but created a chance to reframe the work-life debate.
  • The new window of opportunity for female entrepreneurs and startups to reinvent the employer/employee relationship.
  • Where learning to code and STEM fields fit into gender equality for the next generation of women.

It’s a challenge to sum up a deeply rich and nuanced discussion but I’ll leave you with a final takeaway that each panelist bestowed on the audience. Take these actions and keep up the momentum….

4 Takeaways:

1. “Find 3 small things that you want to make part of your work-life fit this week, schedule them, and make them happen. You’ll see you have more control over your life than you thought,” said Cali Williams Yost, the CEO Flex+Strategy Group and author of Tweak It: Make What Matters to You Happen Every Day.

2. “The next time you go to an event where everybody looks like you, ask yourself why you are there,” challenged Stacy-Marie Ishmael of Percolate. Listen to her comments on diversity in tech. They should not be missed.

3. “The next time someone asks you to speak, say ‘YES.’ And the next time you buy a toy for a girl, buy her something that she can make and build,” urged Jessica Lawrence, Executive Director of New York Tech MeetUp. She told a touching story of an 8 yr old girl decked out in pink, showing off the robot she built. Girly and tech-savvy can go hand-in-hand.

4. Marie C. Wilson, founder of The White House Project and Take Our Daughters to Work Day said, “In the next 24 hours, call some woman you think should be involved in this area and tell her you were thinking of her at this panel.”

The conversation continues for the next three Tuesdays with Twitter chats with each of our panelists from 12-12:30EST . The hashtag is #womentech. One question left unsettled: how to frame this topic so it’s an equal-opportunity discussion for BOTH genders? Join us with questions and ideas! I’m @manoushz

March 26, Noon EST: Cali Williams Yost, Flex+Strategy @caliyost
April 2, Noon EST: Jessica Lawrence, NY Tech MeetUp @jessicalawrence
April 9, Noon EST: Stacy-Marie Ishmael, Percolate @s_m_i

Posted in conferences, entrepreneur, moms, Popular, start-up, tech, webcasts, WNYC
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How Tech Changed the Way I Live + Work

This week is New Tech City‘s first ever event and it is SOLD OUT. But you can join WNYC and me for “How Tech is Changing the Way Women Work” at The Greene Space online, where we will be streaming the panel LIVE…and not just audio, video too.

When we were planning this gathering months ago, we had no idea just how timely the topic would be: with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s book coming out, Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer deciding to ban working from home, and Anne-Marie Slaughter becoming a feminist rockstar.

But we don’t want to rehash old ground, or all the articles you’ve read over the past couple of weeks. So we’re going to hit three topics: digital tools and how to manage them, female entrepreneurs and start-ups, and finally, coding and working in STEM fields and what that can mean for the next generation. And of course, we hope you’ll share YOUR story either here or on Twitter #womentech. I figured if I’m asking everyone to get personal, I might as well explain how I came to the idea of holding this event. Be warned: I mention boobs.


Jessica Lawrence, Managing Director of NY Tech Meetup

Marie C. Wilson, founder of The White House Project and Co-creator ofTake Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day

Cali Williams Yost, CEO and founder of Work+Life Fit, Inc.

Stacy-Marie Ishmael, lead product managemer at Percolate, former editor and journalist at the Financial Times 

Listen or watch at 9am on March 19. Open your favorite browser and see or hear the event streaming live. Better yet, have a listening coffee klatch with your co-workers or friends and discuss afterwards.  Or come back later…we’ll also have a podcast of the event up soon. Flex-work, flex-media consumption.

Posted in conferences, jobs, moms, Popular, smartphones, social media, start-up, tech, video ideas, webcasts, WNYC
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What NYC Tech Women Think of Sheryl + Marissa

Sheryl Sadberg's Lean InSo guess who’s leading the debate about women, equality, and work-life balance? Turns out it’s 2 high-powered women in tech.  Last week, Yahoo’sCEO Marissa Mayer banned working from home; Facebook’s CEO Sheryl Sandberg has a book coming out next week that urges women to push harder and “lean in” to their careers.

This week on WNYC’s New Tech City (airs on 93.9FM, Tuesday 7:50am, then available online) Anna Sale talks to some of New York’s women in tech and asks them what they think about these messages coming from the top.

One of the women Anna talks to is Rachael Ellison of REworking Parents/The Reworking Group. She’s also the subject of the second in my series of mommy entrepreneur profiles. But I need to rename this series because of the feedback I got from said “mommies.” The phrase mommy entrepreneur didn’t sit well with them. My goal was to conjure up images of innovative female businesswomen carving out new ways of integrating work and life all while starting cutting-edge consultancies and publications AND managing their children.

But the phrase made them think of homemade baby blankets being sold on Etsy. Not that there is anything wrong with that—it’s just that these women don’t want “mommy” to define them. No matter how impressive their balancing acts are to ME, they want their work to precede them. I’m starting to get that.

The other day I told a friend of a friend about some of my upcoming projects and he said, “Manoush, I’ve been underestimating you. I thought you were just a mommy looking to earn a little extra money.” Um, no. There are bigger plans afoot and I now realize that speaking openly about the madness that is school pickup, potty training, promoting a book, and hosting a show on New York’s tech scene will limit me in some circles.

That realization was one reason I wanted to hold an upcoming event called How Technology is Changing the Way Women Work (please join us if you can).  Rachael will will be in the audience. She and I found each other on Twitter last summer. But it turns out she lives a few doors down from me. She works with parents and organizations to figure out how to reach the Holy Grail: a career that you actually like, pays well, and works with your family’s schedule.

Rachael Ellison, Founder of REworking Parents

Q: Tell us about you and why/when you decided to leave a “real” job and start out on your own.

Rachael Ellison, REworking Parent
Rachael Ellison of REworking Parent

A: I’m Rachael. Mom to a 3 year old and a 2 month-old . My husband has a publishing company. I am an organizational development consultant and executive coach by training. I decided to go out on my own for a couple of reasons. I wanted to make money doing something that made me happy so my daughter could see that work and life weren’t mutually exclusive. I saw a lot of parents around me who were miserable and didn’t have to be. My friends had their kids and went slogging back to work they hated day after day. I wanted them to see the possibilities ahead. The world of work has changed, how and where we work is different than we think. We can find work that doesn’t leave us feeling financially, intellectually or emotionally trapped. I help people—parents in particular—change careers and brand themselves for the new job market, develop professionally as leaders in their fields, and design their work lives for optimum flexibility. I also consult with organization to advise on approaches to flexible work. 

Q: What’s been the best/worst thing about being a lone operator?

A: I have a love-hate thing with “solopreneurship”. I love the hustle. I meet lots of people, collaborate, and learn about new fields and disciplines all the time. Sometimes that gets tiring but most of the time it’s pretty exciting.

Q: What’s your goal?

A: My business is about career growth and financial independence for both me and my clients. I work with every client to check in with “5 Ps” over the course of work-life planning and career design: Personal, Professional, Partnership, Parenting and PAY. Financial sustainability is key. You should love your work enough to do it for free, but don’t. 

You or the women in your life probably have a very particular and personal opinion on this subject– I know I do — and we are going to get deeper into how technology is changing the way women work at our event at The Greene Space on March 19. I hope you can join us that morning, in person or online. 

Manoush Zomorodi is the host of WNYC’s New Tech City and the author of Camera Ready: How to Present Yourself and Ideas On Air or Online. Download the show on iTunes, get the book on Amazon or iBooks, and follow her on Twitter @manoushz. She also blogs at manoushz.com/blog and for The Huffington Post.

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