Monday, 30 March 2009

Processing the Geek Girl Meet-Up

Fantastic to see how much Swedish publicity there has been since this event, with coverage from SvD both before and after (here, here and here), Aftonbladet, MedieVärlden and VeckoRevyn.

As I posted earlier, the day started with registration at 9.30am and as usual when I attend meetings, seminars and the likes I did not know a soul - the GGM was no different either. I have to confess I was a little star struck throughout the day, to think that I was mixing with girls that had attended the very exclusive (in my books) 24-hour-business-camp and I recognised some of the names and the projects discussed throughout the day.

The meet-up was opened by the three instigators Andie Nordgren, Heidi Harman och Mengmeng Du with Beata Wickbom as moderator.

Beata is by far the best moderator I have seen here in Sweden - her style was sharp, to the point and extremely productive. She encouraged networking to the max and gave the girls every chance to put themselves in the spot light, speeding up a process that can otherwise take eons. It kind of reminded me of the American style of the BNI meetings and each time someone in the audience made a comment or asked a question she had them up on their feet, concluding with what challenges they were facing in their work and what they were looking for.

In the lead-up to lunch she did the same thing, singling people out, asking their challenges and want they wanted, then turning to the rest of the group to ask if anyone could help with that. In minutes she had strangers making contact and then eating lunch together to discuss something of mutual interest.

It was potentially a horrifying moment for many - the sort of necessary pill that needs to be swallowed, but one that you feel all the better for having taken it. No jante law allowed here!

In the short term nothing sprang to mind, at least no immediate challenges that I thought this group could help me with, but had I had more time to think about it I could have used the moment more constructively - I will know for next time! I ended up joining others to talk to a venture capitalist - would love to have a little cash injection into my project..... or find someone to work with.

Even though it was very goal focused and we were asked even when we registered online how we would contribute, there was no doubt that the atmosphere was a friendly, relaxed one - everyone was there because they wanted to support women in the industry and be with other women from the industry. Many expressed their frustration of being in male-dominated world and were clearly thrilled at being a part of this gathering. And everyone was welcome - from students to experts. The range of women seemed to be wide, with the web being the common interest and surprisingly I didn't feel out of my league the entire day - I even got to contribute some information/tips during a couple of my conversations and send a link off to someone with something I had found (!) It seems I have gathered some knowledge in the last couple of years.

The presentations were only 30 minutes each, including question time, so things went pretty quickly. I made notes and with my laptop on my knee it was great to be able to get straight out onto the net and check out the things they were referring too. I got lots of ideas and inspiration but I think the most valuable presentation I listened to was Anna Oscarsson's use of Bambuser and how she covered the recent Pirate Bay trials. I was highly impressed by her and Bambuser and will be having a close look at it soon - as is often the case - I knew it existed but just have not had reason nor chance to find out what it is really all about. It opens up a whole lot of interesting opportunities. Watch her summary of the Geek Girl Meet-up here:

There were plenty of other presentations that I thought were great, interesting and would like to listen to again, so as to be able to better absorb them. There were also plenty of presentations that I missed and would like to have seen. Annika Linde made a live broadcast from each of the presentations although the connection was not the best so unfortunately they are not the best recordings. They are all in Swedish but you can check them out under Recent Activity on her Bambuser page. I plan to listen to what I missed! From what I understand it was a spontaneous action that was appreciated by all and I have no doubt that preparation will be made for filming at the next meet-up.

If anything was missing from this action-packed day it was time - it went so fast and there was little time to get your teeth stuck into anything and limited time to chat to the other participants. It was one of the few occasions here in Sweden where I have found it very easy to talk to people, everyone was open and approachable in a way I have not seen elsewhere. In fact I think I can safely say that the quality of this day was far superior to any of the other entrepreneur events I have attended here in Stockholm.

Most of the girls continued on and went to an afterparty in Gamla Stan - as far as I know everything from the day/evening was covered by an impressive list of sponsors. These girls have got talent - they pulled off a very informative and inspiring day, attracted all the right people and managed to get sponsors to foot the bill. That's quite an achievement. I will be much faster to sign up next time!

You can read more here: Twingly Blog Search, Flickr, Twitter (didn't manage to get my Tweets to register on there), Swedish Bloggy and Jaiku.

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