She’s Geeky

This week, I went to She’s Geeky, an unconference for women in technology. There were sessions on topics technical, organizational, entrepreneurial, and personal.
One interesting session was on managing groups of men. The conversation dealt with some of the style differences between women and men, the list below comes from that session and some others that dealt with the topic:
* women communicate by telling stories that put the issue into context; men are more likely communicate with bullet points and arguments
* women often try to lead conversations by asking questions and getting others to contribute; this can be read as weakness
* decisiveness and strong opinions from women can be read as bitchiness. People varied in their reaction to this, ranging from “claim your inner bitch” to “learn to respect people with alternative skills and styles”
* see above: women may care too much about what other people think about them.
* women sometimes have trouble saying no; there was a whole session on the topic that I didn’t go to.
* on the whole, more men believe they’re above average, and more women believe they are below average (think about this for a moment…) women need to learn to filter men’s boasts when they aren’t matched by reality, realize their own competence, and get safe support to build confidence.
There were also some rather unfunny stories of traditional sexism: the only female engineer in a group being asked to decorate a new office; a woman who found she was making less than similarly qualified men; a woman executive being asked to regularly provide fashion advice to her CEO (and she seemed to feel obligated to do it). (I suggested that she refer him to the neiman marcus personal shopping service.

Doctors with Email

I wanted to get my first medical checkup since arriving in California, so I asked a friend for a referral. The doctor herself seemed fine, but:
* they required two appointments to get a checkup, since so many patients bail before the appointment (this in retrospect was a bad sign)
* they required a second visit for routine blood tests, and there was a 45 minute wait to get blood drawn
* when I called to make the real checkup appointment, I spent over 30 minutes on hold, and then gave up
That was enough. After some research, I found that the Palo Alto Medical Foundation has a service where you can make appointments and review test results online. That sounds perfect — no time on hold. They also have a nice online physician lookup service so you can find doctors who are taking new patients.
Thank you PAMF, this is customer service for the 21st century.

Tour de Menlo

So, I’m signed up for the Tour de Menlo, and I’m a little nervous about it. I’m planning to do the “tame” 30 mile route, not the 50 mile killer-hill route. Pluses:

  • Local community races are fun (have been to many 10K running races, this is the first bike race I’ve been to).
  • I know I can do the route: I biked a superset of it last weekend.


  • Maybe I’ll be the slowest person on the course.

I ride on some popular routes in the area, and oodles of people pass me. The worst case scenario is that it’s a fun ride on a beautiful day, I get a t-shirt. Not so bad.
Update: I finished the race, climbed the biggest hill without walking (but did stop a few times), got to the rest stop and finish before they closed, and got the t-shirt.