Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Yahoo! Award Women with Dollars to Start Businesses

Another step in the direction of increasing the number of women being given encouragement and cash to follow their dreams, and mine too in that it will lead to more great quick moments. Yahoo! received over 5,000 applications for their entrepreneurial competition to win a $20K cash grant, and $5K web site start. They announced the winners a few days ago. Many of the ideas submitted focused on "creative solutions to real life issues and interests such as the environment, needs of children with disabilities, and lifestyle pursuits such as home decorating". They now how 6 months to pursue their business and a chance to win an additional $10K grant. Their progress can be viewed at this site: http://seedsforsuccess.smallbusiness.yahoo.com/ It also includes notes from their mentors as well. I so wish I had more time in my life to keep up - I need to be able to read by running my finger over text when my eyes are shut (anyone patented that technology yet?)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sites for Women over 40 - My point exactly!

See, see, the momentum is building and women are doing it for themselves! A new website for women over 40 because the founders (including the famous: Whoopi Goldberg, Peggy Noonan, Lily Tomlin and Candace Bergen, and the financial backers: ) didn't think the web was designed for people like them. The site is called WoWoW .

I have visited the site a couple of times and as yet haven't been wooed into WoWoW. The site is pretty sparse of real content as it appears to be dependent upon questions being posted by the site and is then riding on comments from viewers, and an editorial style comment on the comments. Also the design of the site seems to be lacking (see attached graphic)- it seems a mash of styles with whitespace and times-roman font - however that could be me having a browser problem. Must make a note to check it out in a different browser.

I think the founders are correctly identifying a niche that needs a substantial filling but I'm not convinced that this site is the site that's going to do it. The backers have put in $1M, and they have some ad-support from Citi and Tiffany, but not sure that will do it, according to a blog post.

Take a look at WoWoW and tell me what you think of the site? Future hit site or flop?

Finally a Quick Moment!

While going through my news alerts looking for interesting topics on women and technology I can across a posting that was talking about women's sites, although I work at a technology company I'm always behind when it comes to what's getting hot. Have you seen Cafemom? It's apparently a very hot site and has an extremely large following. It's recently been able to secure $12M in funding - now that's a decent fund.
I have just taken a peak, and while the front page of the site didn't seem overly unique or engaging I clicked around a little and then found the Thought Bubble (bottom part on this page link). It was mesmerising to watch the twitter like comments come across the Americas - comments that I might make - about family, kids, home, sleeping, being me. It really was spellbinding for a few minutes reading the comments and seeing the photos - now it is bedtime and so there were a lot of 'getting them off to sleep' comments, it kind of had a digital Walton like feel to it, 'Good night Jim-bob'.

A Girlie Gadget that's not Pink

I have been surprised how little I have found in the gadget department for women since I started this blog at the beginning of the year. My original intent of the blog was to highlight technologies that brought pleasurable experiences that didn't require overhead of learning or figuring out what/how to get the experience. Well, today I found on http://www.slashgear.com/ a blog post that highlights a girl gadget that's simple and useful - it's a compact mirror that has a built in usb and a card reader inside. I think it's a pretty neat combination of features. The writer is pleased to find it doesn't come in pink, me too.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Angels Watching Out for Women

I read a nice blog article posted on the Seattle PI website today by Alyssa Royse. It was looking at the situation of how much funding goes to women-owned start ups. According to numbers from Venture Wire, women owned businesses account for only 4.3% of venture backed companies. This is down from 7.5% in 2002. Whoa, those are small numbers - I didn't realize just how small they were.
The article goes on to identify some venture capital firms in the Seattle areas that are particularly strong players in supporting women owned businesses - often these are women investors. The author asks whether the issue comes from women not starting up businesses or whether they are not getting funded. A postive data point highlighted was the number of female investors is up 23% since 2005. So let's hope this will lead to a positive cycle in business.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Finding Women Who Tech

I love hearing about events like this: Women Who Tech: A tele-summit for women in technology, and just wish I was more available to participate. Simply reading the titles of the panels is inspiring: Firing Up Your Online List, Everything you wanted to know about tech but were afraid to ask (a man), Building An Online campaign and Change the world, Breaking through the digital ceiling are just a few. Podcasts will be available shortly. Women Who Tech has a goal of getting more women into the main stream view as women are not quoted in mainstream media and blogs. They hope to build up a list of women who can be on panels, and talk tech and make this list available to the media.

Good luck to them in achieving their mission.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

SheZoom! it's kinda YouTube for Women

A new beta site opened up this week called SheZoom! It's a managed , video site that is aiming at the female audience - it's goal is motivate women to better themselves and others. It is currently pre-populated with a lot of video content, with it's final goal to have both produced content and user content. There are sound bites of video street commentary - the video I saw on gadgets was a random set of people identifying their favorite gadget. 'What makes a woman sexy?' also was a random set of people from the streets providing short comment with their opinions - nothing outrageous, it was pretty tame stuff - mostly comments of the 'confidence', 'eyes', type.

I also saw an article on nutrition which was an expert asking questions and quizzing the viewer on what they knew about nutrition in food.

Now this site is still in it's beta phase and quality of content is going to be critical to the site. The question is whether women are going to step up to provide content to this female community. So far the research suggests women are more consumers of video content than creators of YouTube types of video, however may be there are some budding broadcasters out there who are looking for the right supportive venue to get started in saying something. It will be interesting to see if the site can gain critical mass of followers and content creators to be successful.

SheZoom's founder is Stacey Artandi. I will return to the site in a month to see how it's doing.

Yahoo Shine on Women

Following the data that says women have the majority spending power and spend more time online, Yahoo has tried to capture this in a business strategy that aims to increase advertiser revenue but targeting women. Two days ago Yahoo published a new website called 'Shine'.
Reviewers of the site are skeptical of the strategy as it is a portal that carries breadth over depth and reviewers think women have moved more in a depth way with access to RSS readers for blog feeds, and customization of portal sites already.
At first peek I'm not sure what to make of it, may be the image of underwear (or as a brit, I can say, Knickers) flying in the breeze on a clothes line isn't the opening conversation I would expect. The layout of the page is clean in that 'Simple' magazine style.
Bottom line for me is applauding Yahoo for trying to join the dots between women and business success, and raising awareness that whoever gets the strategy and execution right will be on a path to success.