Jun 12

Time for Congressional Action to Protect the Internet by Jose Marquez, President, CEO of LISTA- TechLatino

jam new 1Months after the FCC’s 3-2 party line vote to regulate the Internet as a public utility, the debate over Internet regulation is far from over.  In fact, as strange as it sounds after all these months of debate, we’ve only just begun.  As an engineer with more than 25 years of experience in communications technology, I am a strong supporter of the open Internet.  But the FCC’s approach to preserving the open Internet through Title II regulation is not only misguided, it is harmful and we will need Congressional action to remedy this unwise decision.

The Internet has had the underpinnings of an open Internet architecture since its inception.  In fact, the bipartisan decisions brought about by the Clinton administration’s leadership that ensured the wise light-touch broadband policy is what helped the Internet flourish. Now, the FCC has reversed this hugely successful policy of Internet innovation and replaced it with pervasive, cumbersome regulation designed for a monopoly telephone company back during the Depression. Inhibiting the progress of Internet technology in today’s competitive marketplace with this bureaucratic regulation is an unconscionable disservice to all Americans, and a particularly mean blow to Latinos and other minorities who benefit the most from new technology to access the Internet.

A study released by the Pew Research Center earlier this month estimated that 7% of Americans now rely on their smartphone as their only readily available option to access the Internet.  These consumers “have neither traditional broadband service at home, nor easily available alternatives for going online other than their smartphone.”  Additionally, the study found that Latino consumers were more smartphone dependent (13%) than African American (12%) and White (4%) consumers.

Thanks to high-speed Internet connections, America’s minority groups are better able to access Internet-based applications and services that offer better education opportunities, opportunities to find more rewarding jobs, and the ability to enjoy greater involvement in their communities. And we have only begun to scratch the surface of what high-speed Internet services can deliver in the future.   

All this evidence – and there’s plenty more – shows a rapidly evolving and improving Internet ecosystem.  So why is the FCC intent on stopping this progress by deciding – against both evidence and logic – to regulate the Internet with Title II rules that will suffocate the very innovation that has made high-speed Internet vital to Latinos and other consumers?

LISTA believes that the FCC should have loftier goals than micromanaging an already successful industry. Their real efforts should include ensuring more and better high-speed connections for minorities, seniors, and low-income families who do not have high-speed Internet access. The Commission should make it a priority to adopt Internet policies, or refrain from adopting unwise policies, that can help ensure all consumers can compete on a level playing field throughout the 21st Century. 

Congress embraced that priority when it passed The Communications Act of 1996 during President Clinton’s administration.  This decision has been upheld by multiple administrations since and reaffirmed by both the FCC and the courts time and time again.  With the FCC’s recent rejection of what has made the Internet work, it’s clearly time for Congress to take action again. 

The Internet requires a modern approach, designed for tomorrow’s technology, that helps spur faster, more accessible service.  The idea of placing new fiber optic and 4G technologies under the rule of 1930s regulation is nonsensical. The FCC’s action is already leading to what we know will be protracted legal battles that will undercut engineers’ abilities to create new technologies. It’s time for Congress to step in with set of rules that will create certainty and an incentive for faster, better Internet access for everyone.

Jose Marquez is National CEO and President, TechLatino:  Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association based in New York, Washington, DC and Atlanta.

LISTA Mission: TechLatino- Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association (LISTA) is committed to supporting Latinos who work in the science, mathematics, information sciences, new media, telecommunications, and technology sector.  Our mission is to motivate, educate and to empower the next generation of Latino Tech entrepreneurs, CEO’s and CIOs, and Tech business owners. 

Jun 04

CISCO Shows Leadership in Silicon Valley, Annonce Today Cisco’s New CIO, Guillermo Diaz. As reported by SVL

Guillermo Diaz Cover PhotoLISTA Congratulates Guillermo Diaz for all his hard work, commitment and dedication he has made to ensure that Latinos in Tech inspire higher.

Silicon Valley Latino is delighted to report that earlier today Guillermo Diaz Jr. was announced as Cisco’s CIO!

This is big news for the Latino community and especially for all of our Latino youth who aspire to be Latinos in Tech!  Over the past few years Silicon Valley Latino has developed a close relationship with Guillermo and we have learned that he is the real deal as it relates to being an inspiring leader. We have had the opportunity to meet with many of those on his teams at Cisco as well as with members of Conexion (Cisco’s Latino employee resource organization – Guillermo serves as their executive sponsor).

 The respect, enthusiasm and collaboration that he inspires are clearly evident. The same can be said for those he touches and works with in the community, just ask the folks at  Sacred Heart Nativity Schools, Cristo Rey High School and so many others.  As for us at Silicon Valley Latino, the connection was instant and we were inspired by his actions immediately. He was actually the person that inspired the name for our “Inspire Higher Tour” initiative. Guillermo’s phrase for 2014 was “Inspire Higher” and our CEO, Alex Ontiveros, was so moved by how Guillermo evangelized this phrase that we asked him if we could use it for a special initiative that we had in mind, of course the answer was yes. His phrase for 2015 has been “Inspire Exponentially” and it has clearly taken affect with many including us at Silicon Valley Latino.

Guillermo is deeply committed to his work as a technology expert, to being an inspiring and effective leader to his teams. However the element that we appreciate the most about him is his commitment to the Latino community especially our youth. Guillermo we congratulate you on today’s promotion to CIO at Cisco! It’s a very well earned accomplishment. We thank you for being an inspiring leader to many of us and for your commitment to inspiring the next generation of Latino heroes!

Read More: http://svlatino.com/breaking-news-guillermo-diaz-jr-named-cio-at-cisco/

May 29

Immigrants, Latinos Helped Drive Business Creation Last Year as it appeared in the WSJ

Measure of 2014 activity shows impact on startups.

By Laura G 1Ruth Simon

He added that immigrant Latino entrepreneurs often start “small mom and pop shops” rather than the fast-growing firms that account for a disproportionate share of U.S. job growth. “If you dig into the numbers, it’s really Mexican self-employment that is carrying this growth” in Latino business-creation, he said, citing data from the census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The number of high-skilled immigrant business owners has risen in recent years as more immigrants with advanced degrees have opted to start their own firms, added Magnus Lofstrom, a senior research fellow at the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California in San Francisco who also analyzed census data.

Yet, he said, many self-employed immigrants have a high-school education, or less, and their ventures may be less likely to result in high earnings.

In 31 of the 50 largest U.S. metro areas, immigrants accounted for all of the net growth in owners of “Main Street” businesses such as restaurants, retailers, dry-cleaning services and beauty salons from 2010 to 2013, according to the nonpartisan Fiscal Policy Institute and the Americas Society/Council of the Americas, which released a separate analysis of Census Bureau data earlier this year. Because they come from different backgrounds, some immigrants may be able to identify gaps in the marketplace for products or services that could benefit their local communities, said David Kallick, a senior fellow at the institute.

For instance, Laura Gomez, 35 years old, last year launched Atipica Inc., a four-employee software startup that helps companies find and recruit more diverse workforces. “Two years ago, I wouldn’t have started a company,” said Ms. Gomez, who was born in Mexico. But today, it’s easier to get customers, she said, in part because “people are talking a lot more about the business need for diversity” not only in the technology sector but also in other industries.

More than 93% of self-employed Latino immigrants had fewer than 10 employees, compared with 88.9% of self-employed non-Hispanic whites, according to a separate analysis of the 2014 Current Population Survey by Marie Mora, a University of Texas-Pan American economist.

Adriana Perez of Norwalk, Conn., came to the U.S. from Colombia in 1985. She was working for a global marketing company when she was laid off in 2014. The 51-year-old started a marketing company to work with Hispanic business owners and to help U.S. business owners connect with the Hispanic market. Her young firm has no staff employees, though she uses independent contract workers.

Latino businesses are more likely than non-Latino businesses to be family-owned and less likely to secure outside funding, according to Remy Arteaga, whose nonprofit Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative is building a database of Latino-owned firms in the U.S. in collaboration with Stanford University.

Many Latino entrepreneurs struggle to “scale”—or rapidly expand—their businesses, Mr. Arteaga said, adding that roughly 25% of Latino firms get most of their sales from non-Latino customers, a figure that is about the same for young and older firms.

Overall, U.S. entrepreneurs started an average of 534,000 businesses a month in 2014, representing the first meaningful increase since 2009, according to Kauffman. In addition, more people left jobs in 2014 and seized the opportunity to create a new business or become self-employed rather than starting businesses because they were out of work, it said.

Write to Ruth Simon at ruth.simon@wsj.com

http://www.wsj.com/articles/immigrants-latinos-helped-drive-business-creation-last-year-1432771383

May 21

Verizon FiOS Goes Global With International TV Packages and 300 Minutes of International Calling at No Additional Cost

VZBRN-26005-040H-v5Get the international shows you want and connect with friends and family around the world with Verizon FiOS. As a part of a triple-play package, Verizon offers to its online customers a bundle of their favorite global TV programming, plus 300 minutes of international calling per month from their home to landline and wireless phones in more than 100 countries worldwide at no additional cost.

“Our individual cultures helped shape who we are, and for many of us staying connected to that culture is as important as keeping in touch with friends and family,” said Arturo Picicci, director of consumer marketing for Verizon. “These new options offer more choice and flexibility, while meeting the needs of our customers with free International calling and International TV programming.”

 And there are more perks, if you sign up for a two-year term agreement for a new FiOS triple-play bundle –Internet, TV(including Custom TV, Extreme HD and other bundles) and phone service—you will have the choice of a $300 Visa gift card; or 24 months of the Spanish Language TV Package; or both the World Plan 300 International calling plan for 12 months and one of the TV programming packages listed below, free of charge for 6 to 12 months, depending on the package selected:

* Spanish Language Package — 70-plus popular Spanish channels including WAPA America, Television Dominicana and BeIN Sports en español for 12 months.

* Portuguese Language Channels — RTPi and SIC International TV channels for 12 months.

* Italian Language Channels — RAI Italia and Mediaset TV channels for 12 months.

* Chinese Language Channels — Either the Mandarin TV package for 12 months or the Cantonese TVB package for six months.

* Hindi or Punjabi Language Channels — Either the Hindi TV package for six months or the Punjabi TV package for 12 months.

Subscribe to Verizon Fios triple-play package now and before June 8 and receive  a free DVR service for one year, in addition to international content and calling.

For more information see Verizon.com/international or by phone at 1.888.253.7604. For information in Spanish visit verizon.com/tumundo or call 1.800.503.5062

May 21

Deldelp Medina and Avion Ventures Look to Launch Latinas’ Technology Dreams and Change Silicon Valley By Robert Schoon, Latin Post

deldelp-medinaWhen Deldelp Medina talks about Silicon Valley, it’s like she’s talking about the neighborhood kids she grew up with. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Medina shares some of Silicon Valley’s quirks, appreciates its strengths, but also isn’t afraid to call it out on its failures, since she became acquainted with the center of the technology universe — before anyone knew it would become that.

Medina says it’s time for Silicon Valley to evolve beyond its origins to embrace a larger pool of talent, not only to better reflect the makeup of the country but also to make better products that cater to more diverse markets.

 

 
And she’s created a business, startup accelerator Avion Ventures, to help make that happen for Latinas, and for Silicon Valley as a whole.

 

“I was always that kid that really liked computers,” Medina said in an interview with Latin Post. “I was the only girl in my after school computer club, and I bought my first computer at the age of 15 or 16 for $600. … All my friends thought I was nuts because for that kind of money, you could’ve bought a used car then.”  

Medina grew up with an interest in technology at the right place and time. Right after high school in the early 90s, she worked at a bulletin board service company. This was pre-Internet: “You had to dial in,” she explained. “I learned HTML 1 two years later.”

At the time, Medina said, no one thought her nerdy interests were a career path, much less the nascent phases of a multibillion dollar industry, so Medina spent her time hacking, creating and playing — no doubt at the same time some of the future titans of technology were doing the same.

“This idea that this would become an industry in which people would become multimillionaires; that this would somehow change the world. … That was not the conversation we were having back then,” she explained. “Back then, we were just nerds, nerding out.”

Of course, that’s what happened, and the nerds — most of them white males — ended up at the helm of an extremely important piece of the 21st century American dream.

While so much has changed about the industry that grew up at the same time as Medina, the culture hasn’t. It’s still like the after-school computer club made up of nearly all boys.

As Silicon Valley blew up, so did the technology job market, explained Medina.

“But guess what? The numbers haven’t gotten better,” said Medina. “Opportunities definitely haven’t gotten better for people. … The barrier for entry has gotten higher. … If you don’t go to one of the top four schools, a lot of places won’t even look at you.”

The computer club, while becoming more powerful, has only become more insular. “I go into a room of tech CEOs, and I will often be the only woman, the only person of color, the only multilingual person. … And that’s just not a healthy ecosystem to continue.”

But Medina believes it won’t continue to be the case — not if she and her Latina-focused startup accelerator Avion Ventures have a say in it.

Medina built Avion Ventures, a startup accelerator built for Latina entrepreneurs.

Much like any other startup accelerator, Avion provides the resources, mentoring, business training and support to help entrepreneurs tune up their startups and find the right market for their products. The program, like other accelerators, culminates in a demo day in front of investors.

But Avion Ventures isn’t just any startup accelerator. It was designed with Latinas in mind, using feedback from prospective clients from the earliest stages of its development to address their specific needs.

One reason for Silicon Valley’s lack of diversity comes from the practical, structural barriers that face outsiders. As Dr. Angelica Perez-Litwin — a colleague of Medina’s whom we previously profiled for Marketplace – has mentioned before, the simple facts of scheduling and location precludes many Latinas from benefiting from startup programs.

Indeed, noted Medina, in planning Avion’s timetable, “Originally, I was thinking 90 days, at one place, at one time. … That’s the definition of an accelerator. Anything else is not considered an accelerator,” by startup accelerator industry groups.

Avion doesn’t follow the standard schedule. Early on, Medina said, “I started calling up all these Latinas that I knew were building products, and were looking for help, and I said to them, ‘First question: Will you come to San Francisco for 90 days?’”

No. That was the overwhelming response Medina got. “I interviewed almost 100 women! And they all said no. None of them would come, not one of them!” she laughed.

But she also found out that many could only do the program if it lasted two weeks. “Two weeks is all I can get off of work,” Medina recounted from one of her interviewees. “The reality is that I’m making this on my weekends and after work.”

Eight weeks in total, the program starts with two weeks of intensive in-person training, followed by five weeks online, ending with one last week in person, followed by demo day. 

Feedback from Latinas also affected the types of support Avion offers its clients: Because San Francisco has become prohibitively expensive, for example, during those two weeks on location, Avion provides housing and meals for its startup class. Payment for Avion’s program is based on its graduates’ success. Avion gets 3 percent of the resulting company.

One more recent aspect of training that’s been incorporated into Avion’s startup program is personal coaching — preparing Latina entrepreneurs to have a dauntless mindset.

“I think you have to have a certain type of personality to do this,” said Medina on her job and entrepreneurship in general. “You have to have a certain tenacity to do this work, a certain fortitude. It is my job to be told no all the time … because when you are trying to create something out of nothing and bring something new into this world, people sometimes don’t get what you’re trying to do.”

But whether it’s through startups, working in IT, marketing, or any other position, Medina wants to see more Latinas in Silicon Valley.

“I think there should be more of us in general working in these positions… at every level,” said Medina.

“It’s going to change because it has no choice but to change.”

Avion is calling for applicants to its second round of Latina startups. The deadline is June 19th.

“Marketplace” is a @LatinPost feature profile series about Latino entrepreneurs who have successfully turned their ideas into thriving enterprises. From unsung startups to prominent businesses, we spotlight the dynamic men and women who founded them.

Read More http://www.latinpost.com

May 19

LISTA Guest Blogger: Omar Duque The Next Steve Jobs is in High School; and She’s Latina

Omar-Duque-240x300Right now the founder of what will become the greatest American company of the 21st century is sitting in her high school physics class. She’s Latina.

Her parents immigrated to the United States and she’ll be the first in her family to go to college. She’s entrepreneurial; a natural problem solver, but she’ll face many challenges on her way to success. Our country’s future depends on her capacity to succeed and we should all be racing to see how we can help her along her way.

By 2050, one-third of the U.S. population will be Hispanic. Whether these estimated 430 million people will together represent a thriving and accomplished community depends on our ability to invest in today’s youth.

BUILDING THE NEXT GENERATION OF HISPANIC BUSINESS LEADERS

That’s why the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and The Center for Hispanic Entrepreneurship have launched ENTERpreneur, an innovative entrepreneurship program that seeks to activate the talent and natural entrepreneurial inclination of Hispanic youth to build the next generation of Hispanic leaders to ENTER the business community.

We understand that education and entrepreneurship create a path to prosperity, while directly building wealth in our communities. We want to inspire our youth to think creatively, go to college and contribute to our nation’s economy.

ENTERpreneur’s inaugural cohort of 11 students from Chicago’s Cristo Rey Jesuit High School spent six weeks learning about the fundamentals of business development while fostering their own leadership skills and learning from accomplished, local business leaders. ENTERpreneur students also visited college campuses and have all committed to attending college upon graduation.

As we continue to operate and expand the ENTERpreneur program to youth throughout the city of Chicago, we need your support. Our success depends on dedicated partners and mentors that can provide capital, resources and knowledge to highly motivated, young entrepreneurs.

Join us as we build the next generation of Hispanic business leaders.

To learn more about ENTERpreneur and about The Center for Hispanic Entrepreneurship visit:www.hispaniccenter.biz

Omar Duque is the President and CEO of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (IHCC), the leading Hispanic business, networking, advocacy and development organization in Illinois.Follow Omar Duque on Twitter @duque_omar

May 06

Wireless Spectrum Belongs to ALL of Us not Just Dish by Jose A. Marquez-Leon

money-640x512Since when is Dish Networks considered a small business, according to the them they are entitled to a 25% bidding discount. Shame on you Charlie Ergen.

It must be the political campaign season.  A lot of politicians are talking about income inequality and crony capitalism.

These issues are certainly important and deserve the attention of our policymakers.  But where is the outrage when a big corporation rips off $3.3 BILLION worth of taxpayer funds, while abusing a program designed to support minority entrepreneurs?

Recently, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) held auctions to license more wireless spectrum to meet the ever-increasing demands of American consumers hooked on their smartphones, tablets, TVs and other appliances that are all linked together wirelessly.

DISH Network, a company worth $34 billion and run by non-minority billionaires, formed a joint bidding agreement with two smaller companies, Northstar Wireless and SNR Wireless, to win over 700 licenses in the FCC auction.

Working in coordination, the small companies leveraged the deep pockets of DISH and engaged in unscrupulous behavior throughout the auctions to force out competing small businesses that bid on the same licenses.  As a result, this partnership won more licenses than any other bidder.

But here’s the shocking part.  DISH has now asked the FCC for a 25% bidding discount because they claim that their partners are defined as “very small businesses” under the FCC’s rules, qualified for such a subsidy.

If the FCC agrees and awards these bidding credits, DISH would only pay $10 billion for all of their licenses, instead of paying the full $13.3 billion they bid in the market.  That’s $3.3 billion that could be going to the U.S. Treasury that will instead pad the pockets of DISH’s owners.

When Congress allowed the FCC to auction off spectrum, they created a program to ensure that small or minority-owned businesses have an opportunity to participate as well.  The “designated entities” program is designed to give minorities a chance to get a foot in the door to the most robust and growing sector of the economy – the information and communications industries.

“TechLatino” Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association (LISTA) is committed to supporting Latinos who work in the information sciences, new media, telecommunications, and technology sectors.  We strongly support the FCC’s designated entities program as long as it is implemented properly.

But the result of this most recent auction turns the well-intentioned program on its head.

In a recent article called,How Loopholes Turned Dish Network Into a ‘Very Small Business’,” the New York Times explained that, “Through sleight of hand and aggressive use of partners and loopholes, Dish turned itself into that very small business, distorting reality and creating an unfair advantage.”

We are pleased that Senator John Thune (R-SD),, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, is looking into this abhorrent situation, and we hope the FCC will not let the unjust enrichment stand.

Overturning this unfair result is one step towards addressing income inequality and combating crony capitalism.  And that’s always a great campaign promise.

Follow me on Twitter @lista1 

May 06

It’s Not Women Who are the Problem in Techlandia by Connie Guglielmo

She’s seen just about everything the industry can throw at a woman. That’s why she “couldn’t be more disappointed” by what’s going on in Silicon Valley and the technology industry today.

The former CEO of Autodesk and Yahoo, who’s served on the boards of Intel, Cisco Systems, BEA Systems and Network Appliance, earned her computer science degree in 1971, when women held few professional jobs in the United States. Only 9 percent of the country’s doctors and 4 percent of the nation’s lawyers and judges were women then. Women made up just 1 percent of all engineers in the US when Bartz graduated — and just 4 percent a decade later in 1981, according to the US Labor Department.

Well, you might say, women were just gearing up then. But by 2012, only 14 percent of engineers were women. Worse, almost 40 percent of women with engineering degrees either quit or don’t even enter the field, according to researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Why would educated, professional women exit an industry that has the highest starting salaries?

Some of those women say they’re bailing on tech companies because of the lack of family-friendly flexibility, lower salaries compared with their male colleagues and fewer opportunities for advancement. Still others blame the “bro-culture” at tech companies, referring to a kind of immature, frat-boy behavior.

“I got a computer science degree because I couldn’t have broken in back then if I didn’t have it,” says Bartz, who felt the barbs of sexual discrimination early in her career as the only woman professional among 300 men at 3Com.

 

carolbartz.jpg
Carol Bartz, former CEO of Autodesk and Yahoo, Bartz says women
need to work less, network more — and demand the credit they believe
they’re due. “You have to be your own best salesman.” Courtesy of Carol Bartz

But that was more than four decades ago.

“I had this fantasy that the young men growing up [after me] had more realistic views of their college friends and they would treat them better,” Bartz says, shaking her head. “But they’re just frat boys…I couldn’t be more disappointed.”

Things have to change. They can’t afford not to.

‘A red f*cking herring’

More diverse teams are more successful teams.

That’s a fact. Numerous studies show that teams with gender and race diversity get better results. A Lehman Brothers survey of 100 teams found that “gender balanced” teams were most likely to experiment, be creative, share knowledge and fulfill tasks, while a 2009 paper by Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques found that technical work teams with women were better at staying on schedule and had lower project costs.

McKinsey and Co., meanwhile, says diversity translates into dollars: companies that are more gender- and ethnically diverse perform better financially.

Yet women held just 14.3 percent of board seats at the top 100 tech companies by revenue in June 2013, according to a survey by executive recruitment firm Korn Ferry. Ten of those boards had no women directors in December of that year.

Entrepreneur and women’s advocate Rachel Sklar challenges tech companies to explain why.

“If you DON’T have diversity around your boardroom table, then what is wrong with you?” Sklar wrote in February on Medium. “What kind of ace business person identifies a major factor to improve the bottom line and then just ignores it?”

Many tech companies’ answer to that question: They can’t find enough qualified women with degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The thing is, as Sklar noted, that qualification isn’t a requirement for men.

John Chambers, a lawyer by training, is about to retire as head of networking gear maker Cisco Systems, a company so geeky its tech speak may make your eyes cross. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner got his degree in economics, as did Logan Green, co-founder and CEO of ride-sharing service Lyft. Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff studied business administration. Prominent tech investor Ron Conway, who was an early investor in Google and PayPal, earned his undergraduate degree in political science. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was a college dropout.

“It is a RED F*CKING HERRING to constantly blame Silicon Valley’s gender problem on a lack of female engineers,” Sklar wrote. “If Silicon Valley’s money people or fancy keynote founders or biz whizzes on the cover of Entrepreneur were all engineers crushing code 24/7, then fine. But that is not the case.”

Women make up more than half the US population, account for more than half of college graduates, and earn 40 percent of the MBAs awarded each year. Yet women comprise a much smaller percentage of the tech industry workforce, based on diversity reports released by more than 10 companies, from Apple to Google to Twitter.

At Apple, women hold just 20 percent of technical jobs, 35 percent of non-technical roles and 28 percent of leadership jobs. “We know we can do more,” CEO Tim Cook said after releasing the iPhone maker’s diversity data last year. At microblogging site Twitter, women account for 10 percent of the technical jobs, with just 21 percent in leadership positions. Microsoft, the world’s largest software maker, said women fill just 29.1 percent of its workforce; only 16.6 percent in tech positions and 23 percent in leadership roles.

Those numbers don’t make the industry particularly friendly to women and reduce the number of high-profile executives who can serve as role models.

“The industry is still male dominated and it can be so aggressive and intimidating and almost feel like this club where you have to have a certain IQ or you’re not invited,” says Debbie Sterling, founder of GoldieBlox, which makes engineering toys and games for young girls. “Studies show that women don’t give themselves enough credit — they undervalue their ability and intellect while men overstate them. You can see why that culture can be off-putting for women.”

Why should tech companies care about attracting and retaining women? If the team diversity argument isn’t compelling enough, consider this: It costs companies $150,000 to $200,000 to replace just one employee in a technical role.

Perhaps that money could be used toward addressing the pay gap between men and women.

No meritocracy

Men in Silicon Valley earned up to 61 percent more than their female peers, according to data released by Joint Venture Silicon Valley in February.

That pay gap is bigger in Silicon Valley than in San Francisco or anywhere else in the country. Part of the explanation may be because there are more men engineers in those high-wage jobs. But that doesn’t explain the low number of women in tech companies’ non-tech, business roles.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella became the poster child for the issue last year when he said women should rely on “karma” instead of asking for raises and promoting themselves.

“That made me so mad,” says Catherine Courage, senior vice president of customer experience at Citrix Systems. “The last thing that drove my career is karma. It was defining my fate and not sitting around. I don’t believe in my heart of hearts that he would have given that advice to any man.”

Nadella, who was roundly criticized for his comments (at a conference celebrating women in tech, ironically) has instituted training programs at Microsoft to help raise awareness about the unconscious bias that can hinder women’s careers.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich is taking a different approach. The CEO of the world’s largest chipmaker said in January that he’s tied 2015 manager’s compensation to achieving diversity goals. Salesforce’s Benioff in April started reviewing the salaries of his 16,000 employees to ensure men and women are paid equally. “When I’m done, there will be no gap,” Benioff said.

And Ellen Pao, interim CEO of Reddit, told the Wall Street Journal in April that the media site has banned pay negotiations during its recruitment process. “Men negotiate harder than women do and sometimes women get penalized when they do negotiate,” said Pao after losing her high-profile gender discrimination suit against former employer, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

“We come up with an offer that we think is fair,” Pao said. “If you want more equity, we’ll let you swap a little bit of your cash salary for equity, but we aren’t going to reward people who are better negotiators with more compensation.”

Group think

Researchers have tried to determine if biological or neurological reasons explain why more girls and women don’t study STEM subjects. They haven’t found anything to prove girls are less interested in math and science than boys. What they have found is that parents often stop young girls from pursuing interests that society still considers too masculine.

“We know girls are discouraged early on,” says Caryl Rivers, co-author of “The New Soft War on Women: How the Myth of Female Ascendance is Hurting Women, Men — and Our Economy.” “As early as elementary school, girls and boys like math equally until the fourth and fifth grade. Then girls’ interests start taking a nosedive.”

 

Mari Benitez/CNET

Evidence includes research published by Psychological Science in 2001 showing parents were three times more likely to explain a museum’s science exhibit to their sons than to their daughters.

A 2002 study reported that parents believe their infant daughters are less bright, competent and skilled at math and spatial intelligence than their infant sons — even though girls, in general, perform better in school.

And The New York Times noted in January that parents are more than twice as likely to search “Is my son gifted?” in Google than “Is my daughter gifted?” — despite the fact that in the US, “girls are 11 percent more likely than boys to be in gifted programs.” What are parents more likely to search about their daughters? That would be, “Is my daughter overweight?” or “Is my daughter ugly?”

That bias continues through college. Biology, chemistry and physics professors at US universities consider female undergraduates less competent than male students with the same skills and accomplishments — and were less willing to mentor women or offer them research jobs, according to a 2012 report out of Yale University. Women who did get jobs were paid less.

Of puppet masters and finding a fix

What’s the tech industry supposed to do about all this?

Well for starters, adult supervision from VCs could put a much-needed end to frat boy behavior, says Janine Yancey, a labor attorney who served as Google’s outside counsel in the Internet company’s early days.

“Venture capital [firms] have an obligation to counsel and train their founders,” says Yancey, who now runs a startup that provides human resources and compliance training. “These companies are given millions and millions of dollars…and they’re allowed to make all sorts of really big, ridiculous decisions that impact society and impact their own careers.

“But venture capitalists pull the strings. They’re the puppet masters. Silicon Valley exists because of VCs. They’ve got the money to make it happen,” she adds. “With that power should come a huge responsibility.”

Aongus Hegarty, who is responsible for Dell’s business across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, has made diversity a personal crusade after finding just one woman on his 12-member leadership team when he took charge three years ago. Today there are five. His solution: get more men engaged in solving the problem.

“I put the whole issue of inclusion on our agenda as a standard item” at quarterly meetings, Hegarty says. “I [along with] members of our leadership team have to be more proactive.”

Bartz says women need to work less, network more — and demand the credit they believe they’re due. “You have to be your own best salesman.”

– CNET’s Lynn La contributed to this report.

This story is the first in Solving for XX, a CNET special report that looks beyond the tech industry’s toxic frat-boy culture and the tired debate about too few women earning STEM degrees. The CNET News team has spent the past few months investigating what people and companies are doing to effect real change — and the steps that still need to be taken. 

May 06

Big Data Professionals: Next Career Steps by Clara Piloto

Word Cloud "Big Data"As big data has evolved from buzzword to reliable business intelligence, from speculation to bedrock, professionals are finding themselves presented on a near daily basis with new concepts and tools to interpret data with which they have little to no experience. With exponentially expanding volumes of data and new applications, staying informed and ahead of the next headline is the “edge” many professionals need to succeed in the workplace.

Mobile technology, from smartphones to a slew of varying IoT applications, have filled the cracks in nearly every aspect of our personal and professional lives, resulting in larger data sets than ever before. It’s no surprise then that savvy companies are identifying a major opportunity in collecting and analyzing valuable data for insight into market trends, customer sentiment and more. The job of a data professional is resultantly evolving, and has become even more complex as new tools, methods and applications emerge.

Machine Learning

Machine learning methods, driving much of modern data analysis across engineering, sciences, and commercial applications, have seen tremendous growth of late. By constructing custom algorithms, data professionals are leveraging machine learning methods to interpret business data and make informed content recommendations, predict customer behavior, compliance, risk and more. New developments and advances in this methodology are continuously improving and changing the way data professionals analyze data.

While the machine learning method and others are immensely helpful, they require data professionals to be on the cutting edge of new advances and techniques in order to operate their functions fully– something many are turning to continuing education for.

Continuing education offers an incredible opportunity for professionals to stay on top of the latest advances in the industry while taking the next step in their careers. It gives professionals the chance to step outside of the demands of their daily routine, learn from leading minds in the industry and take back new and useful applications to establish in the workplace.

Here at MIT Professional Education, we see great value in offering technical professionals continuing education opportunities that are both accessible, and easily taken in conjunction with one’s busy work schedule. We’ve seen the greatest impact in offering data professionals industry-focused short classes (usually 1-5 days) during the summer through our Short Programs, in addition to a growing interest in global digital courses. During recent sessions of our first online course on big data, we reached record-high enrollment as the program drew over 7,000 professionals from over 3,000 organizations in 100 countries worldwide. After seeing such high enrollment numbers in our last three program offerings, we have no doubt continuing education will continue to play a significant role in empowering professionals to achieve their career goals and stay ahead of the pack.

It’s clear that the big data evolution has only begun to inform business intelligence, and is already having monumental impact. As corporations continue to amass data, the work of scientists, engineers and IT professionals will grow in importance. Our job is to identify and develop cutting edge learning experiences that will empower data professionals to fulfill their vital roles in the future of business.

Clara Piloto is director of global programs at MIT Professional Education.

May 05

Chairman Walton Addresses Chairman Wheeler

Greg_WaldenAt a House Communications Subcommittee, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler argued against special rules for his agency. Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) respectfully disagreed.

Walden said that the FCC cannot be run like “some venture capital firm.”

Here are Walden’s full remarks:

Good afternoon and welcome to the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology’s legislative hearing on three draft bills to improve transparency at the FCC.

Our subcommittee, often on a bipartisan basis, has worked to make the FCC a more transparent and accountable public body for many years and under various FCC chairmen. These bills, sponsored by my colleagues, continue those well-meaning efforts to make even powerful bureaucrats realize this is the public’s business that’s being conducted. The FCC is not some venture capital firm; the FCC is an independent agency that reports to Congress.

Commissioner O’Rielly, thank you for your well-reasoned and helpful testimony. I appreciate your insights, tone and suggestions. You seem to understand the proper role of the FCC and welcome the opportunity to improve how it functions so that it can better serve the public. I commend you for your views and your willingness to work with this committee. You have pointed out material problems at the FCC and offered constructive solutions. Thank you.

I wish I could say the same for your testimony Chairman Wheeler. If you really think that drafting, amending and adopting rules without giving the public an opportunity to see them before they are crammed down their throats is good process, then it’s no wonder the public has little faith in the agencies of government.

Under the current power structure at the FCC the Chairman has incredible authority—that none of the other commissioners has— because the Chairman alone controls access to FCC information, he or she can call in their own “validators” to get the inside track and become a well tuned chorus of support for their pet policies. “Friends of the Chairman” get special perks to weigh in and access information that the rest of the public doesn’t get to see, and that other commissioners can’t even discuss. Commissioner O’Rielly exposes this charade for what it is in his testimony. None of us on this committee would tolerate the insult to our First Amendment rights that the commissioners at the FCC must suffer at the hands of the Chairman.

Chairman Wheeler urges us to not make the FCC subject to its own special set of rules. This is a refrain I’ve heard from some of my colleagues who want to expand the Commission’s private discussions – a special rule that would only apply to the FCC – but oppose making the Commission’s actions more public.  If the Chairman would like to subject the FCC to the same rules as the other agencies of the Federal government, we can certainly make that happen.

Of course, that would mean the Chairman could no longer hand pick the agency’s inspector general or have the IG report to the Chairman. We’d have real independence in the IG’s office. And under the rules that other agencies follow we wouldn’t have this silly argument over producing cost-benefit analyses for rulemakings. The FCC would simply have to follow the law and produce them.    Trying to hide behind the skirt of the APA and pretend that the FCC is just another Federal agency insults this committee.

And I cannot help but respond to the nonsense that my colleagues’ legislation would somehow unduly burden the FCC by requiring it to link a document that already exists to its website. Such a requirement wasn’t considered a burden when the FCC forced broadcasters to scan their political files and make them available on the Internet. But now we’re supposed to believe that a similar requirement for an agency with 1,700 employees is a too much of a burden? Really?

The FCC loves to come up to Capitol Hill and tell us how they are special because they have a “public interest” mandate. That mandate is a double-edged sword, which means you are stuck with both the rights and the attendant obligations. I can’t for the life of me come up with a legitimate rationale for how it is in the public interest to operate in secret, specifically excluding the public from the rules you are considering.

My colleagues who wrote these measures and I are on the side of reforming the Washington bureaucracy. It is disappointing to see that you don’t share our commitment to better government, Chairman Wheeler. We believe the public deserves more access to the process. We believe the public is best served by an open, transparent and accountable government. And we will not stop in our cause and quest, even if that means taking on the entrenched and powerful. We have only just begun.


Read more at http://rbr.com/chairman-walton-addresses-chairman-wheeler/#ibviOVZUm5MXKo8C.99

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