A quick CEO lesson from Captain Jeter

Posted: September 26th, 2014 | No Comments »

 

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I don’t really follow professional sports.  I like college sports better because they make a lot more crazy unexpected mistakes and the game is much more exciting.  And I went to Michigan, so go blue.

But there was a great article in the New York Times about Derek Jeter, and how people try to chat with him when they’re on second base (apparently he’s a second baseman).   The article talked about how, while not chatty to press, he is very chatty with other players while he stands around second base.  He must be aware at this point about how his stature affects other ball players, but he works hard to make them feel comfortable and give them encouragement.  He uses words like “I’m proud of you guys” which shows he understands the role he can play as a captain.

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What’s interesting is that the encouragement is not limited to his own teammates, but to the opposing team’s players who happen to have made it to second base.  I found that a strikingly simple concept that can often be overlooked by CEOs.  You need to focus not just those who are directly dependent upon you (your team).  You also need to focus on the success of others to make the game great.  That can extend to people who are not on your team, and whose success does not directly bear on your own.   That level of self-confidence, and long-term outlook to improve baseball is demonstrated by Jeter subtly, and without fanfare.  Yet it makes a tremendous impact that leaves a lasting improvement on the game as a whole.  I draw similarities to female CEOs who need to support other women CEOs publicly and privately.  We all need encouragement and support, but to get it from industry captains and each other would be priceless.


“You can’t count on the girl.”

Posted: September 19th, 2014 | No Comments »


Starting back up.  Those of you that like annual posts, my blog should be at the top of the list.

LIRR_M-7_EMU_InteriorA 49ers announcer got suspended today for making <<cringe>> insensitive remarks about the whole Ray Rice debacle.  I cringe because I know if it’s only insensitive, as opposed to outright racist or sexist, there is going to be a whole bunch of eye rolling by people who think everyone is overreacting.  Anyway, this guy apparently said that Ray’s wife not reporting the abuse, “is the saddest part of it.”  Okay, clearly, that is hardly the saddest part of it.  I’d say getting cold-cocked in the head by your husband was the saddest part of it.

But, never fear, a super hero emerged on the train yesterday.  He restored my faith that not everyone thinks one-inch deeply prior to speaking.

SCENE:  One guy and one superhero behind me, heavy Long Island accents, sound early 40’s.  I am bracing for the conversation as it turns to Ray Rice.

Guy One:  Dude, what about that Ray Rice thing?

Guy Two:  I didn’t see the video, man.

One:  I saw it, I saw it.  I mean, dude, I just have to say, if you were going to hit your wife…not that you ever would hit your wife…but if you found that you hit your wife, and she’s laying on the floor cause you lost your mind for a second and hit her.  Wouldn’t the first thing you think be, “WHAT IN THE HELL DID I DO??”  I mean wouldn’t you be like, “OH MY GOD I CAN”T BELIEVE I HIT HER!”.   [starts laughing]

Two:  I guess so.

One:   Not this guy, not Rice, man.  He was throwing her out of the elevator like a sack o’ potatoes, man.  I mean I would be like, “I CAN’T BELIEVE I DID THAT” and there he is all dragging her around the elevator, throwin’ her around.  Some other guy came and helped her.  [Laughing]

[Now, here’s the great part:]

One:    You know, you can’t count on the girl, man.  You just can’t count on her.

[I grip the armrest a little tighter...waiting for the inevitable misogyny...]

Two: What?

One:  Now you can’t count on her now, man, to tell people what happened and all.  I mean there are all these reasons she couldn’t’ve said nothin.  She coulda been scared, or he coulda told her not to say anything.  I mean you have no idea what is going on with her.  You just can’t count on the girl to say somethin’ about that stuff.

 

Here’s what I love about the guy behind me.  He said what others have been trying to say, but in his authentic, macho kinda way.  He said his very unsexist thing in a kind of sexist way.  He somehow understood the complex dynamics behind abuse, or at least appreciated that they might exist.  He then slipped it in kind of in an insulting way, like she’s weak or incapable, but it was a way that was totally digestible to the other guy.   The other guy agreed, and there it was…victim blaming quashed, one man at a time.

Guy behind me on the train, I salute you.

 

 

 


Sheryl Schadenfreude, Marissa Misogynist: Ladies, let’s not eat our own.

Posted: May 1st, 2013 | No Comments »

I’ve heard two of the only female tech conglomerate executives called lots of names recently:

Sheryl Sandberg – elitist, vain, selling herself

Marissa Mayer – boastful, anti-mom, anti-feminist

The thing that disturbs me the most is that many of the name callers have been other successful women in business.  Women in the media, women in power, women across the conference table, women at cocktail hours.  I cringe any time a woman in power is attacked…there are so few of them that the attacks always strike me as somewhat personal.  However, when the attacker is another business woman…it really sends me for a loop.  And a tweet by Lena Dunham crystallized my thinking:

Advancing the Cause

Ladies, the mere presence of Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer in top executive slots is advancing the cause with an impact about which we can only dream.  When only 3:100 top CEOs are women, their presence is outsized as a win for us.    Having women who are competent, well-spoken and experienced putting themselves forward in positions of power furthers our cause.  These are executives who want to grow businesses, create jobs, push their product forward.  And, thanks to all that is holy, they are women and not men.

That, ladies, is advancing the cause of gender equality in the workplace.

The narrow expectation that women in power can only advance the cause by LITERALLY making pro-women decisions is myopic and misguided.  We have been at this for hundreds of years, and probably for hundreds more.  Whether we personally feel that one policy decision each female CEO makes is supportive of women in the workforce is inconsequential.  Much more at stake at this point in our struggle is the fact that it was a woman who was empowered to make that decision.  I look forward to the time when all women have to do to advance the cause is make a bunch of empirically pro-feminist business decisions.  In the meantime, the fight right now is just to GET into those positions of decision-making.

Bad Attitudes

What does not advance our cause are people who tsk-tsk, and finger-wag at the women who finally, finally have gotten to the top of the corporate pyramid.

Sheryl seems to have pissed everyone off by ‘blaming the victim’ since she herself is far from a victim.  Whether or not you agree with her, making an impassioned monologue about how she’s wrong serves two separate purposes.  One, that you are smarter than her.  And two, that the most powerful tech woman in the world isn’t as smart as you.  I’m pretty sure at least that second perception, when repeated thousands of times in blogs, news stories, and tweets, is not good for Sheryl’s success.   And when you go further and take her quotes out of context and criticize a book you haven’t bothered to read, then I need to ask: do you really think you’re furthering the cause by making sure everyone knows you are right — or possibly hurting the cause by making sure everyone knows Sheryl is wrong?

Marissa Mayer can move us forward by being an extraordinary CEO that turns a really messed up company around, when no man could do it before her.  In a world where only 1.5% of CEOs in the world’s 2,000 top performing companies are women, we need her to make Yahoo! one of those top performers.  She is not making decisions to ‘tweak’ the H.R. dials at a company that has lost over 40% of its value over the past 5 years.  She’s trying to save it.  And the more outlandish questions she has to answer about whether she’s anti-woman or anti-mom, the more she will not be able to accomplish that.

Do you want to be right?  Or be equal?

Women need to recognize that the constant attention to the failure of these high profile women is the foundation upon which illogical, misogynistic gender bias builds.  A Darden study found that the stock in a company drops after announcing a new female CEO, but not when new male CEOs are announced.  Gender is mentioned more in the articles that write about those new female CEOs than those about new male CEOs.  Being female is wielded as prima facie evidence that we will fail.

Influential women attacking other high-profile women helps strengthen that large, sexist misinformation beast.  The re-tweeted shortcomings of women in power weakens us as a gender much, much more than your being right advances it.  The relentless, full-throated attack by women on other women is what resonates and remains the retardant of their, and all of our, career trajectories.

I’m not saying support these women blindly and suppress your own opinion.  I myself don’t necessarily agree with the individual positions these women have taken.  I am saying, though, take more time and thought in why, how and when you criticize them.  Take the time to think about how others will (consciously or not) use the negative momentum you create to hold us back as a gender.  I’m asking you to play the long game.

In the tallest poppy syndrome, we cut down figures who have risen to places of power in order to raise our own stature.  Trust me, ladies, there will be no lack of other people to cut the Sheryl, Marissa, and Megs down.  You don’t have to prove you can do it better.

Whether or not Sheryl and Marissa can make their companies successful, we need to pray to the Fortune 500 gods that they can.  Only that spectacularly hard-earned level of win can truly move the underpinnings of the workplace gender-bias from where it exists today.

 

 

TL;DR:

The re-tweeted shortcomings of women in power weakens us as a gender much, much more than your being right advances it.  The relentless, full-throated attack by women on other women is what resonates and remains the retardant of their, and all of our, career trajectories.  Get a hold of yourself.


Moving from Blogger to WordPress

Posted: January 5th, 2010 | No Comments »

In this case, I not only changed from blogger.com to a self-hosted wordpress blog, I also changed the custom URL.

My hosting choice was Bluehost.com. (Google “Bluehost discount” for the best affiliate link rates.) Setup with wordpress was very easy, as bluehost has a great integration tool on their dashboard. In addition, there’s a simple WordPress tool for you to just suck in all of your blogger.com posts automatically into WordPress. In WordPress, go to Tools > Import. Select Blogger from the list. It took about 3 minutes to dupe my entire blog into wordpress.

1) For a general overview, here’s a plain english guide to the steps for the blog hosting move. There are many technical holes in this, so just use it as an overview checklist of things to solve.

2) Forwarding from blogger to wordpress. This site walks you step by step with pictures through a) forwarding posts from old to new, b) not getting penalized by googlebots for duplicate content, and c) leave a custom message as you forward people from your old to new blog

3) Here is a site that will help you ensure that your URLs match so that the old blog post points correctly to the new blog post.

4) Google Wemaster Tools recently opened up the ability to TELL its bots that you’re moving URLs. This is fantastic since you can’t do a 301 redirect in blogger.com since you don’t have access to the root directory. Activate a Google Webmaster account for your blog in order to get to the tool to alert Google.

The biggest test is that after a few months, my pagerank has held relatively steady. Therefore, my thought is that Google is okay with what I did. Does anything else really matter?


EXPO Elves

Posted: January 4th, 2010 | No Comments »

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Behold, a Christmas gift left by one of our developers for another.  It was a 2.5 hour labor of love. If you were wondering, the first thing unwrapped was the tissue box. We are taking bets how long it takes before he unwraps his phone.


EXPO hiring sales talent…midwest/NYC

Posted: October 15th, 2009 | No Comments »

Through the magic of interconnected news feeds, I’m sure a lot of my high school friends will see this, (sorry), but we are hiring at EXPO. It’s post-worthy to the extent that anyone growing as opposed to shrinking has got to be good news generally, right?

Our founding sales exec, David Rubinstein, has nurtured a pioneering team that has launched the adoption of video commerce within the nation’s top brands. We’re very proud to be expanding his group to support the growing flow of F500 companies seeking insights & experiences from our authentic, accountable consumer knowledge base.   As you can guess by the location of the position (Chi/Cin/Min/NYC), we’re working with some of the largest consumer brand names out there. We are looking for someone to help those companies navigate the world of social commerce safely, effectively and valuably.

Here’s the link to the job post, please pass it on freely:

http://bit.ly/3y5fgl

GirlFounder under transfer…

Posted: October 1st, 2009 | 3 Comments »

moving

I’m maturing from blog infancy to blog adolescence by upgrading from a Blogger account to WordPress.  It’s ugly, but I’m working with someone to make it prettier…

I actually have a > zero pagerank, so I am being dainty about how I complete the transfer.   You can see that I’ve duped all my archive posts below.

Thanks for visiting, feel free to link to this site.  All new posts will show up here.

Daphne
UPDATE: Transferring URLs…Google just put up this summer a way to notify them of the change of website address:

http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=83106


Victims can be rich, too, I guess.

Posted: March 25th, 2009 | No Comments »


While some of you might not have too much sympathy for Jake DeSantis who resigned from AIG, I think that we should all feel sorry for ourselves that talent is definitely draining away from solving the complex, intricate problems we have before us.

On the one hand, I’m incensed that ex-Countrywide executives who caused the problems are able to participate in the solution for additional personal gain. But I also turned to my husband yesterday and said, “Why in the hell is Edward Liddy still working at AIG? Why doesn’t he just say ‘Screw it. YOU people try to solve this problem’ and walk away?” He’s got these idiot Congressmen judging him who can’t even figure out their own taxes. Does anyone realize that he was ASKED to take this job by Treasury Sec’y Paulson? “Six months ago, I came out of retirement to help my country,” Liddy said at yesterday’s House Financial Services subcommittee hearing in Washington. If we’re going to make a scapegoat of someone innocent, we should at least pick someone who was there when the crime occurred.

I have limited sympathy for this guy who wrote the AIG letter above, because I am *sure* in his career he was overpaid, and the money that he says he earned for AIG was enabled by a machine *he knew* was overpriced, overcomplicated, and under-financed. But, we should be careful when John Q Public thinks he knows how best to run these companies, lest we end up driving away people who really do. I certainly don’t want Senators with “wide stances” in charge of maximizing the value during the wind down of a complex financial derivative product company. But I guess beggars can’t be choosers.


Wefollow & ExecTweets

Posted: March 24th, 2009 | 2 Comments »

Noticed in facebook, lots of people have ‘registered’ themselves on wefollow. they’re trying to start a tag-based directory.

My tweets, trying to stay industry or expo-relevant are tagged under #consumer #socialmedia #video: http://twitter.com/daphnekwon


Also, to cut the clutter of ridiculous spam Tweets, here is ExecTweets, created by Federated Media, powered by Microsoft
http://www.exectweets.com/about/

Note, I’m not followed by exectweets, so you know it must be good. :)



Sarah Palin and the feminist movement

Posted: October 20th, 2008 | 2 Comments »


I don’t like Sarah Palin’s politics.  But I have refrained from publicly bashing her. Having witnessed the ignorant carnage left after the Clinton effort, I resolved not to sacrifice short-term potshots for the long-term gain of women in politics.

What is dawning on me now is that I think I actually owe Sarah Palin a debt of gratitude for moving the “woman-as-president” movement forward in a way that Hillary Clinton was never going to. Sarah has opened my eyes to the missing link between past female candidates and the Presidential office:

You have to be a hottie.

I have always looked to the Democrats for eventually placing the first woman into the White House, mostly because there are more women to choose from in that party. But the women to choose from, unfortunately, are women of accomplishment, women of intellect, women of leadership. They are not, by and large, women who got ahead because they were hot. Not Geraldine Ferraro, not Hillary Clinton.

I realize now that America needs its celebrities, like it needs its air. And female celebrities, bar none, are beautiful. Geena Davis, the last woman anywhere near the Presidency, was clearly hot. It hit me between the eyes when I read the NYTimes quote above from a Palin rally. I realized Palin broke through despite her lack of qualifications and turned this former truck driver a feminist. He doesn’t even know he is.

A problem we will face is that women who are hot can find easier successes in America than going into politics. Political success is hard and grueling, and makes you intensely vulnerable. Hot women don’t have to suffer that and they aren’t by definition stupid…so why would they subject themselves to that path?

Sarah Palin has demonstrated to me that political women truly can ignite parties that are ruined, evoke love from the angry, and unite those who feel isolated. I’ve never seen it before from a woman in politics, but I hope to see it again soon (in another Party).  And I also hope that other women, women who hope to see a female president in their lifetime, can refrain from attacking her, and instead simply disagree with her.   There is language that can allow you to express your preference without belittling along the way…an example from someone who is responsible for a lot of damage to her public persona:
“I think Palin will continue to be underestimated for a while. I watched the way she connected with people, and she’s powerful. Her politics aren’t my politics. But you can see that she’s a very powerful, very disciplined, incredibly gracious woman. This was her first time out and she’s had a huge impact.”