How your “Team” pictures influence my desire to even apply

Lately it’s the “startup thing” to put pictures of your team up on your website. Now, I don’t speak for all female engineers, but as a female engineer who’s kind of sensitive about these things, fairly or not, it’s an immediate turnoff to see pictures like this

Screenshot from 2015-02-25 17:59:40

Screenshot from 2015-02-25 17:59:36

It goes roughly like this:

  • I open my email.
  • Someone forwarded me an email. “Cool drone startup that’s looking to hire!”
  • I click the link and read about it, then somewhere along the way I see a picture of the Team.
  • I get irked and leave.

Sure, you all could be a bunch of egalitarian feminist dudes, and if I just go work for companies with a lot of females already I’m exacerbating the problem in some ways, but really, just kind of a turn-off.

If you at all care about getting a more diverse team, here’s two simple solutions:

1) Just don’t post pictures of your all white-male founders / leadership / engineering team. No pictures are better, then I can’t form preconceptions (yes, I recognize the irony here) about your team. Also, the more people you have, the more I’ll look specifically for females in engineering leadership positions. Mixing in your female HR / support department does not help you.

2) Or, just put a simple statement to the effect that you’re aware that your team is very white and male and that you’re working on it.

That’s enough to let me know that you care, which is a big deal to me. Working in a place where no one cares about feminism or feminism is an awkward topic would make me bitter and unhappy (and I’d leave) within months. You’ll have to word your statement to overcome people’s jadedness (“yea, right, that’s probably just their HR talking.”) and show that your statement reflects your company culture.

Oh! Ladies, one thing I’ve discovered is that older guys are pretty alright. Something about marrying and having a family… My current co-workers are almost all older white males, but it’s in some ways a lot more comfortable than hanging out at MITERS, because feminism isn’t a dirty word or somehow less important than the latest in kilowatt lasers.

Today, I am a 41-year-old father and husband whose feelings on this issue have changed. I have come a long way since being a single, 26-year-old state senator, and I am not afraid to say that my position has evolved as my experiences have broadened, deepened and become more personal.

Congressman Tim Ryan

(Source: Rep. Dillon, Rep. Ryan)

p.s. This also goes for conferences… I’m looking at you, NERC.

nerc speakers

Wed: Visual Poetry, or “What’s in a Word?”

Wednesday Writing: Final Result

File: sheep-visualpoetry.svg (Inkscape SVG)

Simplified Chinese Text: 波士顿很冷, 可是朋友多, 可以包饺子,讨论有意识的想法。今年是羊年,感觉有一点老。最近心情好,每天有新的项目想踏上。希望你们可以给奶奶看这首诗,让她知道我想着她。主大家新年快乐,年年有鱼。爱,南西。

English Translation: Boston’s very cold, but there are many friends, we can make dumplings, discuss interesting ideas. It’s the year of the sheep, I feel a little old. Lately I’ve been in good spirits, every day I have new activities I want to embark on. I hope you can show grandma this poem, let her know that I am thinking of her. Wish everyone happy new years, every year with fish. * Love, Nancy.

* (err, it’s a play on “good fortune” and is a traditional new years saying)

Google Translate:

Boston was cold, but many friends, you can make dumplings, discuss conscious thoughts. This year is the Year of the Ram, I feel a little old. Recently a good mood every day want to embark on new projects. I hope you can see this poem to her grandmother, let her know that I think of her. Main everyone a Happy New Year, every year there is fish. Love, Nancy.

Yep, that’s a typo in my Chinese -___- I’m bad at this. Should be 祝, not 主, for 祝大家新年快乐. I’m not sure whether other issues are my bad Chinese or the bad translation by google 😛 Anyway, I did a quick fix.

OH NOT another typo, it should be想念她, not想着她. OH WELL. Chinglish it is.

Read up about it

Today I decided to investigate poetry which plays on our visual recognition of shapes.

George Herbert’s “Easter Wings”, printed in 1633.

I’ve seen some humorous Chinese ones passed around on the chat platform “wechat”, but can’t find them at the moment. Here’s the Traditional Chinese wikipedia page. Here’s the page on 宝塔诗 “Pagoda Poetry”, which seems restricted to triangles.


There is a similar poetry which plays on our auditory skills:

The following poem appeared recently in INFOCUS magazine. The original authors were Fred Bremmer and Steve Kroese of Calvin College & Seminary of Grand Rapids, MI.

The text of the poem follows:

<> !*”#
%*<> ~#4
The poem can only be appreciated by reading it aloud, to wit:

Waka waka bang splat tick tick hash,
Caret quote back-tick dollar dollar dash,
Bang splat equal at dollar under-score,
Percent splat waka waka tilde number four,
Ampersand bracket bracket dot dot slash,
Vertical-bar curly-bracket comma comma CRASH.

Try it out

Oh, I spent too much time looking around the internet to do a lengthy composition. Well, with thanks to velera3, here’s how to convert an text (poem) into the shape of an image in inkscape

My parents always complain I don’t keep in touch enough, so this will double as my diary.

1) find sweet sheep lineart:



2) put into inkscape

3) F1 -> select the goat -> Ctrl-Shift-F -> Fill = None, Stroke = Flat Color. Now it should be an outline.

4) Using the text tool (“t”), insert your poem into a text box

5) Hit F1, the select tool. Select both the text and the image. Text -> Put on Path.

(Note: Put on path –> the text curves along the lines of the image. vs Flow into frame –> the text remains in horizontal lines, but fits inside the shape of the image.

New document 1 - Inkscape_011
Hmm… not quite…

6) Do some manual editing. In this case, I chose only the main sheep body to flow my text onto, by duplicating (Ctrl-D) and deleting the other nodes. Then I made the stroke None and the fill White, used grouping (ctrl-G) so that the darn text and image would stop disassociating from each other, and voila.


Sparkyard: About

Published on: Feb 24, 2015 @ 7:12Edit

This site created by Nancy (orangenarwhals) in Feb 2015 order to have fun creating things. The focus is on quantity over quality: practice, practice, practice.

Monday Music A new piece of music, speech, or podcast every Monday. As flash fiction is to writing, so monday music is to music-making. or something.
Tuesday Terrible Startup Ideas A new terrible startup idea every Tuesday. From concept, to user interviews, to wireframes. An exercise in product design and idea iteration.
Wednesday Writings A new piece of writing every Wednesday. Flash fiction, poetry, generative text, ascii art, whatever involves text is suitable for Wednesdays.
Thursday Robots A new robot every Thursday. Loosely, any electromechanical object is suitable (no, twitterbots do not count).
Friday Fotovideos A new photograph or video every Friday. Street photography, tutorial videos, timelapse videos, those all belong to Fridays.
Saturday Scribbles A new scribble every Saturday. Whether it is webcomics (An Incoherent World), typography, propaganda posters for the Hexapod Revolution, or random scribblings, it belongs to Saturdays.
Sunday Silly Papers A new silly academic paper idea every Sunday. We show how everyone in the world, including people on the internet, can be a scientist by addressing the silly everyday questions with scientific rigor.