Andromeda Yelton

Across Divided Networks

this nearly-all-female tech startup (it’s fun!)

September 8th, 2013 · 16 Comments · Uncategorized

In light of today’s tawdry-but-alas-unsurprising round of sexism (not to be dignified with a link), let’s have a counternarrative.

This startup I’m contracting for? It’s pretty much all women. And I don’t mean that it’s a tech company where everyone except the developers are women. I mean the CEO/face of the brand/technical project manager/former sysadmin/mad knitting genius is a woman, and the business manager, and the designer, and the UX consultant, and two of the three developers. (The third is married to the founder.)

And it’s this glorious disruption of all the stereotypes. We’re competent and pragmatic and zero-drama. And that’s that.

And it’s strange and wonderful.

And while we’re at it, most of us are parents of young children, and I’m really loving that too, because everyone took for granted that our schedules would be insane in late August due to the total unavailability of our normal childcare options, and we’d have to leave in the middle of things to pick up a kid, and okay so I’d bring my kid over to the CEO’s house so my kid could distract her kids and she and I could get some work done, and failing that maybe things will get done at 6am or 11pm or whatever but they’ll get done, somehow, because we’re grownups, and no one’s going to judge me for the fact that late August is insane when you have a six-year-old, and it’s okay. I have a crazy amount of work to do this week and my next couple of invoices will be epic, but it’s okay.

Oh, and while we’re at it? This is the sort of company that only exists because of diversity. Walking argument for why having more people with tech skills is good for tech, as well as for the people. Because having the idea demanded both significant tech skills and significant domain knowledge in knitting, and there’s just not a lot of people who have both, and really, most of the people with the knitting domain knowledge are women. And once you have both, well of course computers are a thing you can use to make bespoke knitting patterns around people’s unique measurements and style choices…but the idea simply never occurs to you otherwise.

I think the world is full of ideas like this — the economists’ proverbial twenty-dollar bills just lying on the ground — that no one has seen yet, because too much of tech looks with the same eyes.

And here we are looking with different ones, a tech startup full of women. And it turns out that’s totally a thing you can do. So we are.

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16 Comments so far ↓

  • Coral

    Waitwaitwait, knitting patterns based on people’s measurements?

    Will this company be expanding to crochet (she asks, for no particular reason ;) )?

    SO EXCITED! How did I miss that this is the company you’re working with? Neat, neat, neat!

    • Andromeda

      I am unaware of crochet options, but you could ask @amyherzogdesign :) Or learn to knit, I guess. Or bribe a friend who knits (people can store multiple measurement sets, on the theory that most people knit for friends).

    • Heather

      I’m also waiting with bated breath for the crochet version.

  • Meghan

    Yay! I may actually make a sweater for me! I’m making one for my son, who is 2, top down so it’s easy to fit. But I have some alpaca that I got at a yarn-store closing sale that I’ve been dying to use.

    Also, Hi, Andromeda. I knew you in Digiclan and haven’t talked to you in forever. Brynn linked me to your post through Facebook. :)

  • Kat

    Another of Amy’s minions here.
    I know one of her beta-testers asked about crochet, so it’s on her radar.

    My mother-in-law keeps warning me about all-female group dynamics/drama (since I am involved with at least two). I must be very lucky and only work with lovely drama-free women, because I have seen none!

    • Andromeda

      Right?!? That’s totally one of the stereotyped narratives this whole thing subverts (and which I delight in. and I should’ve alluded to you in the minion list, too! doh!)

  • Kat

    I just wish I had more time to be more deeply involved. It’s awesome to be able to say, “I love what you are doing and am psyched to help, but how much time I have depends on the nap schedule of an infant and the school day of a 3yo”

  • Joan

    As one of the beta testers, I can say I’m glad you’re having fun.

    Stereotypes exist for a reason. One of the all female groups I’m involved in is drama central (ugh). When I was working full time in the tech industry with many women (professional/tech backgrounds) — no drama.

  • Amy

    Some *people* are easy to work with, and some *people* are not, and it seems about as correlated with gender as eye or hair color.

    That said, our startup is awesome and fantastic and the most fun I’ve ever had. And it’s an incredibly refreshing switch-up from the gender ratio of the last 15 years of my career (when I was regularly the only woman in a room of 15 or more people).

  • Renee

    I’m loving this mostly all woman enterprise even more now. Can’t wait to start as a beta test knitter soon (taps foot impatiently!)

  • Rachel

    SO excited for this project! Amy’s class is fantastic, but there’s only so much Amy to go around. I’m so glad there will be software for the math-phobic knitter. (That’s so not me, but I teach a LOT of knitters who cry about math.)

  • Auntly H

    Sitting here wondering why I didn’t go into tech. And thinking it’s beyond time to figure out how to merge *my* mix of skills into something new (preferably with a small group of amazing women). :) All the best to you; I’m delighted to watch you succeed.