Month: March 2010

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Women 2.0 presents “Social Gaming 101” on April 15

On Thursday, April 15th, 2010, Women 2.0 held "Social Gaming 101", which featured founders and CEOs of social gaming startups in Pillsbury's Palo Alto office. The panel shared best practices, tips, tricks, and even pitfalls of designing and implementing social games. Sue Zann Toh (Co-Founder & CFO, The Broth) told war stories from her startup's early days of fixing bugs and keeping servers running. Sue Zann Toh reminds attendees that you can compete with the "big guys" even if your startup is small by launching early, and developing from there. The Broth's Barn Buddy, which launched before FarmVille, has grown to 1.7M active daily users amid stiff competition. Mari Baker (President & CEO, PlayFirst) followed up by demonstrating that the players who enter the market first aren't necessarily the ones that win the end. "Does anybody remember Netscape or Excite?" Mari Baker asked the crowd. One of her tips was to check out the worst performing games for problems to avoid. Also, Mari Baker added that having a great product is the biggest key to going viral.

During her presentation, Amy Jo Kim (Co-Founder & CEO, Shuffle Brain) shared how she put her PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience to good use in Shuffle Brain to build games that exercise the brain and prevent dementia. Shuffle Brain explored a few monetization models but finally settled on merging with a subscription game site aimed at 50 to 70 year-old users. Nevertheless, Amy Jo Kim believes earned and purchased currency models are the most promising ways to monetize social games this year. With "the free to play/virtual goods [model], you monetize your most avid players the most," Amy Jo Kim said. Having created some of the most popular social games on FaceBook including Causes, Zombies, and Vampires, panelist Blake Commagere agreed that dual-currency models have brought the best monetization opportunities to his games. "Ads... paid for your servers and kept you from starving." By acclimating users to purchasing in your game using earned currency, the up-sell to purchasing $1 digital goods is easier.

The entire panel agreed that social games require a different work structure than traditional game titles. Mari Baker reminded the audience that in social games, you will spend more "man hours after launch than before." Sue Zann Toh agrees, "the real work starts after launch." Blake Commagere quipped that if "you're not embarrassed by your product on day one, then you launched too late."

This Women 2.0 event on social gaming was open to both women and men. Special thanks to Pillsbury for sponsoring this Women 2.0 event, and Shirley Lin (Founder, YoXi123) for driving the program and panel. Julie Blaustein provided event photography, and you can find pictures from the event here.

Watch a video of Women 2.0's "Social Gaming 101" panel highlights on YouTube here.

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Request your Geeks On A Plane (GOAP) app!

Geeks On A Plane is returning to Asia with a tour that kicks off at the Shanghai World Expo and moves on to Beijing, Seoul and Singapore. There are only 20 spaces available for the core GOAP group traveling together from San Francisco. But all invited are welcome to join up with GOAP locally at each or all of the cities we visit.

Want to attend? Request your invitation here.

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Women Techies Unite at SXSW (March 12-16, 2010)

Updated on March 20, 2010 -- Baat Enosh from Women 2.0 shares her story from SXSW. "It was quite the attraction. There wasn't a woman who walked by (and lots of men too) who didn't stop to see what it's all about," said Baat. Ranging from research to mailing lists, the organizations who participated provide a wide spectrum of tools to raise awareness for women in technology (or lack there of..).

Conversations on the topic of women in tech (both spontaneous and at the panels) addressed the entire pipeline -- from teaching K-12 about creating technology ("Duh, it's like tech for girls") to finding out "What guys are doing to get more girls in tech". Some were more useful than others, but at least it is clear that there is a discussion taking place. And many are involved in it! It was refreshing to see the collaboration by the different "women in tech" organizations.

Special thanks to Kaliya Hamlin for such a great initiative. Echoing the thoughts of Sharon Vosmek of Astia: We are all a part of a movement. No one is going to move the needle alone. We need to work with each other to get big results.

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Save 20% on tickets to Startup Lessons Learned

Startup Lessons Learned unites those interested in what it takes to succeed in building a lean startup. On Friday, April 23rd, 2010 in San Francisco, Startup Lessons Learned will give practitioners and students of the lean startup methodology the opportunity to hear insights from leaders in embracing and deploying the core principles of the lean startup methodology. Women speakers at Startup Lessons Learned are: » Erin McKean (Co-Founder and CEO, Wordnik) » Rashmi Sinha (Co-Founder and CEO, SlideShare) » Clara Shih (Founder and CEO, Hearsay Labs) » Cindy Alvarez (Product Manager, KISSmetrics) » Laura Klein (Principal, Users Know) Women 2.0 members save 20% on Startup Lessons Learned tickets with discount code "WOMEN2".

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Women 2.0 “Will It Launch?” workshop (Feb. 6-7 in SF)

Ideas are a dime a dozen - how do you know which startup idea to focus on for success? That was exactly what we had in mind when putting together the two-day workshop "Will it launch?" in February 2010, led by serial entrepreneurs David Weekly (Founder & CEO, PBworks) and Poornima Vijayashanker (Founding Engineer, Mint) who communicated their battle plan to quickly assess and iterate on startup ideas.

How to make people more comfortable? Get out of their "shells" and expand beyond their comfort zone on day one so they make instant bonds and connections and perhaps find co-founders or make friendships?

SFimprov, a local amateur group, came up with a solution: Improv! We invited BATS pro improviser Kasey Klemm who taught everyone first thing in the morning how to connect, fail, brainstorm and get to know one another.

We all had tons of fun doing improv, and the energy created sustained us through the weekend.

Our keynote speakers David and Poornima shared their personal journeys and startup experiences and stayed late into Saturday night's wine & cheese social hours to answer numerous Q&A and listen to personal startup/business cases.

Equipped with theory and business case examples from Day 1, we moved into Day 2 with practical application. We were focused on formulating a business idea into a clear and concise 3-minute pitch. Industry experts came to assist with concept and pitch practice - Betty Kayton, Dave McClure, David Ulevitch, Jorge Calderon, Rashmi Sinha and Saad Khan.

After we had enough practice, we gathered again for improv to get the energy up before the night finale - Pitch to the juries Betty Kayton, Dave McClure, David Ulevitch and Rashmi Sinha. This "Improv for presentation" workshop was led by another BATS pro Lisa Rowland with a bit of contribution from Dave McClure. Once again, energy up, lots of smiling faces and we are ready to go.

We had about 40 pitches that afternoon. All received feedback and thought this experience was invaluable. Our attendees who came from NYC and LA appreciated an opportunity to meet with like-minded people, the majority of whom were females and industry leaders. Our panel of experts were impressed with the quality of ideas, pitches and level of preparation!

This is what one of the participants had to say: "[Thanks for] providing a place to meet like-minded individuals. We keep in touch with a number of the women we met at the event. We are awed and inspired by each and every one of them," said Sognya Kesler.

Special thanks to Brent Tam who recorded the workshop! Videos are below:

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Deadlines for Founder Institute applications coming up!

Final application deadlines for the The Founder Institute's Spring 2010 Paris, Singapore / Asia Pacific, San Diego / Orange County, and Denver / Boulder semesters are approaching. The four-month entrepreneur training program is for both new and seasoned entrepreneurs, and focuses on harvesting people (rather than ideas). Through weekly sessions guided by renowned CEO mentors, the Founder Institute breeds disciplined founders ready to lead the next generation of high-tech companies. Sessions take place at night, so participants are not required to quit their day job or discontinue their studies. Anyone starting a technology company or thinking to become an entrepreneur is invited to apply:

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Women 2.0 supports the Startup Visa Movement

Did you know 60% of the Women 2.0 executive team are immigrants to the US from places like Canada, Israel, India, Singapore, Belarus? That's 6 out of 10 key members! The Startup Visa, in the end, is about removing barriers to innovation -- designed to attract top global minds, to the US, to launch their companies, create job opportunities and hire local US workers. To support the Startup Visa movement, Shaherose Charania of Women 2.0 went to Washington DC in February 2010 to be political!

Founded by Eric Ries, Dave McClure, Shervin Pishevar, Brad Feld, Paul Kedrosky, Manu Kumar, and Fred Wilson, Startup Visa raises awareness and affects policy regarding the EB-5 visa, which enables investors from other countries to get a visa in exchange for starting a business in the US with $1M in capital (or $500K for economically targeted areas) and the creation of at least 10 US jobs.

In fact, the tech companies of Google, Yahoo!, and Paypal have one thing in common: Immigrant Founders.

More startup founders, more female founders.

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