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Microsoft Chief Nadella Will Be Back For More Next Year At Women’s Tech Conference

When Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told thousands of women at the Grace Hopper Celebration for Women In Computing that people should rely on the corporate system and karma for raises and promotions, the audience was understandably confused. 

See also: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella To Women: Don’t Ask For A Raise, Trust Karma

Nadella now finds himself in hot water over the remarks, but despite the criticisms, he is planning to attend the conference for at least the next four years. After yesterday’s keynote and subsequent outpouring of criticism, Maria Klawe—president of Harvey Mudd College, Microsoft board member and Nadella’s on-stage interviewer—asked him if he would return. He said yes.

“It has changed him, he’s learned something,” Klawe said in an interview. “He’s going to keep on learning. He will be much more knowledgable about women’s issues by the time he comes back here next year.”

After The Firestorm

Nadella’s statements sparked a firestorm of criticism, considering his advice was contradictory to what women have been told for years—if you want to move forward in your career, you need to be assertive and ask for what you want. The gender pay gap still exists, and on average, women earn only 78% percent of what men do.

See also: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Eats Humble Pie Over Remarks To Women

Shortly after we published a story on the incident, Nadella issued a tweet saying his remarks were “inarticulate,” and followed up with a statement to employees that evening in which he described his earlier remarks as “completely wrong.” Though according to one former Microsoft employee, Nadella’s advice is apparently the standard response at Microsoft to anyone, male or female, who asks for a higher salary. 

At Microsoft, that strategy might work. But for the vast majority of women in technology, it was spectacularly bad advice. 

Thankfully Klawe was quick to disagree during Nadella’s presentation. She provided the audience with helpful advice—know how much you deserve to be paid, and if you’re nervous about asking for a raise, practice with people you trust first. 

See also: Microsoft CEO Explains Why He Said Women Shouldn’t Ask For Raises

“I thought it was important to say I disagreed,” Klawe said. “It was important to very explicitly point out that even someone who is thought of to be as successful as I am is uncomfortable doing it.”

After an experience like Nadella’s, some technology leaders would be tempted to avoid conferences like this one. But Nadella, who spoke sincerely on Thursday about improving the gender balance and the importance of bringing more women into the technical workforce, will step into the breach once more.

Let’s just hope he doesn’t overcompensate by preparing his script well in advance and sticking to it no matter what.

Lead photo by The Anita Borg Institute, Steve Maller Photography

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SEO Experts More In Demand In The Internet Of Things Age – MediaPost Communications

SEO Experts More In Demand In The Internet Of Things Age
MediaPost Communications
Search engine optimization gurus, next year's your year. Gartner Research predicts that by 2017, half of the solutions created to support the Internet of Things will originate in startup. Not only will these companies with niche applications require

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Open-Source Projects Need More Than Good Code—They Need Marketing

Most open source developers focus on writing great code and don’t bother marketing their project. Which is why most open-source projects fail. Utterly.

While it’s a convenient fiction to believe that open source is a meritocracy where the best code wins, it’s just that: fiction. As Apache Storm founder Nathan Marz writes in a recent blog post, solving an important project with useful code is only half the battle. It’s equally important—and sometimes more so—”to convince a significant number of people that your project is the best solution to their problem.”

See also: How To Get Started In Open Source

That’s called marketing, and most developers are terrible at it.

Telling Stories

I’ve written before that every technology company needs at least one English major. It’s easy to believe that the world will beat a path to your project’s door, Field of Dreams style (“If you build it, they will come”). But the world doesn’t work that way.

People—and developers are people, too—have a finite amount of attention. That’s why we’re seeing the fading of the polyglot programmer. As former Googler Tim Bray notes, “There is a re­al cost to this con­tin­u­ous widen­ing of the base of knowl­edge a de­vel­op­er has to have to re­main rel­e­van­t.”  

See also: Why Every Tech Company Needs An English Major

As the number of open source projects booms, getting developers interested in your particular project is non-trivial. By marketing a project well, developers can cut through the noise and help their project to stand out. As former Facebook and Google engineering executive Santosh Jayaram articulates, English majors are critical for helping companies “tell stories” about their projects. 

And while no developer really wants to read some Randomly capitalized Blurb on GitHub about a Project!, as the worst marketing “professionals” are prone to do, project leads who can tell a compelling story around their project, English-major style, are more likely to find developers that want to use and/or contribute to a project.

The Accidental Marketing Of Storm

This is what Nathan Marz discovered as he sought to increase adoption of Storm, a real-time computation system. In 2011, I joined Dave Rosenberg to build a company (Nodeable) focused on delivering Storm as a service. The company was a bit ahead of its time and ended up getting acquired by Appcelerator.

Storm, on the other hand, really took off. 

Twitter started acquisition talks with Marz in May 2011 to acquire his company, Backtype. To help increase the valuation Marz wrote this blog post, touting the potential of Storm, which was at the heart of Backtype’s technology stack. 

In the process he stumbled on the value of marketing the project:

The post had some surprising other effects. In the post I casually referred to Storm as “the Hadoop of realtime,” and this phrase really caught on. To this day people still use it, and it even gets butchered into “realtime Hadoop” by many people. This accidental branding was really powerful and helped with adoption later on.

From then on, Marz spent a great deal of time both developing the technology and (in his words) hyping it, bolstering that marketing hype with documentation because “people cannot use your software if they don’t understand it.” 

But it wasn’t just code. Marz also hit the campaign trail, blitzing conferences:

Over the next year I did a ton of talks on Storm at conferences, meetups, and companies. I believe I did over 25 Storm talks. It got to a point where I could present Storm with my eyes closed. All this speaking got Storm more and more exposure.

The result, however, was worth it:

The marketing paid off and Storm acquired production users very quickly. I did a survey in January of 2012 and found out Storm had 10 production users, another 15 planning to have it in production soon, and another 30 companies experimenting with the technology. To have that many production users for a major piece of infrastructure in only 3 months since release was very significant.

Get Yourself A Story Teller

Storm has become an incredibly important project, but it never would have reached this stage without a lot of marketing along the way. As should be clear by now, I’m not talking about billboards along Highway 101 or pop-up ads on Hacker News (if those existed). 

Rather, I’m suggesting highly informative marketing like Marz did to raise awareness of and interest in Storm:

Building a successful project requires a lot more than just producing good code that solves an important problem. Documentation, marketing, and community development are just as important. Especially in the early days, you have to be creative and think of clever ways to get the project established. Examples of how I did that were making use of the Twitter brand, starting the mailing list a few months before release, and doing a big hyped up release to maximize exposure. Additionally, there’s a lot of tedious, time-consuming work involved in building a successful project, such as writing docs, answering the never-ending questions on the mailing list, and giving talks.

This isn’t the sexy work of a code jockey. But it’s this very marketing drudgery that often will make the difference between a great project that no one uses and a great project that changes the world. Linux, for example, didn’t hit its stride in the enterprise until IBM committed to spend $1 billion marketing and promoting it. 

Storm, for its part, didn’t require a $1 billion injection. But it did require a heck of a lot of Marz’s time spent marketing, not coding.

Lead image courtesy of Shutterstock

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Google Makes Conversational Search Even More Intelligent by @mattsouthern

The Google Search app on your smartphone is probably not the first place you would turn to when planning a trip, but that may no longer be the case after today’s announcement regarding conversational search. Google has upgraded its conversational search functionality with new features that aim to make it easier for people to plan things. Here is an overview of the new features: Location-based conversational search — search for locations near you by asking something like “Ok Google, show me restaurants near my hotel”. You don’t even have to use the hotel name if the reservation info is stored […]

The post Google Makes Conversational Search Even More Intelligent by @mattsouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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Live At #Pubcon Day 2: The Future Of Everything, Optimizing For Hummingbird, US Search Awards, and More! by @mattsouthern

It may have been Vegas, a jam packed day 1, or a combination of both,but the exhaustion everyone was feeling at day 2 of Pubcon was tangible. However, that didn’t in any way affect anyone’s level of excitement, as everyone was just as eager to be there. As they should have been, because day 2 was loaded with quality sessions and world class keynote speakers. Chris Brogan kicked off the morning with the first of two keynotes. Morning Keynote: Chris Brogan Brogan brought his unique and infectious personality to the stage to deliver this morning’s keynote aimed to inspire entrepreneurs […]

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Live At #Pubcon Day 1: Facebook Audience Network, Google Chaos Theory, Writing For SEO, and More! by @mattsouthern

Legions of passionate marketers who eat, sleep, and breathe SEO, content, and social media filled the Las Vegas Convention Center today as Pubcon Las Vegas kicked off for its 15th consecutive year. Pubcon founder, Brett Tabke, began the event with an audience poll to find out how many Pubcon events everyone has attended. A handful of hardcore veterans have attended more than seven Pubcon events! In fact, the audience this morning was full of repeat attendees with the majority of the audience having attended at least one or two Pubcon events in the past. Myself? This was my very first […]

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Google’s “In The News” Box Now Lists More Than Traditional News Sites

Google has confirmed that new “In The News” box appearing in some of its search results now lists content from more than just the traditional news sites. Discussions at Reddit, blog posts, videos and more from non-news sites may turn up. Earlier, Search Engine Land reported how content…



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Google: More First Page URLs In Search Results Are HTTPS Relative To The URLs On The Web

At Search Marketing Expo East, Google’s Gary Illyes presented on an HTTPS panel and shared some very interesting data and history on Google’s HTTPS ranking signal. Page One Search Results More Likely To Contain HTTPS Urls Gary explained that why only 10% of the crawled and discovered…



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Google Answer Boxes Appearing 44% More Frequently [STUDY] by @mattsouthern

Moz published a report today containing data which shows a significant jump in the appearance of Google’s Quick Answer boxes. The jump initially began last week, but went relatively unnoticed in light of the Panda 4.1 rollout getting all the headlines. According to Moz, their data includes all types of answer boxes including direct answers, stock quotes, weather forecasts, box scores, and new, attributed answer boxes. After analyzing the data, it was found that the attributed answer boxes were the ones showing up more frequently. All Quick Answer boxes are appearing up to 44% more frequently, while the attributed answer […]

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Moz: Google’s New Quick Answer Box Now Showing 98% More Often

According to a Moz tracking study the new formatted quick answers box you find in Google for queries like [what is seo] is showing up 98% more often than a week ago. Overall, general answer boxes, including stock quotes, weather forecasts, box scores and so on are showing up 44% more often. What…



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