1% done - Angela Zäh on Hacker Culture at Facebook

Facebook’s hacker culture is what has helped to company grow and reinvent itself through unexpected solutions over and over again. There is no guarantee that this will still be the right recipe for success in the future, but for now it works…

What do you do when you are faced by a problem that calls for an unconventional solution? You hack it! 

Hacker culture is a phenomenon that has helped open doors for many start-ups and their employees, but nowhere has the approach had greater impact than Facebook.

"Hacker culture is about finding solutions that are new, with low cost and innovative," says Angelas Zäh, International Growth Manager at Facebook. She has come to offer a public lecture on hacker culture to a number of students and other listeners, most of whom are hackers themselves.

Her lecture at the second DLDL Open Campus begins after a brief introduction by partners from CDTM and IBC, and a couple of welcoming words from Hubert Burda Digital’s own Chief Scientist, Jean-Paul Schmetz.

Zäh takes the audience on a virtual trip around Facebook headquarters, showing off a handful of motivational posters that embody the company culture. 

"What would you do if you weren’t afraid?" says one. "Done is better than perfect" says another. 

"Hacker culture is a lifestyle, it can be applied to things outside code," Zäh says as she describes how employees "hacked" their office space to gain more space. At Facebook, these things are normal, she says. 

Hackathons - all-night sessions of hacking, coding and project building at the company offices - have paved the way for unforeseen innovations. Like the “Translate post” function, which came almost by coincidence from the hands of intern during a hackathon. 

The audience tunes in with questions about Facebook’s role in a mediatized world, its ambitions and outlook for the future. Zäh answers by showing a number of big yellow poster, saying “This journey is 1% finished!” 

A participant wants to know whether this attitude will still be there in 20 years, as the company grows. “Will hacker culture still be relevant? Or will you be 99% finished then?”

Zäh smiles and shrugs as she gives her answer.

"We’ll see."

The Power of Women

Only a few days after a woman has been brutally executed in Afghanistan for alleged adultery the last panel at DLDwomen conference addresses issues like gender equality, power and the role of women in the 21st century.

Today’s women are enjoying rights that only a couple of generations ago were unthinkable. However, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Paley Centre for Media, Pat Mitchell, claims: “the world is changing, but there are still many places where being a woman is dangerous.  When I was born women’s life aspiration in the US  was to marry a man and have 2’5 children. Actually I didn’t care, I had my dreams and I knew I was meant to do something else”

Mitchell made a really touching introduction to Catalina Escobar, founder of Juan Felipe Gómez Escobar Foundation (Cartagena, Colombia). “Catalina is one of a kind, a woman who turned the tragedy of loosing a son into the strongest working passion”.

When her son Juanfe (Juan Felipe) passed away, Catalina realized that children’s mortality was way to high in Colombia. From that moment on her goal in life became to save as many Colombian children as possible from an early death. “Juanfe’s death is the saddest story of my live, but this is also a love story. Now I have many sons. All those under the protection of Juan Felipe Gómez Escobar Foundation are my Juanfes”, confesses Catalina Escobar with glassy eyes. 

Catalina’s commitment with children has become an obsession, “when you work in this field, every single night, before going to sleep, you think: you better come up with something else because these children deserve better”.

Women are extremely involved in humanitarian work today. Catalina is not the only example of a woman whose main target in life is to help others. Edit Schlaffer, founder of Women without Borders, explains how the organisation tries to help women in troubled areas of the word.

“There are no women in top security-political positions, but I can tell you that women have a special skill when it comes to conflict solving. Unlike what we see on the Western press, most Afghan mothers are horrified with the idea of her sons joining terrorist cells, they just need support so they can put an end to this violent situation.

Women without Borders operates in nine countries where they explore the potential of women to reduce violence. “We actually believe that women are security experts”, adds Schlaffer. 

Mitchell, who is moderating the panel, cannot avoid but to intervene and remind the audience that power is still a male concept. “Women stay away from power because it is a male invention. We, women, should change the concept of power; we think that power is ‘a bad-guys-business’, but the reality is that power allows change.

Cairo-based political strategist and CEO of Karama, Hibaaq Oman, stresses that, as far the Arab Spring is concerned, there’s still a lot of hard work to do: “if a government leaves women behind they are not respecting one of the key pillars of the democratic Arab movements”.

But women are not just misrepresented in the Arab world, sexism is very much alive, specially on TV and advertising. Filmmaker, actress, and advocate for women Jennifer Siebel Newsom, who joins the talk via Skype from California, talks about the misrepresentation of females on TV.

“We have an enormous power as media consumers, however we are still often portrayed as objects. My job is to remind everyone our role as citizens and consumers. Bear in mind that, despite accounting for 51% of the US population, only 17% of the Congress are women”.

Newsom’s inspiring movie “MissRepresentation” is already out, you can check out the trailer here.  

Reaping The Benefits Of Diversity In The Workplace

Isabelle Kürschner from Catalyst, a diversity strategist nonprofit organization, says “Don’t fix the women, fix the workplace.” It’s past time you try and train and prepare women better, you now need to change the whole working environment. What’s in it for the companies is clear. “Of course, we want to be nice and fair but diversity and inclusion bring performance to the company” says Jean-Michel Monnot working for Diversity & Inclusion at Sodexo, a company which employs 380,000 persons in 80 countries,. The company actually made diversity 1 of the 5 pillars of the company.


It’s in the interest of the companies, really. For Frech, careers are now wave-shaped, not linear. It would be stupid to lose people of the way along the way”, for instance at time of pregnancies. There’s a true need for flexibility. Later, she underlined how hy ignoring diversity, a company will put itself behind the competition because they access a larger talent pool.


Like any investment, before reaping the benefit of diversity, companies have to mobilize resources first. Monnot explained how training is crucial in the process, “we are all build with stereotypes, we have to be aware of them to change the approach.” Adidas’ Diana Frech concurred: “we have 60 nationalities working for Adidas just in Germany, 50/50 male-female and a gender pay gap of 3%” she said, before nuancing “we still need to work on our own unconscious behaviors, resistances, personal patterns and inclusion problems.” Isabell Welpe of Technische Universität München then piled on with her academic background, adding “unconscious assumptions are the greatest barriers.”



How to shake the bad habits off then? The scholar explained that “to change behaviors, you don’t need not to change women, you need to change the companies at the cultural and organisational level”. She then urged the audience to focus the training on the executive level since the message has to come from the top management, down. Of course, challenges may occur. For internationalized companies, both the environment and the local executives matter explained Monnot, who warn also against making assumptions based on the country the company is located.


He also find that non-compulsory measures amounted to very little. “If you don’t make quotas; or call them whatever you like, target, objectives,” he asserted,”nothing will change. But you need before to educate.” In the end, Monnot said, “we have to find and work with similarities and differences, and celebrate the differences.” It worked particularly well for Sodexo judging by the impressive list of diversity-related awards they received. It will hopefully inspire others.

Drivers of Prevention: The Female Touch

Prevention: incredibly important yet far less in a spotlight when compared to development of a medicine. That is probably why women dominate it. This is a unanimous view of the participants of the panel that focuses on cancer prevention.

It is not about big money. It is not about fame. It is simply about playing defence and not a glorified offense, says Brigitte Mohn, board member of the Bertelsmann Foundation, adding that the strive for a ‘silver bullet’ - a strive for a cure - gets most of the attention. However, things are slowly improving, Carolyn Aldige, President of Prevent Cancer Foundation, argues. Still, there is a long way to go.

Yet, there are more and more examples of success, such as the tobacco legislation that for instance bans smoking in public places. Tobacco lobbyists were pressing hard against it. “They even launched a personal attack against me and tried to discredit me. But they failed,” recalls Martina Poetschke-Langer of the German Cancer Research.

Other panelists tell a story of neglect. “I was never attacked. But they did not join me,” says Aldige adding that instead of cheering for prevention majority kept looking for a medicine. “You need to advertise the right data at the right time. You need to present these data to the press. It is effective, when you do it right,” offers recipe for success Poetschke-Langer.

At the same time, it is important to fight prejudices. “When we set up our foundation, stroke was considered an old people’s disease,” remembers Mohn adding that such a notion is simply wrong. Stroke can hit a young person, a mother-to-be, it can hit just about anybody and spreading the word thus can make a huge difference. As Poetschke-Langer sees it, this task is – and is going to be – largely up to women. “Prevention relies on communication and women are better in communicating than men,” she explains.

 

It only follows that women need to be proactive on the personal level as well. Men often refuse to get checked, says Christa Maar, a Founder of Felix Burda Stiftung, adding that it requires women to change the men’s minds – or to act on their behalf.

“We need to make appointment for the men. We are the gatekeepers after all,” agrees Aldige suggesting that sometimes it is simply about dragging ones partner to the doctor. Other time, it is all about getting the word out. For instance, lung cancer is the most preventable of all the types of cancer. Stop smoking and the chance of getting sick decreases significantly, explains Poetschke-Langer.

To get the message of the power of prevention out, women need to be heard, all the participants of the panel agree. In a male-dominated environment, that often requires to turn into an alpha dog. “I am an alpha dog,” admits Cornelia Ulrich, Director of NCT Heidelberg, adding that she has to be an alpha dog. Otherwise, her department would not get any funding. It is simple like that.

 

“We don’ t want to take over the world,” says Ulrich. We just want to do our jobs. “We want it to be normal that there are women in leading positions,” she adds.  

Do Good with Social Entrepreneurship

Social entrepreneurship has the potential to improve our world and accelerate opportunities for women - this is the mantra promoted by the Womanity Foundation and its Changemakers project

Womanity, represented by Antonella Vischer, works to empower women and girls around the world though further their contribution in economic, political, communities. The organization focuses on projects in Brazil, Palestine and India for the moment, but ambitions are high and expansions just around the corner. 

Social entrepreneurship is a commercial business, a private initiative, Antonella clarifies. It has to be sustainable, viable and sometimes even attractive to investors to be really successful. 

Through Changemakers, Womanity has encouraged women and girls to reach out to their dreams while doing the common good in the process. The organization goes way beyond concerns about funding and instead provides contact with professionals, consultants, networks, other social entrepreneurs.  

The return is growth, empowerment and added social value to the communities of their collaborators. 

Social retailer Asta in Brazil is one such project. The start-up was founded by young Rio de Janeiro native Alice Freitas, who joins the conversation via Skype. 

She is a firm believer that the model can succeed. Under her helm, Asta has experienced a growth of more than 300% since its start in 2008. Freites started out with 5 salesladies of crafts and goods. Now she has more than 800. 

And there is potential for others too, both directly and indirectly. 

"Studies show in data that social entrepreneurs do make an impact," Vischer says.

This can happen for instance through pushing policy change, promoting awareness and pushing the common perceptions of gender boundaries.  

In terms of cold cash, “there is a very interesting opportunity in the relationship between businesses and social businesses,” she insists. 

But investment is not necessarily for those who only look for profit. Supporters of social entrepreneurship can build strong brands, and expect a social return on investment. 

It’s a journey towards the greater good, with a myriad of opportunities for partners and actors in all corners of the industry. 

Above, from left to right: Barbara Sarx-Lohse (Flexperten), Greta Kreuzer (cosinuss° GmbH), Helen Cao (OneNumber), Andrea Wittek (BoxCryptor) and Catharina van Delden (innosabi GmbH).
The mentees of the ‘Hypovereinsbank Mentoring for women start-up entrepreneurs program’ took the stage in front of their mentors (including co-founder and Director of the DLD Conference Stephanie Czerny) to talk about their project. They range from healthcare technology, phone service to encryption software and job search platform.
The program paired the young women for 6 months with female mentors from the HVB Women’s Council as well as from start-up experts so they could share their knowledge, experience, networks and tips.

Above, from left to right: Barbara Sarx-Lohse (Flexperten), Greta Kreuzer (cosinuss° GmbH), Helen Cao (OneNumber), Andrea Wittek (BoxCryptor) and Catharina van Delden (innosabi GmbH).

The mentees of the ‘Hypovereinsbank Mentoring for women start-up entrepreneurs program’ took the stage in front of their mentors (including co-founder and Director of the DLD Conference Stephanie Czerny) to talk about their project. They range from healthcare technology, phone service to encryption software and job search platform.

The program paired the young women for 6 months with female mentors from the HVB Women’s Council as well as from start-up experts so they could share their knowledge, experience, networks and tips.

Putting Web, Social & Mobile To Good Use In News

DLD has an habit to go beyond the buzzwords, to explore the real-world truth behind the concepts. So naturally, when a star-studded panel (Katharina Borchert of Spiegel Online,  Donata Hopfen of BILD digital and Svetlana Mironyuk of RIA Novosti) discussed what’s new in news, honest answers are expected, as well as hints of an healthy competition among panelists.


First item on the menu: online media. It is really a different job to publish news online than on print? For Borchert, at the Spiegel Online, “the scope of what we cover online is broader, but we are very much hard-news driven”, similarly to the coverage of the weekly magazine. Their work benefits from the format, too: “linking to things on the web, including blogs, can be considered original sources.”

Hopfen told the audience that Bild online works with more short stories, and is primarily picture-driven. Both composition of the webpage and exclusivity of content are crucial for them and their 30 million Unique Visitors a month (vs 11 million for the Spiegel Online). As a (state-owned) russian news agency, it was easier for Ria Novosti to adapt to the Web and its audience than a print publication, explained Mironyuk.


What about mobile technology and women, the moderator, Hubert Burda Media’s very own Jean-Paul Schmetz asked. Mironyuk said that in Russia, women don’t consume news in the office, they listen to the radio or use mobile devices. Bild’s usage peaks for mobile connections are at 7am and 11pm, when one wakes up or goes to bed, explained Hopfen, before adding “It means we have to work 24/7.” Borchert said that, so far, the Spiegel mobile users were either very much sport-driven or looking for a quick update on a breaking news.


Last but not least, the role of social media. Is it truly a game changer? For the CEO of SPIEGEL Online, the ambivalence of putting your content out and having other sources of traffic is big. For instance, the question of the Facebook reader remains. Hopfen was more skeptical: “we have Facebook channels, it works well, but it’s not like Bild drive more than 1% of our traffic from Facebook”.


For Spiegel Online, “Facebook drives 3% of our traffic to the site. But it’s not about figures, it’s to stay relevant and reach the young audience” complemented Borchert. Bringing an exterior perspective, Mironyuk concluded with a twist: “in social media in Russia, users feel less control from the State. So they express their feelings. As a result, social media are seen as new media and news websites are seen as old, mainstream.”

As the new generation gets its news almost exclusively from social media, news websites seems to be facing an new competitor, formerly thought to be an ally.

Respect to Gabi Zedlmayer's decade of impact on HP, her environment and technological innovation. She has been rewarded the DLDwomen Impact Award 2012. Thank you, Gabi for your support and great social work!

iLIve2Lead girls at DLDwomen

What are the core qualities of leadership? For the girls of the non-profit organization of iLIve2Lead it’s all about (D)reaming big, being (A)authentic, showing (R)resilience and being (E)mpathetic - in one word DARE.

In an interactive workshop, the girls show why they can be considered the pipeline for the next generation of global women leaders. Bright young women between the age of 15 and 22, each share their individual story on how they want to have an impact on their home countries.

Having the digitally driven revolution in Egypt in mind, many of us don’t know about the sacrifices these women had to make in order to change their political situation. Hadeer Adel of Egypt shows a video dedicated to these women, strong and inspiring figures - “I’m a girl, I’m a human being, I’m free.”

"It can be very hard to be ‘a Hadeer’ in Egypt alone - she needs someone to support her!" says iLive2Lead president and founder Laura Bode. Exactly this is what the girls need, support and a network. DLDwomen is already supporting them by bringing them here and introducing them to inspiring female leaders, says Yashasvini Rajeswar of India.

But what else can we all do? How can we establish ‘New Rules, New Values’ in leadership?

Tonight, Julia Beliak, Coralie Malissard and Yashasvini Rajeswar will discuss with Siemens CEO Peter LöscherSteffi Czerny and Maria Furtwängler-Burda. They will demonstrate how to rock the roles of gender and leadership, live on stage. They’ll ask for instance about the skills needed to lead on a regular day-to-day basis, especially when a smooth organizational restructuring is the goal. Can we learn how to become a great leader? Or is leadership something that we’re born with? And what role does Siemens play in developing future talent?

Expect some tough ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’ questions for the CEO of Siemens.

Another musical interlude, this time from the wonderfully talented Marlon Roudette.

DLD2011 - The Big Picture DLD (Digital-Life-Design) is a global conference network on innovation, digital media, science and culture which connects business, creative and social leaders, opinion-formers and investors for crossover conversation and inspiration. Chairmen of DLD are publisher Hubert Burda and serial digital investor Yossi Vardi. DLD has been founded by Stephanie Czerny and Marcel Reichart in 2005.

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