About this project
The Kickstarter campaign is over! Head over to http://motherboardpodcast.com to continue following the project.
Motherboard: Connecting Moms in Tech
Women are a minority in tech, and mothers even more so. The goal of the Motherboard Podcast is to share information from one parent to the next, so that each new mom doesn’t have to waste her cognitive resources on problems that have already been solved.
Let’s help isolated moms:
- feel a sense of connection
- hear that the challenges they face are more universal than it might feel
- give each the confidence to find innovative solutions to whatever her unique situation requires.
A handful of amazing women have already agreed to participate in the project, including Shirley Gaw (Google), Jean Hsu (Medium), Doreen Fasen (Microsoft), Máirín Duffy (Red Hat), as well as moms at Apple and Hackbright Academy.
Questions that Need Answering
I have mapped out a questionnaire of topics to ask interviewees, from how they handled announcing their pregnancies, to how they managed morning sickness; from what pre- and post-partum leave they took, to what support their companies and partners provided; from what challenges they faced, to what solutions they used to handle it all.
While I am shooting for as much openness as possible, I will give interviewees the option to request that we avoid any topics they feel uncomfortable sharing. The aim is not to make any one woman bare all, but to allow a multitude of women to share the points of their stories that they feel could help others the most.
Your Help Will Make This Possible
The podcast content will be free for anyone who wants to hear it. But there are real costs incurred when taking the time to produce quality audio content. So to fund the work, I am relying on support from individuals and corporations who support the retention of women in tech during their childrearing years.
My fundraising goal is based on approximately eight hours of work each on a total of six episodes, in addition to initial equipment purchase and setup. Any additional dollars will go towards extending the length of the season. If we raise double the goal, I’ll produce twelve episodes; 4x would allow twenty-four. That would be amazing, and I’d love to make this work my primary focus in 2014.
This campaign includes both physical and virtual rewards. Help me pick the podcast theme music ($25), get a hand-screenprinted gocco print of the podcast artwork ($50) or a t-shirt ($100), meet with me on skype for web consultation or mentorship ($250+), or have your company sponsor an episode (or a few!) of the podcast ($750+).
All supporters will be subscribed to the podcast email list, so that you’re among the first to know when each new episode is released. You will also have the chance to toss a name into the hat to be interviewed on the podcast.
Help Retain Women in Tech
If you value improving the retention rates of women in tech, I hope you'll back this campaign. We have a chance to increase the likelihood that the young girls excited about programming today will choose and stick with computer science careers as they think about adding families down the road. I hope you'll join me.
Video background music is Sunrise by Vojtech Komarek.
T-shirt rewards will be printed and sent by Teelaunch.
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge of this project will be to find additional interviewees to meet demand if the goal is surpassed. To address this, I've included the ability to submit suggestions as a backer reward.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Men clearly face many of the same work-life balance challenges that women do, while navigating a different set of societal expectations. Parents share a common struggle to excel and be fully present at both our work and home lives.
But men are several times more likely to know other dads in tech. I’m working on solving the problem that moms don’t meet other moms in tech.
Parenthood in tech is a big puzzle. Let’s start with this piece.
That's what the work hours, equipment costs, reward costs, and Kickstarter/credit card processing fees add up to. See my post sharing the full math here: https://medium.com/what-i-learned-today/3d5dde2fd9f9
I chose the podcast format for a few reasons:
To start, I really want to give the audience a sense of these women as real people. It is so important for people to see and hear people like themselves as role models. Hearing voices adds a personal dimension compared with written interviews.
Also, I wanted to create a resource that busy women could consume passively, on their own time, without requiring internet connectivity. The format of a new interview every few weeks is not a barrage of mailing list posts for a busy new mom to weed through; instead one episode at a time is automagically downloaded to her device and she can listen at her leisure. It was important to me that a screen not be required to get the material, so that a woman could listen to it on her commute, or while nursing her baby, etc.
And for interviewees, it's a format that allows us to have as close to a normal conversation as possible--compared to, say, a written interview where there's time to perfect your wording, or a video series that might make participants feel more self-conscious about their appearance. Podcasts also allow the option of anonymous guests, which become harder to execute with video.
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