I picked up Guy Kawasaki’s book, Reality Check and was immediately turned off by his assertion that Silicon Valley is a meritocracy like nowhere else on earth, that it doesn’t matter what school you attended, how much money your parents have, as long as you can code. A few pages later, he quotes approvingly a venture capitalist who “gets it”as funding “Guys under thirty making a product they want to use.” Kawasaki says, “Amen.” So, let me get this straight – Silicon Valley is a meritocracy as long as you are a guy under thirty. As The Invisible Developer commented when I read him this,

“He’s assuming then, that only men under 30 have money?”

Or, alternatively, whatever it is that men under 30 want is going to be a hit with women and older people because … Excuse me while I call bullshit on all of this. Perhaps the problem is that we have too many products made by guys under thirty. Let me tell you a few things that a lot of women (and men) over thirty want. They want their children to do their homework. They want their kids not to fall behind over the summer and have to re-learn a few months of material in the fall. They want to not fight with their kids about doing their schoolwork. That’s why (among other reasons), we decided to do an adventure game that teaches kids math. Last week, we were at a conference for CABE – the California Association for Bilingual Education – giving a presentation on educational games to teach math to students for whom English is a second language. folklorico dancers at CABE With over 500 participants, most of them female, most of them over 30, there was a healthy degree of skepticism about the educational games on the market. As several of the parents (mostly mothers) in attendance commented,

The kids like playing them, but are they really learning anything?

Maybe these games were the ones guys under 30 would like to use, but teachers and mothers were not so enthusiastic. We’ve had venture capitalists tell us that “the education space is so overcrowded” but we don’t see it that way. It is overcrowded with apps you can knock off in a weekend, that are, like James Gee called them, “Shooting and spelling, shooting and multiplication, shooting and — ” It did not seem to be so crowded with software that really educates. Another venture capitalist asked me,

“Education? Hasn’t the Kahn Academy already cornered that market?”

To be fair, this man’s area of investing had nothing to do with education, but he isn’t the only one who has made that comment, a comment that would not be made by most mothers, or teachers, who have actually tried to get a fourth-grader to listen when she was standing over them explaining division. I really like the Kahn Academy but believe me, it has not cornered the market on K-12 education. I have three points:

  1. Silicon Valley is NOT  a meritocracy when you can start out by saying you are only going to fund a very narrow slice of age and only one gender. The lack of ethnic and racial diversity speaks for itself. There are people who hold a world view that says an overwhelming share of the merit is held by white or Asian males under 30, that males receive 98% of all investments because they are just, well, better, and that is why African-Americans, Native Americans and Latinos almost never get funded. I’m not one of those people.
  2. Women and minorities  are not afforded the same luxury of failure that Kawasaki so lauds in his book. Where else could you fail spectacularly and then go on to succeed in your third or fourth try. However, there are a great many articles documenting “constructed criteria”, that is, we’re not prejudiced, it’s just that he/she was not successful at a previous start-up, doesn’t have a degree in computer science, doesn’t have experience in this industry. Those same flaws, though, are not a problem for the “right” demographic.
  3. By focusing on a narrow demographic, products are made that don’t reflect the needs and interests of a large swath of the population, like mothers of school children, and teachers. Educational products made by people who have never been in a classroom often begin with the assumption that teachers are the problem and technology is the solution. Funding people over 30, and women, to make products THEY would want to use is a missed opportunity.

This conservatism in funding in Silicon Valley is especially amusing since so many people want to be “disruptive” , “innovative” or “revolutionary” but they want to do it by funding the same type of people to do the same type of things. I remember, advice from my MBA program.

“Always remember, ladies and gentlemen, while Burroughs had all of its engineers hard at work making a better adding machine, Steve Wozniak was in his garage inventing the Apple computer.”

Twenty-five years later, it looks like even more brilliant advice. Maybe investing in the people who you think are going to make the next Facebook or the next Google is a lot like Burroughs trying to make a better adding machine.

Grandmother This is what we do every day – buy our games and see what people over 30 want to make.


P.S. The book isn’t completely worthless. There are some good parts, and the chapter The Inside Story of Entrepreneurship by Glenn Kelman, CEO of redfin, is the most accurate thing I’ve ever read about running a start-up. You should read it.



A couple of days ago, I ended my post with

 If you have a 25% probability of a job developing into something better, and you consistently have a job for years because you have no choice, then the odds are in your favor that you will eventually improve your situation unless … but that’s my next post …

I lied. My next post was on trying to get SAS Enterprise Miner to work, but that is actually related to my point. Alice in Wonderland is one of my absolute favorite books, and not just because it was written by a mathematician.From the Red Queen’s Race:s

“Well, in our country,” said Alice, still panting a little, “you’d generally get to somewhere else—if you run very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.”

“A slow sort of country!” said the Queen. “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”

How does this have to do with your career? If you aren’t constantly learning new information, you’ll fall behind. That’s why my last post was on SAS Enterprise Miner. I haven’t tried the SAS On-Demand version in well over a year and now I am trying to install a newer version. Mostly, the past few months, I’ve been working with javascript with a bit of PHP, CSS, HTML and SQL thrown in, working on our latest games. The Invisible Developer does the 3-D part and I do almost everything else.

The main reason I teach (it sure as hell isn’t the money!) is that it forces me to stay up to date on the latest software and statistical methods.

Some people do teach from the same yellowed notes every year – I knew a professor that joked he wrote his notes on yellow legal pads so that students couldn’t tell when he’d been using them for years. However, it’s a big mistake, for you and your students. I am shocked by the number of schools using Windows XP – they’re educating (and I use the word loosely) their students to use an operating system that doesn’t even resemble what they’ll be expected to use on the job.

Here is the unless … unless you fail to ACTIVELY seek out opportunities to learn and increase your skills and knowledge. It is so, so easy to fall into the “I’m so busy” trap. I have been really busy. A few months ago, I bought a new laptop and installed Windows 8, because even if you could buy an older operating system (and people do), that’s a mistake. You might as well announce, “I’m too lazy to learn.”

When I went to the schools that had just gotten Windows 8, I at least knew enough to install and test our games on their computers. Because I had tested on my new laptop, I could state positively that the games were compatible with Windows 8.

Realizing I hadn’t updated my Mac desktop operating system in a long time (remember, I’m so busy), I finally bit the bullet and did it and then some of my other software – garageband, iMovie, office – was out of date. So, I updated that, too. Realizing I was using Graphic Converter 6 – and version 9 is available, I updated that also. Much swearing ensued as options I was used to using were no longer there, menus were different. I can’t even say that I found any of the changes to be improvements for my uses. That’s not the point. The world isn’t changing for me and three years from now, if I am working with a school, student or client, whether  they have Windows 8, iMovie 11, SAS 9.3 or Office 2008 I will have enough familiarity to work with them.

I made my first website with Netscape Composer (anyone remember that?). Then it was Adobe GoLive, later replaced with Dreamweaver. Now, I switch between Dreamweaver, Webstorms and Textwrangler.  At one point, frames were the thing, then templates, now CSS  – and that’s just websites.

I tried using Ruby for some programming tasks, but I really needed to do more text mining, I thought, so I tried out a couple of data mining packages – Enterprise Miner is the latest, and I’m looping back to that after having looked at it and decided it didn’t fit what I needed a couple of years ago.

After a problem with dropbox, I signed our company up for Google Apps for Business and we have been using Google hangout for meetings, Google drive for document sharing and backup, etc. We just signed up for a trial of base camp for a couple of projects to decide if that would be a good addition for project management.

I’m testing out both and evrybit (as an alpha tester) .

Here’s the take away message – no one told me to do any of this. No contract required it. I actually agreed to teach the data mining course because I knew it would force me to evaluate different tools on different operating systems. I keep a stack of technical books under my bed and try to read every morning as I have my first cup of coffee.

It’s not enough just to do whatever your job is – you need to know how to do what your job is becoming.



New semester coming up when I will be teaching data mining.  Because I never do anything at the last minute, I’m registering my course and testing the SAS on-demand for Enterprise Miner now.

I have learned from experience not to ignore it when the instructions say to check your configuration. You should find how to do that here.

The first step is to open a command window and see if you have the appropriate Java Runtime Environment installed (JRE). Haven’t had to do anything from a C prompt in a while. On Windows 7, go to the start window at the bottom left of the screen and type in Command in the search box. Command prompt should pop right up.

I followed the instructions and it seemed my JRE was hunky-dory but the first time I started SAS On-Demand with Enterprise Miner it told me my Java was out of date. I went ahead and downloaded the latest version and installed it.

Your mileage may vary but total time getting up and running was about 2 minutes – but don’t get excited yet.

I clicked on start SAS Enterprise Miner and I got this message

Security warning from Java

I clicked RUN anyway but it was blocked from running.

So … I went into the control panel, typed in Java to search the control panel and in the Java security settings added the SAS on-demand login site as an exception. Still no luck.

Next, I went and changed the Java security settings from high to medium. A lot of people would not feel comfortable doing this, but I at least wanted to get Enterprise Miner to work. I could always set it back later.

At this point, I actually got Enterprise Miner to sort of start. That is, there were a couple of screens of security warnings I had to accept and then I got this error message.


After this message, I got another saying the components failed to load.

failed to load

Perhaps, I thought, I should not have updated Java. So, I went back to the configuration instructions, checked to make sure I had a 32-bit JRE even though I have a 64-bit computer (check).

I went and downloaded the recommended version of the JRE from the Oracle site which required me to create an Oracle ID.

After that was downloaded and installed, I went to the Java control panel and disabled the later version so only one version of Java was installed …

and I got the same error!


I checked the SAS documentation and it recommended clearing the Java cache. I did that. I got further that time with lots of messages about downloading the application and verifying the application, but just when I was getting excited, it came up and asked me if I wanted to run with an older version of Java. I picked to continue with the older version. After some more security warnings, I got the same error messages as before.

So … I went through the whole circle again, cleared the cache, started again, selected the newer version of Java – and still the same messages.

It’s past midnight on Memorial Day weekend, so I’m not going to bother calling SAS technical support. I have a laptop running Windows 8, so I’m going to try installing it on that tomorrow and see if I have any better luck.

One thing is pretty clear – my students in the fall better have a lot more familiarity with computers than just pointing and clicking or they are going to have a really hard time – and I still haven’t gotten Enterprise Miner to run!

P.S. At one time, years ago, I had gotten SAS Enterprise Miner to run with version 1.6.0_18    so I tried that and it also failed to start with the same error messages.

I’m running on boot camp on a Mac.  I have a Windows laptop, so I’ll try it on that tomorrow also and see what happens.

I am suspecting this is going to be a disaster, but I’m hoping to be mistaken.



A friend of mine commented on one of his young employees as,

“The worst combination you can get – someone who isn’t interested in the work and doesn’t need the money.”

There are lots of advantages of being born into a well-off family. Your family can provide you introductions to get your first job.  You can take low-paid or under-paid internships or research assistant jobs to gain valuable experience. Your parents can pay your rent so that you can afford to live and work in Manhattan or Santa Monica or Menlo Park while you are getting a foothold in the industry.

There is one advantage young people raised in poverty may have, though, and that is that they really need the money.  Those tales of working your way up from the mail room have an element of truth in them.

Recently, I was interviewed about my first job. I was a dishwasher and the manager actually  told me that they hired me because I was willing to wash dishes and didn’t seem to be obviously crazy, unlike some others they had interviewed. I was in high school, broke and had no experience doing anything.  I showed up every day and worked because I needed the money. Before too long, I got a job as a waitress. When I left there, it wasn’t too hard to find another waitress job, because I had experience.

In college, still broke, I had a series of temp jobs. First,  I worked for a law firm and part of my job was to replace pages in binders with the correct pages for laws that had been changed. This was before the Internet and word processors. The filing was boring as hell. I showed up every day and worked because I needed the money. After a while, I got bookkeeping jobs which were less boring and paid much better.

I could go on, but you get the point – most places I worked, I started out what people who had the luxury of thinking such things would have thought beneath them. I was a student at a top university tearing pages out of books for minimum wage. I didn’t have that luxury, though, and what I thought was that this would pay for groceries so I could eat this week.

Often, I have seen people who could have had promising careers start in the mail room (literally or figuratively) and do a half-ass job because who cares how I sort the stupid mail. Their attitude is that once they get a job that matches their ability and interest, they will put in the effort. Unfortunately for them, not many bosses are going to make someone an accountant or branch manager if they screw up sorting the mail. Most bosses are more likely to hire someone they know than a random person off the street – and by being in the company in that job that was beneath those people who had a choice, I was someone the boss knew.

Even as a teenager, I found it a bit annoying when my friends scoffed that they were not going to wash dishes/ work in fast food/ be an office drone, even though I agreed with them that those jobs were menial and didn’t require any of the education we had gotten. Now that I have to deal with The Spoiled One, I realize how annoyingly immature it is to have someone tell me what they are NOT going to do, especially when that someone wants me to give them money.

Want a better job? Work hard at the crummy job you’ve got.

This isn’t to say that I never had a rotten job with a rotten boss that didn’t get any better. I did. In those cases, I quit as soon as I got another job.  I had to get another job because of the whole having no money thing. Here’s something I’ve learned as a statistician – probability. If you have a 25% probability of a job developing into something better, and you consistently have a job for years because you have no choice, then the odds are in your favor that you will eventually improve your situation unless … but that’s my next post …



I was asked to comment on how my use of social media contributed to my career as a statistician and since, either

a. It was too good to not post

b. I was too tired from the four presentations I had to do this week plus taking my grandchildren to Disneyland to come up with an actual blog post …

… I decided to post the answer here —————————————

In short, it sounds like the time invested in my blog is a bad idea – but wait for the punchline at the end …


My website gets about 1.3 million visits a year, and over a million of those are to my blog. As a consultant, I have received a few contracts from people who knew me from my blog. However, I have been in business nearly 30 years, so far more are from personal referrals.

I get far more requests to speak at conferences as a result of my blog than actual offers of work. Because I often work on grant projects that have dissemination as a requirement, those invitations are helpful and they usually pay my expenses (or I don’t accept).

Occasionally, someone who reads my blog will ask if I’m interested in teaching a course as an adjunct. I usually decline because those positions pay poorly and I’m booked. I make about $300 – $400 a year for advertising/ sponsored posts on my blog. I could make several times that but I seldom have time to write a sponsored post. The only time I do it is if the offer comes on a topic I was going to write about any way.

Two reasons my blog is useful.

  1. I started it with the original idea of it being a daily personal online log of what I was doing. Often, I will solve a problem in statistics or programming and three years later face the same problem without remembering the details of how I solved it previously. I travel a lot so the original program may not be available on my laptop, or I may no longer be working for that client. So, I started posting those solutions online to be able to access anywhere. I can’t tell you the number of hours that has saved me. The fact that other people benefit, too, is icing on the cake.
  2.  People appreciate when you help them out.Two years ago, I did a Kickstarter campaign to raise $20,000 to support an educational game project I wanted to do. Over half of the backers came from my blog readers. In part because I was able to demonstrate commercial potential, I received a $450,000 USDA Small Business Innovation Research award.

Paying it forward in the community using social media can result in being paid back in unexpected ways. Family in teacup



During the time since I started this series of posts on a little thing I knocked out one evening to illustrate long division, I’ve probably done a dozen other somewhat interesting pieces of code – I am sad that Java has co-opted the use of the word codelet because it is such a nice term for a bit of programming that is more than a function but not a real application. Anybody has a good word, let me know. While we’re on the subject of words, what exactly is the difference in Dreamweaver between an extension and a widget?

Anyway …. our games include hundreds of bits like this, where if a student misses a problem, he or she gets routed to a page to pick an option to study.

So … here is the rest of the story. Yes, it could have been done more beautifully, and when I go back and revise it, I think I will change the answer button instead of having two buttons to have one that is changed after the first onClick.

The DOCTYPE (html5) and title are pretty obvious.

All of our web pages have a container ID that is set in the style sheet. That makes all of the content fall within a defined window size, regardless of the screen size.

The w class is just so the background is white in the spot where the problem is. The Invisible Developer wanted some type of background and he liked the specky one.

You might wonder why something like w is a class instead of an ID if it is only used once. In fact, I simplified this example for the blog. Actually the w class is in an external style sheet so their could be pages with more than one element using this same style.

As a commenter on an earlier post pointed out (thank you!) it would really be better practice to give these more descriptive names like white_back because in the future I’ll probably be looking at this page and wondering what the hell ‘w’ was supposed to do. Of course, I can look in the style sheet, but it still is better to name things something descriptive.

You can see that the input field for the second digit of the answer is hidden, as is the button for getting another problem.

The forms have an ANSWER button because we found that students in this age group (9- 12 years) often type something by accident or as their first impulse. This forces them to think, at least for a second, whether or not they really meant that and gives them a chance to change  their mind. We added this at the request of several teachers after our first year of beta testing.

The table width is set at 40% and since the container width is defined, the table will always be the same size.
The q class (again, should be renamed and shame on me), has a border at the bottom of the cell. That is used to give the top part of the division problem and used again when each digit of the quotient is found and multiplied by the divisor. The product is then put in a cell with a line underneath.

The first input field is where the first digit of the quotient will be entered. Onclick this will be hidden and the correct answer shown in the element yans1. If the student had entered an incorrect answer, they’ll also get a message telling him or her it is an incorrect answer. All of this is handled by the javascript.

For the remaining rows of the table – the left cell is underneath the divisor, so it will remain empty. The right cell will have each step in the division problem entered, as the student enters the first digit and then the second.  Again, this is handled by the javascript, all I need to do is make sure the id values for each cell match what is in the script.

Once the problem is finished, the div with the id fin will be shown, as will the button for trying another problem. The student now can select one of three choices:

Get another problem (button3), go back and select another option for studying division, or take a quiz to go back to the game. Five correct answers and he or she can go back to playing Spirit Lake.

<!DOCTYPE html>

<title>Practice division</title>


<body >
<div id=”container”>
<div class=”w”>

<h3 id=”hd1″> Enter the FIRST digit in the answer</h3>
<h3 id=”hd2″ class=”hidden”> Enter the SECOND digit in the answer</h3>
<input type=”button” class =”hidden” value=”ANOTHER PROBLEM” size=”5″ name=”button3″ id=”button3″ onclick=”window.location.reload()”>

<form name=”formx” id=”formx” >

<input type=”button” value=”ANSWER” name=”button1″ id=”button1″ size=”5″ onClick=”checkProb(1)”>
<input type=”button” value=”ANSWER” size=”5″ name=”button2″ id=”button2″ class=”hidden” onClick=”checkProb(2)”>
<table width=”40%” border=”0″ cellpadding=”0″ >
<td width=”20%” >&nbsp;</td>
<td width=”20%” class=”q” ><input type=”text” name=”ans1″ id=”ans1″ size=”3″><scan id=”yans1″ class=”hidden”></scan>
<input type=”text” name=”ans2″ id=”ans2″ size=”3″ class=”hidden”><scan id=”yans2″ class=”hidden”></scan></td>
<tr >
<td ></td>

<td id=”c” ></td>

<td id= “divide”>&nbsp;</td>
<td ></td>

<td id= “d”class=”d” >&nbsp;</td>
<td ></td>

<td id= “e” >&nbsp;</td>
<td ></td>

<td id= “f” class=”d”>&nbsp;</td>

<div id=”fin” class=”hidden”>

<a href=”../learndividelong.html”><img src=”../scenephotos/arrowhead_point_left.gif” width=”130″ height=”70″ alt=”back arrow” />
Go back to study more</a>
<img src=”../scenephotos/smalls/handblue.jpg” alt=”blue hand” /> <img src=”../scenephotos/smalls/handyellow.jpg” alt=”yellow hand” />
<a href=”../quizzes/dividelongerquiz.html”>Take a quiz to go back to the game<img src=”../scenephotos/arrowhead_point_right.gif” alt=”next arrow” /></a></div></td>




Life is not a junior high school dance. I get so tired of people who say they want to do something but won’t step up. I was going to use “women” in that last sentence but then I realized that some of the people who drive me craziest in this regard are men. Whether it is being an international athlete or starting a new career, I hear over and over,

I wish I could but …

But what? In very, very rare cases there may be a valid excuse, like I’m 55 years old so I am not going to be able to go to the Olympics in the 100 yard dash. In most cases, it’s fear, primarily fear of failure. No one has computer phobia or math phobia. They have “feeling stupid” phobia. I suggested the anti-hackathon for people who wanted to work on a new project, get  their feet wet and up to their elbows in a development project but could not or did not want to:

  1. Work somewhere away from home for 24-48 hours straight.
  2. Hang out all night with a bunch of strangers eating pizza and drinking mediocre coffee.
  3. Be away from their children
  4. Start from scratch and not be able to use code, artwork, design,etc. they had already completed.

Right away, we had a few people sign up and several more people tell me they would like to do it but could not because they did not think they had anything to offer, had no coding experience, didn’t know any developers, didn’t think they were that good at design, coding, art, etc. I have one question to ask you – How do you plan on getting good? This is how you get good at things – you do them. For the love of God, quit waiting for permission, absolution or invitation, especially from me. If you want to do something, raise your hand, jump in, volunteer. Yeah, you’ll probably suck at first. Then, you’ll get better. You can read about the anti-hackathon here. As for the people who wrote to me to tell me that they would like to do it but they were too busy, I found that confusing. I don’t mean the people who didn’t have time but were interested in the concept and wanted to be informed, or the media people who wanted to know if they could observe. That part makes perfect sense. No, I mean people who emailed me and said,

I’d like to do this but I’m busy.

Why weren’t you too busy to write me? There are several million things in the world I’m too busy to do right this minute. That doesn’t require giving anyone notice.



At one time, I avoided learning CSS because it seemed like that was a “woman thing” and in my career, I have noted that if you are in a primarily female field you get paid less money and people give you more shit than in predominantly female fields – thus, construction workers make more than administrative assistants, computer programmers make more than nurses. Of course there are other differences all the way down the line, but it is a strong enough relationship that when it seemed to me that women were doing more CSS and HTML, I tended to shy away from that as “not real programming”.

Well, that was stupid.

CSS is now my friend and has made many things in my life easy. For a simple example, let’s look at the long division applet I was posting about earlier before I went off on a tangent. The point of this is to allow students to practice long division, not to test them.

The CSS here is in two parts.  First, there is an external style sheet

<link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=”lakestyle.css” />

this defines some classes that are the same throughout the game. Then, I have a small style section in the page that is just those styles specific to this page.

However, to make this more generalizable, I have copied all of the classes used into the style specified below so if anyone likes, they can take the two previous posts on the javascript, this one and the next one on HTML and make their own long division program. I hate when I read something and they have left out parts that are required for it to work. That’s so annoying.

The first part sets the container size. We do this in all of our pages so they look the same on every laptop or desktop regardless of screen size. I also have that orange background image because The Invisible Developer said it should have a background and this site, speckyboy, which often gives away really free graphics, was giving away textures that week.

Yes, I used tables (don’t judge me!). Although I don’t always use them, I am not one of those people who believes in doing backflips with CSS, javascript and HTML to avoid tabes.

The table will have one cell for the one-digit divisor and another for the three-digit dividend. (This matches a common core math standard for fourth-grade “Find whole-number quotients and remainders with up to four-digit dividends and one-digit divisors, using strategies based on place value, the properties of operations, and/or the relationship between multiplication and division”.)

I want the width of each table cell set at 25%. I want the font size to be xx-large so the problem stands out on the page.

The q class defines a border at the bottom an element, in this case, a table cell.  That is what gives us the top of the division problem “tableau”. I could have made it an ID but I didn’t because I thought I might add it into the external style sheet eventually and use it in other pages.

The d class is for those cells that will show up sequentially as we solve the division problem. If you read the previous posts on the javascript for this, you’d see that as each digit of the quotient is found, we multiply it by the divisor and put the product under the dividend. It’s usual to show a line under that and subtract. So, the d class is underlined. However, when we start, those cells are empty and it would look kind of dumb having just lines there, so, when we start, the cells are hidden and they are filled in and shown, complete with underline, as we solve each step in the division problem.

The c id is a cell where the divisor is. It has a line on the right side to make the other part of the thingy that goes around a division problem. I also want the divisor right up to the side of the cell so it looks like a regular division problem.

The w class has a white background, so you can see the problem.

The hidden class is for all of the elements we want hidden when the page originally loads. This includes the input form for the second digit in the quotient. We want to force the student to find the first digit, multiply that out and then find the next digit.

And, that’s all there is to the CSS for the long-division examples.

Next post, I’ll finish off with the HTML

#container {

height: 670px;
width: 1000px;

background-image: url(orangbg.png);
background-repeat: no-repeat;

td {
width: 25%;
font-size: xx-large;
.q {border-bottom: 7px solid #804040;}
display: none ;
text-decoration: underline ;
#c {
text-align: right;
border-right: 7px solid #804040;
.w{ background-color: white;}

.hidden { display: none }




I read an interesting post by Heidi Roizen with the title, “It’s different for girls.” Ms. Roizen is an admirable person. A successful entrepreneur, venture capitalist and mother. (The latter is relevant as you’ll find if you read her post) This is a quote from her post:

Wine was brought and toasts were made to our great future together.  About halfway through the dinner he told me he had also brought me a  present, but it was under the table, and would I please give him my hand so he could give it to me.  I gave him my hand, and he placed it in his unzipped pants.

Yes, this really happened.

I left the restaurant very quickly.  The deal fell apart.  When I told my brother (T/Maker’s co-founder and chief software architect) what happened, he totally supported my decision to bolt.

This is the part I read over and over and did not get. She didn’t throw wine in his face, punch him or do anything other than leave. Her BROTHER didn’t do anything other than agree they shouldn’t work with the company. Now, the latter I completely understand and I also am in agreement with her view that you don’t work with dirtbags and there are people out there who are not shaking their dick at you – literally – that you can work with.

Maybe it is growing up getting in fist fights in the neighborhood on a regular basis. Maybe it is being the world judo champion. I cannot imagine being in a situation like this where I did not haul off and hit the person as hard as I could. To me, it’s assault. The one time I did get groped at work – over 30 years ago – I actually did throw him into a wall. Really, it was just reflex, the same as if someone punched me in the face, I would have hit him back.

Ms. Roizen is admirable not just for her accomplishments but because she is honest enough to say,

It pains and somewhat embarrasses me that I am not recommending calling out bad behavior and shaming the individual or individuals responsible.  In a perfect world people would have to account for their behavior.  But as an entrepreneur who spent years in a daily battle for existence, I did not feel like I could afford the hit I’d take in exposing these incidents.

I respectfully disagree. She was not in a daily battle for existence. She was not a woman in  Nigeria who was in danger of being killed or sold into sexual slavery. Perhaps she was in a daily battle for existence of her company, a certain lifestyle. I am sure she believes that the end justified the means and now she can, as a venture capitalist, help other companies, speak out in her own way for women. I don’t know her at all and I’m in no position to tell her how to run her life.

What I will say, though, is that it is totally different for me. In the few times in my life that I thought the end justified means I did not think were right, it always turned out to be a mistake.

I appreciate her. I appreciate the honesty of the female college president who wrote in her book about deciding to have her breasts removed at the point when she was walking through an airport and a man said, “Nice tits”

However, as I said in the post I wrote about that, I am in more agreement with my sister who commented,

“Wow! If I was walking through the airport and a man said, ‘Nice tits!’ I think I would accidentally spill my coffee on him. And if I wasn’t carrying a cup of coffee, I’d go and buy one to spill on him. Having my breasts surgically removed would be the last thing that would occur to me.”

 I’ve been married to The Invisible Developer for 17 years. We’ve raised our voices to one another perhaps twice, so it’s not as if I go around randomly swinging at men. However, I know without a shadow of a doubt that in Ms. Roizen’s situation I would have jumped up, yelled,

“Are you fucking kidding me?”

and then I would have smacked him.

I am sorry that Ms. Roizen and Dr. Spar had to make the choices they did.

One thing these women have done for me this year is cause me to dramatically increase my plans for 7 Generation Games because I intend to show the world that you can become an extraordinarily successful woman without cutting your breasts off or enduring a strange man putting his dick in your hands.

I have four daughters and two granddaughters and I refuse to accept the status quo will be their future.

If you’re interested in jumping in on our anti-hackathon, click here to learn more.



NOTE: If you are looking for the rest of the long division program, the CSS and HTML, I will have that next week. I usually blog on technical stuff during the week and random rambling on the weekends.

Someone sent me a message recently,

“Hey annmaria I just went into business for myself about a month ago and was wondering how you avoid the burnout when everything depends on you”

This was a really good question and beyond a text message.  Everyone running a company feels like it is a 24-7 job. Here are a few pieces of advice I have found useful for reducing the stress.


1. Make lists. I use a spreadsheet, either in Excel or Google docs, that I create or update every 2 or 3 months. This has EVERYTHING I can think of that needs to be done, with a priority assigned and a person to do it. If you’re a sole proprietor the person is probably you.  Every day, I check those lists and update as necessary. I also create daily and weekly to do list, with priorities. The priority part is really important. If you only finished 2 things today but you know they were the 2 most important, you’ll be less stressed.

2. Delegate. Is there anything on that list that could be done by your accountant, lawyer, assistant, cleaning lady? Not only will this reduce your stress it will upgrade their skills.

3. Bring in a co-founder. I work best with partners. I co-authored a book and many articles. The longest-running company I began, Spirit Lake Consulting, Inc. was begun with two  co-founders, as was my newest company, 7 Generation Games. Partners both help in quantity – two people can do twice as much work – and quality as they probably will have skills you don’t have.

4. Realize that at the end of the day, there is another day. That’s how time works. So, once you have accomplished what really HAD to get done today, anything else you do is gravy.

5. Be honest about your priorities and what HAD to get done today. For example, if I am submitting a grant that is due on May 11th, it HAS to be done by May 11th. However, for most things, if I’ve put in a productive 8, 10 or 12 hours, it is perfectly fine to knock off and try again tomorrow.

I am pretty convinced that if I keep making progress every day, eventually our games will be so amazing everyone will want them and everyone in the world will know about them. There is also the issue of having the cash flow to keep going until that time, but since his question was more on  a personal than financial level, I’ll talk about money another day.

Now… back to work right after I change the guinea pigs’ cage. (Also on my to-do list.)

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