Calling online fashionistas at Bay Area Girl Geek Dinner #6

One of my other favorite organizations in the bay area is Bay Area Girl Geek Dinner (I’ll call it baggd for the sake of laziness).  A few weeks ago, I attended baggd #6 at the Computer History Museum hosted by Polyvore, an online fashion dressing room where you create clothing sets and share them.  This was my 2nd baggd event.  It’s so interesting to see the type of women who attend these events based on the topic du jour (or topic du event?).  I can definitely tell you that there were a bunch of stylish women, but not so sure how many of them were geeks.  So I am a geek and I love fashion so this event was a perfect match for me.

The evening started off with some nibbles and drinks.  Then they had a 4-5 person panel about online fashion.  The food was good, but it was gone soon after I arrived.   Women love to eat.  They also had a fun photo booth with props in the lobby.  This is the second time that I’ve seen a photo booth at an event.  It’s becoming quite popular.

Now the panel, it was okay.  It went a little long and  the focus more on fashion than on geeky topics.  It would have been good to get a balance of the two topics.  The CEO of Polyvore did the moderation with folks from Polyvore (of course), Chictopia, Moxie, and eBay.

I did ask two questions: 1) since this is girl geek dinner, who makes the technical decisions at your company? and 2) are you profitable?  I didn’t get a straight answer, but eBay said that a woman (not her) makes the technical decisions.  Yeah!  For the profitable one, the Polyvore CEO said that they are and commented by saying profitability is not a good measure of success.  Not sure why she said that because I did not infer that profitability a success factor or even the only success factor.  Hmm…  The CEO said that she didn’t want to be profitable so early in the company.  If she thinks profitability is a bad thing, then someone should let her investors know to pull the plug.  Hahaha.

My notes from the panel discussion:

  • soft goods like fashion, jewelry is surpassing hard goods like tech, soft goods make up a small percentage of spend (eBay)
  • users influence what designers they carry (Moxie)
  • luxury brands want to control messaging like Twitter (Moxie)
  • brands with prominent face for the brand like DVF (Diane Von Furstenberg) can leverage Twitter a lot better (Polyvore)
  • luxury brands fear loss of control in the internet space (eBay)
  • we use Ruby on rails, focus on core set of features/functions, get feedback from influencers to shape the product (Chictopia)
  • eBay is good at search, need to be sure that users can find items, how can a user find more things to buy, leveraging image search to find products, open up the minds of users, users do 80% search 20% browse (eBay)
  • start social media in public relations, don’t ignore social media (Moxie)

Aside from the event agenda, I really enjoyed networking with new and old friends.  You can count on baggd events to give you that opportunity.

Sophia Perl

Sophia Perl is a product manager for a database tool at IBM. She has over 10 years of software development and management experience. Sophia holds a BS in Computer Science from University of Southern California and an MBA from University of California at Davis. She is the creator of iPhone apps PicPredict and Eventabulous.

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