Winning the lottery

On a long car ride last weekend, Joe and I began discussing what we’d do if we won the lottery. We both agree that we’d need to continue with the passions we have – neither of us are the type that would be happy lying on a beach for the rest of our lives. Turns out, Joe would keep his current job, which makes me totally happy for him. I had always said I would as well, but realized this last time, I might not. I definitely like the work I’m doing right now, but realize the contributions I could make without having to worry about an income. I love every single thing I am doing with Girls in Tech right now and look…

I began this post on August 14th at about 7:16am. I don’t entirely remember what I was doing back then, or why I didn’t finish it, but I remember it was right after BlogHer. I was just about to dive into the most amazing entertainment + technology idea ever, and I know this for two reasons.

  1. Over the summer I was contacted by a recruiter from EA within video games. I entertained the idea (ha! get it?) and went through the interview process. All my interviews had to be phone based though because of timing and a big sales meeting or something so everyone was out of town. I remember doing one of them from the hotel room in Chicago. You know how sometimes you talk yourself into loving something you didn’t know you did before? It was this experience that propelled my love for the entertainment industry and the connections it has with technology. I ended up not getting/taking the job, but enjoyed the experience nonetheless and am happy with the outcome.
  2. At BlogHer, I met a man. I don’t remember his name, clearly it was a close relationship we formed. I think he liked my dress… and I liked that he had a purple triangle coming out of his well-fitting-suit pocket. It was a dark grey, not black, and I think that goes so well with purple. So we went for a drink. It turned out that he worked for HBO. So, of course, cliché!, I pitched him my TV show idea. The premise was making technology cool by writing a sitcom about how some girl uses tech and is cool too. It would be like what Harry Potter did for wizardry (hah! I get this reference now) or something. After talking to him though, and having my idea completely shot down (well, he acted interested, but he was hitting on me and I can tell the difference), it started to evolve a little more. And that’s where I really got excited.

From there, the idea transformed into me wanting to create some reality show or even just a documentary on how important technology is to the entertainment industry. The ideas I tossed around were like, following Taylor Swift on tour (or maybe Lady Gaga!) or being on the movie set for Jupiter Ascending (because I really was there and was in awe of the technology required to manipulate the content into sci-fi.) highlighting all the technology required to pull those things together. I’ve always felt that breaking down the stereotype of tech being ‘men coding in a basement drinking mountain dew’ is a step towards closing the gender gap. Plus, being the fangirl I am, I knew it would have gotten Katie excited about tech back in the day. [Katie, for those of you who don’t know, is me in a time long ago.] I tweeted my excitement…

and

Eventually the idea became a webcast in which I’d start out by interviewing local technology women, and then expand into local entertainment-type things, maybe the news station or something like that, and grow from there. It was the tiered approach. The first video is being filmed next week actually, highlighting a woman working in video games! And that’s all well and good, right?

Well, then I was on my way to a Macalester board meeting (go Mac!) when I heard John Rausch being interviewed on the radio. This name isn’t necessarily supposed to mean anything to you unless you are a crazy cat in the music industry… but he was one of the sound engineers on Taylor Swift’s RED album and is from Minnesota. So… what if I just skipped all those tiers and cold emailed him to see what type of awe-inspiring content we could make to engage girls in technology??

So, that’s what I did. I’ll let you guys know how it goes.

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The Cliché Experience: BlogHer13

I had a good time at BlogHer. I wouldn’t consider it life changing, but I wouldn’t call it a worthless experience. First and foremost, BlogHer is very different from any tech conference I’ve been to. Essentially the male to female ratio flipped and it was like: bam – all these people I don’t typically interact with. I knew this going in though, prepared for it, and was truly excited about it.

But then I remembered why I tend to get along with men better than women. No, why I get along with techies better than fashion and mommy bloggers (and I mean no disrespect here!). I’m self conscious more than anyone would probably expect. I have this lovely veneer of confidence that usually sustains me, but I need to have something to keep it up. It’s like the “fake it till you make it” saying, where, when everyone is talking about certain topics I literally have nothing to add more than a nod. So then I’m like “dang, I wish I could just sit here and look cute” but in reality I know everyone is looking at me like “omg, why are you even here.”

Another insecurity that surfaced at BlogHer? My loneliness, my strong desire to have a best friend with none to call my own. I truly enjoy the company of other women and am jealous of those that have just an über strong connection with someone nearby.

Then came in Google Glass. Anyone and everyone asked me about them. Remember in my last post when I said I liked the attention? Yeah, it turns out I only like that in small doses. It wasn’t bad when people were excited about it and wanted to try it on or something, I definitely welcomed that. What I hated was the “what is that on your face?” inquires. One, because that isn’t very nice to say and two because I don’t know how to talk to people that have lived in a cave for the last 6 months. And I’m an introvert and kind of just wanted to wander in peace.

It wasn’t all “woe-is-me” though. The sessions that I went to were really engaging and informative; the keynote speakers were inspiring and made me laugh. It was a really well organized event that ran smoothly from start to finish. I connected with a lot of passionate women who I will remain in touch with. And, because they are the ones that really made my BlogHer experience, they shall get special mention below (there were others too, but I lost their cards or didn’t get them maybe). Right now though, I’m just truly looking forward to a hug from Joe and quality time with my friends from college.

Still alive, I promise.

I didn’t get selected for the Emerging Writer Grant I applied for earlier this year. I’m disappointed for sure, but seeing as it is the only thing that got me to blog in the last two months, maybe it is a blessing in disguise.

I’m in Chicago right now for work. I got in last night. Timing wise it worked out, there was a women MBA panel hosted last night that I was able to attend.

The event was nice. I ran into someone I knew from last years’ Booth program, and I learned a little bit more about NYU Stern, Berkeley Haas, and a handful of others. I was surprised though, by how few people showed up. There was also a lot less mingling than I was expecting and hoping. I like chatting to people and learning more about their interests, where they are at in the process and where they are applying to. I think it also hurt that there was no wine or anything – everyone knows a little open bar loosens people up a bit.

The biggest take away I got? Take risks. Go for it. Don’t settle and it’s okay change. I’m not sure what I’ll do with this advice yet, but trust me, I’m thinking about it.

Overall review of my experience at Booth

This post answers your “well, how was it?” question. My three weeks in the Summer Business Scholars Program were inspiring. It was great to be surrounded by so many smart, driven people. I learned so much crammed into those three weeks… some of it academic, a lot of it personal.

  • I can be intimidated by large groups of people. My roommate, towards the end of the program, said that she thought I was very introverted/independent when she first met me. I’ve always known this about myself, but I still believe I am a people person, and these two attributes seem contradictory. I’m also not convinced it is something that needs to be resolved… only understood.
  • I’d much rather sit down and get to know someone 1:1. I like truly getting to understand someone rather than get the basic filler information. How will I remember this person? What is it about them that will encourage me to pass their name along to someone else? How can I help this person advance, and is this someone I want to work with?
  • Life, business, and entrepreneurship are all about relationships. As I’m meeting people I need to put my best food forward and nurture relationships with those I have a great connection with. There is the theory that you should surround yourself with people smarter than yourself and I want to make sure I have those people rooting for me too.

There are other components of my experience that I didn’t like as much, and either way those things are very helpful to understand.

  • I’d like Booth a lot more if it were downtown Chicago. We were in a dorm in the most perfect area (i.e., 1 block from a Maserati dealer!), but had to bus down to Hyde Park every day for class. This is not the ideal situation for me. I like fully immersing myself in my education and community and if I have to live outside of a big city area in order to be close to school, I’d need a really compelling reason to do so (read: Stanford).
  • This epiphany makes re-evaluate NYC schools. I loved my experience in NYC so much (I did a 5 month study away program there in 2010). The downsite? I remember feeling that it was so big. It would take a lot of work to be the big fish in that pond, but not impossible.. Intimidating nonetheless.
  • The upside? I totally love creeping on people, and NYC is the place to do it. OnLocationVactions (@olv) is my most favorite resource in life.
  • An article I recently read highlights the advantages of starting your business within your own community. This makes sense. You have the support of friends and it isn’t like starting fresh. For me, that community is Macalester. The neat thing about that though is that the Macalester community is everywhere. I treasure my education there more and more each day.

In general, marketing was a difficult class to take as I feel like “it” tries to take all the credit of a successful firm. Is it necessary? Yes. Are other departments just as important? Yes.

Finance was awesome and it is exciting to know that this program has helped me identify a core competency (see what I just did there? That’s a term I learned in Marketing).

As far as the program goes, it is definitely something I would do again. Or, rather, would do over given the opportunity to go back in time.

For Business school… I see many benefits in holding off a bit. It is still something I definitely want to do, but waiting another year will only make me a better candidate. Unless I become a crazed crack addict, in which case I don’t think business school would be relevant anymore.

Goin’ home

I’m at the airport now, waiting for my flight back home. I’m so über excited to be going home. Last night I was feeling so homesick which was lame because I should have been focusing on having fun and saying goodbye to all the awesome people I met these last three weeks. Alas, I went to bed semi-early and then left hella-early for the airport.

It’s hard to explain, but I also just really hate goodbyes. For me, it was easier to be all like “oh, I miss Joe, I’m so excited to see Joe” rather than acknowledge that I will most likely never see many of these great people again. It was truly a fantastic experience and there are people that I will definitely need to stay in touch with.

And I’m done being a cheese-ball! Here are some random thoughts from the last few weeks…

So you know when you hear a voice, and it sounds so much like someone else you know that it instantly brings you back? I hate that. Well, I’d probably like it if the person sounded like Joe or something, but my professor from last week sounded exactly like a former male-acquaintance. Pretty much it gave me the hebegebees, and made me instantly annoyed. This didn’t encourage engagement in the class, sadly, but I learned a  lot nonetheless.

I finally booked my trip to DC with my grandma for this fall! I’m super excited for it for many reasons. First, I’ve never been on a trip that is just my grandma and I. I really like spending time with her so I think this will be lovely. Next, even though I’ve been to Washington, D.C, I’ve never had the opportunity to do the touristy type stuff. I want to be there without any serious time constraints so we can just explore, visit museums, see the sights, etc. I also like putting trip plans together so it a pretty fun project for me to work on :)

Last Wednesday was my corporate visit to Google. I was so excited going into it… maybe too excited. I didn’t know what exactly to expect, but I knew it was pretty much the most awesome thing that had ever happened to me. Two words that sum up the day? Overwhelming and intimidating. I think I expected it to be more… fun? Start up like? Goofy and amusing to be at, maybe? But the vibe I got was very different. I had to sign my NDA (so I need to be careful here!) but they didn’t really tell us anything top secret. We spoke with a woman for a bit and then there was a panel discussion. I got the feeling that not many people are good enough for the company… especially after the “come in at the bottom and pull your weight” lecture.

I get why she had to go over that… I really do, because as I recall this is exactly how I felt when I first started my job. I was like, holy crap, I worked hard for 4 years at Macalester to build my way up and now that’s all gone and I’m here again at the bottom. I sure didn’t fight it though. I bitched about it to Joe every now and again and eventually got over it once I started to be valued for what I brought to the table.

Overall, it was more pretentious that it needed to be. Coming in with an attitude of like “oh, you should feel honored to be here” isn’t good for anyone. The company needs employees just as much as people need jobs. This hasn’t really changed my love for them though… even if I couldn’t find anyone to sign my Android figurine.

Baseball.

I’ve made it quite a while without writing any significant references to baseball. The reason for this? I’m not a fan and I never have been. Insert Joe here. He comes in, is all like “oh I’m so awesome and hot, and I love baseball, will you be my girlfriend?” and of course I said yes because he is awesome and hot, and I took the baseball part as a minor flaw, but workable. Then I got to know him better and realized that he lives, breathes and sleep baseball. I support it, the best a gf can, but I definitely don’t do anything to encourage it. So why am I sitting here at Wrigley Field you ask? Because I drank the mother f’in Kool-Aid, that’s why.

I can’t say necessarily when my interest in the sport began… probably sometime in between meeting Aaron Gleeman and realizing that there are actually really cool mathematical elements to the sport. “Okay, okay, I’ll bite” I said, and began asking more and more questions each game I attended. Over time, I picked up a thing or two.

Flash forward to my Booth program in Chicago, when during the last week we were given the opportunity to meet Tom Ricketts. In anticipation of this occasion, I asked Joe what I should him talk to him about. He mentioned that they recently brought on Theo Epstein as President, who was the former GM of the Red Sox (and I think had two world series under his belt?), and actually traded a prospect for him. The idea of trading players for executives is something that is clearly intriguing to me, so I was able to ask about that. Even though I got a question wrong (what’s the league minimum? – I said $400k), I was probably one of his favorite people in that audience, but to be fair, most of them had never seen a baseball game in their life.

Now I’m at Wrigley field and I actually have an opinion regarding the quality of it (Target Field is so much better!). I’m also the person people are looking to for baseball help, which is blowing my mind in a number of ways.

I gave Joe hell for not updating me on the increase in league min- he said when I got home he will give me an update on all the new CBA rules… and I’m actually excited. What is this world coming to?

Chicago, day unknown

First, I updated the Random Thoughts post with the toilet stall pictures.

Next, Joe came to visit me this last weekend! It was super amazing as I missed him a bunch. On Friday night he got in late so we just went out for a drink with my roommate and then went to bed. It was lovely to get a back rub and to cuddle :)

On Saturday we went out for breakfast and it was super awesome. We had french toast and I had two cups of coffee. After that, Joe worked on his paper for a while and I went with my program group on a architectural boat tour. I had already been on it before, but this one had different content so it was actually really neat. Plus, the weather was perfect so it was nice to sit outside for a while.

After that, Joe and I went to navy pier and went on the big circle up in the air thing. I forget what it is called. FERRIS WHEEL! Yes. We went on the Ferris Wheel. Joe is usually a pussy with heights, but I think he sucked it up because it was so romantic to see the skyline… city scape… lights… etc, at night. After that, we walked to a bar, Gilt, because a coworker of mine invited me to come hang out.

I was expecting it to be a dive bar, but it turned out to be pretty nice. I explained to the hostess we were meeting a group, and then I texted my coworker. Turns out, his group was in the basement in the private event space… Hmm.. interesting. So, we get down there and he comes over to greet me(us). He was like “Hi!! So nice to see you… who is this?” “This is Joe! Joe, meet ‘coworkers’ name'” Hi, hi, great to meet all. He brings us into the party, and it turns out it is a wedding reception. In that, someone just got married that day and now Joe and I were crashing the party. After we randomly were introduced to the bride, we made it to the bar and got our drinks. Then, the conversations went more like this:

Coworker: So, are you guys like… old friends or something? How do you know each other? Did you just run into each other?

Joe: We are dating, we live together. I flew out for the weekend to be with her

Coworker: Ahhhhhh you are dating. And live together. Interesting.

It was really kind of awkward, but Joe and I played it cool (as cool as Joe and I can play it). When my coworker went to the bathroom, Joe just looked at me and said “soo…. did you know that this guy was into you?” Absolutely not! I thought this was just a casual “oh, we are both in the same town let’s grab a drink” type thing.

Anyway, Joe and I proceeded to hang out with this guy for the duration of our respective drinks. He proceeded to tell us 1) about how rich he is 2) how awesome he is and 3) that there really is a nice six pack under his baby fat. To show how much muscle he is made of, he lifted Joe. It was really making us a laugh a little too much, seeing as we were making a scene at the bar of the wedding reception we were crashing and all.

Not too long later, we made our way out of there and on to the next bar. Devon. It was fantastic. We just sat at the bar for almost two hours chatting. It was really, really nice. We started planning out our vacation that we have been saving up for. Not sure where, but somewhere over winter break would be lovely. Also, we are going to have a “Joe and Kate are living together party!” when I return, which should also be a grand ole’ time.

Today, my roommate and I were doing homework and we decided to go out for dinner. We just went to a small burger joint M Burger. It was super tasty, one might even say epically better than Epic Burger. After we ordered, I noticed that they sold beer too. I was like “oh! I didn’t even realize” but it was okay because we were doing homework. However, when I looked at the menu and realized the plethora of floats they had, I had to ask “hey… do you guys do beer floats?” It wasn’t technically on the menu, but they had to, right? Turns out, I’m like one of the only people that has ever asked them so they were all like “I tried it once, but it was too hoppy. Please, on me” and handed me a free beer malt to try. Hellz, yes. It was awesome and I’ll be going back again and again.

Chicago, Day 6

So this whole week I’ve been studying accounting. I’d never taken it before, so it is [as a side note, I just cracked open a beer and it is literally the coldest beer I’ve ever had] a completely new subject for me. Tomorrow is the final, which, I’m actually kind of looking forward to I think. Today someone told me that I could have taken all the classes pass/fail, and for a second I thought about it, but then I’m like, dude, that’s lame. 1) If I can’t even get an A/B in a one-week accounting course, I have no right applying to Stanford. So, I’m content in my decision :)

Yesterday was a super awesome day. Wednesday’s are our Company Visit days, so we started out the morning at DraftFCB. It is a marketing agency, so I was semi-interested in it, but basically assumed it wasn’t my cup of tea. The first speaker they brought in though: the director of customer intelligence. It is a department dedicated to analyzing data about customers. It was cooler than just statistics though, because they understand the importance of creativity. The way they explained it was Albert Einstein &  Pablo Picasso’s love child (smart art). It was everything I ever wanted to see in a presentation and more. When they brought up the OkCupid data I giggled in my seat. Not only is that awesome because I love OKC (where I met Joe!), but also because their analytics are fantastic. Let’s just say, I was definitely engaged.

Lunch was awesome. We ate at Quartino’s and it was great. Salad, calamari, bread, then the really good pasta, followed by a chocolate fondue. I nearly crapped myself it was that awesome. Then, when I thought my day couldn’t get any better, they served us coffee, to which I added chocolate. I’m so serious. Life for me is just that good.

Next, we went to Grubhub. For those of you who haven’t heard of it (I hadn’t!) it is this awesome fantastic start up in Chicago, that started actually about 8 years ago. It was founded by a Booth alum, so it worked out perfectly for them to take us there. It was just like “bam, here is a future mark zuckerberg, sit in the front row and between ogling his cuteness, ask all the questions you want about starting a company.” Saying I was in heaven would be an understatement.

He and the panel of Booth alum gave so many great insights into Business School. Things that I think I already knew, but were great to have reaffirmed.

  1. Go for the education, but also for the network. What do I want to do afterwards? Go some place that will introduce me to those networks.
  2. Know what I want to do going into it. While I could figure it out during school (they usually have great career centers) it is best to go in with a goal.
  3. Everyone at school comes from different backgrounds and earned the opportunity to be there. Gather all I can from those interactions and relationships.
  4. Work experience is necessary, but there is no formula for when is right for me. If I have the excitement and passion for it now, capitalize on that.

Overall, the day was full of thoughts and emotions. I considered what would happen were I to wait an additional year to apply. Would I be a better candidate? Would I still have the drive to go? Would my interests change? How will I change?

One of my best friends from college is studying for the GMAT right now. He got into Stanford Law School but is considering going for a JD/MBA degree. I pretty much know that he and I will take over the world some day, so it makes sense to be there when he will be there so while we won’t necessarily be group partners, we will hang out and party together a lot.

Well, to bed I go. I must wake up early to get my donuts.

Chicago, Day 2

Somehow I was able to sleep in late this morning. I would like to attribute it to yesterday being so busy of a travel day, but for some reason an hour and a half flight doesn’t seem to qualify. It felt really good though, so I shouldn’t complain.

Except for all of a sudden it was noon and I was just leaving the dorm! I went for a walk around the city- I was pretty hungry but wasn’t sure what I wanted. I ended up just shopping a bit and then coming back home to look into where I wanted to eat with better resources. I also thought it would be good to grab my book to read while eating, so really it made sense for me to run back home…

I ended up going to a place called Mity Nice. Let me tell you, it was mighty nice… I ordered a drink “Bee’s Knees” which was vodka, honey, and fresh squeezed lemon. It was so fricken delicious. For lunch I orded the acapulco salad, which again, probably the best salad I’ve ever had. I even took a picture this time:

I lingered in the restaurant for awhile and then went home. I didn’t get a lot of reading done, but enough to consider it a productive lunch. Once I got back, I took a nap. I love Sunday afternoon naps more than anything in the world. It was perfect. Except that I was a little cold, but I blame Joe for that. [I’m so used to him keeping me warm!]

When I woke up I accepted it was finally time to get kicking on my homework. Then I realized how much their was. Crap, I had a lot to do! Why were they all like “oh yes, here is your free day, but, bee tea dubs, here is an accounting book. Read the first three chapters by Monday morning!”? It feels nice to be back in the books though. The material is actually interesting (in a dry/mandatory sort of way). I like that I have my job that I can be all like “ooohhh… I get this.. I see how this applies!” It makes me definitely appreciate that I took time to work before considering school, and also that I decided not to accept admission to Carlson this fall. Another year will just make me that much more prepared (right?).

As a side note, I believe that definitely is the hardest word to spell. Not only do I spell it incorrectly each time I type it, but I also type it in such a way that Chrome can’t even suggest the correct spelling. Okay, time to finish this work and get skippin’ to bed!