So you want more women at your tech event? Don’t have the porn industry sponsor your event.

This is part of an ongoing series called So you want more women at your tech event?

If you are going to run a tech conference with fewer than 5% women speakers, you probably want to avoid additional criticism about your lack of inclusivity. But if you also have the adult entertainment industry sponsor your event, maybe you’re not really worried about being inclusive.

ConFoo 2012 (careful, that link is occasionally redirecting to porn sites in Russia*), which began yesterday, was already under criticism for it’s very low number of women speakers. Out of 109 speakers only 5 are women. That’s 4.6% to be exact. It’s also the third year that the proportion of women speakers has hovered around 5%.

If you haven’t read Leila Boujnane’s great post on the subject, you should. It also includes responses from one of the official organizers. Of note, ConFoo organizer Anna Filina asks Leila Boujnane not to come to their events because they prefer “non-sexist, open-minded and respectful people.”

Apparently that includes the adult entertainment industry, notably their major sponsor ManWin Canada. The ManWin website doesn’t mention their links to the industry on their homepage, but if you check out their press releases, you’ll find they have the following to say about themselves:

Manwin is the leading international provider of high-quality adult entertainment, delivered through online, mobile and television media platforms. It is the owner of the largest network of adult websites in the world, with more than 60 million daily visitors. As an uncontested market leader in the online adult entertainment industry, Manwin has developed various in-house technologies with respect to HD video streaming and website optimization, which enables it to compete on a matchless playing field. Based out of Europe, Manwin headquarters are in Luxembourg, with management offices in Hamburg, London, Montreal and Los Angeles.

I wonder if the ConFoo swag bags are a little racier than usual this year?

The talks seem to be. The Wednesday night keynote was delivered by Eric Pickup of Manwin: Building a Website to Scale to 100 Million Page Views Per Day and Beyond. I’m told the talk centred on the relaunch of one of their adult entertainment sites.

It speaks poorly to the organizers, who claim to want to include women. They say they’ve tried but they can’t get enough speakers, there aren’t enough women in tech to choose from, at least not at the “hard-core”conferences.

I suppose some of us have different ideas about what constitutes “hard-core”.

It also speaks poorly to the other sponsors. It’s a bit surprising that WebNotWar, a Microsoft Corp. open source project, or Nurun, the interactive marketing agency are associating themselves with that industry.

Gamma Jobs, part of Gamma Entertainment, on the other hand, probably does not mind quite as much, since they are also in the adult entertainment industry. According to their website:

Founded in 2000, we have been leaders in this segment of the Adult Industry by consistently planning IT infrastructures for customer projects and helping them integrate technology to achieve higher results and grow their online business.

And what about the speakers? Would Shopify, or any of the other speakers have been so eager to promote their links to the event, if they had known this in advance?

Not including a significant proportion of women in the speaker line-up already shows that the organizers don’t have inclusivity as a top priority. But to fund the event with money from an industry that actively promotes the objectification of women? Well, let’s just say that some women (and men) might not feel especially welcome.

The take home lesson: Yes, sponsors can make or break your event, and sometimes you don’t have the luxury of being as choosy as you’d like to. However, there is a lot of sponsorship funding available for those who look. if your goal is to increase diversity, then you might want to ensure that your sponsors have the same goals in mind.

March 2 update: I’ve been asked to suggest specific ways to avoid this type of situation. Here they are.

For event organizers:

  1. Ensure that you have a sponsorship policy in place before taking any money. What type of sponsors would you refuse? It’s a good idea to make the policy public as well. It sets the tone for the event and makes the rules clear to everyone involved.
  2. Ensure that the sponsors are following your guidelines. You can develop a sponsors responsibility policy and even have sponsors sign it.
  3. Check with other events and see what they are doing to ensure their sponsors uphold event values. Many make their sponsorship policy public.
  4. What if it is too late? Take responsibility and Issue a public apology. Above all else, take any complaints seriously.

For speakers:

  1. Develop your own personal policy about what types of events you want to be associated with.
  2. Read the event sponsorship policy. Keep in mind that when you speak at an event your name and often your business or employer’s name becomes associated with that event. You will be seen to be endorsing the event. Make sure that the sponsorship policy is one you feel comfortable with.
  3. Speak up. If event organizers are doing something you feel uncomfortable with, speak up. After all, your professional reputation is on the line.

For sponsors:

  1. Ask to see the event sponsorship policy. Make sure that it reflects your values. If there isn’t one, ask that one be created. Remember that your business’ reputation can be effected by what happens at the event. You will be seen to endorse what happens there.
  2. Ask to see the list of other sponsors well before the event. That way you have time to reconsider if you feel your values don’t mesh with those of the event organizers. And look at the list of sponsors on the event site. Usually you can follow the links to their websites and do some quick research.
  3. What if it is too late? Take responsibility and Issue a public apology. Above all else, take any complaints seriously.

For attendees and the general public:

  1. If you object to the sponsorship policy, or any other policy of an event, let the organizers know. Otherwise, organizers may assume that there is no problem at all.
  2. If you choose not to attend an event, letting organizers know why is especially important. Otherwise, organizers may not even know there is a problem. This is especially true if you find that an event policy is reducing diversity. It has to do with the notion of privilege. The nature of privilege is that it is the least visible to those who have it, and the most visible to those who don’t. Sometimes communication and education can help a lot.
  3. Tell event speakers that you don’t appreciate their endorsement of the event.
  4. If you object to specific sponsors, contact the other sponsors and let them know that their business reputation may be suffering by becoming associated with a given event.
  5. If you feel an event is particularly objectionable, and that communication with the event organizers is not productive, contact the media and let them know your concerns.

To borrow (and very possibly misuse) a slogan from Cindy Gallop, lets get back to making tech not porn.

* Update: Seems someone is redirecting that link to porn sites, but only when the link comes from my article. Very classy.

Read the second part of this post.

32 thoughts on “So you want more women at your tech event? Don’t have the porn industry sponsor your event.

  1. I am a speaker at ConFoo, and I challenged the ConFoo organizers with the following questions:

    How many proposals for talks did you get? (Answer was something in the hundreds)
    How many male persons proposed talks? (Answer was a hundred-something)
    How many female persons proposed talks? (Answer was something like ten)
    How many talks by male speakers did you accept? (Answer was less than 50%)
    How many talks by female spakers did you accept? (Answer was around 60%)

    I thus conclude that ConFoo is discriminating against men, because a higher percentage of the women’s talk proposals have been accepted.

    If you agree with me that this conclusion is plain nonsense, then maybe we can also agree on the fact that it is also plain nonsense to hold 4.6% agains the ConFoo organizers. If way fewer women hand in propoals than men, then it is just natural that there are way more male speakers at the conference.

    Would you expect the organizers to accept all or almost all proposals of female speakers, just because they are female? Should qualification and reputation of the speaker not count?

    And what does the whole thing have to do with porn? Nothing at all. Because at the time the call for papers was running, the majority of sponsors had even not been announced yet.

    • I think you missed the point of this blog entry. Having the porn industry be your main sponsor is not going to help bring in more women speakers now or in the future.

      Using your numbers, you could ask why only 9 women put forward talk proposals when other tech conferences have far more proposals from women.

      (I’m using the number 9 since anything higher than 9 would mean that the 5 accepted women speakers would represent an acceptance rate of 50% or less, thereby negating your central (albeit sarcastic) position that men are discriminated against.)

      I’d also argue that an organization that is sponsored by the porn industry probably doesn’t have a mind set that would help attract women speakers in the first place. If you have a mind set that is already hostile towards women participation, then women that know anything about your conference are going to be less likely to participate.

      We’re not talking rocket science here. Build an environment that’s less hostile towards women, and then more women will participate.

      • Seems this blog post is very sexist. In a world of equality saying that one sex won’t go/take part in something because of a rather vague reference to porn seems sexist. It implies that some how that sex is more oppressed than the other.

        The fact people keep complaining about the lack of females in the industry seems silly, it’s not something we choose it’s something that happened. It seems to be less females enjoy playing about with computers, just like less males than females enjoy playing about with hair. Stefan Priebsch hit the nail on the head with the CFP being before sponsors were announced. CFP ended in August/September, Manwin were announced as Sponsors in December.

        Lets carry on with 2012 and not jump back to 1960s.

        • I know of many women who prefer to spend their time using their computers as opposed to playing with their hair and count myself among them.

          Saying that women are more oppressed than men is not implied. It is factually stated. The lack of women in tech is usually not “chosen”. There are few individuals who actively discriminate against women by actively choosing to exclude them. Instead women are excluded from educational opportunities, speaking opportunities, career opportunities, etc. in a much more subtle, systemic way that doesn’t require individuals to actively choose to discriminate against them. That does not remove the responsibility of us all to promote inclusion. Having the adult entertainment industry sponsor a tech event as well as promoting that industry through keynote speaking positions is one such way.

          Gamma Enterprises has been a sponsor of ConFoo previously. So it is very possible to have known, or at least presumed, that the adult entertainment industry would again be sponsoring ConFoo this year, even before submitting a proposal. This could easily reduce the number of people of either gender submitting proposals.

          • I didn’t say it was an either or. I was merely using it as an example. I.E. there is a clear difference in the ratio of men:women in hair dressing like there is in tech.

            Yes there will be people actively discriminating that’s true about a lot of things, sex, race, skin colour, religion, hair colour, looks, etc. There are nasty people out there, this industry isn’t any different.

            I personally feel the promoting of inclusion is sexist. I don’t feel that either sex is better than the other and to be actively recruiting on sex over the other seems to be in itself a sexist act which doesn’t promote equality.

          • @Iain Cambridge: When you say “promoting of inclusion is sexist,” what you’re basically saying is that you think maintaining the status quo is not sexist, despite reams of evidence that the numbers of women in the industry don’t match the numbers of women on the dais. When my grandmother was born, women weren’t allowed to vote, much less run for office. It took years of “promoting of inclusion” for women to break into public speaking roles in politics. The tech industry isn’t special — we’re not more evolved and naturally fair, no matter how much we like to throw around terms like meritocracy (and believe me, I throw them around myself all the time). If we want the experiences of men and women in our industry to truly be on a level playing field, we have to work to make it so.

            Mike Monteiro wrote a nice article about this stuff last year, worth a quick read: http://weblog.muledesign.com/2010/05/on_gender_race_conferences_and.php

    • How many male persons proposed talks? (Answer was a hundred-something)
      How many female persons proposed talks? (Answer was something like ten)

      That’s part of the problem – if you’re not getting a reasonable number of proposed talks from qualified women, it should throw up a big red flag. A minimal effort to reach such speakers would be good for the con, reach a larger audience, and might even give the impression that the con organizers value women speakers.

      • That would be true, normally, except that ConFoo is getting far less submissions from women than most other tech conferences of a similar size. Generally, a “normal” range is from 10% to 20% with many conferences going as high as 35%.

        Using Stefan’s statistics, around 208 men applied (since 50% were accepted and there are 104 male speakers) and only 9 women applied. That’s around 4% of submissions were from women.

        According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, women account for 24.8% of the tech field and 20.2% of the programming field. So we could ask why there was such a lower submission rate for women at ConFoo then at other conferences in Montreal of a similar nature.

        My first guess is that they seek out speakers that they know, and those speakers are likely male. There’s nothing wrong in that. But if you actively approach a few additional women that are big in the field, they may actually want to speak. And then the ball starts rolling.

        My second guess is that the attitude of the organizers is turning people off to the conference. If someone brings up the subject, the organizers immediately get offensive and attack the messenger. How is that supposed to make someone feel welcome or foster an open dialogue?

        So I’ll repeat my question that you seemed to have skipped: “why are there so few submissions from women?”

        • The point Id make is this: If you’re hosting a tech conference, and you don’t get many speaking proposals from qualified women, *look for more*.

        • “My first guess is that they seek out speakers that they know”.

          I have spoken 3 times at ConFoo. I have never been asked to speak there. I just happened to know there was this conference and I replied to the CFP. In the last 15 years that I have given talks to tech conferences. I have been asked to talk only a couple of times. So that doesn’t match my experience.

          Today I continued to speak with women at the conference. Speakers and attendees. None complained about manwin being the sponsor of the conference. As I said in an earlier comment it is not necessary a representative comment, but it’s true on both side of the count. We do not have serious data to jump to conclusions.

          What I’m more interested by is what we stop to point finger and blame each other and we are working for establishing an environment which encourages diversity and respect (and not only for women).

          For example as a positive action, having Shannon proposing a talk when the CFP is out, having any women out there who are programmers (the main topic of this conf) to send proposal for talks.

          I have also asked to women who were attendees and not speakers, if they had proposed a talk AND if not, why they didn’t do it. The answer was along the same line that I heard for some men:

          * too shy
          * I’m not qualified
          * my topic is boring.

          The thing which has to be changed is not necessary encouraging more women but to shift frm a macho/testosterone/geek culture testoterone to a more human one. Some men are also challenged by the blunt culture of “commit code or die”.

          Second take from Marc. Any organizers I have talked to at the conference were not specifically defensive. I suggested a few things on how to handle the case.

          I think all of us need to go seat around a table and chat. Body language is a lot better than dry comments on a blog post sometimes.

          PS: Shannon what is wrong with playing with your hair. I love to put my hand on my head :p ;)

          Let’s not stereotype genders.

          • I was assuming that ConFoo were biased towards people they know (i.e. already presented), given that 45 speakers were on their second or third stint. But that’s not actually a bad thing, as I said earlier. In fact, if all those 45 speakers were men (by complete accidental and unintentional happenstance) then the actual ratio of women speakers to men speakers in non-repeat speakers would be 9 / 54 (9.5%, plus or minus) which is a lot better than 9 / 109 (4.5%, plus or minus). The overall ratio could change easily just be openly inviting a few more women speakers that are big in their fields. There are tonnes of them, and they are easy to find.

            I appreciate your poll taking, but it’s a little biased (those that are there are more likely to be okay with the conference: they registered for it, after all). To be complete, you should also poll the women in the industry that didn’t submit and/or didn’t register for the conference and find out why they didn’t go. In particular, ask those who regularly speak at other conferences and ask them why they choose to not submit to ConFoo. That’s the more telling poll.

          • @Marc

            “I appreciate your poll taking, but it’s a little biased (those that are there are more likely to be okay with the conference: they registered for it, after all). To be complete, you should also poll the women in the industry that didn’t submit and/or didn’t register for the conference and find out why they didn’t go. In particular, ask those who regularly speak at other conferences and ask them why they choose to not submit to ConFoo. That’s the more telling poll.”

            As I said in a previous comment, many people will have a grudge about something. Let’ say for example someone passionate about the opensource community having a bad feeling about Microsoft sponsoring the conference.

            I asked Shannon on twitter if she had proposed a talk this year. She didn’t reply. Maybe it was just because she didn’t think the conference was the right venue for her specific skills. I have seen a comment from @Belinda where she said that she knew 10 women who didn’t go to the conferences. Now I’m curious, because if there is a public we should be meeting is this crowd and to enter in a dialog.

            The other alternative is to say “Never I will associate myself with confoo because of what happened this year”. Then I don’t see the point of discussing about confoo conference or to blame anyone in there. We all loose time, if we don’t move forward to concrete solutions.

            One very good thing that ParisWeb did last year when preparing the conference and BEFORE the call for participation is a speaking training for beginners. They created one free day where people could learn what it meant to talk in front of a crowd, what kind of topics, how to be more comfortable, how to improve the talk, etc. This is good because it lowered the barrier for *everyone* which is my main point. The systemic gender bias (Shannon is right about this) should not be fight by another system. It usually makes things worse and it usually creates more walls in between community. In my experience it is a lot better to be inclusive of everyone and to create an environment where people feel comfortable.

            And bear with me, this doesn’t mean where everyone is convinced, but where everyone is sufficiently comfortable to reach a consensus. For example, when you come up to a situation “I do not necessary agree with that but I can live with it.”

  2. In what universe is having two porn companies sponsor a mainstream professional conference considered acceptable? Really? This is perfectly fine in 2012? It’s like I’ve stepped into an alternate reality.

    And I completely agree with Marc – if you want women to feel welcome as participants and sponsors – then actively work to create a welcoming atmosphere. That includes NOT having porn companies as sponsors. It also includes NOT having your organizers consistently publicly attacking other women and telling them to shut the F up. Seriously? This sort of verbal abuse is acceptable?

    Because of this despicable behaviour, I personally cannot see myself ever submitting a talk to this conference unless something changes dramatically.

    Organizers who react defensively to this sort of discussion need to take a step back and look at themselves first, and ask themselves, “Why am I reacting like this? Is it constructive in any way? Does it reflect well on me as a professional? How can I work WITH women to effect positive change instead of gut-reactively telling them to shut up, which then intimidates others?”

    And redirecting links in posts that you disagree with to porn sites? Wow. I think it speaks volumes about what kind of people we’re dealing with here.

    • I agree. It just isn’t professional.

      Can you imagine if a group of doctors, say, plastic surgeons, got together to hold a conference and said “Well, people in the porn industry get a lot of work done… let’s have them be a sponsor”?

      Or what if a group of bankers were holding a conference… would they say “Well, legal porn makes us a lot of money… let’s have them be a sponsor”?

      Or what if the chamber of commerce of a city looked around and asked “Which industries are growing and profiting in our city, despite tough economic times?…. I know, let’s honour the porn industry at out end-of-year banquet.”

      All of theses situations are unlikely to take place because these industries treat themselves like professions. They want to be taken seriously. They want to appear professional to the general public. The tech industry should hold themselves to the same standards.

  3. (I’m not part of the organization of ConFoo, I have been speaking there for the last 3 years.)

    I discussed on twitter a bit. The issue is interesting. Because of this blog post I asked today a few women participating to the conference what they were thinking about the main sponsor being a tech company specialized in the porn industry. So far I didn’t have any negative comments about it from women. I had negative comments from some men. I will not take that as a telling sample. It would require a lot more discussion.

    I discussed with one of the persons of the organization and asked if they could.

    1. Send an email to all women participating (attendance, speaker) after the conference, and to ask them to express their views about the issue.
    2. To invite Shannon Smith to discuss about improving the environment for women.

    Identifying issues is one thing, but working altogether toward a resolution is the only way to move things forward and change mindset on both sides. I value consensus. Discussing is key, listening each other is key.

    For the call for speakers, sponsors were not known. So this is definitely not an argument for the lack of women proposing talks.

    In the attendance this year, there were more women than the previous year. It is definitely not enough but it partly matches what I have seen in companies I have worked in. Not an excuse, just a fact.

    A good surprise this year at the conference. There were women back-end developers. It’s usually more common to have women in front-end jobs and QA. So this was good too. Things change (too slowly for sure).

    Another point I was thinking when this issue has been raised is to reverse the question, and ask myself what are all the type of industries I would be uncomfortable with as a sponsor of a tech conference. And that becomes a very hard issue. At least the two which came to my mind were: Ads industry (Google included) is all about sucking your personal data and ditching your privacy. Military industry… do I need to explain? etc.

    Shannon, thanks for opening the discussion, let’s not all of us close it with fights but with discussions to find out solutions.

  4. What if the sponsors specialized in homosexual male pornography? Would there be significantly different number of *men* that submit talks because of that? What about women?

    • I think the point is that it doesn’t matter if it’s male-oriented or female-oriented porn that sponsors the tech event. Either way, it’s unprofessional.

  5. Hi,

    I think your posts opens a very interesting discussion. I would like, if I may, add some of my thoughts. First of all, let me say I’m a woman and I’ve been working in the IT world for about 14 years, first as an HTML integrator then as a PHP developper.

    And yes. I was a victim of sexism on a few occasions. Usually by younger male colleagues, but also and *mostly* by a female boss who was a technical person (but she always meant it as a joke, of course). On the other hand, I never found the PHP and HTML communities to be sexist, I never felt being put down (in those communities) because I was a woman.

    I’ve been attending Confoo/PHP Québec for a few years. That a company involved in adult entertainment sponsors the event never bothered me on the condition that it is done with good taste and respectfully to everyone. If you do not know in what business Gamma and Manwin are it is impossible to guess what that business is. It has no impact on whether I will attend to conference or not.

    There is one thing that will have an impact on attending some sessions: the graphic content of some slides. In the past, I’ve unwillingly seen slides with content that I find are not appropriate for a tech conference. I now avoid going to see the session of theese speakers.

    I agree that there are not enough women in the industry. I’ve often been the only female programmer at my job. When people learn that I work “in the web” they usually assume I’m a designer. But I’m wondering if this problem should be fully blamed on the tech community? Is it possible that the perception of “our” world by the “outside” world is wrong? Is it possible that young women choosing a career will not choose a technical career because they’ve been told by friends and parents that it’s a boy’s job?

    We probably all have a part to play if we wish to see a real evolution in this. Wouldn’t it be nice if young girls had other role models than Disney Princesses?

    Again, Shannon, thanks for this post, I think it opens the door to a large debate although I do not think that the presence of Manwin and Gamma as sponsors of ConFoo had any real impact on women attending or not the conference.

  6. Excellent post, Shannon. A lot of women in the Montreal IT world discuss this sort of thing privately via email groups, and I know at least 10 who have no interest in going to ConFoo until there’s a deep shift in attitude and action re-women. These are not radical women either. They mostly want to safeguard their professional reputation and, um, keep their self-respect.

    Time is limited, so when you’re trying to decide which conference to submit a talk to, this is the sort of thing that affects a speaker’s decision. Word spreads fast thanks to Twitter, and reputations stick from year to year thanks to Google search. It’s gonna take a ton of work to repair ConFoo’s reputation. I don’t understand why they insist on adding to their problem. Sponsor money?

  7. To be honest, it seems like there’s a fundamental problem with diversity in their speaker choices.

    Each year, the list of speakers ends up being a samey looking wall of men. But when you consider that *45* of the speakers this yeah have previously spoken at confoo (38 last year, 26 in 2010; there’s a bunch of third timers..), it really looks like the odds are stacked against new people, regardless of what’s in their pants.

    When you take away the slots for the favoured speakers and the slots for sponsor speakers; there’s not a whole lot to go round.

  8. I personally know at least two highly qualified women programmers who submitted talk to Confoo but were rejected without explanation. Both were extremely disappointed. I don’t know if they will try again.

    • I don’t think that’s the issue here. I know a lot of skilled male programmers who were rejected too. You can’t accept everything cause there’s a limit to the nr. of talks you can fit into a conference ;-)

  9. hmm, well those sponsors wouldn’t really be an issue for me unless they had huge banners with explicit content on them at the conference or flyers with nude women on them in the goody bag. But they probably won’t do that right? It won’t stop me from submitting or going.

  10. I’m not sure if you’ll post this but I’m the Eric Pickup mentioned in your post.

    I think you are being terribly old fashioned. Some of our top developers are women. They tend to be more front-end oriented (HTML, CSS, and Javascript) but many are really top of the line php devs. Good developers are attracted to interesting and hard projects and we deal with those every day all day.

    I have a feeling that you are making an assumption about what kind of workplace we are. You would very surprised. It is very a very professional and even corporate environment. We work hard to solve difficult challenges and everyone, male or female who loves technology thrives in that kind of environment.

    Aside from IT which is always male-oriented, whole departments of our company are mostly female. And this includes management roles. Did you know that women successfully manage some of the largest adult sites in the world?

    You may not like what we do but many women like a challenging and rewarding professional work environment.

    • I don’t disagree that some women may find working at your company rewarding. I make no assumptions about your workplace.

      However, there are others who find being associated with the adult entertainment industry in any way unappealing and they aren’t all “old fashioned”.

      Some of the reasons women (and men) might object to being associated with adult entertainment:

      1. It doesn’t mesh with their values.
      2. They feel it has the potential to damage their professional reputation.
      3. They prefer to keep their sexual lives in the private sphere.
      4. It would embarrass them or their families.
      5. They don’t want to be seen as endorsing the industry.
      6. The adult entertainment industry is one where women and children are subjected to violent sexual and physical abuse (hopefully in the minority of cases). True, women and children are subjected to violence in other industries, but in only one other case that I can think of is that abuse the actual product being sold. Even if this is the minority of cases (I hope), and I concede that respectful pornography is possible, it may be enough for some people to boycott the entire industry.

      These are the same reasons that ManWin employees don’t always list ManWin on their CVs and LinkedIn profiles, why many people (even those not in front of the camera) use fake names while working in the industry, why (I can only presume) both ManWin and Gamma produce separate job websites or splash pages that don’t list their area of business while sponsoring events.

      The majority of the general population prefers not to be associated with the adult entertainment industry, especially when it comes to their professional lives.

      • Thanks for the thoughtful response. Almost everything you say in your response is true or close enough to it. I won’t bother with the small disagreements I have.

        At the end of the day, Manwin’s sponsorship helps make the conference possible. But we don’t throw our content in anyone’s face who doesn’t go looking for it. At heart we are a technology company.

        I did a speech this year to let of developers know what kind of new options that are available that they might not be aware of. There was actually a lot of debate on whether I should name the site but at the end logic prevailed. You can’t just say you run IT for a top 100 website without people wanting to know which one it is.

        I can only hope that I gave people some ideas that they hadn’t considered before that will help them with their own scalability problems. My solutions may not be good for every site but considering new options is never a bad idea.

        If it offended anyone, that was not my intention. I tried to keep it about the technology.

      • I don’t understand would you mention children? That’s just messed up and totally irrelevant to manwin. Are you implying they do child porn?

        Have you considered that you are being incredibly hostile to all the men and women who enjoy porn? Your perspective about the potential for exploitation and subjugation is valid, but your language borders on sex-negative in a way that just isnt relevant to most people. Most men watch porn. Most women have a partner that watches porn. Denying the ubiquity of porn is a denial of reality that tries to shame the majority for normal behavior.

        • I don’t have a problem with the private use of most legal porn, which I’ve already conceded, can be respectful. I just don’t feel it has a place in any professional conference – (outside of the adult entertainment industry of course).

  11. I am a woman and I worked at Manwin for 2 years. That company is extremely respectful for women, just as any other IT company.

    As for the lack of women, I think it’s not Confoo’s fault if there was not many women, but it’s the industry in general. I worked in many IT places and I am always a minority. A lot of women do not care for tech, some do, like us, but the majority don’t. According to this article only we represent only 27-29% and it’s declining (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women,_girls_and_information_technology).

    Oh and nobody in my new work place even knew that Manwin was an adult company or cared they were sponsor. If they make a lot of money, let them pay, why would we care?

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