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Last night gave way to our 6th London Girl Geek Dinner.  It was a lot of fun and there were some really interesting people at the event.  We had Celia Francis the CEO of talking and she was fantastic.  Un-beknown to me when I asked her to talk was the fact that she is pregnant with a baby girl.  :)  Fortunately I had already decided that the event this time was going to be non-smoking.... mainly because it was an enclosed room and smoke would have made it quite uncomfortable for some of us (including me). 

We had some fun and interesting discussions about new designs for WeeMees from pregnant ones, to ones with haggis and whisky as WeeWorld has a bit of a Scottish (Glasgow) heritage.  We also got into discussions on UI design and interactivity.  There was a discussion about what Web 2.0 really is and what it is percieved to be.... and how to distinguish 2.0 from marketing hype.  (that was a very interesting discussion...)

I was a little disappointed in the number of attendees for the event last night, as we had 56 signed up and only 25 - 30 actually turned up.  Our usual drop out rate of around 15 - 25% went way up this time.  It's a shame coz it makes it so much harder to organise events when people do that and don't tell us.  It meant there was loads of food and a big bill to foot at the end of it all.  Fortunately Microsoft were good enough to cover us for it this time, but really we shouldn't have to rely on them for these sorts of things. 

I didn't do a podcast this time, but i will give a short summary about what Celia talked about.  Here goes: 

Introduction to Celia:

Celia Francis is the CEO of WeeWorld who do the WeeMee characters and personal identity system.  She got into IT and business through her design interests and her interest in new product development.  She worked for AV, XT, IDEO and T-Mobile prior to becoming the CEO of WeeWorld.  Celia likes being a female in the male dominated world of business and technology because she stands out from the norm and gets attention easily because she is different.  (I have to say I agree with her totally... it does have it's benefits ;) )  On the other side of things however she did say that people tend to be drawn to people who are like them for example American Female.  She sees diversity as key to organisations as it brings strength to them and in reality people are more alike than they are different.  Celia also went on to discuss some countries cultural norms barriers such as Germany and their perception of women with children and the need to be open to ideas and to be able to handle unusual cultural differences.  To overcome some of these relationship barriers she stated that you should take responsibility for your own performance and relationships with others.  Be the best at what you do and ensure integrity (i.e. do what you say you are going to do, listen and nurture relationships and be strong and clear in your communications to others.)

We then went on to the subject of starting a business.  Celia has always been attracted to opportunities that allow imagination to become a reality.  She benefited from her US background by spending time in Silicone Valley and was taught that failure is not the end, it is a learning curve.  She also stated that an entrepreneur is a hero and a great model for success.  Celia also noted that the UK has a great technical and entrepreneurial culture but that it needs better publicity than the likes of  Dragons Den and Eastenders.  The biggest comment about Dragons Den that I thought was a great comment was "Go in with a fantastic idea, give a great presentation and then when you are offered the money turn them down stating that you can get a better offer elsewhere!"  Which in a way is genious because it really does show the entrepreneurial spirit in the fact that the publicity of the idea means that your customers already know about the product and you have people saying that it is a great idea so you have support as well!

Something else that was stated was that "All things are possible... decide what you want and go and get it!"  That is what Celia did with WeeWorld.

So... about WeeWorld... what is it all about?  Well, having fun and expressing yourself.  A weemee is a unique visual identity that you can use across all your digital communication channels from IM to e-mail, blogging, voip, mms, mobile interface display systems, and it says more than a photograph.  WeeWorld has partnerships with MSN, Skype, Motorola and a number of other large organisations across the world.  They are the leaders in personalization and self expression with 9 million WeeMees and a new one born every 5 - 6 seconds.

It was announced last night that WeeWorld have just managed to secure capital to the value of $15.5 million to further develop the company, which is fantastic news.  This news also hit the papers this morning but it was great to hear it from Celia directly.  So now that she has the funding and financial backing she is looking for a CTO and has a number of positions available for developers, designers and innovators, so if you think you would like to work in your own little WeeWorld have a look on the website get in contact with them.

Posted on Wednesday, May 17, 2006 4:59 AM Geek Dinners , London Girl Geek Dinners , New Media | Back to top

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