A message to the jerk who tried to ruin my blog

I contemplated for a long time whether or not I should write something about this. After all, the (most likely unemployed and sexually frustrated) man who has been amusing himself by writing dirty comments on my blog is simply seeking attention. Therefore, by writing something about him, I’m probably doing exactly what he wants.

But that’s not the point.

The point is that for whatever reason some jerk has been writing dozens of horribly inappropriate comments on my blog, using either “Dominique Strauss-Kahn” or “Michael Arrington” as his name. Most of you have probably already seen them, but if not here’s a sample of some of the comments I’ve received (nice job hacking and using this IP address and this one*)

 

Now, some people have told me this is part of the job – that being a blogger in the public eye has it’s drawbacks. OK, I agree, after all, Michael Arrington has had his fair share of being called horrible things. And someone went as far as to spit on him. But I highly doubt that any man has ever received these types of comments on his blog.

Quick fix.

It’s not a huge deal and fortunately, there’s an easy way to fix the problem:  I’ve decided to moderate comments on my blog. Therefore, anytime someone wants to comment, I will receive an email and validate the comment before it appears on my site. This does not stop the good old jerk from attempting to post his terrible comments and crowding my inbox, but at least my blog can go back to looking professional again.

No man’s blog.

The sad thing is that this kind of kills my blog (ok, I’m exaggerating, but still…). One of the main features of a blog that distinguishes it from more traditional media forms is that readers can comment and exchange thoughts – in real time. Not only does comment validation mean that I will receive fewer comments (because now people will feel that they need to pay more attention to what they write), it also takes away from the real-time aspect of my blog.

More than lipstick and a pair of shoes.

Yes, it probably sounds a little melodramatic. I’m a girl, a tech blogger and here I am getting digitally harassed by some loser online. Oh boo-hoo. But then again, writing is my job and this blog – no matter how silly it may seem – is how I got my current job.

And I’ve gotten a variety of rather odd/insulting comments from men as a result of my being a female in the tech world. For example, A male classmate of mine last year told me that he “saw me as a man” because I spent so much time in front of my computer. Ha, really? Another time, I was given a demo of a content platform where the entrepreneur thought I would understand better if he used “shoes” as the example for the demo (now that I think about it, shoes have been used to demo several times). Little did he know that my knowledge in shoes is comparable to my ability to speak Chinese – which is almost non-existent. I’ve had people attempt to explain things to me in overly simplified terms as if I wouldn’t understand otherwise – and I’ve also had numerous people tell me that being a girl in tech is not very “feminine”. Um, OK. But I got my favorite comment when I was at a conference in San Francisco: someone told me to quit my job and put my photo on some trashy website! Errr…no thanks.

I don’t really think I’m being hypersensitive; these types of comments aren’t usually that offensive, just annoying.

Not the only one.

People often ask me “What is the point of Girls in Tech ? Is there really a need for this type of organization?” Well, Girls in Tech is NOT a feminist group. I am not trying to say girls are better than boys or any of that nonsense. I’m just trying to help empower women in the tech space, to encourage them and to show them successful examples – and here is a perfect example of why. I know for a fact that there are other women that have had to deal with similar issues. For example, if a female founder raises a lot of money, all of a sudden everyone says she’s sleeping with her investors. I could give you more examples, but I’ll stop here…

Blah blah blah.

Honestly, I just hope that if anyone wants to give me a valid comment on anything, that they will continue to do so despite the fact that I now moderate comments. I promise to post all comments unless they are spam or mature/inappropriate as seen below.

*In the original post, I thought that the comments were coming from a unique IP address (that of Choopa.com) but this is not the case.

PS: I appreciate all the feedback, comments, emails, tweets, etc that I have got regarding this post. Not to worry, this will not become a regular subject. The main reasons I published this post were to 1) shed light on a rather ugly problem and 2) explain to my readers why I will be moderating comments from now on.

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A Tale of 2+ Cities

It’s been exactly a year since I arrived in Paris to go back to school, 8 months since I started silly ol’ Techbaguette, 7 months since I started writing for TechCrunch Europe, 5 months since I relaunched TechCrunch France and 3 months since we launched Girls in Tech Paris. Man, oh man, time has sure gone by fast.

It was the best of times. It was (never) the worst of times.

(Yes, that’s modified Charles Dickens quote from a Tale of 2 cities.) Initially, I started TechBaguette just for fun – to shed a little light on the local tech scene in English for any passing readers and to remind myself that there was life after Sciences Po. And somehow, that little project magically transformed into turned into TechCrunch France and Girls in Tech Paris – translation: a nice little bridge between Silicon Valley and the +33. In my opinion, France has come a long way since I arrived – several seed funds, the Founder Institute, Startup Weekend, tons of company launches, some mega acquisitions…and I know that the best is yet to come. I should give credit where credit is due: I wouldn’t have a blog without content and my content is the vibrant French tech scene.

Next stop: London Town.

That’s right, it’s a tale of 2+ cities – or should I say countries ? The US, France and now I’m headed to the UK – because I still have to finish up my degree for the next few months (boo, yes, I thought about dropping out but I haven’t thought of an invention like the iPod or Facebook yet). I’m not about to abandon the French tech crowd. And to prove it, I’ll be back every month – next week, in fact, for several (not all) of the events on my events page. With TechCrunch, Girls in Tech, the Potrepreneurs meetup, Startup Weekend, LeWeb, Midem, etc., I bet that I’ll be back so often that nobody will really notice that I don’t live here. Neither will I, for that matter.

“I’ll be back.”

(Yes, that’s my governator.) Whatever you do, please don’t ask me what will happen to TechCrunch France – it will hopefully only get better. Let’s not forget I also have a fabulous team – Cédric and Clément. Plus, Ouriel managed to do a fantastic job with TechCrunch France while in Israel and I’m fairly certain that I am capable of doing the same. Try me. Plus, the way I’m looking at things – it’s only temporary. I’ll be back.

But still, I find it incredibly important to be available for the local community, even while I’m in London. I’ll be sure to post the dates under the “events” tab on my blog and distribute the info via Twitter for anyone who’d like to arrange to meet. And of course I’ll also be 100% available by all forms of electronic communication and for anyone who passes through London ! Hello TechHub !!

“INSULARITY IS THE EUROPEAN STARTUP KILLER.”

This is a quote that an American VC friend of mine in London (did that give it away?) recently said. It’s brilliant and oh-so-true. My experience in San Francisco inspired projects for France and London will inevitably do the same. Even though my heart may belong to the French market, the next few months will be dedicated to expanding my knowledge beyond the Hexagon and getting a better idea of what is being created out there. And maybe I’ll go to class once in a while too. 🙂

No, tech woman, no cry.

I usually try to keep most of the info on my blog free of personal jargon. But it’s perhaps the right time to say thank you to each and every entrepreneur who has been supportive of the TechCrunch relaunch and Girls in Tech. It’s only reinforced my affinity for the local tech kids and my belief that there is a lot of talent and innovation that deserves to be seen and discovered. I’ve learned an incredible amount from every last person that I’ve met. Know that it’s a pleasure being your sounding board and English-speaking voice. Vous m’inspirez, tous.

(Start chapter 2 here.)

Liberté, égalité, sororité: women in the French tech space

I naturally get excited when I come across a young entrepreneur. But, in the male-dominated tech environment, I get even more excited when that young entrepreneur is female. 

Here is a look at 3 French start-ups founded by 20-something-year-old ladies.

Leetchi (@Leetchiweb) 

The company is founded by 27-year-old Céline Lazorthes (@celinelazorthes) and is a platform that simplifies group purchases or payments. Leetchi is one of the first companies to receive funding from Jérémie Berrebi and Xavier Niel’s seed fund, Kima Ventures.

MonShowRoom (@monshowroom) 

MonShowRoom is a feminine fashion e-commerce platform founded by 20-something-year-olds Séverine Grégoire and Chloé Ramade. The company has received funding from Crédit Agricole Private Equity and Alven Capital.

E-citizen.com (@citizen_team)

26-year-old Alix Poulet is co-founder of the e-commerce platform that sells organic products. For all purchases, 5% is contributed to organizations like the WWF, PlaNet Finance and Handicap International without asking for an extra penny from the consumer.

Geeky in Pink.

In France, there are actually quite a few women in the tech space – and several lady networking groups to go along with it, including WiFilles and Paris Geek Girl Dinners.

Sister Cities: San Francisco and Paris

Now to top it all off, what if we brought San Francisco’s Girls in Tech to Paris? It would connect the Paris female tech scene with the rest of the GIT chapters and vice versa. Jackpot. So ladies, if you’re a girl in tech and you’d like to get involved, please let me know. Otherwise, stay tuned for more info…