September 02, 2006

Unfuck to Stowe Boyd

A lot is passing between and among bloggers on blog and through email and telephone regarding the Office 2.0 Conference, which, until today had only one woman represented among the 53 "visionaries" scheduled to speak.

You can follow the other blogs and comments to get up to speed on developments re: the conference leaders. Good news--earnest outreach to highly qualified women speakers has begun, and I believe the speakers list is beginning to show that speaking up made a difference this time.

It wouldn't have without Stowe Boyd, though. What a class act. Guys and women, you could do a lot worse than to watch how Stowe comports himself around the tech space and its most complex issues, NOT just around women, but around his clients, his thinking, his reviews of new technology, his dealings with colleagues and competitors, his humanness. He is transparent and open, not afraid to call bullshit when he sees it, and he has both shown and earned respect from the folks who know him well.

Without Stowe in this discussion, it would have gone nowhere, because Ismael, the conference organizer, could not get past his own condescending 'but but but's and focused initially on feeling put-upon and wronged, and also upset that I "attacked" Stowe. With Stowe's counsel, I think Ismael's getting there.

AND ON THAT ISSUE, Stowe wasn't attacked. Stowe was confronted online by a friend over a public issue that matters to her. My fuck-off to Stowe was not a reflection of his character, for crying out loud, but a HELLO to his supporting and brandishing that Office 2.0 graphic on his sidebar knowing that it was linking to an all-male (sorry, one woman), 53-person "sausage party" somehow put together without due diligence on making the conference even a TEEEENY bit inclusive.

This attack bullshit has GOT to stop.

Piling on to PROTECT people when arguments arise on important topics may seem "civil" and "polite," but it's really quite slimy. I don't bother stating my opinion unless I'm ready to discuss it. When I wrote what I wrote, I knew exactly what I meant and why. I was relatively sure Stowe would too. I'm pretty sure Ross and Paul did too.

I have even more respect for Stowe today than I did a couple of weeks ago, not because he decided that YES they could do better, but because he took my Fuck You, he took it like a friend, he wasn't afraid of it because it came from a female, and he responded NOT with blogdom's new favorite "hey, that was an ad hominem" or "are you playing the gender card?" cop-outs. Instead he responded with one simple phrase that made real discussion possible:

                              "Fuck me."

You see, Stowe met me there. Fuckin'-a, THAT is special. THAT's how real conversation between men and women and women and women and me and men and grown-ups in general drills down into meaningful stuff.

We meet each other there. I put my foot on a stair, you put yours there too, we walk down together.

Forget the pomp. Blow the circumstance. Meet me and help me meet you.

Thank you, Stowe Boyd.

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