Yahoo! Hack Day Winners – All Female

As one of the rare breed called the ‘female geek’, I have to admit that I was initially proud that some women had won the Yahoo! Hack Day top prize. That is, until I read what they made

Diana Eng, Emily Albinski and Audrey Roy made up the 3-woman team that came up with the winning idea. A blogging purse / pedometer mix.

I have to admit to being a bit less than thrilled about that being able to ‘win’ the Yahoo! Hack Day. The purse is rigged with a pedometer and camera connected and pointing out so that every few steps it triggers the camera to snap a shot and then blog the photo. Yay?

To be honest, I was really hoping that if a group of 3 females were going to win the Yahoo! Hack Day they might win by making something… you know, non-gender centered and actually useful. I wonder if this particular team winning doesn’t have something to do with a publicity stunt on Yahoo!’s part simply because one of the women on the team (Diana Eng) was a contestant on the popular Project Runway show. I guess we’ll never know.

~Nicole

3 thoughts

  1. Actually, I can tell you that it wasn’t rigged since I was there for all the presentations and in the room while the judges were making their decision – IMO the ladies won because their hack completely pwnd on so many levels – sewing together a reasonably wearable device from cannibalized phone parts, mashing it up with one of our most cutting edge research projects into something you could you could actually imagine real people carrying around, and pushing it out live on the interweb for a kick-butt-meta demo, all in less than a day?

    There were a lot of really awesome hacks presented, but honestly, I think the reason this one won *was* because their background (and yes, gender) allowed them to bring something new, refreshing, and (wait for it…) a cut above to Hack Day.

  2. Actually, you will know…

    As a Yahoo and a judge for the event, I can assure you that the fact that this team won was not a publicity stunt. I don’t know that any of the judges besides me (and maybe Chad and Gina) have ever heard of Project Runway. Moreover, most of the judges (Gina, Michael, Peter, Salim, David Hornik) don’t work at Yahoo… so much for conspiracy theories.

    That team won because the Hack was simply cool… and worked. I can assure you there was no gender nor publicity bias. There were many other women Hackers who won in various categories you probably wouldn’t label as “gender specific hacks” BTW…

  3. @Leonard:
    I do agree that women can bring a fresh look at many technology ideas – if for no other reason than the fact that women haven’t been as involved in tech as men have. Any group with an underutilized perspective will definitely add something new.

    However, I don’t agree that this is something that ‘real people’ would carry around at all, hence my earlier statement about hoping to see something ‘useful’ (aka: practical) come out of it.

    @Bradley:
    I am simultaneously glad to hear that there were judges who didn’t know about Project Runway or otherwise recognize her — and somewhat surprised that you haven’t heard of it 😉 It’s an extraordinarily popular show right now, and in it’s third season (yes, I do watch the show).

    I am glad to know that there were other women Hackers who won in other categories. I couldn’t seem to find a listing of the other projects that had been competing, and I assume that either I missed the link to them or it was too soon after and they’d not been posted yet. Will look around more 🙂

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