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Michael George Haddad

Good afternoon.

The world in 50 years

Women are assets

Startups founded by women are getting more funding. Firms with at least one female founder received $46 billion in venture capital in 2018, up from $21.9 billion in 2017. That is still far from ideal—it represents just 18% of the money invested in startups in 2018.

VC funding for startups with at least one female founder more than doubled in 2018

So cool to see this report from All Raise (I’m a member of the All Raise steering committee in Boston) and heartened to see this progress in funding for female founders. It’s so important that we keep this momentum going and continue to build up the entire ecosystem of women and diverse leaders in tech

So cool to see this report from All Raise (I’m a member of the All Raise steering committee in Boston) and heartened to see this progress in funding for female founders. It’s so important that we keep this momentum going and continue to build up the entire ecosystem of women and diverse leaders in tech, starting with having more role models for girls to look up to. As a young woman, I was never able to relate to the Mark Zuckerbergs of the world - but when I met my mentor, Prof. Rosalind Picard of the MIT Media Lab (and my Affectiva co-founder), I saw proof that women could be leaders and pioneers in technology. Young women need to see examples of people like them, pursuing their passions, so they can be empowered to do the same. And it’s not enough just to have more women in tech - we need more female investors and founders to serve as role models and advocates for other women in all stages of their careers.

Socialist countries hire more women in STEM fields. A Soviet-era blueprint introduced gender quotas, parental leave, and state-subsidized kindergarten, leading to more females in math and science fields. Western capitalist states could learn from it.

What the US can learn from women in the Soviet workforce

There is one aspect here in terms of playing a role in discouraging girls from entering STEM that I always wonder, but only very few researches have studied the effect. That aspect is Religion.

Besides the State involvement and labor shortages as the article points out, a more significant difference

There is one aspect here in terms of playing a role in discouraging girls from entering STEM that I always wonder, but only very few researches have studied the effect. That aspect is Religion.

Besides the State involvement and labor shortages as the article points out, a more significant difference between socialist countries like the Soviet Union or China today and non-socialist countries is that rudimentarily in the establishment of a socialist or communist society, atheism is a core pillar. In Private Property and Communism (1845), Marx said that "Communism begins from the outset with atheism; but atheism is, at first, far from being communism."

The idea of building a society abolishing a state religion and replacing with atheism may have helped a great deal to validate women's ambitions and unchain their minds in pursuing STEM without being denigrated or judged by their more religious roles.

The studies also show that religious women in STEM are even a more vulnerable minority. And Religion might be one of the whys "girls in the East felt less anxious and more confident about their aptitude in math than their counterparts from West Germany and were less likely to be intimidated in competitive situations with boys."

Are women’s rights conferences a waste of effort? The International Conference on Population and Development is meeting for the 25th year in Nairobi, but has anything been accomplished? Activist Lina Abirafeh tells Quartz, “I hope this is the last time that we meet to talk about women’s rights.”

The case against holding any more women’s rights conferences

This is such an interesting take on what's become a given and should be questioned. The feeling described here, that there's been plenty of talking but not enough action and progress, applies to more than just women's health. I was recently at a women's bar event in DC about the lack of female attorneys

This is such an interesting take on what's become a given and should be questioned. The feeling described here, that there's been plenty of talking but not enough action and progress, applies to more than just women's health. I was recently at a women's bar event in DC about the lack of female attorneys who argue before SCOTUS where some participants said exactly what some Nairobi conference attendees are saying, which is that they can't wait to stop discussing inequality.

How we’ll move

China's business of control

China’s digital currency is all about control. If and when a digital yuan becomes reality, the Chinese government could achieve an unprecedented stranglehold on its people’s money.

China’s digital currency is all about control

Singles' Day came & went, but the digital yuan was nowhere to be found. Still, the PBOC could change everything in an instant—the monetary tools available through digital units could be a new lever in the global currency war.

Africa's fintech

Timing innovation

Motorola launches a new “razr.” The mid-2000s classic is now a folding, all-screen smartphone, with the old name in lower case. It’s not clear if Von Dutch hats are also coming back.

The Motorola Razr is back as a smartphone with folding screen

The original RAZR was a design icon. The new one has a lot to live up to, and after playing around with the device, I’m not sure it will. The foldable screen seems very fragile, and I’m not sure if it has enough going for it to warrant the $1,500 price tag. But nostalgia is a powerful drug, and Motorola

The original RAZR was a design icon. The new one has a lot to live up to, and after playing around with the device, I’m not sure it will. The foldable screen seems very fragile, and I’m not sure if it has enough going for it to warrant the $1,500 price tag. But nostalgia is a powerful drug, and Motorola told me this is just the start of a new direction for the company, so we’ll see!

The phone definitely wins the nostalgic points. But at USD 1,500 a pop — it’s a pretty hefty price tag.

Growing up

Online learning can’t paper over the cracks in Indian education. Coursera, the US-based edtech platform, has 4.8 million users in India. But only 2 million Indians attend higher ed institutions, so the government has to do much more to encourage in-person learning.

Online learning can keep Indians afloat but can’t rescue India’s education system

Online education, as he rightly says here, can only be a bridge. India has many first-gen internet users and sometimes even digital tools need handholding. Online tools can advance and update the classroom experience in India, which institutions are sorely missing.

Even Nordic dads don’t take enough parental leave. Although these northern European countries are rightly hailed as some of the best places to raise children, the problem of encouraging fathers to play a substantial role in babies’ early lives is also prevalent.

Even Nordic dads don’t take their fair share of parental leave

Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland, and Denmark consistently score the highest across a broad range of social welfare indicators, and nowhere is this more obvious than family-friendly policies. The assumption that these countries are the best place to have and raise children is so entrenched that it might

Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland, and Denmark consistently score the highest across a broad range of social welfare indicators, and nowhere is this more obvious than family-friendly policies. The assumption that these countries are the best place to have and raise children is so entrenched that it might almost be boring to write about. But a new report adds some nuance to the discussion by showing that, even in these progressive havens, fathers avail of relatively little parental leave.

You could be reading this a lot more quickly

T.Hanks for everything, Tom Hanks

You make each day a special day.

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This young professional just paid off $222,817.26 in student loans

Read more on Quartz

From Our Members

  • Here's one telling detail that didn't make it into the story: When Boston went to a specialty Korean wedding store in New Jersey to purchase a jokduri, the clerk tried to shame her out of buying the pricier, hand-embroidered one seen in the video. That kind of coronet is typically worn by brides and

    Here's one telling detail that didn't make it into the story: When Boston went to a specialty Korean wedding store in New Jersey to purchase a jokduri, the clerk tried to shame her out of buying the pricier, hand-embroidered one seen in the video. That kind of coronet is typically worn by brides and the clerk felt that Boston's mission wasn't as worthy. She suggested buying a cheaper, mass-produced one instead, and pulled the lovelier one back on the counter, away from Boston. Not surprisingly, Boston insisted on the better jokduri. Part of the message of her video is that a lot of ideas about what's "proper" are damaging -- we don't need to learn to dance professionally to celebrate something, it's not wrong to talk about salaries and money, or large amounts of debt, or trauma and mental illness. There's a lot going on.

  • This is an inspiring and painful read. It's a great story by Lila, and very nicely written—empathetic, measured, timely, and full of invaluable advice. But it's painful insofar as it's a reminder to those of us with student debt that there are some steps we might take that involve asking difficult questions

    This is an inspiring and painful read. It's a great story by Lila, and very nicely written—empathetic, measured, timely, and full of invaluable advice. But it's painful insofar as it's a reminder to those of us with student debt that there are some steps we might take that involve asking difficult questions and making tough decisions that might help us unburden ourselves. Going to be mulling this for some time to come ... and hopefully will also find the courage to act on the lessons in this story, too.

  • Though a white woman I may be this was not actually an option for me in freelance production for many years:

    “Though it’s not explained in the video, Boston also has a rule about what to do if you discover you’re earning less than your peers: Leave.”

    And my pay rates were so low they were under minimum

    Though a white woman I may be this was not actually an option for me in freelance production for many years:

    “Though it’s not explained in the video, Boston also has a rule about what to do if you discover you’re earning less than your peers: Leave.”

    And my pay rates were so low they were under minimum wage for 12-14 hour days, which were more like 16-18 because our producers (male and female) would often make us non-union folk fill out our time cards in pencil. To supplement, I got a side hustle doing script coverage for my “friend” - a huge Hollywood producer I’d met through another temp job, who who offered literally $50 per feature and $30 per tv pilot which necessitates between 3-6 hours to read and write an analysis of up to 10 pages. Later, when I asked him to pay me by the hour he stopped sending me the same amount of scripts and told me girls at (an agency or production company office) desk do it in their spare time. So I then agreed to the lower pay because I needed his connection to the industry and the money. Btw, those “girls at desks” are on livable salaries and receive benefits. Making enough to get by was so impossible at this point I actually had to crash on my friend’s couch, while taking as many low end commercial (think flavored rum, and Korean cars) and music video gigs as I could, sometimes eating his leftovers, while paying my student loans and pretending it was all good so that maybe I could get another job and being super excited when said job took me out of town and board would be guaranteed. Remember you must smile and act “as if.” I was one of the hardest workers on every set but in the freelance world you just simply won’t be hired next time if you complain or ask for too much or ruffle any feathers (even writing this makes me nervous). I have had producers make me room with male colleagues to “save the budget” when we were on location. Once I had to wear headphones while one producer spoke with his fiancée in the room we were sharing, unromantically, of which she had no knowledge. Moments like those made me feel like I wasn’t worth more money or my own privacy (often I was the only woman who wasn’t a local) and should be grateful to even be there at all. I took any job at any pay in any department that would have me, including driving production trucks and loading gear. I was just excited to be part of it. I still am.

    And what’s worse other female colleagues were often in competition if you started getting promoted or more responsibility from job to job, as the community is actually rather small and crew personnel often overlaps. Women often feel there’s only room for one or two near the top. Later, I had to drop-off producing my second feature film because I was taking my father to hospice and wanted to spend his last couple weeks with him and my family across the country. That was my decision. But after he died, those same men AND women I worked alongside and confided in and bent over backwards for, for years to help shepherd their music videos and productions through delivery on shoestring budgets, sometimes even putting stuff on my credit cards and not receiving payback for weeks or even months after wrap, did not reach out after to throw me more work when I needed it most. I had to reprioritize at that point. Vacation days don’t exist for the freelancer. Neither did health care at any affordable rate in NYC. When I got an infection, which landed me in the hospital for five days, it was like adding another year of college to my then neutralized debt. You spend “vacation days” looking for more work when you’re starting out freelancing. A lot of people think you have all this free time but really you’re stressed and hustling.

    It’s taken me 12 years of trial and error to get a decent paying job in my field and I am also over 30. But I am, too, finally debt free, which is a relief. I did receive some help on the remaining balance of my student loans in the wake of my father’s death, after the sale of his Kansas farm generated some cash for each of his five children, if I’m telling the full truth. That helped me to get closer to neutral, which would have been damn near impossible with $1200 dollar payments each month (accruing immediately at just over 11% but I had no choice and it’s all I could get) making about $115 and later 150 for “12-14” hours of work, per set day, before taxes. The pay got incrementally better and still varies from job to job.

    One thing to keep in mind is the sort of job and field in which you’re interested. Creative positions are peanut pay for the majority and success is more about getting to go to that job than it is about how much you’re making. And in many industries you have to pay your dues and that’s fine but there’s a line and often it’s crossed, at least in indie production, especially for women and both sexes of color. I am not alone in this way. There are many more who have had it harder and who did not have the friends or family support like I had.

    I have so many stories so much worse than this (including but not limited to being fired - or not listed on the call sheet after calling out abusive language and sexual harassment of a younger female coworker on one prominent music artist’s video) but now this post is way, way too long. I think what Boston has done is admirable. I do not mean to diminish her story or distract but I thought to add some color from the world of a ‘creative’ (not a huge fan of this label) freelancer with no built in connections or nepotistic advantages. Speaking up is a tough choice sometimes.

  • Congratulations to Boston, but I wish she could have enjoyed her money, invested in her own wealth and benefited from her savvy these past yen years.

    Now she can, and that is what matters. The system is broken, an education should not stifle us it should raise us up.

  • Great...but try being a Healthcare professional where you can't just magically get a raise to match others. Drs/PharmD/etc salary are going DOWN because of saturation and insurance price gouging. I'll be paid off at 63 and maybe can retire soon after if I'm lucky. College is horribly overrated and I

    Great...but try being a Healthcare professional where you can't just magically get a raise to match others. Drs/PharmD/etc salary are going DOWN because of saturation and insurance price gouging. I'll be paid off at 63 and maybe can retire soon after if I'm lucky. College is horribly overrated and I will encourage my kids to follow other avenues.

  • When the backup money sign walked in, I laughed to tears.

  • This is simultaneously inspiring and horrifying. I really appreciated the Boston's understanding that this isn't something everyone can do, as well as her acknowledgement that many of the practices she felt compelled to take to make this happen were unhealthy. Congratulations to anyone who manages to make it through.

  • Respect for all the comments

  • Kudos to Ms. Boston. The bigger debate is whether we can make higher education free or affordable. Nothing employers like more than insecure, debt-ridden employees. Now don’t give me the laissez-faire, Ayn Rand BS.