This weekend's TechCrunch Disrupt 2013 was certainly disruptive, but not for the right reasons. The annual technology conference in San Francisco was the site of not one, but two sexist presentations this year.
On Sunday, Australian techies Jethro Batts and David Boulton started the conference with their disgusting (though thankfully fake) new app called "Titstare."
"Titstare is an app where you take photos of yourself staring at tits," Boulton announced to an audibly giggling audience. "Did you know that looking at breasts is directly linked to a good, healthy heart?" Boulton asked Batts. "So, what's the problem, Dave?" Batts answered. "Well, women just aren't that warm to it." Boulton said.
The two go on to say that male life expectancy has gone down in the past few years because women have been covering up their cleavage. The presentation was meant to be a joke, but still, many were offended.
Unfortunately, this was not the only inappropriate moment at Disrupt. Another presenter showed off his app "Circle Shake" by simulating masturbation onstage. The app is a game that tests how fast you can shake your phone in a given amount of time, which isn't offensive in itself, but the presenter made the app offensive quite quickly, as you can see below:
Many were particularly upset because 9-year-old Alexandra Jordan was in attendance, since she was presenting an app she created. The girl's father, David Jordan, posted the following tweet on Sunday:
"Normally our hackathons are a showcase for developers of all stripes to create and share something cool," TechCrunch co-editors Alexia Tsotsis and Eric Eldon wrote on Sunday. "But earlier today, the spirit of our event was marred by two misogynistic presentations." The pair blamed the admission of the offensive apps on a failure in the event's screening process.
"Every presentation is getting a thorough screening from this hackathon onward. Any type of sexism or other discriminatory and/or derogatory speech will not be allowed," Tsotsis and Eldon wrote. "You expect more from us, and we expect more from ourselves. We are sorry."
The incidents at Disrupt are similar to the controversy stirred up around developer evangelist Adria Richards at the Pycon programming convention in March. Richards tweeted a photo of men sitting near her at the convention, calling them out for what she felt were sexist comments they were making. One of those men ended up getting fired from his job. Richards was threatened repeatedly by people online, and was eventually fired from her job at SendGrid as well.
After that incident, Richards' Twitter account went dark for six months, but this incident caused Richards to break her silence:
It's hard enough for women in science and technology without any new public displays of sexism. Men outnumber women in tech in general, and women make 49 cents for every dollar a man makes in Silicon Valley.
Related on HuffPost:
Kathryn Minshew, Founder & CEO, The Muse & The Daily Muse
<strong>"Just pretend you're a man and go with that." </strong> "I got this advice while raising a seed round for TheMuse.com, and it was terrible. The same behaviors don't always come off the same way from a man vs. a woman, and I could have saved myself a lot of trouble by eschewing the 'startup founder in hoodie' ideal and trusting my instincts earlier."
Christina Wallace, Co-founder, Quincy Apparel
<strong>"Sit tight, pay your dues, and let your work speak for itself. People will notice you and give you opportunities at the right time."</strong>
Cindy Gallop, Founder & CEO, IfWeRanTheWorld & MakeLoveNotPorn
<strong>"Your problem, Cindy, is that you're thinking too big. You need to think really small."</strong> "Worst career advice I've ever received, from a VC to whom I was pitching my startup <a href="http://ifwerantheworld.com/">IfWeRanTheWorld</a>."
Brenda Romero, Chief Operating Officer, Lootdrop
<strong>"Oh, Brenda. Don't do it."</strong> "The translation of this advice is, 'Stay away from potentially controversial topics and risky projects including starting your own business.' What if you fail? What if you stir up trouble? Staying the status quo and doing only the known thing are sure routes to mediocracy and intellectual stagnation. "I have created games about challenging topics that no one else dared approach and, as a result, found new ways to educate people about difficult historical topics and opened many eyes to the power of games."
Rachel Sklar, Co-Founder, Change The Ratio & TheLi.st
<strong>"I wouldn't ask for too much. The economy is pretty bad. You're lucky to have a job." </strong> "[This] from a friend of mine in 2009 who came from a VC/private equity background, on how I should broach the equity discussion around Mediaite, for which I was employee #1 and recruited the entire core team. I candidly admit that I knew very little about norms around startups and equity back then, despite being a former corporate lawyer. "Now that I am much more aware of how key early startup employees are compensated I am amazed that my friend -- who really did know -- reinforced all the tropes around women (that they shouldn't be pushy, that they are lucky, that they should just be happy to help, etc.) "It's my mission to let women know, loudly, that they should know what they bring to the table and what the market value of that is, and what it will mean to the organization, so they can be clear on what they ought to be entitled to -- and that even if they are lucky to have a job, well, that job is lucky to have them."
Kellee Khalil, Founder and CEO, Lover.ly
<strong>"Failure is for failures."</strong>
Maya Baratz, Senior Product Manager, ABC News
<strong>"Find a mentor." </strong> "Mentors come and go, offering advice throughout your career, but it's unlikely you'll have one dedicated person in your life -- like a career messiah -- who will guide you. That guide should be you. You'll need to carve your own path, while making sure to listen to and parse out the good advice from the bad, as it comes in via different influential people in your life."
Claire Mazur, Co-founder, Of A Kind
<strong>"Play games."</strong> "This is something that comes up a lot in relation to the fundraising process -- this idea of trying to manipulate a situation by being incredibly tactical. And I'm sure it works for some people, but any time I've tried to do it I just end up feeling really inauthentic and uncomfortable -- and it's never had particularly amazing results."
Anthea Watson Strong, Consultant, Google Public Policy & Elections
<strong>"It's not what you know, it's who you know."</strong> "Instead of valuing your network by the quantity of connections to people in places of power, value quality connections at all levels. Take special care to identify up-and-coming rockstars, and make sure they have what they need to be successful. Those relationships will return tenfold over that coffee chat you once had with the CEO."
Erika Trautman, Co-Founder & CEO, Flixmaster
"Some of the worst advice I ever got was from an entrepreneur who told me to <strong>'Stick to your guns, no matter what.'</strong> He gave me the advice in the context of our product vision as well as our investor relations. "There is no doubt that a huge part of successful entrepreneurship involves having vision for something that might not exist yet and having the fortitude to hear hundreds of no's for every yes. But there are also critical (and frequent) moments in entrepreneurship when you have to adapt and adjust. Its a fine line to walk. "But I think there is a lot of mythology around sticking to your guns in the face of insurmountable opposition. The reality is, even in the face of insurmountable opposition, there is a lot of adjustment that has to go on to be successful."
Leslie Bradshaw, Chief Operating Officer, Guide
"When I was 23, I was told in my annual review that <strong>I was delivering 'Bentleys' when they were asking for 'Fords.'</strong> In other words, my boss was looking for me to pare back the depth of and breadth of what I was delivering. He went on to add that I was 'too enthusiastic' and 'too grateful' about everything I was working on. "Although I did heed some of his advice and learned when and where to over-deliver, seven years later my positivity and 'Bentley' approach has brought me more long-term business relationships, meaningful collegial bonds and industry respect than any amount of 'Ford' production could have."
Whitney Johnson, Co-Founder, Rose Park Advisors
<strong>"'Keep your head down."</strong>