the blonde byte

Empowering Women Through Technology


February 2018

WIT: 3 Ways to Advance Women in Tech



By Sammi Caramela of Business News Daily

While more women are opting for careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), there’s an existing struggle for them to advance in the industry. Many female students aren’t motivated to start a career in the industry simply because they don’t believe they’ll have the chance to progress.

“Ensuring better female representation in STEM should not be thought of as a gender issue but a business issue,” said Sripriya Raghunathan, vice president of systems and software engineering at HARMAN. “Bringing more women with careers in STEM to the workforce will contribute to an employer’s competitiveness in the marketplace and foster innovation.”

Women should feel as confident as men in their decision to pursue STEM careers. Here are three ways to improve advancement of women in STEM.

1. Start with schools.

According to a survey by iCIMS, 61 percent of recruiters said they are most interested in hiring candidates with majors in STEM, but only 23 percent of college seniors graduate with that degree – and an exceptionally small portion is female.

“To nurture women in STEM, we need to start at the school level,” said Raghunathan. “Employers should create programs that allow their women leaders in STEM to share their experiences and stories with young women who may be considering a career in STEM.”

Partner with schools and offer conferences, events and presentations so experts can connect with female students. Don’t wait until they’re already settled in college with a different major; start with high schools to encourage women from a young age.

2. Create leadership training and mentoring programs.

It’s important for women to feel that they’re as capable as men, especially in leadership positions. But without the proper training, they might lack the confidence and drive.

“Employers can help bridge the gap by encouraging employees to form communities focused on connecting, innovating and building career advancement and support,” said Jen Scandariato, senior director of cloud services at iCIMS. “Employers should offer resources, workshops, leadership and technical trainings, mentorship programs, and support career mobility and career pathing to promote an inclusive environment for all employees.”

Everyone needs a mentor, and this is especially true for women in a predominantly male industry. Having someone to look up to for advice or inspiration can make a difference in their entire career.

“Employers should build mentor programs for women looking [to] advance their career to tighten the gender gap in male-dominated STEM fields,” said Nisa Amoils, venture capitalist at Scout Ventures. “The lack of women in STEM can make it more difficult for women to develop professional relationships that advance their careers.”

According to Raghunathan, these programs should do the following:
• Provide tips to students and young women starting their careers in STEM
• Offer ways to strengthen strategic, leadership, communication and technical skills
• Empower female employees through sponsorship programs
• Connect new women with senior female leaders

Raghunathan added that mentorships can help both new and existing female STEM employees, and attract and retain talent.

“With a solid mentorship program, companies can improve the onboarding experience for new female STEM employees,” said Raghunathan. “This helps in creating a great first impression as an employer and also from a talent engagement standpoint.”

3. Offer returnships.

More than half of women in STEM think a parental leave would decrease their chance of getting a promotion; but 82 percent of office professionals and 95 percent of millennials would be interested in a returnship program in the future.

Returnships are similar to internships, but for those who have been absent from their careers for an extended period. This is a great opportunity for both mothers and fathers to refresh their brains and redevelop their skills in the workplace.

“As an employer, if your organization establishes a returnship for mothers, there should also be a formal program in place for men to have a returnship, because we are seeing more men becoming caretakers as women progress in their careers,” said Scandariato. “Men and women should have equal opportunities to take time away from their career to grow their family, and be able to easily transition back into the workplace without penalties.”


Do you think these 3 suggestions will work to get more women into STEM? Sound off in the comments below!!


App of the Week: Google Chrome

11 Chrome features you’ll wish you’d known all along



By Matt Elliot of CNet

Do you consider yourself a Chrome ninja? If not, these tips can help you navigate the web with deadly efficiency.

Pin tabs

I spend much of my day using Gmail and Google Drive, and with Chrome’s tab-pinning feature, I can keep those tabs parked to the left of all of my many open tabs. It’s a great way to keep the tabs you’re constantly visiting and revisiting within an arm’s reach. To pin a tab, just right-click it and select Pin Tab. It will move to the left of your tabs where it will stay readily available. Better yet, the size of the tab shrinks to give you more room to juggle the rest of your open tabs.

Mute tabs

Where is that sound coming from? Chrome identifies which tabs are playing audio by placing a little speaking icon on the tabs making noise. If a video starts playing on one of your background tabs, look for the little speaker icon. To mute its audio, right-click the tab and hit Mute Tab. You’ll mute the offending tab without leaving your current tab.

Block autoplay videos

If you find yourself constantly muting tabs, why not just put a stop to autoplay videos altogether? Type chrome://flags/#autoplay-policy into Chrome’s URL bar, which will open Chrome’s list of features Google is testing out, but have yet to make it into the official release. For the autoplay policy, select Document user activation is required and then click the Relaunch Now button.

Block notification requests

After autoplay videos, my least favorite part about browsing the web are the constant requests from sites asking me if I’ll let them show me notifications. My answer is always “block.” Thankfully, there is a way to tell Chrome to stop sites from asking. Open Settings and scroll down to the bottom and click Advanced. In the Privacy and security section, click Content Settings. Next, click Notifications and then click the toggle switch so it goes from Ask before sending to Blocked.

Quickest way to a Google search

You probably know that you can use Chrome’s URL bar to do a quick Google search, but that’s not the fastest way. If you come across a word you want to look up, just right-click it and select Search Google for “_____” from the contextual menu and a new tab will open with Google search results for the word. You can also look up a phrase the same way by first highlighting the whole phrase and then right-clicking.

Zoom out to normal view

Frequently, my MacBook’s ($1,249.00 at touchpad misreads a swipe or gesture and wildly zooms in on the page I’m reading. So I memorized the Command-0 (zero, that is) keyboard shortcut, which returns Chrome to the regular zoom level. (That’s Ctrl-0 for you Windows users.)

Select multiple tabs

If your open tabs have reached the point where you want to break off a bunch and move them into their own window, you can select multiple tabs by holding down Command (Mac) or Ctrl (Windows) and clicking the tabs you want to move. You’ll see that the tabs are highlighted in a lighter shade from your other tabs. With your tabs selected, you can release the Command or Ctrl button and then drag the tabs from the current window and they’ll all open in a new window of their own.

Reopen a closed tab

Accidentally closed a tab? You can bring it back by hitting Command-Shift-T on a Mac or Ctrl-Shift-T on a PC.

Start where you left off

Did you know you can tell Chrome to restart not with a blank page but where you left off, with all of your many tabs. I like to shut down my MacBook from time to time to keep it running smoothly, and I like to be able to pick up right where I left off in Chrome after a reboot. To do this, go to Chrome’s Settings, scroll down to the On startup area and select Continue where you left off.

See what’s slowing you down

Is Chrome acting sluggish? You can see if there is a particular tab that’s causing the slowdown by using Chrome’s built-in Task Manager. It shows which tabs are using the most CPU and memory resources. To open Chrome’s Task Manager, click the triple-dot button in the top right and go to More Tools > Task Manager. The small Task Manager window shows fluctuating percentages for each open tab and extension you have running in terms of CPU and memory usage. Highlight a tab or an extension and click the End Process to kill any egregious resource hog and reclaim some CPU and memory overhead.

Save time with autofill

Tired of entering your address or credit card info on web forms? You can save this information and have Chrome enter it for you. Go to Settings > Advanced > Passwords and forms > Autofill settings to save address and payment information with Chrome. When you come to a web form, you just need to enter the first letter or your name or first number of your credit card and Chrome will offer to fill out the appropriate boxes for you.

Do you have a favorite feature of Chrome? Tell us about it in the comments below!

How to: Use Type to Siri on Your Mac



By Charlie Sorrel of Cult of Mac

Type to Siri isn’t just for iOS 11. You can also turn on this super-useful feature on your Mac if it’s running macOS High Sierra. Type to Siri lets you do everything you can with normal Siri — call people, send iMessages, look stuff up on the web, do math, set reminders, and so on — only you type the command into a box instead of saying it.

Type to Siri is classified as an accessibility feature, but it’s useful for anyone who works in a busy office, or just feels like a dork when they talk to their Mac.

How to enable Type to Siri on Mac


To enable Type to Siri, head to the System Preferences, found under Apple Menu>System Preferences, and click the Accessibility icon. Then, in the sidebar, scroll down to find the Siri icon, and click it.

Here you’ll find a single checkbox: Enable Type to Siri. Click that and you just switched Siri from a spoken interface, to a written one. Now you can do all the neat keyboard tricks that work with Type to Siri on iOS.

Add a keyboard shortcut to activate Siri

To get the most from Type to Siri on the Mac, you should set a keyboard shortcut to activate it. Otherwise, you’ll have to mouse up to the top left of the menubar and click the Siri icon every time you want to use it. This is done in the Siri preferences, found at Apple Menu>System Preferences>Siri. You can also get to this panel quickly by clicking the shortcut button in the previous Accessibility section.

Here, you can choose whether to show Siri in the menubar, as well as picking the language, and other settings. The one we’re interested in the is Keyboard Shortcut. Click this, and pick a shortcut. if you don’t fancy any of the suggestions, just click Customize… and then press the key you’d like to use. On a desktop Mac, one of the spare Function keys is a good choice.

Now, whenever you want to use Siri, hit the keyboard shortcut, and type your command or query. For some suggestions fo what you can do with Type to Siri, check out out Type to Siri on iOS article, which is full of great tips.



What do think of the Type to Siri feature? Sound off in the Comments below!

Tips & Tricks: 20 Rocking Apple Music Streaming Tips

Apple’s streaming music service is growing by leaps and bounds—here are a few tips to get the most out of it.



By Eric Griffith and Jeffery L Wilson of PC

Few streaming music services explode onto the market and into the public consciousness like Apple Music. Backed by Cupertino’s marketing juggernaut and millions of existing iTunes users, Apple Music is now growing faster than its top rival, Spotify.

This isn’t too surprising. It’s a default app on iOS devices, and there’s even an Android version for people who don’t own an iPhone or iPad. That’s potentially millions upon millions of customers who may give the app a try for their streaming music needs.
Plus, Apple Music is a fine music service. You get lots of tunes, music-related television and film content, and the Connect social network that keeps you on top of music happenings. And Apple Music offers a family plan ($14.99 per month for six people who share over iCloud) and a discount for college students ($4.99 per month).

Apple Music isn’t flawless. It doesn’t have a free, ad-supported option like Spotify, but it does let iOS users listen free to Beats 1 radio and other stations. That’s the big picture Apple Music, but the music service has lots of goodies beneath the hood. We’ve got a list of 20 tips and tricks here that will help you get the most out of Apple Music, or at least prevent it from getting the better of you.


1. Get Your Connect Name

When you post comments or playlists in Apple Music, it’ll show your name. You can claim a special nickname for Apple’s somewhat-revamped Connect social network, if you’re quick about it. (No one wants to be told they should be egriffith646985.) In the Music app, enter a handle and add a photo.

2. Skip Connecting

By default, any artist you add to your library is going to be one you follow using Connect. In fact, any artist you’ve ever bought music from in iTunes is auto-followed, even that one hit wonder from years ago. To change that, tap Account > Following. There, you can not only unfollow individual artists—who might, in fact, use the service to try and stay in touch with you about new releases—you can also tell Connect to stop auto-following artists you’ve added to your music library. Any artist you don’t follow on Connect won’t appear in the Connect Section of Apple Music, naturally.


3. Kill Connect Entirely

Want to do away with Connect? On iOS, go into Settings > General > Restrictions. Turn them on if they’re off. Scroll down to Apple Music Connect and turn on the restriction. After that, go back to the Music app—you’ll see the Connect tab has been replaced with “Playlists.”

4. Turn off the Auto-Renew
After your three-month trial of Apple Music, Apple is just going to assume you love it and want to subscribe. Prevent that charge from automatically appearing on your credit card. While in the Music app, tap the head icon in the upper left > View Apple ID > log in > Manage (under Subscriptions at the bottom). Turn off Automatic Renewal. A pop-up will tell you how long you have left in your trial. Remember, after your trial ends, any music you’ve added via Apple Music to playlists and the like will go buh-bye.

5. Tap to Like, Double-Tap to Love.

Services such as Spotify and Apple Music live by mining what you like musically, so it can recommend more. In Apple Music, you’re asked from the get-go for suggestions of favorite artists and styles when you tap “For You.” To make changes later, tap the head icon > Choose Artists for You. Pink bubbles with musical genres and then specific artists will appear. Tap to tell Apple you like it. But if you double-tap, it indicates a deep, abiding love and that singer or band or genre is going to weigh heavily into future suggestions. If there’s a genre in a bubble you don’t like at all, tap and hold it to get rid of it.


6. Like from Lock
Listening to Apple Music with your phone locked is a god-send. If you hear a new song stream you like, but don’t want to go back into the app to indicate you like it, just click the heart outline on the iOS lock screen. It’ll turn solid red, to indicate your devotion. (This does NOT add the music to your phone or playlists. It just lets Apple know you like it/them, so future recommendations can reflect your refined tastes. You’ll find those recommendations on the For You tab.)


7). Siri into Apple Music
The ties between Apple’s audio AI and Apple Music are pretty good. You can use Siri to search for music (“Find ‘White Christmas’ by Bing Crosby on Apple Music” brought it right up), but also to do things like shuffle songs (hold down the home button while in a playlist and say “Shuffle Songs.”) Remember Siri also has built-in Shazam, so ask Siri to ID a song playing around you, and when she does, you can then immediately click the arrow button to start playback.



8. Hide Apple Music Suggestions
Hate that For You tab because you already know what you like, and hell, you already have all the music you want? You can stay subscribed to Apple Music while hiding it from view. On the iPhone, go to Settings > Music and turn off Show Apple Music. Next time you open the Music App, the For You and New tabs will be gone, and it will show My Music, Playlists, Radio, and Connect (assuming you didn’t kill it in restrictions).



9. See Recent Searches
If you can’t remember the last thing you looked for, or just don’t want to type it again, look for the clock icon in the search bar on iOS. It’ll show you a full list of the most recent searches.



10. Download for Offline Listening
You’re an Apple Music paying customer, or soon will be… so enjoy the fruits of that by making music you wouldn’t necessarily buy otherwise available to listen to, anytime, anywhere, even when you’re offline. All you do is click the three-dot menu next to a song (or an entire album) and on the menu that pops up, click Make Available Offline. (To buy it, click Show in iTunes Store.) This also works from within Beats 1 Radio.


11. Download Over Cellular
The default setting is that you only get to download music to the phone using Wi-Fi. You can change that by going into Settings > iTunes & App Store. Turn on the Use Cellular Data option. It’s up to you to make sure you don’t hit your data cap, if you have one.



12. Call in Your Requests
Want to make a request of Beats 1 radio? You can, by calling the number for your geographic location, listed here (and shown above). To be clear, in the US, call 1-310-299-8756 or toll free to 1-877-720-6293.



13. View Downloaded Only
Let’s say you’ve got a huge library of music showing in your My Music tab—but most of it’s streaming. If you want to know what’s available when you’re offline (namely, the tracks you’ve downloaded), tap on the My Music tab, and at the top of the tracks, tap Songs or Albums or whatever shows just below the album covers. It brings up the menu where you change how to sort music. At the bottom of that menu, toggle Show Music Available Offline to only see what’s stored on the phone. (This doesn’t quite work for iTunes Match users; on my phone, I still saw all my Match titles, even though they’re not locally stored. Seems like more of a bug than a feature, Apple.)



14. Publish to Apple Music
Looks like Spotify isn’t the only place you can push your tunes! On iOS, music crafted with GarageBand can be shared direct to Apple Music Connect. (This doesn’t yet work on the Mac desktop.) Naturally, an Apple Music account is required, and chances are if you ever leave the service behind, the service will kick your music to the curb. And it’s not exactly going to replace SoundCloud for original music sharing anytime soon. But it’s an interesting start.



15. Wake to Apple Music
Any song in the Apple Music library of 30 million tracks can now be what you wake to in the morning. Save a favorite song to your library (click that ellipsis three-dot menu as a song plays and select Add to My Music)—after that, go into the iOS Clock app, create or edit an alarm, and under Sound, click Pick a Song. From there, find it in the lists by album, artist, song, or just search for the individual track. (If you let the subscription lapse, you won’t have that song to wake to, of course.)



16. Access Apple Music on the Desktop
You’ll need to make sure you’ve got the latest version of iTunes, 12.7.3, but when you do the software that has always held your Apple-based music collection (and is the focal point of Apple-based music sales, not to mention backup up your iPhone, etc.) becomes your streaming center. Along with the usual tabs for My Music and Playlists, you’ll see Apple Music-specific tabs at the top including For You (seen here on both mobile and desktop), Radio, and Connect. If you’re all thumbs, this is the best way to do some of the detail work, like adding things to playlists, creating Smart Playlists, etc.



17. Enjoy Music-Related TV and Films
Apple Music has more than just audio content. By visiting Browse > TV & Movies you can dive into video, too. The annoyingly popular Carpool Karaoke, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A Bad Boy Story, and Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives are just some of the music-focused television and film content available for streaming.



18. Apply Content Restrictions
Did you know that Apple Music lets you filter out naughty language and adult themes? By visiting Settings > Content Restrictions, you can toggle the Allow Explicit Content option on or off. This doesn’t only apply to music; you can also apply filters to music-related television and movie content.

In addition, you can create a restriction password to prevent someone else from adjusting the restriction parameters (a much welcomed feature for those who have children).


19. Automatically add Songs to Your Library
You like playlists, I like playlists, we all like playlists. Themed music collections are the way to go for those times when you need extra energy for a gym session or soft vibes for falling asleep. Music in your playlists are likely to be tunes you dig, so a handy Apple Music feature lets you automatically add playlist tracks to your Library. You can get it up and running by opening Settings and toggling on Add Playlist Songs.


20. Tweak EQ Settings
You don’t need to use Apple Music’s default audio settings. The app includes an equalizer that lets you boost various frequencies, as well as up the bass and adjust the surround sound.

What are your favorite Features of Apple Music? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Weekly Round Up 2/23/18



Yeah, but who’s gonna pay for it?
Tech Could Supplement a Physical Border Wall, But Many Questions Remain

Not if the current administration has anything to say about it

DC, not California, tops list for women working in tech

Thanks, Obama

Recruiting and Retaining Female Tech Talent Is a Challenge — Here’s How We Did It

Dude, 1984 gave me chills when I thought it was just fiction
Artists And Criminals: On The Cutting Edge Of Tech


Well, if no one else is gonna do it…
How Tech Companies Can Help Upskill the U.S. Workforce


Have you guys been talking to the Russians?



He was brilliant even back then, but we already knew this.

Fascinating Jobs application: Apple co-founder listed ‘tech, design’ as skills in 1973 hunt for work


Unless this list contains a helmet that prevents concussions and CTE, then it’s just a wish list.

This is the tech that NFL players are excited about in 2018



What were you favorite tech stories of the week? Sound off in the comments below!

Tales from the Orchard: Apple Employees Keep Smacking Into Their New Headquarters’ Glass Walls




By Mark Bergen of Bloomberg

The centerpiece of Apple Inc.’s new headquarters is a massive, ring-shaped office overflowing with panes of glass, a testament to the company’s famed design-obsessed aesthetic.

There’s been one hiccup since it opened last year: Apple employees keep smacking into the glass.

Surrounding the Cupertino, California-based building are 45-foot tall curved panels of safety glass. Inside are work spaces, dubbed “pods,” also made with a lot of glass. Apple staff are often glued to the iPhones they helped popularize. That’s resulted in repeated cases of distracted employees walking into the panes, according to people familiar with the incidents.

Some staff started to stick Post-It notes on the glass doors to mark their presence. However, the notes were removed because they detracted from the building’s design, the people said. They asked not to be identified discussing anything related to Apple. Another person familiar with the situation said there are other markings to identify the glass.

The centerpiece of Apple Inc.’s new headquarters is a massive, ring-shaped office overflowing with panes of glass, a testament to the company’s famed design-obsessed aesthetic.

There’s been one hiccup since it opened last year: Apple employees keep smacking into the glass.

Surrounding the Cupertino, California-based building are 45-foot tall curved panels of safety glass. Inside are work spaces, dubbed “pods,” also made with a lot of glass. Apple staff are often glued to the iPhones they helped popularize.
That’s resulted in repeated cases of distracted employees walking into the panes, according to people familiar with the incidents.

Some staff started to stick Post-It notes on the glass doors to mark their presence. However, the notes were removed because they detracted from the building’s design, the people said. They asked not to be identified discussing anything related to Apple. Another person familiar with the situation said there are other markings to identify the glass.

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment. It’s not clear how many incidents there have been. A Silicon Valley-based spokeswoman for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration referred questions about Apple’s workplace safety record to the government agency’s website. A search on the site based on Apple’s name in California found no reports of injuries at the company’s new campus.

It’s not the first time Apple’s penchant for glass in buildings has caused problems. In late 2011, 83-year-old Evelyn Paswall walked into the glass wall of an Apple store, breaking her nose. She sued the company, arguing it should have posted a warning on the glass. The suit was settled without any cost to Apple, according to a legal filing in early 2013.

WIT: The Tech Unicorn That Went For Women Engineers: Here’s How It Worked Out



By Susan Adams of

One spring day in 2015, Julia Lee, a top performer on the engineering team at the payroll-software startup Gusto, asked Edward Kim, the company’s cofounder and chief technology officer, for a one-on-one meeting. Sitting together on a gray couch in the middle of their open-plan office in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood, Lee, a Stanford grad who had interned at Google and Palantir, told Kim that she loved her work but was struggling with one issue. Of the 18 people on Gusto’s engineering team, Lee, then 26, was the only woman. Before she got to Gusto, she told Kim, “people often assumed I didn’t know the answer to a problem because I was a female engineer.” Even at Gusto, she was reluctant to share her feelings of self-doubt. Kim, Lee says, was extraordinarily receptive. In fact, he made it a personal project to study the gender breakdown on the engineering teams at other tech firms. The numbers he found were dismal.

Only 12% of the engineering staffers at 84 tech firms were female, according to statistics gathered in a public Google Doc posted in 2013 by Tracy Chou, then an engineer at Pinterest. Kim read a U.S. census report on racial and gender disparity in STEM employment and was troubled by a National Public Radio report that showed an increase in women graduating with computer science degrees through the early 1980s and then a steep decline from 1984 on.

He also read a 2015 McKinsey study showing that companies with diverse workforces outperform financially. “The fact that no one else in tech was able to really crack the gender diversity nut and solve it represented an opportunity for us,” Kim says. “If we want to reimagine what HR is like for the very diverse workforces of our small-business customers, we ourselves have to build a diverse workforce.”

After a series of meetings with Kim and Lee, Gusto’s human resources team launched a plan to attract women engineers. Initial steps included writing job descriptions that avoided masculine phrases like “Ninja rock star coder.” Gusto’s most important step: For a six-month period starting in September 2015, the company devoted 100% of its engineering recruitment efforts to women. While it solicited only women, it considered male applicants who approached the firm and treated all candidates equally, which kept Gusto from running afoul of antidiscrimination laws, according to Gusto lawyer Liza Kostinskaya. The pitch to women included emails signed by Lee inviting female candidates to have an initial talk with her and was backed by $60,000 the company spent to be a sponsor for two years at the biggest annual women’s tech conclave, the Grace Hopper conference.

Kim also published a blog post that made Gusto’s diversity numbers public and broadcast its goal of hiring more women engineers. “We believe that diversity is in itself a core strength that will enable us to write better software and build better products,” he wrote.

In line with more than 80% of startups, according to a 2017 Crunchbase study, Gusto’s three founders are men. Kim and Gusto’s CEO, Joshua Reeves, both 34, met as undergrads in Stanford’s electrical engineering department. They launched Gusto in 2012 along with Tomer London, 33, an Israeli immigrant who got to know Reeves while a Ph.D. student at Stanford. Like its boom-and-bust competitor, Zenefits, which launched the following year, Gusto sells cloud-based comprehensive subscription software to small businesses to help them manage employee records like payroll and health benefits. At the outset Gusto even had a similar name, ZenPayroll, which it changed in 2015 when it started offering a more complete selection of employee-tracking software.

Zenefits attracted $584 million in venture capital and hit a valuation of $4.5 billion in 2015 before running into regulatory problems related to the way it sold health insurance. It sacked its CEO, reworked its business model and saw its valuation slashed to $2 billion. Gusto, meanwhile, grew less feverishly. By late 2015 it had raised $176 million from firms like CapitalG (formerly Google Capital) and General Catalyst, and 75 individual investors handpicked by Reeves, including Ashton Kutcher and PayPal cofounder Max Levchin. That year it broke through to a $1.1 billion valuation. Forbes estimates Gusto’s annual revenue at nearly $100 million.

At the start, Gusto’s founders acknowledge, diversity was on the back burner, and as it grew, they found that it didn’t happen organically. When it came time to hire a chief operating officer in 2015, they made it a priority to find a woman. Lexi Reese, a veteran of Google and American Express, is one of two women on the six-person executive team, and firmwide, women account for 51% of Gusto’s 525 employees. Even after Gusto began its diversity initiative, applications from women didn’t flood in. Gusto assigned two in-house recruiters to the job, and it hired TalentDash, a Singapore-based firm that sources talent, to look exclusively for women.

Though hiring women engineers took more time, Kim says, Gusto never dropped its standards. “It bothers me when people say that prioritizing diversity lowers the bar in terms of the caliber of talent you’re able to hire,” he says. “That is simply not true.” Nor, he says, was there any pushback from inside Gusto.

Gusto also addressed its compensation policy. Since 2016 its salaries have been audited by Mercer, a human resources consulting firm, which has found no gender pay disparity. Benefits include 16 weeks of paid leave for a primary parent, plus an additional $100 a week for groceries and food deliveries, $100 a month for six months of housecleaning and up to $500 for a baby-sleep coach.

Gusto’s women-only recruiting effort lasted six months. It stopped, Kim says, because “we exceeded our goals.” In 2015 Gusto was trying to hit 18% women engineers, the proportion majoring in computer science as undergraduates, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, and it reached 21%. Since then it has started staffing a Denver office, where it aims to increase the engineer head count by at least 25 this year and where the company is reprising its women-only recruiting strategy. Now that 17 of Gusto’s 70 engineers are female, it’s getting a little easier, says Gusto’s HR head, Maryanne Brown Caughey. “It’s kind of a domino effect,” she says. “Women know they’re joining a welcoming community.”

While Gusto has made progress, its engineering team has no Latinos and no African-Americans. Kim says Gusto has two hiring goals in 2018: senior women and racial diversity in engineering. “The way we make progress is by focusing on one problem,” Kim says, “and then we move on to the next.”


What do you think of there push to hire more women? Tell us about it in the comments below!!

App of the Week: Trello




By Jill Duffy of

Online tools for collaboration and communication come in a wide variety. Some, such as Jira, are popular among software developers, who might use an agile or just-in-time style of working. Trello takes a different approach and instead uses a kanban-style work methodology, which is highly visual. Trello is an online, collaborative workspace used to manage work of all kinds, whether they’re business projects or personal chores. It works fairly simply, with drag-and-drop capabilities and an intuitive interface. If you’re thinking of using it for true project management, however, consider that it lacks such project management basics as Gantt charts, time-tracking components, and reporting tools. You can add those functions through app integrations and plug-ins, but they aren’t included by default when you sign up for Trello or pay for a premium account. Trello is eye-catching and fun, and it’s a very good collaboration solution for certain types of work and teams. Figuring out if it’s right for your team may take some trial and error, however.

Price and Plans

Trello offers four levels of service: a free account, plus three versions of paid accounts called Gold, Business Class, and Enterprise.

The free account gives you a lot to try without too many restrictions. You can create and manage as many boards, lists, and cards as you want and attach files up to 10MB in size. There are no limits on the number of people who can join your account either. The limitations are that you only get one Power-Up, or integration, per board. Power-Ups include Salesforce, (for video conferencing), Slack, Zendesk, Github, and so forth. The full list of Trello Power-Ups is online.

In addition to that one integration, you can connect to three different cloud storage services: Google Drive, Box, and Dropbox. With a free account, you only get basic functionality with those storage services, meaning you can add links to files in your Trello cards. If you choose to make one of those storage services your Power-Up, then you get some additional functionality. In the case of Google Drive, you can preview files right from Trello and even create new documents right from the Trello app.

For $5 per month or $45 per year, you can upgrade your free Trello account to a Gold account. There are two serious advantages to having a Gold account. First, the maximum file size for attachments increases to 250MB. Second, you get three Power-Ups (integrations) per board instead of just one. The other benefits, such as custom emoji and more stickers, feel more like in-app purchases for video games than productivity enhancers.

The Business Class and Enterprise accounts are a different story. The major difference between them and the free and Gold accounts are that the top tiers come with admin controls.

Trello Business Class costs $119.88 per user per year, which works out to be $9.99 per person per month. That’s double what it used to be. With this level of account, you get unlimited Power-Ups, a maximum file size attachment of 250MB, and plenty of customization options. The administrator of a Business Class account can specify which users can create boards, with what permission levels—everything from public boards to private boards to boards that are only visible to those inside the organization. Trello Business Class also gives you the ability to invite people to have read-only access to your boards, letting you safely share pertinent information with outside collaborators. You can deactivate accounts of people who have left the organization without wiping out all their historical data, too. Business accounts can integrate with Google Apps, as well.

Trello Enterprise, which uses custom pricing, is meant for organizations with more than 100 people. The Enterprise account comes with everything in the Business Class account, but with phone support, a dedicated contact at Trello, and simplified billing. See Trello’s Enterprise page for more details.
Trello used to be fairly inexpensive, especially for teams smaller than 15 people or so, but as I mentioned, the price has doubled since 2015. Now Trello’s cost is more in line with other business productivity apps, including dedicated project management apps, which offer a bit more. Of course, kanban-style collaboration tools like Trello and true project management apps aren’t the same thing, so it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison.

Nevertheless, it’s good to know how much software that’s in the same general category costs to get a sense of what’s a good deal and what isn’t. PCMag’s two favorite project management platforms, Zoho Projects and Teamwork Projects$49.00 at have exceptionally attractive pricing. Teamwork Projects charges $49 per month plan (flat fee) for unlimited users, and that plan includes supports up to 40 projects with 20GB of storage space. It also includes interactive (drag-and-drop compatible) Gantt charts and tools for tracking milestones—all the stuff you’d expect from a rigorous project management application. A similar package from Zoho Projects costs a flat $50 per month for 50 projects and 100GB storage space.

Many other project management apps charge per user per month. LiquidPlanner, for example, starts at a much higher $29 per user per month fee (and has a ten user minimum), but it has extensive reporting and billing tools. Comindware Project $9.99 at Comindware, a traditional project management service with slightly more modest capabilities, works out to be the same price as Trello Business Class: $9.99 per user per month.

Getting Started With Trello

Trello and other kanban apps use boards, lists, and cards instead of the timeline-based structure seen in project management apps, which look at projects, tasks, and milestones. Project management is designed for projects that have a concrete end date and a deliverable, whereas kanban boards are designed to help teams manage different kinds of work, and not necessarily finite projects.

It helps to have an example, and I’ll provide a very basic one. Imagine that you have a kanban board for a family to-do list. You can imagine it as a poster board with sticky notes. There are three columns (Trello calls them lists) labeled To Do, Doing, and Done. In the first To-Do column, family members put cards with a task that needs to be done. Let’s say, too, that the family has decided that each person is responsible for no more than three tasks at a time. (That’s a typical kanban-style rule—it helps users focus.) As family members choose tasks that they will do or are assigned to them, they write their name on the appropriate cards and move them into the Doing column. When a task is completed, the person responsible moves it into the Done column.

From the example, you can glean two major benefits of kanban. One is that the design and rules of engagement limit how much work people can have on their plates at a time, so that they don’t get overwhelmed. The second is that everyone has visibility into the state of the work that the organization (in this case, the family) needs to do. This allows for both accountability and the possibility of helping other team members who are falling behind.

Cards in Trello can have a lot of detail on them. In addition to holding a task and the name of the assignee, a card can have a list of subtasks, due date, a detailed description, hyperlinks, attachments, and more.



Trello is an interactive Web app, with very good drag-and-drop capabilities. For example, if you want to upload images or attach PDFs to a card, you can select them from your computer and drag them right onto the card. They upload in just a few seconds. You can also upload from Google Drive, Box, Dropbox, or a URL. I like that Trello takes any visual assets you upload and adds one of them as a cover image to your card, so that you can easily identify the task whenever you look at the board.

While you can assign someone to a card and set a due date, you won’t find more advanced project management features, such as estimating best- and worst-case scenarios for how long a task might take to complete. It’s also strange to me that cards can’t be checked off as done, even though they can have a due date, but maybe I’m trying to pigeonhole them into being tasks when they’re not. You can archive cards when you’re finished with them, however.

Trello lets you add color-coded labels to cards, but, despite high hopes, I found them to be a letdown. Each label must be color-coded, which means you run out of easily identifiable colors after maybe 10 or 12. I would also rather just see the keywords I chose to use as labels or tags and have reliable tools for searching and filtering information based on them.

As I’ve mentioned, Trello doesn’t have any of its own time-tracking tools, Gantt charts, or progress reports, but you can add some of these features through third-party Google Chrome extensions. I tinkered around with one called Plus for Trello that adds time tracking, reports, and scrum features (scrum is a style of working that focuses on iteration, popular among software developers). They aren’t bad, but they also aren’t nearly as powerful as the native reporting and time estimation features found in LiquidPlanner$45.00 at LiquidPlanner, for example. LiquidPlanner can do things like reconfigure an entire timeline of tasks that are dependent on one another if even one person misses a deadline.

You can connect Trello to other business apps beyond just what’s in the Chrome Extension store. Time-reporting tools Toggl and Harvest both offer integration with Trello. That’s fine if you’re interested in cobbling together a unique suite of tools for your team to use. Many teams will prefer a single package that offers all the features they need in out of the box, however, but there’s nothing wrong with taking the DIY approach, if you have the resources to do it.

One of Trello’s strengths is that there’s more than one way to use it. It’s flexible enough to bend to your will, and you can get rather creative. For example, I created a board in Trello for keeping track of travel ideas. My lists are for different travel regions, and the cards are for specific trips. Inside the cards I have notes about when festivals are happening into those areas, local friends I should contact before arriving, and pictures of the location. I also have a checklist of subtasks, like checking whether I need a visa, booking a flight, booking accommodations, and so forth.

Trello’s flexibility may seem like an asset, but it can also be a burden in that you have to figure out how to best use the service. I have long felt the same way about AsanaFree at Asana, a wonderful task-management tool that has so few rules for how to use it that it can be daunting to new users as they try to figure out how it might work for them. Both Trello and Asana can be excellent tools, but it takes a strong, tight-knit team to put up with some trial and error when first adopting the tool and deciding how to use it.

Apps and Extras


Trello does well with mobile apps. The service offers Trello for Android phones and tablets, as well as iPhones and iPads. There’s also a Trello app for Slack. The mobile apps are nearly identical to the website. On the one hand, that means it’s easy to move from the Web app to the mobile apps. On the other hand, the mobile apps don’t have the same screen real estate, and I find it very hard to use them as standalone products without the Web app serving as the primary interface. In other words, Trello’s mobile apps work best as companion apps to the Web app, not as your main way to interact with the service.

In addition to the many Chrome Extensions and compatible apps you can add to Trello, it’s supported by Zapier and Ifttt. Zapier and Ifttt are services that let you connect online apps and tools that aren’t natively interoperable, and the key is that you don’t need to know how to code to get them to talk to each other. For example, you could connect Trello and GitHub so that every time a new issue is created in a chosen GitHub repository, a Trello card is automatically created on a specified board with the issue details.

Flexible, Visual, and Light

Trello provides a flexible app for managing work collaboratively. Because it’s flexible, however, it may require some experimentation to figure out how to best use it for your team and the workload you manage. It’s a reasonably lightweight, flexible, and focused alternative to heavy-duty Editors’ Choice collaboration tools like Asana, which require far more time to set up, and which can, if not implemented correctly, actually draw your focus away from work. If what you really want is traditional project management software, you might find Trello light on features, as it lacks built-in reporting tools, time tracking applets, and even traditional tasks as you might know them.

Trello is available for Mac, iOS, and Android.

What’s your favorite project management app? Sound off in the comments below!

How to: Close All Your Open Tabs at the Same Time



By Jake Peterson of

If you’re like me, your iPhone has way too many Safari tabs open. Links from other applications open up new tabs automatically, it’s too easy to open up new tabs to search, and sometimes you’re skittish about closing pages you don’t want to forget about. This all creates a massive mess that requires cleaning house, and there’s an easy trick to doing just that.

While on the surface it appears you need to close out of each Safari tab manually, there’s actually a quick way to close them all at once. If you really want to save some webpages first, go through and bookmark them or add them to your reading list so you don’t lose them before using this trick for a clean slate.

Just like you normally would, tap the two-squares icon in the bottom menu (or top, if in landscape mode) to display all of your tabs. In this tabs overview, you can either tap the “X” or swipe left on any tab to promptly close it. If you have a ton of tabs to close, this could get tedious real fast.

A much faster way to close your tabs exists, without you needing to look at your tabs at all. Simply tap and hold the two-squares (tabs) icon in the bottom-right corner of Safari (or top-right, if in landscape view). Moments later, a menu appears with some helpful options. To close all open tabs at once, just tap “Close All [#] Tabs” (I had a whopping 211 open when writing this, as you can see).

That’s not the only nifty function this menu has to offer. You can close the tab you are currently viewing by tapping “Close This Tab,” and you can open a new or private tab by tapping “New Tab” and “New Private Tab,” respectively. While the latter three options might not be as useful as the hidden “Close All [#] Tabs,” they offer a way to skip a step to perform these actions.


How do you handle all your Safari Tabs? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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