2014 Schedule
Interactive: March 7–11  •  Film: March 7–15  •  Music: March 11–16

One Does Not Simply Walk Into Mordor

#sxsw #NetworkNow


People say "It's not what you know, it's who you know." But what if you don't know anyone? What if you didn't go to the right school? What if you're so outside the club, you didn't even know there *was* a club? As much as social media has erased barriers and made it feel like we're all part of one big happy tweet-party, in many ways other barriers have been reinforced - the kind that require "a warm intro" or invitations to inner circles or forwarded emails of job openings kept on private networks. It's hard enough to find the gates - then you have to get past the gatekeepers. There are "ways to do things" - and then there are the ways to get around those ways. Rachel Sklar and Nilofer Merchant have been there, and know that in order to beat the system, you have to know how it works. (Also, they're impatient for the system to change.) This presentation will identify the natural defaults that favor privilege - so that you can blow them up.



Nilofer Merchant



Nilofer Merchant — is an author, corporate director and speaker based in Silicon Valley, California.

As someone who has grown businesses — from Fortune 500s and silicon valley web start-ups — for 20 years, Nilofer is like a secret agent in knowing how to piece together exactly and only the parts that matter (frameworks, strategies, and cultural values) — to get the needed results.
She’s worked for major companies like Apple, and Autodesk, and startups in the early days of the Web (Golive/ later bought by Adobe). And Logitech, Symantec, HP, Yahoo, VMWare, and many others have turned to her guidance to develop new product strategies, enter new markets, defend against competitors, and optimize revenues. And, Merchant is one of the few people who can say they’ve fought a competitive battle against Microsoft and won, for Symantec’s Anti-Virus $2.1B annual business. She has personally launched more than 100 products, netting $18B in sales, with expertise in Europe and US markets.


Rachel Sklar



Rachel Sklar is a writer and social entrepreneur based in New York. She is the co-founder of Change The Ratio and TheLi.st, which increase visibility and opportunity for women in tech & new media. She is very proud of TheLi.st's thrice-weekly newsletter! Sign up!

A former lawyer who writes about media, politics, culture & technology, she was a founding editor at Mediaite and the Huffington Post. She has written for orgs like New York Times, The Daily Beast, Politico & Mashable and speaks widely at conferences, events and on TV. She is also the co-host of “The Salon” on The Jewish Channel.

Rachel is a TechStars mentor and an advisor to several startups, including Vox Media, The Daily Muse, Lover.ly, Votizen & TeachAIDS.org, and is a proud Board member at She’s The First.

Rachel was named to the Silicon Alley 100 in 2009, 2010 and 2011, FastCompany’s “League of Extraordinary Women” & Forbes’ “Women Changing The World.” She likes causing trouble. Try her.


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