Erin Pettigrew is the Executive Director of Marketing at Gawker Media. Erin blogs at Superfem.com and tweet @superfem. As the Executive Director, Erin runs sales marketing, ad operations, audience research, creative services, and ad product. When not working, she loves to explore New York City and follow the rise of Silicon Alley.
Why is technology important?
Technology used to be a subject or sector that could be categorized on its own. No longer. Today, technology is the foundation of business, society, and culture.
How did you discover and first become engaged in technology?
My father introduced me to technology. I spent hours tinkering in borrowed computer labs or hunched over his laptop on school nights. I took classes in or taught myself touch typing, DOS commands, BASIC, C++, Java, networking, HTML, and CSS. I started, ran, and closed numerous blogs and mini-online enterprises. Finally, in college, my father bought me a computer of my very own. I will never forget that gift.
What are the top 5 apps you can’t live without?
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
“Why not live a big life?” Read more here.
If you were 10-yrs-old again, what would you study now that you know what you know?
Business and technology education are more important than ever. While industries and companies change across eras, business and technology principles transcend these shifts. Nowadays, success post-college is predicated on being able to navigate the business and technology landscape. Many institutions, particularly liberal arts schools, are slow to realize this. Is it any wonder so many new grads are without work? They are ill-prepared! While I’m proud of my liberal arts education at Yale, the experiences I learned from most were elective technology courses and a part-time job I had fixing student computers.
What skills do you think the next generation of female leaders need to master to have a seat at the table and move up the ladder or launch their own ventures?
Women underestimate and under-promote themselves. It will be easier to close the education gap (even in technology and science) than to close the confidence gap. Women tend to look for external signals (peers, awards, titles) to portray accomplishment. But these are just proxies for what should be self-confidence. Women, including myself, must trust their abilities and go for it. Don’t wait for external accolades, motivation, or permission. And if you are a woman fluent in technology, quit waiting! Just start doing.
Who would you most like to sit between at a dinner party?
Sheryl Sandberg and, posthumously, Steve Jobs.
What are the 5 best things about living in NYC?
1. Being a full-time pedestrian!
2. Eating any cuisine I want whenever I want it.
3. Experiencing the morphing of one New York neighborhood to the next.
4. Living among the most maximal representations (flagship stores, corporate headquarters, early adopters, test locations, product launches, target audiences) of the major consumer brands that color our culture.
5. Seeing the Silicon Alley tech scene grow from nascent to important. I attended my first New York Tech Meetup in 2007 when there were a few thousand members. Now, NYTM has over 20,000 members and there are entire cottage industries around NYC technology: co-working spaces, accelerators, fundraising, investing, code education, recruiting fairs, Mayor Bloomberg’s initiatives, etc. Many of the companies that I saw demo’d years ago have established themselves as anchor players in NYC’s tech scene. Even my contacts in more traditional industries have dipped toes into NYC tech. It’s been inspiring to watch this city’s technology ecosystem develop such a strong gravitational pull.