Lesbians Who Tech + Launch Fest – San Francisco

*the original of this post was drafted on march 12 /

During the crowdfunding and interest gauging stages of Thurst’s development, I was invited to Lesbians Who Tech and LAUNCH fest in San Francisco, CA. After a few days of quick planning, I presented Thurst at both conferences (the former being the more intentional and dynamic of the two) and awkwardly approached the ceo of a similar, yet distinctly different dating app for “lesbian” women.

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It was my first time in San Fran but also my first experience navigating a conference space as a technologist and not an organizer, student, nerd and consequently I was a bit unsure of how to interact in a space of my peers and industry role models. I felt most comfortable at Lesbians Who Tech, where the radical social hacking and data analytics of Ida B. Wells were mentioned in the same hour as the role of queer women and bodies in tech spaces and the barriers to a more diverse workplace. I felt honored to meet industry pioneers from tech companies like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Square but to also be in a space that honored black and brown women and trans women. TransTech’s Angelica Ross spoke as well as countless black female entrepreneurs and ceo’s, further indicating that San Francisco’s tech scene is more inclusive and innovative in comparison to New York’s, which seems be following the rubric of early silicon valley.

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The LAUNCH fest was honestly like a blip in my memory, where I checked out a few conferences, listened to a few talks and wise words from VC’s and reflected on my time in the bay and how wonderful all of it felt. The sun, the time away from the dusty hued Brooklyn morning, the curiosity of interacting with other queer tech peers, and ultimately the passion for Thurst that had consumed all of my waking moments – all blessings that arose unexpectedly from being open to the moment. It was slightly difficult to leave a comfortable city and ignore the fear, anxiety, and lingering doubt and embark on a very public and long multi-city journey to pitch and spread the word about my startup.

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Personal notes: I’m still perplexed as to why San Fran has an independent Goyard store but NYC doesnt? Can we have a critical convo on tech’s impact on legacy/high fashion and how grandfathered industries are being distrupted? ( i.e. Google watch with luxe components, LV and YSL making cases for various hardware etc) – It was a running joke during #LWT that lesbian tech fashion consisted of a dark colored blazer [still need to acquire one], a plain cotton t-shirt [check], converse or oxfords [check] and glasses or a similar accessory [check]. There was a lot of leather checking, bowtie info sharing, and exchanged grins over identical hairstyles/cardigans/plaid.

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Being in San Fran made me realize how close I am to everything that I’ve loved/desired/dreamed of but also how lazy/wandering I have been (am?) and the work, both emotional and literal, that needs to be done to reach certain benchmarks of success and self knowledge. I was surprised at how quickly I met amazing people, experienced a decent amount of the city, met folks that shared several of my passions, and felt a sense of deep fulfillment for the first time in awhile.

 

Nothing unites two people so completely, especially if, like you and me, all they have is words.
—  Franz Kafka, Letters to Felice