BLUG – Sparks on Tour!



After a very successful Sparks session at Lotusphere NerdGirls is proud to announce that we are taking it on the road!

Logo BLUGOur first stop is BLUG; the Belgium – Luxembourg User Group event held on March 22-23 in Antwerp where we are hoping to present some more Sparks. And that means it’s open for new submissions

Are you going to inspire the audience?

So if you are going to BLUG and have an inspirational story to share let us know. And who knows, maybe your spark will be on center stage in Antwerp!

Not sure what a Sparks session is? No problem. A spark session is a session consisting of a number of short (5min) speeches by people (both men and women) from the audience about something they think is inspirational. It can be on anything from work to hobby to family life, as long as it is inspirational. For some ideas check out the video’s of the Sparks that were presented at Lotusphere here.

Interested in participating? Sent us a mail shortly describing your Sparks topic to A selection commission will pick the best submissions out for the BLUG session.

We hope to see you in Antwerp!

Spark Ideas Lotusphere 2012 – The Videos

If you didn’t manage to make it to our Spark Ideas session at Lotusphere this year, we have a treat for you. Thanks to our friends at Spiked Studios we have video of each of the 6 sessions and thanks of course to all of our Sparks speakers, the feedback was amazing and we’ll definitely be doing this again.

Each of the video clips below runs about 6 minutes so take a coffee break and get ready for some inspiration!

Mitch Cohen – Get Cancer Get Social
Francie Tanner – The Art Of Duct Tape
Tim Davis – Choosing To Be Lucky
Marie Scott – 2 Women, 2 Countries, and a Journey
Warren Elsmore – LEGO, how the company almost completely fell apart and was rebuilt
Meg Petersen – Taking The Stage

So what’s next?  Well we hope to do another Spark Ideas session at the Benelux User Group on 22nd March ( so if you’re coming to BLUG and you would like to do a “Spark” then please email

The topic can be anything that you feel is relevant. Whatever you think would inspire your colleagues and friends in the room!

Final Great Geek Quiz Winner



So here we are!  Lotusphere is next week!  Our final winner for the quiz is none other than Carl Tyler!  Congratulations!  Don’t forget to come to the Great Geek Challenge on Tuesday at 8PM in the Dolphin Fountain restaurant!

Now here are the answers to the last round of questions:

What is the name of the giant tree destroyed in the movie Avatar?

Home Tree (not tree of life, as I responded)

Who should have taken a left turn at Albuquerque?

That would be none other than Bugs Bunny

What do IBM, Alexander Graham Bell and Sherlock Holmes have in common?

Elementary, my dear WATSON!

Which came first: World of Warcraft or Halo?

Halo, in 2001. (WoW was 2004)

Hope to see you Tuesday!

Spark Ideas – Ready For Some Inspiration?



Nerd Girls are back at Lotusphere 2012 (and if you’ve been at a user group or conference this year you may have noticed we never went away).  At this year’s Lotusphere we’re changing things around and bringing you a brand new concept called Spark Ideas. It’s January, it’s Lotusphere and time to be inspired and Spark Ideas is a series of 6 minute talks aimed at doing just that and encouraging you to think differently about your world.

We had lots of great submissions for Spark Ideas but in the end we wanted to put together as wide ranging selection as we could.  Each speaker has 6 minutes to talk about their idea, so they and we are trying something new.  I’d like to thank them in advance for sharing what are in many cases very personal stories.  I hope you are able to come along and be inspired. Spark Ideas and the Spark Ideas Birds Of A Feather will be hosted by Jess Stratton. We hope to see you there.

Meg Petersen – Taking the Stage

Getting up in front of people and speaking with ease and confidence is a life skill. It’s not necessarily a natural thing, so it requires nurturing, opportunity and practice. I’ve spent time in both my extra curricular life as well as my professional life at IBM encouraging children and colleagues to “Take the Stage”.  I’ll tell you all about it in just 5 minutes!

Mitch Cohen – Get Cancer Get Social

Six months ago cancer made an unwelcome entrance in to my life, when my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. A cancer diagnosis is overwhelming to say the least, and comes with a lot of doctors, opinions, medications, etc. The tools you may not think of immediately to fight cancer? A positive attitude, a sense of humor, a blog, twitter, and facebook. Hear the story of how these social tools make coping with and fighting cancer easier.

Francie Tanner – How To Live Without Self Imposed Limitations That Stand Between You and What You Want

What do you see when you look at a roll of duct tape”, is what I had to ponder after I moved my four kids from our abundant life in the US, to an empty house on a remote Caribbean island with only two suitcases each. I had four bored kids, no art supplies, no toys and nothing to entertain them with and it seemed I had made a giant mistake with this move and that is when the first duct tape purse, wallet and pencil holder was born. Since then, duct tape taught me an important lesson, to look past the obvious, and to employ creativity, community and imagination to create solutions to our problems. “The art of Duct Tape” is now not only a fun hobby but a way of looking at life, imagining what we want out of it and the creative edge to pursue happiness

Warren Elsmore – LEGO – how the company almost fell completely apart and was rebuilt

What happens when you don’t know your customers? Or when your community has better ideas than you do? That’s the problem that faced LEGO in the last decade and it nearly caused the end of the company. But the worlds’ best toy company turned things around in only a few short years. In just 5 minutes, hear how they did this and how LEGO’s fan community was central to the restoration. And find out why a grown man still plays with LEGO too 😉

Marie Scott – 2 Women, 2 Countries, and a Journey: How A Single Decision Forms A Generation

The internet allows us now to find out more about our past through electronic records. Imagine the stories hidden there. Marie found that two strong women helped shape her family based on their brave decisions made at times when women didn’t normally take the lead. She’ll share their stories and how they inspire her on a daily basis

Tim Davis – Choosing To Be Lucky

I’ve been fascinated by the idea of studies that prove that people who consider themselves “unlucky” turn out to be so because their mindset often means they don’t pick up on opportunities through observation and if they do they don’t act on them. Lucky people do both.  It’s been demonstrated that people can enhance their own luck by increasing their awareness and willingness to act and by choosing to consider themselves “lucky” instead of “unlucky”.  I will talk about examples of this in my life and how easy it is to make yourself “luckier”.

We are delighted that Kristen Lauria, Vice President Marketing IBM Social Business and Collaboration Solutions, will be joining us at Spark Ideas.

Spark Ideas
NERD101 Tuesday 17th January 11.15 – 12.15 Swan Mockingbird 1 & 2

Since this an ambitious idea and we have no opportunity during the hour’s session for feedback, we’re going to be hosting a Birds of a Feather later the same day called Spark Ideas – The Discussion where we can take the ideas further.
Spark Ideas – The Discussion
BOF130 Tuesday 17th January 17.45 – 18.45 Swan Parrot 2

First Great Geek Quiz Winner of 2012

Congratulations to Steve Mullen!  He is our first winner of 2012!  Only a couple more weeks until Lotusphere!

Here are the answers to the last round of questions:

Who was Doctor Who’s first companion in the 2005 relaunch?

Either Rose Tyler or Billie Piper was acceptable

Which sci-fi movie series features the warring factions Vampires and Lycans?

Underworld  (I answered “The movie with the woman in leather who’s name I can’t remember”.  Apparently that did NOT count as correct.  Hmph.)

What is the upcoming next-generation Wii console going to be called?

Wii U.

What do CC and BCC stand for?

Carbon Copy and Blind Carbon Copy

Be sure and check for this week’s quiz!

Round 3 of the Great Geek Quiz


Congratulations! Our third round of the Great Geek Challenge quiz is over, and William Eberle was selected as our prize winner!

Here are the questions from the last round, along with the answers (you all are getting better, or the questions are getting easier!):

1) Which TV series was based on Charlene Harris’ novels?

True Blood

2) Whose theoretical cat was famously both alive and dead at the same time?

Shrodinger’s Cat

3) What planet is Superman from?


4) There are 32 chessmen in a game, but how many different pieces are there?


A new quiz will be up tomorrow! Selected entries will be notified via email, so be sure to put your email on your submission.

Speakers selected for LS12 Spark session!



All abstract submissions were shown to a panel of men and women to decide on the topics for this years Sparks session. To ensure choices weren’t made based on names we anonymized the abstracts before putting them in front of the panel.

It was a tough choice as there were so many great abstracts submitted but we eventually narrowed it down to 6 topics we feel will give you an exciting and broad range of ideas!

To join Kristen Lauria for the NERD101: Spark session will be:

  • Mitch Cohen: “Get Cancer Get Social
  • Francie Tanner: “The art of Duct Tape: Living without Limits
  • Tim Davis: “Choosing To Be Lucky
  • Warren Elsmore: “LEGO – how the company almost fell completely apart and was rebuilt
  • Marie Scott: “2 Women, 2 Countries, and a Journey: How A Single Decision Forms A Generation
  • Meg Petersen: “Taking the Stage

More details on each of these topics will follow next week so keep an eye out for updates on this blog!

We want to thank all of those that submitted an abstract that wasn’t chosen. The quality of all submissions was really high and it made it a tough decision to have to narrow it down but we simply couldn’t place all of them. All of them however were Spark worthy!

The Round 2 Great Geek is…


Congratulations! Our second round of the Great Geek Challenge quiz is over, and Simon Peek was selected as our prize winner!

Here are those (slightly less) tricksy questions from the last round, along with the answers:

1) What is Striders real name?

Aragorn.  Son of Arathorn if you want to get technical.

2) On a camera, what does a larger f-stop mean?

A larger f-stop means a smaller aperture. This means letting in less light, also a deeper depth of field where more things are in focus. It can also affect the sharpness.

3) What was a spinoff of Battlestar Galactica in 2010?

Caprica.  It was a prequel.

4) Which building material produces a gleam, a gymnast and a pyrotechnic?

Adobe produces Flash, Acrobat and Fireworks.

Be sure to go check out the mobile app for this week’s questions! (We’re going even easier on you this week!) Selected entries will be notified via email, so be sure to put your email on your submission.

Spark Ideas: Submissions closed and already a success!


Yesterday was the last day for submitting abstracts for the Nerd101: Spark Ideas session. So far we can say it was a sounding success! We got lot’s of really good submission ranging in topics from …… Well, that I’m not going to tell you! you’ll just have to wait and see 🙂  What I am going to tell you is that the ratio Male/Female submitters was almost equal and the topics were very diverse.

What happens now is that all submissions will be anonymized and put in front of a panel. That panel determines individually which they like best after which all results will be compared and the best are chosen. Keep an eye on this blog for the announcements and a big ‘thank you!’ to all submitters for their great Spark ideas, you inspired us already!

Don’t miss the Spark Ideas session on Tuesday, January 17 11:15 AM – 12:15 PM at Lotusphere.

Junior Nerd Girl!



We received this great picture today from proud dad Norman Cox showing his daughter Laura Beth who dressed up as a Nerd Girl for Halloween:Laura Beth & Christina

“Here are my two daughters getting ready to head out for Halloween this year. As usual, they were on far ends of the spectrum in their choices.

My 13 year old decided to be a geek. I was a little put off that she went through my stuff for her costume.

Her name is Laura Beth Cox, she is 13 and in the 7th grade in Columbia, MO, USA.

In my completely biased opinion, she is a well rounded Junior Nerd Girl. She plays goalie in soccer and is a point guard on her basketball team. She recently won her age group in a basketball free throw contest. She plays viola in her school’s orchestra and plays in the city’s Middle School Honor’s orchestra. She does well in school, and especially enjoys math, science and reading. She gets high marks from teachers for effort and attitude in class, as well. At home, she enjoys cooking, being with her pets and hanging with friends. She also enjoys pestering her brother and sister as any Nerd Girl should.

Younger sister, five year old, Christina is more of a drama queen. She is in Kindergarten and is more into the frilly side of girldom. When we go to their older brother’s sports events, she is more excited about the cheerleaders. She has an affinity for princesses and things pink. By the way, I broke it to her this weekend that I am going on a trip next month for work. She was fine with it until I said I was going to be at Disney. Her-“By yourself?!!” Me-“Yes, afraid so.” I received a melting look.”

Great costumes for both! And Laura Beth, we’ll make sure your dad get’s an official NerdGirl badge at Lotusphere for you. You’ve earned it!