Ina Fried

Recent Posts by Ina Fried

Talking Tech While Merging Identities in Munich (Video)

One of the refreshing things about DLDwomen is that it is a technology-and-women’s conference that is not afraid to stretch beyond those confines.

Ina and IBM system 360

DLDwomen (Digital-Life-Design) is the kind of place that welcomes multiple identities rather than forcing one to check all but the relevant one at the door.

Last year, I had the chance to do an onstage interview with the head of Telefonica’s German operations. But I also got to hear talks from Alanis Morissette and the granddaughter of Columbian artist Fernando Botero.

At this year’s event, which kicks off on Monday, I will be talking with a top executive from Deutsche Telekom about the challenges and opportunities for both European companies and telecom operators. It’s a topic that is clearly front-of-mind for me, as I’m covering an ever more global mobile industry.

But I am also taking part in a small discussion on LGBT families on Tuesday, joining a pair of filmmakers and Carl Djerassi, the 91-year-old inventor of the birth-control pill. As the recent new mom of a six-month-old, family is also a subject that is never far from my mind.

I spent Sunday in Munich getting in touch with all of my identities. Fortunately, that was easy.

In the morning, I paid homage to my family’s heritage, visiting the small but powerful Jewish Museum. A particularly poignant temporary exhibit spoke to an often overlooked element of the Holocaust, the widespread sexual abuse of women and men at the hands of the Nazis.

Sobered, and looking for more uplifting enlightenment, I went to the Deutsches Museum — an amazing venue that chronicles the history of technology and mechanics dating from the Middle Ages through the present day.

There I got to walk inside one of those room-size 1960s IBM mainframes that I have often heard about but hadn’t seen. The Museum is home to a number of pieces of early computer history, including an impressive Univac 1 (seen here) and some less-well-known German computers of similar size.

univac1

The museum also pays tribute to the early minicomputers of my youth, from the IBM PC and Commodore PET to the iconic orange-and-yellow Speak & Spell. (For all you young ’uns, that was the LeapPad of its age.)

One floor down, an exhibit traced photography from the earliest cameras to the present. In addition to the legions of early film cameras, there was a small tribute to the dawn of the digital age, with a Palm Pilot camera attachment, a Kodak MP3 player/camera and one of the early Nokia camera phones.

Other collections traced the history of musical instruments, textile equipment and industrial machines. One of the most popular areas was the aviation section, which houses an impressive array of airplanes — from a Wright Brothers craft to modern jets — as well as helicopters, gliders and spacecraft.

On the way back from the Deutsches Museum, I managed to bump into Munich’s Pride festival, which happened to be wrapping up. There wasn’t too much tech there to speak of, although I did spot a woman in a Google shirt featuring two Android mascots and a rainbow flag.

After such an eventful day — as well as the DLDwomen kick-off dinner — I am even more excited for the conference. On Monday, I will be interviewing Claudia Nemat, Deutsche Telekom’s head of European operations.

Also speaking at the event are women from venture capital firms Andreessen Horowitz and Accel Partners, as well as Juliana Rotich, the Ushahidi founder who spoke at our D: Dive Into Mobile conference in April.

Here’s a bit of video from the day:

Check back later on Monday and Tuesday for more coverage from DLDwomen.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus