She Talks Tech Podcast - Martha Lane Fox in conversation with Jacqueline de Rojas

Listen to our latest She Talks Tech podcast episode - Martha Lane Fox in conversation with Jacqueline de Rojas

She Talks Tech Podcast - Martha Lane Fox in conversation with Jacqueline de Rojas

Today we hear from British businesswoman and co-founder of dotcom boom company ‘Last Minute’, Baroness Martha Lane Fox CBE.

She serves on the board of Twitter and Chanel and is Chancellor of the Open University and Chair of WeTransfer.

She’ll be in conversation with Jacqueline de Rojas CBE – the president of TechUK and chair of the board of Digital Leaders.

They will share their experience from the dot com era and discuss their last 25 years in tech – and what we can learn from those years now in light of the problems of 2020.

If you want to find out more about Martha Lane Fox – you can connect with her on twitter at @MarthaLaneFox, and if you’d like to connect with Jacqueline de Rojas, you can find out more about her on twitter @JdR_tech or on LinkedIn.


‘She Talks Tech’ brings you stories, lessons and tips from some of the most inspirational women (and men!) in tech.

From robotics and drones, to fintech, neurodiversity and coronavirus apps; these incredible speakers are opening up to give us the latest information on tech in 2020.

Vanessa Valleley OBE, founder of WeAreTheCity and WeAreTechWomen brings you this latest resource to help you rise to the top of the tech industry. Women in tech make up just 17 per cent of the industry in the UK and we want to inspire that to change.

WeAreTechWomen are delighted to bring this very inspiring first series to wherever you normally listen to podcasts – and the first three episodes are now live!

So subscribe, rate the podcast and give it a 5-star review – and keep listening every Wednesday morning for a new episode of ‘She Talks Tech’.

Produced by Pineapple Audio Production.

58 per cent of the public think that the tech sector is under-regulated

Team of young coworkers working together at night office.Young woman using mobile laptop at the table.Horizontal.Blurred background

58 per cent of the British public believe that the tech sector is under-regulated, according to a new report looking into digital attitudes.

The Power, People & Technology: The 2020 Digital Attitudes report, published by Doteveryone, found that people are once again re-evaluating their relationship with technology. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the speed of technological change - with many having work meetings on Zoom, children learning virtually and socialising moved to video calls.

The research found that while the vast majority of people think the internet has improved their lives, there a many who are less convinced that it's been good for society as a whole. 81 per cent agreed the internet has made life a lot of a little better for 'people like me', while 58 per cent said it has had a very or fairly positive impact on society overall. However, only half feel optimistic about how technology will affect their lives and society in the future.

The report also found that although people's digital understanding has grown, that's not helping them to shape their online experiences in line with their own wishes. People are taking a range of measures online that stem from their digital understanding - most people have checked ther privacy settings, looked for news outside their filter bubble or used an ad blocker but people tend to take these actions only occasionally.

47 per cent of those surveyed felt that they had no choice but to sign up to services despite concerns and 45 per cent feel there's no point reading terms and conditions because companies will do what they want anyway.

Based on their 2018 research, Doteveryone ran a nationally representative survey just before the UK went into lockdown and focus groups shortly after it began, benchmarking the public's appetite, understanding and tolerance towards the impacts of tech on their lives.

The report goes on to recommend an number of key ideas such as; the creation of an independent body, the Office of Responsible Technology; all tech companies to implement trustworthy, transparent design patterns that show how services work and give people meaningful control over how they operate; and all tech companies should create accessible and straightforward ways for people to report concerns.

Speaking about the findings, Martha Lane Fox, Executive Chair and Founder, Doteveryone, said, "Technology is a tool that can open new opportunities, that can enrich our lives and enable us to achieve new possibilities."

"But it can only do that if it's built and used in ways that are respectful of our values and expectations."

"This research shows that all too oftern that's not happening."

"The public feels change is happening to them, not with them or for them."

"At this critical moment, I urge decision makers in government, industry and civil society to listen carefully to how people understand and view the technology that shapes their day-to-day lives and what they want from it."

"The practical recommendations set out in this report have been designed to ensure that technology works for more people more of the time."

"The response to the pandemic is supercharging the speed of technological change."

"This change must be driven by the interestes of people, communities and planet - not just the profit margins of tech companies."



UK to “go back in time” if women absent from internet and tech industry says Martha Lane Fox

If women are absent from the UK internet and tech industry “we will go back in time” Baroness Martha Lane Fox said at the Cheltenham Literature Festival.Martha Lane

She made her comments whilst at the festival outlining her plans for Dot Everyone project. In April she used her Dimbleby Lecture to reveal national institution idea to make Britain “the most digital nation on the planet”, and urged the nation to sign an online petition demanding that the next prime minister gets started on building the institution.

The Telegraph reported Lane Fox as saying that the growth of the internet is the ''industrial revolution of our time'' and she hoped that the internet would level the playing for diversity.

''All that's happened is that one bunch of very rich white men have transferred their money to another bunch of very rich white men and, worse than that, they are in a very small concentrated area of the world, in Silicon Valley,'' she said.

During her Dimbleby lecture Lane Fox said Dot Everyone aims to educate on how the internet works, but it also plans to put women at the forefront of the movement, because she is concerned none of the big internet businesses relied on by the public were founded or are run by a woman.

Lane Fox added: ''I still find that really baffling. The absence of women from the teams that are making the internet, the product designers, the coders, the engineers, the absence of women in the venture capital community. 'I think it is really profoundly important because this is where the industrial revolution of our time is. If women are absent from it I think we will go back in time.

''I am perplexed by this as I genuinely thought the internet would be an empowering tool for women.”

According to Lane Fox “unconscious biasness” within the venture capital community is holding women back: ''There is a cycle of behaviour in the venture capital community which I don't think is overt sexism, I think there is some, but I don't think it is the only reason but there is a lot of unconscious bias.

''If you are a venture capitalist and you are looking at risk you are less likely to invest in someone that is not like you.”

Inspirational Woman: Martha Lane Fox | Co-Founder of Lucky Voice Private Karaoke

Martha LaneMost interviews for “Inspirational Women”, start from the premise that role models, mentors and sponsors have been key in achieving success. It is interesting to see how differently women speak of this. This interview happened before Martha was made Digital Tzar and more recently a member of the House of Lords.

Martha co-founded in 1998, floated the business in 2000, and remained on the board until the Company was purchased by Sabre Holdings in 2005 for £577m. Prior to stepping down Martha acted as Group Managing Director where she was actively involved in all aspects of the business development from securing new investment to running the day to day business across all its 12 international markets. Martha is currently a Patron of CAMFED, and co-founder of Lucky Voice Private Karaoke. Martha supports the group Reprieve, which aims to get prisoners off death row. She was recently quoted as saying to believe in not enough talented women on boards and in business, was both sexist and patronizing.

Martha's Role Models

Interestingly Martha doesn't think that role models are so important as the good and supportive network which you gather round you. One role model

"My parents together. They were supportive and allowed me to do what ever I wanted. They were totally supportive of us children, and in themselves were inspiring people."

Key Events in Your Career

The most surprising was from a recent event for Reprieve.

"One of my best friends, Shauneen Lambe, was the founder of Reprieve and involved in human rights and criminal justice. I was so impressed. I have always been really interested in the penal system, but have always hated the idea of having my wings clipped, and it stems from the idea that how you treat people comes back to you, that you are sending into a spiral how you treat people. One of the prisoners, facing a bleak outcome, spoke so movingly and with great humility. It never ceases to amaze the strength of the human spirit and how overwhelming people can be in adversity."

What was the most challenging event in your life?

The most challenging event in my life was learning to walk again. "My body flew across the desert and landed on a rock," she had been thrown out of a jeep in Morocco, landing on her right side, smashing her pelvis in six places, and almost destroying one of her legs. Worst of all, lying on the desert ground, she was suffering from massive internal bleeding. "I don't remember any of what happened next, but the doctors said there were bits of bone and blood floating around inside me. The danger was that they would spread to my brain." She says if she hadn't had the money from the sale of dotcom, to buy the best medical treatment and supporters carers, she would not have survived.

"It was difficult, and I could only proceed slowly, day by day, setting small goals constantly so I could see that I was making progress. Of course overall, the love and support of family and friends.  I think overwhelmingly what came through was never take for granted the love and support of family and friends.  How lucky you are."

The event which produced the most learning

The events or occasion which produced the most learning again and again; that people in terrible situations can do amazing work. The work that CAMFED are doing in African schools, where they are getting uniforms, transport, mentors. These women are living in African villages with AIDS and economic problems, yet they manage to get a university degree. They are extraordinary. Camfed is dedicated to eradicating poverty in Africa through the education of girls and the empowerment of young women.

"When people say it cannot be done, they only mean it has never been done before." Angeline Mugwendere, supported by Camfed through school and now the national director of the Zimbabwe programme. Educating girls and women helps individuals. It also unlocks energies which drive social and economic development.

Did you ever feel it was harder or easier as a woman?

"It would be churlish to say that I've had problems as a woman. It is harder. Some people seem not to live in the 21st century. I have been very lucky. However there was one occasion. When Brent Hoberman and I were going to set up we went to see our first Venture Capitalist. I was very nervous and we did the presentation, then he looked at me and said: "What happens if you get pregnant?" I was completely confused, as I hadn't expected such a question. I have to say that not all VCs were like that. And now that I am Non Executive Director of Marks and Spencer, these are dynamic modern companies. The last thing we want is tokenism, we want broader working practices, more flexible working. But the top women in the city still are few by comparison with the men."

Looking back is there anything you wish you'd done differently or better?

"Loads, but I don't look back much. I'm sure I've made mistakes, hiring people, firing people, on deals on a personal level, but I think its important to make mistakes and learn from them. Learn daily in life and try to do better."

Any serendipity?

"Setting up lastminute and selling at the right time. I believe strongly in the importance of the support network, but I am also aggressive in going out there and looking for people, getting Alan Leighton for the chair for 3 years."

What are your core values?

"A strong social conscience. An awareness that you are connected into the world around you and feed that back."

Advice to young people starting up their own business:

Total love and devotion to your family. Take inspiration from them. Be disruptive: challenge authority. Not just taking people’s expectations so that you, young women don't need to feel that they have to be any particular way.

It is very important to be optimistic, but also self-aware. Constantly positive, but don't be blind. Delegate. You need to recognise that you are probably not the best person to do everything. Get great people around you. Also absolutely crucial, I had an absolute obsession with the cash, real cash flow not the multi-million turnover, but the cash, money in the bank, really critical.

Martha Lane Fox. Youngest member of the House of Lords. Baroness Lane- Fox of Soho CBE. You can read her blog here, especially about the Ability net awards, featuring Dame Steve Shirley, another amazing incredible woman.

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