India Currents gave me a voice in days I was very lost. Having my articles selected for publishing was very validating – Shailaja Dixit, Executive Director, Narika, Fremont
Sudha Jamthe was the first woman to raise venture capital money in New England back in 2002, and she didn’t even realize it at the time.
“If somebody had told me before that no woman had done it, I might have freaked out. But I just went for it and raised that first million in 40 days,” Jamthe explains.
Jamthe’s go-getter perseverance has steered her to the forefront of Bay Area’s entrepreneurial tech community, a scene traditionally dominated by jean-clad, laptop-carrying, techie young men. At her day job, Jamthe advises big companies like Intuit, AOL, and PayPal on social media strategy. On the side, she organizes monthly Twitter and Facebook Developers meetups. You can find her online, all the time. She videostreams events and interviews on her YouTube and Vimeo channels, tweets updates on Twitter, and blogs on both her personal blog and on tech sites like Venturebeat and Mashable.
“Social media isn’t just about Facebook and Myspace and Bebo,” explains Jamthe. “Social media allows you to really express who you are and connect with many different types of people.”
She continues, “In the past, there was a slight barrier with work (relationships) in terms of the political correctness of how we represented ourselves. Those walls are crumbing with social media.”
Surprisingly, Jamthe’s foray into social media began just two years ago, which is relatively late in the Web 2.0 world. In 2007, she moved from Boston to the Silicon Valley with her family. She found work as the VP of marketing for a start-up looking to tap into the college demographic. With a majority of college students on Facebook, Jamthe needed to become more acquainted with the inner workings of social networks.
“I kept wondering, what’s the big deal with Facebook?” recounts Jamthe. “So I found this online group called Facebook Developers Meetups, which at the time, was twenty super-smart, geeky guys from Stanford who met up at a Happy Donuts with their laptops.”
“They told me they were out to change the world by building Facebook Applications,” she says.
Jamthe was instantly bitten by the “social media” bug. She participated in the meetups, but the marketing maven in her couldn’t take the lack of organizational structure. So she volunteered to organize them—securing corporate spaces for meetings, maintaining the mailing list, and finding buzzword Facebook developers to speak at meet-ups.
Under Jamthe’s leadership, the Facebook Developers Meetups group grew to a community of 1,200 innovators whose collective thirst for ideas, collaboration, and social media brings them together every month.
“If you look at my Twitterfeed, it seems like I practically live on Twitter, but I have a method to my madness. I use online tools that help me organize my social media activity,” says Jamthe with a chuckle.
She admits that balancing the demands of an around-the-clock online presence with maintaining family life isn’t easy.
“It’s a Saturday, I just got back from covering a late event, and I have my little kid wailing at me for being gone for so long.” Jamthe admits. “Social media never stops, whether you do it as work or as a passion. People email and tweet me all the time because they know they can catch me online.”
Sudha Jamthe is the Social Media Strategist for PayPal and organizer of monthly Facebook Developers Meetups and Twitter Meetups. Her YouTube channel is http://www.youtube.com/user/sujamthe; her Twitter feed is athttp://twitter.com/sujamthe and her blog can be found athttp://www.coolastory.com.