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GirlGeek of the Week
August 1999

Susan MacTavish Best

I am the founder/editor of POSTHOC which is an online guide to San Francisco made up entirely of volunteers. My real world job (that pays my rent) is as a PR consultant to high tech companies.

I grew up in Scotland before it turned techie. Silicon Glen didn't exist back then and if it did, I was oblivious. I went to a school where it was compulsory to write all essays with a fountain pen, where Mary Queen of Scots spent the night in our school library way back then, and where I took four years of Latin because it was required. Until a few years ago, I was more comfortable with Virgil than an Apple.

After I graduated from college with a history degree (don't ever let anyone tell you history is dead! It's brilliant.), I moved out to San Francisco. I was just lucky enough to get a job through the newspaper at an advertising and PR agency that specialized in tech clients. I was drawn to the Internet companies. I'm naturally curious and often impatient and the Internet satisfies me quickly. But constantly pitching clients without a firm grip of all that goes on behind the scenes grated me. As a result, I went back to school at night at San Francisco State's Multimedia Center and immersed myself in the SF tech world. I started POSTHOC as soon as I finished that semester. Whirlwind learning.

In the immediate future, I'm taking off to India for three months or so to travel alone around the country. I'll be writing a weekly column on POSTHOC about my travels and snooping at the tech scene over there. I can't wait. I'm kicking off the trip with Internet World in Delhi. Maybe I'll even lay down the seeds to a POSTHOC community in India. I hope so.

When did you first discover your love and/or obsession with computers and technology?

Ohhh, I'm a junior GirlGeek. I only really learned how to turn on a computer about five years ago. And it happened by accident. I love to research things and ferret out information. I fell in love with the Internet. After a year of the love affair, I realized I wanted to understand the Internet. So, I went back to school.

How do you earn a living?

I have my own public relations business called BestPR. I'm a public relations consultant for technology companies. It's my non-geeky side of life.

Do you consider yourself a Geek?

Well, I have a wireless modem and have had one for a couple of years. And I adore it even though sometimes it's not as fast as I wish. But the technology is cool! That's pretty geeky. I've got three computers at home (where I also work). Also, my kitchen table has two laptops on it and getting into the kitchen for all the wires can be a challenge. Going to the computer supply store is far more fun than most movies but that's not saying much, is it?

What is your favorite Website? POSTHOC: The Upfront Guide to San Francisco. I started it a year ago because I didn't really feel that any of the other local city guides reflected all the characters that live in San Francisco. The site has grown super quickly: there are about 55 writers and editors now who all contribute to the site on a volunteer basis. I love POSTHOC because the people behind the scenes of the site are all so talented in different ways. And they all have an opinion. Gotta love that! C/Net's is brilliant. It always gets me out of binds and teaches me new tips with software. They continue to have fabulous writing. In fact, the writing on that site makes me cry at least once a week. Usually in between my hoots of laughter.

What do you do when you are not working?

I run POSTHOC. It's fairly time consuming. At the moment, I'm still doing all the production of the site, managing all the writers and editors and doing the majority of the editing. I try to meet with at least one or two different writers a week.


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