Marissa Mayer and Sheryl Sandberg have recently made headlines for their high profile jobs at top tech companies in America. But I hope you agree these women aren’t in these positions just because they’re women. They have proven track records and have reputations for delivering results. Their influence fuels communities that do not simply include women in technology – but herald it.
It’s critical for women, more women, to be in technology for the following reasons.
Of women, for women, by women.
Abraham Lincoln famously spoke of government as “of the people, by the people, for the people.” Technology needs to be the same for women. If empathy is one of the key drivers of building products with high product-market fit, and we agree than women are 50% of the market, then how on Earth can men design all of the products? Especially in cases where women are the target consumer, it’s critical that women have input on the product design, messaging, and price.
Formation vs. breakage.
Natural diamonds can take billion years to form. But once they are formed, they are one of the hardest substances on Earth. And just like a diamond takes time to form, so does industry. The rise of the Internet and its impact on the global economy has already proven itself. It has defined our generation. But we are just at the starting gate. If we as women, fail to be involved in the formation of an industry, we prevent ourselves from being the future leaders of that industry. It is better, easier and far more likely to grow with an industry than it is to break into it.
Optimization over equality.
A friend said to me the other day, “Wow – you must be around a lot of tech guys.” And yes, it’s true. As a female founder in tech, I am consistently outnumbered by guys in t-shirts and hoodies. But it never really bothers me because I don’t see it as a numbers game, it’s a optimization game. To make the best products, to build the best companies, having a balanced team of 5 men and 5 women does not automatically solve the problem. It’s about fitting the right person for the right role. I believe that women are better fit for certain roles AND have the power to diversify the thought process by representing a different perspective. Therefore having at least some women representation is always beneficial. So sure – Dollar Shave Club may not need a full stack team of women product experts, but surely – Bodyform does. These videos are worth watching. Really.
“I know karate, I know jujistu… ooooooo.” Brilliant.
“You did that, Richard. You. Well done.” Well done indeed.
It’s not “just because.”
This trend of women in startups is not a “just because” thing. We are not proponents of women in tech just because of all the press and just because the world should be fair. It’s important because we should want make the best businesses – heck – the best version of ourselves that we can possibly be.
Yesterday, I attended the Women2.0 conference in New York and I met so many fearless women who are making worthwhile products and embedding themselves into a growing industry. I took home a few nuggets of knowledge and left inspired to keep pace with my fellow women attendees.
At the very core of any movement, there are those that uphold the ideals for positive and meaningful change. By being examples of tech savvy women who are generous with their talents and relentlessly hard working, we’re setting the stage for women who will come after us, building a legacy of real impact.
Audrey founded Waggit.com, an online community for people to exchange dog sitting favors and schedule play dates with folks in their local neighborhoods. With a background in IT consulting and an obsession with dogs, she works on Waggit full time out of her home in Long Island City. She’s been featured on Skillcrush and is an active member of the New York tech community. Originally from Chicago, she loves a good Italian Beef and her favorite holiday is Thanksgiving.