For years I’ve wondered why the target of advertisers and companies was 18-35 year old males; a target that, based on my experience and observations, was incredibly fickle and rarely had the money to spend that other demographic groups had.
But what did I know?
Apparently more than I thought.
If you are a startup, especially a tech startup, you need to do two things.
First take a hard look at stats that could make or break your success.
It turns out women are our new lead adopters. When you look at internet usage, it turns out women in Western countries use the internet 17 percent more every month than their male counterparts. Women are more likely to be using the mobile phones they own, they spend more time talking on them, they spend more time using location-based services. But they also spend more time sending text messages. Women are the fastest growing and largest users on Skype, and that’s mostly younger women. Women are the fastest category and biggest users on every social networking site with the exception of LinkedIn. Women are the vast majority owners of all internet enabled devices–readers, healthcare devices, GPS–that whole bundle of technology is mostly owned by women. –Genevieve Bell, Intel researcher
Along with the stats, you would do well to keep in mind that women are social creatures who love to share—especially tips and opinions.
Then take a hard look at your staff.
How many women have been hired? In what roles? How many are in a position to provide input to your products or services? How often is that input applied, i.e., how much weight does “her” opinion actually carry?
Does it matter? Are her ideas really so different?
It definitely does matter if you plan to sell to her.
And the one thing you should have learned in the course of your life, whether you are 20 or 60, is that boys and girls are different.
They do not
- think alike or even about the same things in the same way;
- use language the same way (“men negotiate status; women talk for connectivity” –Deborah Tannen)
- run on the same time table;
- consider the same things important or
- prioritize similarly.
The list goes on and on.
Given that, how do you propose to develop products and services they will pay for if your whole team thinks like a guy because they are guys?
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Flickr image credit: moodboardphotography