Guest Post by @Katadhin, John Andrews, Founder/CEO Collective Bias
Look at the current crop of emerging technology companies and you’ll see many similarities like leverage of the social graph and disruption of media channels as we currently know them. They also have another common element, lots of dude leadership. Facebook, Zynga, Twitter, Linkedin and newcomers Pinterest and Instagram are all mostly led by men.
Where are all the women tech leaders?
With the exception of Facebook all of the high profile newcomers are led by primarily male teams. The inherent problem is we’re missing out on a significant source of brain power and innovation that at the end of the day will make these businesses less competitive. Additionally, as most people over the age of 2 have realized, men and women approach opportunities, problems and innovation from different angles. Leveraging both genders will build stronger, more vibrant companies.
I’m involved in a new media company, and as a father of an inquisitive daughter I believe I have a responsibility to prepare her to be competitive for the future. In her career, the traditional path to success would be college, grad school coupled with lots of internships and then into the business world. By the time she is in her early 20’s, that simply won’t cut it. That path gave me a competitive advantage when I was entering the job market, but she will face millions more who will be similarly educated and trained.
Experience being the best teacher, I’m trying to expose her to as much of the business world as I can with hands-on experiences. I really hope she benefits from the direct exposure from living through a start-up and catches the entrepreneurial bug. I recently attended the Food Marketing Institute Leadership Conference in Orlando. Mary Catherine is always asking to go on business trips with me so I brought her along. Orlando is easy since her grandparents live there and can help with child care but on the plane we discussed the presentation I was going to give and the retailers I would be meeting with. On her next trip, she’ll attend the meetings with me.
The effect is amazing. She has a great recall for the brands we work with and will frequently call them out when she sees them in store or in a commercial. She and I will often work together at my desk. My goal is to have her experience first hand the challenges and excitement of being an entrepreneur so that if she should catch the bug, she can begin preparing herself now. This exposure will be so much more important to her than getting into the “right” school. The skills and knowledge she will hopefully gain from this will be invaluable.
Let me weigh in with the first comment… I LOVE THIS POST! Hear, Hear 🙂
Love the idea if the post, but as the mother of boys, I would say its important to give both children, boys and girls, that same edge in critical thinking and experiences to back it up.
Certainly Lynette… agree wholeheartedly. This post is from the point of view of a Father to a daughter, and from the perspective that there are so few women getting these opportunities. Thanks for chiming in.
My father had a profound impact on my love of science and technology. If I hadn’t gotten that support and encouragement at home, I don’t think I would have pursued computer science.
And certainly, every child should be encouraged to develop critical thinking and be given these experiences, etc, etc. But girls might (still) not get the same encouragement at school/socially in the tech direction. I know I didn’t.
Love this post.
Thanks for your input. I agree about the encouragement girls receive… or don’t.
There are some strong female role models on the startup scene. Grace Boyle,Janet Aronica, Laura Fitton, and Megan Berry come to mind. I also subscribe to a blog called “I Want Her Job” that focuses exclusively on women and how they landed their dream job.
I am glad to hear that you support your daughter by teaching her the skills now that she will need to succeed. The father daughter connection is precious.
Sorry for the delayed approval of your comment Susan… somehow slipped between the cracks. Really appreciate your input.
John Andrews – you are great. I’ve a 6 year old daughter & you have helped change the world for her. We know you’ve changed the world in a tiny way by sharing your story. We know tiny influences can lead to a storm. We know all about how a feather can turn a tipping point.
Keep it up. Keep on sharing the story of how you’ve behaved in a purposeful manner. I & others depend on you. You gave influenced me to do even more in the same vein.
I’ve not yet taken my daughters with me in a business adventure. But I will now. You’ve shown it can be done.
How good of Ted Rubin. Lest we forget – there are many who don’t notice how successful companies are run – many are gender blind & think that’s good. Many don’t notice the weakness of leadership provided by all-male teams. Many split their intelligences into separate boxes: they are all for diversity as an abstract value but seem to accept unquestioningly the homogeneity in business leadership.
Thank goodness there are men like you who notice & take action to disrupt the status quo. We don’t need to achieve majority opinion – we only need enough energy, stamina & purpose to carve through habitual way of ignoring the obvious.
Our job us to change the world so that our daughters & sons can inherit it better than we received it.
I may have sounded off on too wide a front but who cares! I’ll connect with you via Twitter & see what happens.
Thanks for the thoughtful comment Paul. Make it a great day!
Not sure if you are aware, but Girl Scouts have a effort called STEM to explore opportunities for females in science, technology, engineering, and math. it is giving girls at a young age exposure to these concepts and the skills and confidence to enter these fields. Even if joining Girl Scouts is not something you are intetrested in, it might be worth looking into to see how they are getting girls connected with these industries and leaders.
Great post and way to go Dad!
Thanks for this inspiring post!
Pleasure. Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂
Love this post. This should be your theme song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2AzaOQllBQ – As the mother of a toddler and owner of a new start-up, I’ve been (naturally) feeling like the two compete with each other for my time/attention, but it’s nice to think that in a few years I may be able to bring my two loves together a bit more and involve my daughter in the development of my business. Post applies to both dad’s and mom’s + sons and daughters. Thanks so much for the perspective!
Thanks Cara… so gad the post meant something to you. I love that song.
Excellent post. But what constitutes effective mentoring?
Obviously, exposure to technology is mandatory. But it has to be more than just Facebook and video games. I was fortunate enough to work out the house when I was a single parent raising my daughter. I was a recruiter and I was always messing around with data bases (Filemaker Pro). When I bought a new Mac, she’d get my old one. From the time she was five, she was on a computer and since my old machines were juiced with software – data bases, graphics software, etc. – she was exposed to everything the Mac could do.
Being around computers was second nature for her. And it never occurred to me not to let her on mine either. What is she going to do … break it? Doubtful. It wasn’t about math or science though. In fact she does’t really like either one of them. But she’s all about technology.
When Alex graduated from high school she was hired by Apple for sales in one of their Apple Store in S. Cal. (she actually had to wait two months to start because hadn’t turned 18 yet). While this is not programming, even though she’s dabbled in it, it’s still technology. Technology companies need more than just programmers. They need young talent predisposed to technology – all aspects of it.
After stints in sales and the Genius Bar at Apple and hardware tech at a reseller, she’s back at Apple as a corporate trainer for their 3rd party vendors at 22 years old.
I like this post because it puts the responsibility of our children’s futures on us as parents, rather than just turning it over to teachers and schools. School is a supplement to our children’s learning process. The home and parents should be the primary place of development and growth.
As the father of 4 daughters I loved the article. You hit the nail on the head. Very good information! It’s also obvious that you have a very loving relationship with your daughter. That is also very important factor in a father / daughter relationship. Keep up the great work!