What on earth is Kim Kardashian West doing at a tech conference in Armenia?

What on earth is Kim Kardashian West doing at a tech conference in Armenia?
Credit: WCIT 2019

You might know Kim Kardashian West from her Instagram profile, which counts 148 million followers – higher than Beyoncé – or her incredibly long-running reality show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, which is now in its 17th season. Or her lines of beauty, fragrance, and shapewear products. Or from her marriage to 21-Grammy-award-winning musician Kanye West. But I’m curious about her latest claim to fame – being a speaker at the World Congress on Information Technology 2019, in Armenia’s capital of Yerevan.

Kardashian West, who is of Armenian descent, was interviewed on stage today by Magdalene Yesil, a venture capitalist and business author. She was then joined in a panel discussion by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, Giphy founder Alex Chung, and PicsArt founder Hovhannes Avoyan on how tech has democratized entertainment, media, and journalism.

Credit: WCIT 2019
Kim Kardashian West on stage at WCIT 2019

I’m sad to report that Kardashian had nothing of substance to share over the course of an hour and a half. We got a few facts about her career as an entrepreneur and influencer, but almost nothing that explained what it might be like to walk a mile in her high heels.

KKW has a cumulative following of some 250 million people worldwide, and claims to launch about one new product every month, in the areas of cosmetics, fragrance, and shapewear. She works with a core staff of four to five people on these projects. Now, you’d think a serial entrepreneur with as hectic a schedule as that would have more to say about her strategy than, “I look for things I want to use and just make them better.”

On the topic of taking advantage of her massive online following that can serve as a focus group, she had this to say:

When I was launching my first fragrance, I tweeted, “Should i use this shade of pink, or a darker pink? And I really did listen to the advice that everyone was tweeting back to me, and that shaped a huge part of my brand.

A promo image for the mobile game Kim Kardashian: Hollywood
A promo image for the mobile game Kim Kardashian: Hollywood

Yesil also asked KKW about her mobile game, Kim Kardashian Hollywood, that’s still around after an impressive five years:

It was really my first tech venture. I was unsure at first, as to how I’d make it authentic to me. But the concept was really cute, and the fact that I’d have a big say in what my character would do and wear. Since it’s called Kim Kardashian Hollywood, a lot of it has to do with the clothes the character is buying and wearing in photoshoots in Hollywood. I think it’s maintained its success due to me just being so involved.

There’s more where that came from. Or should I say, there’s little else?

I don’t mean to hate on KKW, certainly not on her home turf. Armenia is a small country, with a population of just three million people – and it’s extremely proud of its global diaspora making waves in everything from technology to entertainment to sport to science. Rightly so, too.

I was simply disappointed that she couldn’t capitalize on a fantastic opportunity to share some real insights into how she built her empire in a short span of time, charting her own path, and rocketing to unprecedented fame as a fashion and pop culture icon. There’s obviously more to her story than she let on today; too bad we didn’t get to hear it.

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