Last week I attended two events in Amsterdam specifically aimed at women. What I took from those events as a message is interesting for men and women. At Diversity, a network event for professional women, female Internet hero Nancy McKinstry held a very clear and interesting lecture about her Wolters Kluwer, which generates 50% of its turnover of 3.4 billion from online products.
She concluded that because of macro trends affecting the information industry, all Internet and media companies need to deal with diversity. In 2025 Internet users will be diversified, mainly consisting of female information users and aging information users. And they use the information in a different way, other than all the white, geeky, male, young Silicon Valley whizkids may think! So try to get inside the brains of these women and senior citizens, try to understand the information gathering and buying habits of these groups.
A solution to the issue is to support this notion of diversity and to let those target groups jump on the band wagon of the Internet companies by letting them become part of the team. A company like Apple understands this trend; it may be the reason why it has appointed Andrea Young of Avon, the beauty power house to its board.
Another company which may have seen the start of a light in this issue is Microsoft. After my comments about the Dev Days and their lack of female speakers, I was invited to a small Women in Technology booth that was set up this year for the first time to try to meet the 2% women that visit this event. Female Internet hero Astrid Hackenberg, founder and CEO of Class-A and Jacqueline van der Holst of Avanade were invited to welcome other, younger developers, let’s assume the female CTO’s of the future. Here too, the notion of data being used differently by a diversified group led to solution of a diversified team.
But are enough internet companies taking this diversity trend into account in setting up their team?