This tweet kicked off a storm of reactions all over the interwebs. I won't capture all of the reactions here but will highlight one interesting post in particular. Tara Hunt, CEO of Buyosphere and missrogue on Twitter, wrote a great piece on Women 2.0 questioning if there's A Pink Collar Tech Ghetto? This part of her post is particularly interesting.
I love Tara's sentiment. And, I'm not ready to add "pink" to the list of verticals. I don't necessarily think that women are limited to a pink ghetto in tech. In my circle of friends & acquaintances there are a number of women founders of tech businesses. In 60 seconds I can think of women entrepreneurs in: Blogging, Education, Food, Housing, High Speed Video and Social Media. Hmm. Those aren't only "pink" verticals.
All of these women (who I've met personally) are simply focused on their business and having an impact. I guarantee you they're not worried about whether the work they're doing is too "female."
- Holly Hamann of The Blog Frog just partnered with ABC news to launch the Million Moms Challenge. Yes, there babies are involved but the goal is to help raise awareness about moms and babies in developing countries. That's about humanity and um, aren't we all concerned about that?
- Deanna Bennett's Rent Monitor helps make it easy to be landlord. Full of small business owners operating with limited budgets often while doing it as a side business this is important. And I'm pretty sure the housing industry isn't female dominated.
- Emily Olson's Foodzie provides a great channel for small producers & growers in the food industry to get more exposure, distribute their goods and grow their business. (I'm a part of their monthly tasting box program and man do they know how to select good food).
- A learning through creativity site, Kerpoof was doing such amazing things that CEO Krista Marks sold the business to Disney while still retaining the reins of the business. Last I checked, that was a pretty awesome feat.
- Char Genevier is the brains behind the technology at Social Engine which aims to help social media managers. The whole business is predicated on helping people in the social space have a bigger impact with their chosen audience. And? Half of the ones I know are actually men.
- One of my best friends, Kim Curtis, is the CTO and founder of a dRNOME, a high tech video storage company whose technology provides high speed video analysis and encrypted storage. I'm sure she'd talk about this but...she's too busy focused on her product so that coaches and athletes can perfect sports performance and government agencies can improve in their ability to protect our country.
Like my friend, I don't think most of these women have given much head space to this topic. They're too busy having an impact in an area they're passionate about. Funny thing? This is just a small slice. There are plenty more like them. Are some of the women fronted startups about dating or clothes or makeup? Sure. But that doesn't mean women are limited to some sort of pink ghetto. It just means they're like any entrepreneur who follows their passion in something that interests them.
I'm not mad at Jolie O'Dell. She was simply venting her own spleen. The heart of her frustration I think is wanting more for women. I can agree with that. Sure there are inequities in tech. I just want the conversation to change. As in my favorite movie The Matrix you can't focus on bending the spoon. There is no spoon. My challenge to everyone?
Stop focusing on the pink tech ghetto.
Try to realize the truth.
There is no pink tech ghetto.
Stop whining about the problem of women entrepreneurs. Go find them. Support them. Highlight their impact. And? Focus On Having Your Own Impact.
All the women in this post are creating something that can have a lasting impact. That's what really matters, not whether they work in pink industries or whether their startup would wear a pink t-shirt if it could. Whatever your gender...
Having an impact is what entrepreneurship is really about.
That's what I want to talk about. So, if you're an entrepreneur I'd love to feature the impact you're having on this blog.
P.S. Wearing pink is not a requirement.