Feminine gamification viewpoint: Stockholm Tech Fest
Earlier this week I had the chance to attend Stockholm Tech Fest, which was inspiring with stories, start-up ideas and some lively debates Swedish style. In Sweden bragging and showing off is considered a major ‘no-no’, so you have guys who have started businesses like Spotify, Skype and Klarna really talking like the guy next door and wealth as a topic is not discussed, even the American interviewer Jason Calacanis tried to get it out of them a few times but they stayed true to their roots. Now why do I want to bring it up in the feminine gamification viewpoint blog, well there was a lot said about gender equality.
As a conference the organisers were aiming for a 50/50 split of male and female panellists and speakers. they achieved a 40/60 split which for a conference in technology is an achievement in their own right. anywhere else in the world they would have felt they had managed to achieve balance, well not in gender equal agenda driven Sweden. I think personally the problem is not with the willingness of the organisers but also the types of businesses and successes from female entrepreneurs in this sphere. Personally I loved the stories from Daniel Ek (Spotify), Niklas Zennstrom (Skype and Atomico) and Sebastian Siematkowski (Klarna). They have built solid and long term businesses and made lots of mistakes along the way, which they shared. I wouldn’t like to see a case where the best quality would be lost just in favour of equality.
One of the points raised in the future of games panel came from Adam Schaub (King) that he saw the future of gaming to have more female games designers. He became instantly popular with the ladies I have to say. He is on to something though in order to create gender equality or balance more females need to take the lead positions as game designers, founders and business leaders. My personal reason to make a mark in the gamification industry is really also because I saw a way too male perspective appearing and I am glad to say that this is softly changing thanks to some of us ladies.
It made me also reflect on the types of businesses women tend to set up. Most women I know have set up service based businesses, which by nature are not ripe or attractive for investors. Most technology start-ups are still set up by men with product, software and gadget ideas, very few of these come from women. Maybe the reason for this is we see a whole context rather than one specific fix to one problem. Women see more than one reason for one problem and the knock-on problems that creates, so when women go into problem resolution mode it is often a service which will address a multitude of challenges rather than just one. As a knock on effect this then becomes fuzzy to market and understand from a buyer’s perspective.
When I look at start-up statistics more and more women are starting up businesses that is becoming more balanced. Their businesses typically don’t look nor get funding from angels or investors and at the same time their growth is not as fast but profitability is higher even in the early years. In my view for the gender balance to become more equal it will take a mindset shift also from investors and mentors to support women differently to men. And maybe a more singular focus for women too, which at the same time me be counter-intuitive. In any case I think it will take a few more mindset shifts from various angles to make gender equality a reality.
What do you think will bring gender equality to a better balance?