Posted by Renee Schmidt

Women ARE tech savvy!  We didn’t need Bloomberg to tell us that!

I’m a corporate entrepreneur and techie with a deep rooted passion for interconnection.  SheBytes, while still in its evolution, is my personal blog and “HER” Resource on Technology: for Business, for Life, and for the Soul.  SheBytes was inspired by both the dearth of female entrepreneurs (specifically in tech) and by the lack of tech savvy education opportunities for women in business.  It’s no surprise then that I was really inspired (and affirmed) by a recent article on Bloomberg titled: Stilettos Invade Startups as Niche-Shopping Sites Attract Women. I highly recommend you read the article, but I’d like to highlight some of my key takeaways:

  • Women account for the majority of Web surfers and Internet shoppers.
  • “Women are driving most of the consumer activity on the Web today,” and women “are the majority of users on Facebook, on Twitter, on Zynga.” – Aileen Lee, a venture capitalist at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers @kpcb
  • “Women made up 56% of the 153.6M U.S. users who used social-networking or blogs in May” and “In May, women were 57% of visitors to online retail sites” – Nielsen Co. @NielsenWire
  • “While women account for half the workforce, they hold 25% of technology jobs” and “Only 8% of new technology businesses are started by women, and 5% of capital investment goes to female- owned companies” – White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett @whitehouse
  • “Companies that fail to cater to females risk losing out on a demographic that controls $12 trillion of the $18.4 trillion in consumer spending.” – Boston Consulting Group, @BCG_Consultant
  • “The influx of women into the technology industry in the next five years will outpace the rate over the past decade” – Amy Millman, president of Springboard Enterprises Inc., @amillman
  • There has been a “fivefold increase in inquiries from women asking how to start a business” – Shaherose Charania founder of Women 2.0 and of Founder Labs, @shaherose

Personally, my favorite quote is by Alexis Maybank, co-founder of the shopping website Gilt Groupe Inc @giltfounder: “This new crop of entrepreneurs shouldn’t play down their femininity to succeed.” I couldn’t agree more!  I was profiled on a few months back.  They asked me if I ever felt like I needed to hide my femininity.  To be honest, when I worked in banking, I felt like I did. I was junior and I wanted to be taken seriously for the merit of my work. Much like technology, corporate finance is a male dominated sphere, so I tried to play down my physical ‘assets’ rather than play them up. Now that I own my own business, I don’t feel as much pressure to conform to a standard. I quite enjoy being a woman in a male dominated industry; the paradox is liberating. Because I’m an entrepreneur, I don’t have to compare myself to colleagues. There’s no measuring stick, no performance review. My review comes at the end of the year when I check my books and calculate the bottom line.

Do you think women entrepreneurs ought to play down their femininity?  Please share your thoughts!