Collaboration: Is it gender or position?

Lots of people have been talking about the Blogher Conference from last week, and how/if women are different from men. Well, of course we are different and of course there are other influences that drive a person’s decision-making, not just their gender!

Lynne D. Johnson had this to say over at the Fast Company blog (link has expired):

bq. Huffington made the statement after announcing that she’d soon launch a new section on her site called “Politics Aside” that would feature topics that were not politics, such as mothering, sex, relationships, and cooking…. In my experience such a call for sharing of content is not common practice at male conferences — at least not in this context or without some sort of business deal being discussed.

I tend to agree with Lynne that the average woman’s view of collaboration is different from the average man. But does Arianna Huffington fit into the averages? I don’t know. I was not at Blogher, but I wonder did her offer to come on over and cross post on her blog come with any compensation? Would she be willing to cross-post over on other women’s blogs too? After all, AH gets a lot of traffic. I think we are talking about spreading the wealth of influence and cash around, not concentrating it into the already dominant URL’s.

Yes, blogging is WONDERFUL because it has created dialog and mindshare amoung those at very different locations on the internet, the globe, the org chart, etc. But many of us see an old model slowly forming: concentration into the hands of a few rather than a truly distributed model. Internet software can handle that, but I think our brainware is struggling to keep up. But technology has frequently developed faster than psychology.

Gender may influence our gut reactions or choices, but experience and consciousness can trump those any day of the week.

One big issue in the videoblogging community is the huge outgrowth of video hosting sites. “Cross post your videos here for free!” But very few are discussing the revenue aspects, or if they are, it is tiny and speculative, and as most of us with some business experience realize, there still ain’t very many free lunches. Greed is still a dominant force in business, and the challenge for the average woman I think is to navigate the balance between knowing that greed exists and yet still operating with an arms wide open stance. I think Robert Scoble is trying to change this game.

How do we fairly compensate not only those who are bulding out the infrastructure but also those who are building the content? Molly E. Holzschlag got a lot of support when she decided not to speak at a conference for free (link has expired).

UPDATE: I incorrectly stated SXSW. Thanks for the note Molly.

Women may be more generous collaborators, but they also tend to be left out of the big deals (link has expired).

Still, women owned businesses are growing at twice the rate of all privately-held firms.

Bottom Line? Gender may influence our gut reactions or choices, but experience and consciousness can trump those any day of the week.

roxanne's signature

, , , , , , ,


AUTHOR: Molly E. Holzschlag
DATE: 08/02/2006 09:45:10 AM
Very interesting article, and thanks for it. One important correction if you’ll be so kind, it wasn’t SXSW I wouldn’t speak at for free. I never named which conference. SXSW remains a special case for me, but I’m sure others in the field disagree with that as well.