Something interesting happened to me the other day. While I was browsing around the web reading all the great Web 2.0 sites out there, I realized that a majority of these applications cater to men. Not because of the purpose that they serve since they are “made” for all sexes, but being designed, programmed and coded by men there usually isn’t an ounce of female input involved in the product. Now that may be par for the course, but isn’t that a bit strange?
Look at both MySpace and YouTube and you will find that the people with the most friends and watched videos are women. If you have any sort of knowledge about today’s economy you know that women control a majority of all major purchasing decisions. I know at my parent’s house nothing major gets bought without my Mom’s go ahead (sorry Dad). Same with my grandparents.
Looking at the MySpace pages of my friends that are girls and I find that they put a lot more time and effort into customizing their pages than the guys. Admittedly I am sometimes stuck with the stereotype in my head that men are superior to women when it comes to technology (male ego will never leave it seems), but it’s funny when I hear guys ask a girl “how did you get that on your MySpace page?”
Let’s take this argument a step further and look at product design. Apple’s iPod had a great design from the beginning which could easily appeal to both sexes. When Apple released the version of the iPod Mini with multiple colors rarely did I hear guys talking about which colors they were going to get, they were focused on specs. However, the idea of having a personalized color of an iPod seemed to appeal to the females and I wouldn’t be surprised to see if more women owned iPods than men.
Apple’s competition could match the specs of the iPod and could even offer a lower price but, you could tell that the designs that were coming out were all about what the men thought was good design. This is just one of the gajillion reasons that I brought Tyme White on board at 9rules. She does everything that a guy can do in her position (and more), but also offers something a man could never do and that is give us the female perspective on things that we so desperately needed. Now we still have a long way to go to understanding where she is coming from on certain things, but believe me when I say we are starting to get on the same wavelength no matter how much adjusting it takes.
Ever go to a club and wonder why women get all the good deals (2-4-1s, drink free till 1am, etc)? It’s because men don’t like going to clubs where women aren’t around so it’s essential to get the women to your club first. Dating sites follow the same creed. Celebrity gossip/popculture sites are some of the most highly traficked sites on the web. The funny thing about Calacanis paying people to submit stories to Netscape is that maybe the way to beat Digg isn’t by taking the best submitters around, but by appealing to women and the other demographics that Digg doesn’t even touch.
So next time you design something or have an idea about a new site, ask a female what she thinks about it and you will get a honest answer which will go a long way in letting you know how successful you will be. Males think all of our buddies ideas are good so really we aren’t much of a help to each other. However, if it doesn’t appeal to the ladies then it probably shouldn’t appeal to you either. And don’t think this entry was about equal opportunity for women. No, no, my interests are far more selfish. This was more about opening my blind eyes to opportunities that have been around since the dawn of time and how stupid I am for just now recognizing them. Yeah Mom I know, you told me so.