By Jacob Morgan (Principal, Chess Media Group) I’ll admit that up until recently I didn’t know much about Women 2.0 and I have never been to one of their conferences. I wasn’t sure what to expect when my girlfriend Blake Landau asked me if I wanted to go to the event but I agreed to attend.
I was one of the few men in attendance surrounded by female entrepreneurs, innovators, executives, and venture capitalists. At first this was a bit strange and I felt out of place but that quickly changed as I started to engage with the attendees.
I’ve never been to a predominantly female conference before but I can honestly say I had a lot of fun and learned a lot. More importantly I was inspired. I saw creative ideas that ranged from a dress which can be worn 30+ different ways to software applications which allow you to manage your personal finances. I met female developers and female executives and ate vegan gluten-free cookies and brownies.
This event made me think that we need more women in technology and in executive roles. Actually, it made me think that we have to have more women in technology and in executive roles.
Here are the 3 main takeaways from the conference:
- Design and build for your users, not for VCs.
- Innovation isn't just about software, but also about physical real-world products, something we oftentimes forget.
- Passion and interest come first.
The passion, creativity, and innovation at Women 2.0 is something that I have not seen at many conferences. It’s not that men aren’t creative and passionate about the work they do, we are. But there’s a different kind of energy and vibe that comes from these female entrepreneurs. It’s hard to describe or explain it but it’s unmistakable.
The 1,000+ crowd packed into the main audience hall with people standing outside by the door and sitting in the already crowded aisles to listen to and learn from the presenters.
I can’t claim to know why we don’t see more women in leadership roles or in the technology space but I do know that all of the leaders I saw at Women 2.0 were just as smart, just as qualified, just as passionate, and just as innovative as men (if not more so) who are doing the same things.
For me this event became less about focusing on women just because they are women, and more about focusing on really smart and innovative people that happened to be women.
Editor's note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below. About the guest blogger: Jacob Morgan is the Co-Founder and Principal of Chess Media Group, a management consulting and strategic advisory firm on employee, customer, and partner collaboration. Jacob blogs at SocialBusinessAdviser and is the forthcoming author of The Collaborative Organization for McGraw Hill. Follow him on Twitter at @JacobM.