forget about the nerds – think about women

One of the big news about media and tech startups the past days has been AOL buying Huffington Post for 315 million USD. As part of the acquisition the most interesting part of the acquisition was the strategic fit with AOL’s 80:80:80 focus.

“80% of domestic spending is done by women, 80% of commerce happens locally and 80% of considered purchases are driven by influencers. The influencer part of the strategy is important and will be potent.”

This is well known about fast moving consumer goods, which appeal to women who traditionally take care of grocery shopping. However, the quote reminded me of an old statement from management thinker Tom Peters who said that the two largest and underserved segments are women and old people. I heard the quote 5-10 years ago and I still think it holds. Often tech startups are praised for solving their own problems and that’s why they’re so focused on building great products which appeal to a lot of tech-savvy people. The problem is that the problems software engineers, who are all but few young geeky males, are trying to solve are very different from the problems that e.g most women have.

Lots of opportunities to think differently exist because most new products and applications all compete for the same small group of early adopters. Instead of sitting around and waiting for every part of the population to discover the wonders of augmented reality, geolocation etc. more etrepreneurs should try to figure out which problems women and old people have. In the startup world an example of this is some of all the interesting startups being created around fashion such as polyvore as well as the more obvious example of group buying sites such as Groupon who have a majority of female customers. In Denmark, trendsales is doing extremely well and have little competition with a customer base that is also mostly made up of younger females.

Regardsless of the sector or idea, the motivation to focus more on women is very simple. Apart from becoming better educated than men, they are also in charge of a lot of the spending.

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Posted: februar 8th, 2011
Categories: startups
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