OK, I just effused a bit over a new product introduction at the Consumer Electronics Show. Time to balance my enthusiasm with a glimpse of CES’s seamy underbelly. You’re surprised that the largest consumer electronics trade show in the world, held annually in Las Vegas (of all places), has a seamy underbelly? Want to buy my bridge?
It probably has several seamy underbellies, but the one that caught my eye this afternoon is misogyny, as recounted with some wonderful and entertaining writing by Liz Gumbinner (AKA CoolMomTech). Trade shows are infamous for such things, right? Booth babes, speaking panels where all of the speakers are men, and so on. Liz’s post recounts a few of the instances of misogyny she encountered at CES2013 this week, from almost-innocuous “oh, you must not have been able to get the phone cover off because you didn’t want to break your nails” to some truly appalling encounters. Like this:
Oh, here’s an easy one to start with: If a tech publisher tells you she has four children, the correct response is pretty much anything other than, “Wow. You must have a lot of sex.”
I mention her post here for two reasons. First, big shout out for great writing; I’m a scan-reader, and I was hanging on her every word. Almost never happens for me. Second, she highlights some important economic implications of such behavior:
Tech marketers and conference track programmers, I have some really simple advice for you: It’s time to move on from 1954. If not for feminism or for social good, you need to do it for your own business.
According to research from the very organization putting on the show, women spend more on tech than men. They’re involved in 89% of the consumer electronic purchase decisions. They own smartphones and digital cameras and laptops and tablets. They buy apps like crazy. And you know? They’re writing about technology too.
I can guarantee that if Lindsey Turrentine or Molly Wood or Xeni Jardin or Jolie O’Dell decide your product is a great one, you will sell a crapload of them. Enough even to pay for lap dances for the whole sales team.