It’s hard to beat a lizard laden, sun shiny, ocean retreat like the Biltmore Hotel in Miami, but add in the Travel and Tourism Research Association (TTRA) conference and you’ve got my attention.
I quite enjoyed a number of the talks. Michael Rodenburgh from IPSOS Canada spoke about behavioural data and offered some fascinating tidbits about where people go to and come from during the tourism and travel customer decision journey. Passive behavioural data collection is a fabulous data collection tool and if you’re careful about obtaining explicit consent, I’m a big fan of it.
I was fascinated by a talk that Thomas Roth and David Paisley from Community Marketing and Insights gave about research with people who are LGBTQ+. Terminology seems to be in a permanent state of evolution and I never know what the most current respectful terms are. Needless to say, Tom and Dave will now be my go-to experts.
TTRA holds a number of academic tracks throughout the conference. In these tracks, graduate students and professors share their academic work which means there is a heavy contingent of highly trained, highly specialized researchers at the event. For those of you who love statistics and the nitty gritty of research details, these tracks are definitely for you. I love them for two reasons. First, of course, you learn about the research itself. But second, and most importantly for me, they are a great way to refresh your statistical and methodology training. ANOVA results take front stage and we see betas, f-values, p-values, and all the supporting statistics. People comment on and strategize over minute details. These discussions make me rethink what I thought I already knew and update my opinions about how to use statistics. Love it.
I was delighted to speak on the main stage Thursday morning about AI, chatbots, and voice search (my slides are below). I shared results from a Sklar Wilton & Associates white paper showing that the general population is fairly knowledgeable about the state of AI. AI can now write newspaper articles about anything you ask of it, AI can create humour that people actually laugh at, in some sense AI can even read your mind, and Google’s millions of dollars have allowed them to create an AI voice that is practically indistinguishable from the human voice. Of course, AI isn’t perfect and Joy Buolamwini of M.I.T.’s Media Lab has conducted research showing how facial recognition technology has trouble recognizing dark faces.
Technology for the regular folk who don’t have millions of research dollars backing us up has progressed to such a point where it is useful for customer service reps, marketers, and market researchers. Customers regularly use AI to book flights and hotels whether through chatbots on Facebook or voice assistants, we can now use AI moderators from companies like Quester to conduct surveys with anyone who has a voice assistant, and chatbots from companies like Elsient to conduct text surveys.
As fabulous as AI is, people are still unmatched for their ethics, emotions, and genuine caring for other people. This is what market researchers bring to the research table. Sure, we bring tech. Tech speeds things up and helps reduce technical errors. But people bring research results to life.
Oh, and if you’re wondering about the diversity of speakers, put your hands up, they’re playing our song, 54% of speakers were women. Rock on, TTRA!
Thank you Kathy and Scott for putting on a fabulous conference. We’re off to Melbourne Australia next year!
If reading about profanity and sex aren’t your thing, you can read a tame version of this post on the Sklar Wilton & Associates blog.
Meet Cindy Gallop.
Cindy likes to blow shit up.
Cindy Gallop is glaringly bold and contentious in sharing her opinions about the state of advertising, the lack of gender equality in the advertising industry, and misperceptions of what comprises normal, healthy sexual relationships among people.
She began her career in advertising and made a name for herself at the Bartle Bogle Hegarty agency. She later founded their US branch, eventually being recognized as the Advertising Woman of the Year by the Advertising Women of New York in 2003.
Now, Cindy is the founder of MakeLoveNotPorn, an extremely ‘Not Safe For Work’ (NSFW) social sex website that aims to derail misperceptions about healthy sexual relationships. She is also the founder of IfWeRanTheWorld, a real-world experiment in tapping good intentions and turning them into tangible, do-able microactions that anyone and everyone can help you to do.
Just like Cindy, millions of people have worked hard, risen through the ranks, and founded companies. No big deal. Okay, it IS a big deal but that’s not the point here. The point, rather, is that when I think about people who are leaders, not simply presidents or founders or CEOs, I immediately think of Ms. Gallop. She reminds me on a near daily basis of four qualities I admire in genuine leaders.
1) Be bold and fierce. Cindy isn’t meek, mild, and moderately opinionated. We’ve blogged before about the appropriateness of using profanity in the workplace, and Cindy has zero qualms about it. Her unabashed use of profanity and colloquial language to make her points clear and strong captures people’s attention and brings them into the conversation regardless of whether they agree with her.
I want to be very clear on this: Yes, MakeLoveNotPorn.com and All The Sky have enormous social benefit, but I am also out to make an absolute goddamn fucking shit ton of money. – MMLaFleur
I deplore the shying away that can go on, within women, from the term ‘feminist.’ I am, absolutely, all about being a feminist. – Ted.com
Cindy personified bold when Kevin Roberts, a top ranking advertising executive at advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, resigned after a gender diversity controversy, She had no qualms issuing a public statement with a valiant dare, a statement that on its own caused even more controversy.
“I see that Kevin Roberts was paid a total salary of $4,137,786 last year, whereas, contrary to his remarks directed at me, nobody anywhere is paying me anything to do the work I do in this area. I note that PublicisGroupe/Saatchi and Saatchi Worldwide now have a vacancy for a leadership coach, and I’d like to offer my services. Obviously, to ensure there is no gender wage gap, at the same salary Kevin Roberts was being paid.”
In her efforts to promote diversity and equality, she’s regularly accused of promoting ‘quota’ and ‘diversity’ hires that will lead to people who aren’t sufficiently qualified to be hired. Her response to those claims continue to be bold and fierce.
“Look around at the mediocre men who were hired just because they were men. Get hired because you are a woman or person of color and then do a bloody brilliant job in that role.” – AdAge
“Diversity raises the fucking bar.” – 3% Conference
2) Defy stereotypes. Everyone is raised with stereotypes. Boys and girls are taught how men and women ought to look, speak, dress, and present themselves. Boys and girls are taught how ‘young’ and ‘old’ people are supposed to behave. Our culture has taught us that older women should be quiet, demure, and blend into the background, but Cindy has completely rejected those notions. Instead, she focuses on what is right for her.
Cindy believes you shouldn’t hide your age. At 57, you could say she’s an older woman. And even though she’s not part of the Hollywood scene, she dresses however she pleases including wearing leopard-skin miniskirts, biker pants, python skin pants, leather pantsuits, and warrior outfits because what she chooses to wear is no one’s business but her own. Who’s to say that older women must show restraint and modesty in their clothing choices? Restraint is not Cindy’s modus operandi.
I consider myself a proudly visible member of the most invisible segment of our society: older women. I would like to help redefine what society thinks an older woman should look like, be like, work like, dress like and date like by the way I live my life. – The Guardian
3) Ignore what haters and nay-sayers think. Cindy knows what is meaningful and important, and if someone isn’t comfortable with her use of profanity, her social sex projects, or how she presents herself as an older woman, well, they’d better get used to feeling uncomfortable. Cindy keeps on fighting for the causes she believes in, and she keeps on trying to mend misperceptions of sexuality so that people can have more realistic expectations of what a healthy sex life really is.
4) Do what is right. Cindy has a firm handle on what it means to do the ‘right’ thing and she’s oriented her life to achieve that goal. Not in keeping with stereotypes of women, and particularly of older women, her end goal is to become rich. But at the same time, she also wants to create and support endeavors that have enormous social benefit. She’s managed to do this with both of her projects – MakeLoveNotPorn and IfWeRanTheWorld.
“When we launched If WeRanTheWorld, I said to my team, I want us to innovate in every aspect of how we design and operate this as a business venture, as much as the web platform itself – because I want us to design our own startup around the working lives that we would all like to live. Women and men alike.” – Forbes
I say to women: you have to set out to make an absolute goddamn fucking shit-tonne of money. When you negotiate your salary, ask for the most money you possibly can without bursting out laughing – for yourself and for every other woman. – The Guardian
Cindy’s leadership style and her dedication to her projects has amassed her more than 60 000 devoted followers on Twitter. Her provocative Ted Talk (Make love, not porn) has garnered millions of views. If you’re not yet convinced that Cindy’s leadership style is one to be admired, or at least appreciated, watch her talk at Mumbrella360 on How Advertising Can Change the World. You might learn a few things.
Perhaps you’d like these posts too…
- Chemistry For The Greater Good: A leadership profile of Dr. Eugenia Duodu
- Why Love a Leader Anywhere Else: A leadership profile of Sleep Country Canada’s Christine Magee
- Leading by Design: A leadership profile of Dr. Ann Cavoukian and her passion for privacy
This post was written in my role as a consultant for Sklar Wilton & Associates. SW&A has worked for more than 30 years with some of Canada’s most iconic brands to help them grow their brand, shape corporate culture, build successful innovation, define portfolio strategies, and maximize research ROI. They offer strategic advice, business facilitation, research management, qualitative/quantitative research, and analytics. SW&A was recognized as a Great Workplace for Women in 2018, and the Best Workplace in Canada for Small Companies in 2017 by the Great Place To Work® Institute. Inquire about their services here.
I don’t know how many times I’ve read that qualitative research is for the why, and quantitative research is for the what. That’s just wrong.
We love qualitative research for its ability to deeply dig into people’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions. When people take part in focus groups and personal interviews, a good moderator can make people divulge their most private selves. To do this well, to gain a thorough understanding of a good range of reasons why people do, think, or feel things requires ‘large’ sample sizes (let’s say 30 means large) and lots of time (let’s say a couple hours each) with research participants. It’s not a simple task and not every research project has the time or money to do this in the most fabulous way possible. But at the end of all that, we’ll have discovered a bunch of reasons ‘why.’
But to be fair, quantitative research is also extremely capable of digging deeply into people’s thoughts, feelings and emotions to discover the whys. A highly skilled researcher can help people realize and share these feelings, even with a questionnaire that is heavily quantitative. To do this well, questionnaire designers can create thoughtful, thorough, and well-developed questions that allow people to divulge their inner-most thoughts and feelings about even the most private and sensitive topics. A well-designed quantitative questionnaire can reveal the why.
We don’t need to silo qual into ‘why’ and quant into ‘what.’ Both approaches to research can uncover the why and the what as long as the researcher is an expert who is focused on answering their specific question and obtaining quality data. It’s not that we should try to hit every qual question with a quant solution, or every quant problem with a qual solution. We simply need to be more aware that both qualitative and quantitative approaches do a great job of discovering the who, when, where, how, what, AND why of human behaviour.
So if it’s not the why, what is the real difference between qual and quant research? There is just one. Quantitative research quantifies. If your research intent is to understand frequencies among a population, to predict to a population, or to run an experiment, the only option you have is to conduct quantitative research. This assumes that, as part of that research, you will achieve a (somewhat) random sample of the population to which predictions will be made. That’s it. Numbers.
As we always try to do, the right research method is the one that is best suited to answer the research problem. Let’s not automatically choose qual because we need to know ‘why.’ Let’s choose qual because it is the best solution for the problem.
In his talk, Per Håkansson (Per on twitter ) shared his personal experience as a digital nomad. He shared that he owns about 100 items, and own no car, no home, no TV, no CDs. As a beneficiary of the crypto currency movement, he travels the world and has lived in many different cities. He shared that this could be, or will be, the way of the future for most people.
So why were some people so enraged, myself included?
I think it was two-fold.
1) The talk wasn’t focused on the needs of the marketing research audience. As a personal story of how he weaves in and out of different cities with little physical baggage to restrict his movements, it was a fun tale. But it wasn’t a market research tale.
By not focusing the content to the needs of the audience, we were left clinging to irrelevant pieces of information. We heard a fun tale of a wealthy, white person on extended holidays. Instead, we needed to hear a tale of how research companies can support a nomadic lifestyle that might be more attractive to younger workers, e.g., remote employees, no need to buy physical offices and a central location. And this extends to our services, e.g., we can store data and reports in the cloud, use Software as a Service. It can extend to employee benefits, e.g., healthcare services that are accessible in many countries. This is the story we needed to hear.
2) Further, we heard that many/most people should/will become digital nomads. By renting BnB residences, using public transportation, and using Netflix and Spotify, we can free ourselves of physically owning stuff we don’t really need. As someone who doesn’t own a phone or a car, I’ve got an overwhelming surplus of diggity with that.
Of course, this idea doesn’t account for all the people who make public transportation and hotels and restaurants happen – bus drivers and cleaners and repair people, housekeeping staff, restaurant servers and cooks and dishwashers, all of whom earn extremely low wages and live pay check to pay check (as 78% of American do according to Diane Hessan).
These support people make it possible for wealthy people to zip around the world and live in luxurious places. These support people can never ever dream of living a romantically nomadic lifestyle. Besides, most jobs can’t be virtual jobs – 13% of jobs are mining/construction/manufacturing, 12% of jobs are health care, 10% are in leisure/hospitality, 12% are government.
On the other hand, Sinead Jefferies wrote this excellent post on Research Live in which she advocated for workplace flexibility and how it could help retain the best talent within our industry. This, I think, is the story that would have resonated with more people as being realistic and relatable.
I’d love to hear what you think.
As a freelance market research writer (my service sheet is here), I regularly check my public profiles to make sure they’re up to date. This time, I checked my profile on Savio, a marketplace connecting market research buyers with research experts, which is maintained by GreenBook.
After clicking around the website for a bit, I realized that every researcher’s hourly rate was completely and easily transparent, not hidden behind multiple clicks and privacy walls. My brain gears sped up….
People don’t talk about salaries which is a problem. Freelancers don’t know if they’re being paid what they deserve. Women don’t know if they’re being paid less than their equivalent male counterparts. So in that regard, I have to thank Savio and Greenbook for opening the black box and helping researchers see a piece of reality.
I downloaded the data and removed the business profiles. That left me with 191 individuals who provided an hourly rate, country, and the types of work they do. I manually gendered all the profiles. Obviously, I may have gotten a few wrong as I am not the gender police (much better said by Effin Birds) – 83 women, 107 men, and 1 unknown.
As all good data people do, I started with a frequency distribution. A few things were immediately apparent. 1) 3% of men and 4% of women VASTLY undervalued themselves. If you have listed an hourly rate under $50 per hour, go to your profile right now and FIX IT. I never want to see an hourly rate less than $50. From any freelancer. For anything. 2) 6% of men and 2% of women listed stunningly high rates, a couple over $1000 per hour. These rates might be for bragging, for negotiating, or for real but if you can command them, more power to you. 3) Women were far more likely to undervalue themselves while men were far more likely to overvalue themselves. [“THAT was a pencil in the neck moment!” -Luke Sklar]
Maybe group averages would paint a different picture but nope. Across all 191 rates, women asked for 81% of what men did – $168 versus $207 per hour.I tried excluding outliers from 12 people whose rates were below $50 or above $500. Women still asked for 81% of what men asked – $153 versus $189 per hour. I then focused on the three countries with at least 8 researchers. In Canada, two women and myself listed rates that were a paltry 40% of what five men listed. Among 123 US researchers, women asked for a somewhat better 80% of what men asked for. I am thrilled, though, to offer a huge hurray to the 14 researchers in the UK where hourly rates listed by men and women were equal. (Okay, women can increase their hourly rates by $5 in the UK.)
Maybe it’s because women do “less valuable” work so I tried grouping by the 25 different type of work people specified they did. Major caveat though – these data do not account for the fact that someone might charge different rates for different types of work.
I’ll pick out two examples from the chart since it’s a little bit complicated and uses two axes. At the left of the graph, among people who offer legal research services, women specified an hourly rate of $169 compared to men at $136. Thus, women listed a rate that was 124% of what men listed. There exist four categories of work where women listed a higher hourly rate than men – Legal Research, Field Services, Recruiting, and Support Services.
Second, at the right of the chart, among researchers who conduct Mystery Shopping, women listed an hourly rate of $138 compared to men at $225. Women listed a rate that was 61% of what men listed. There exist 21 categories of work where men listed a higher hourly rate than women.
I don’t know if these differences are because women undervalue themselves or because men overvalue themselves. I don’t know how much of these differences exist for bargaining or bragging purposes.
But I do know this. As much as I love statistics, t-tests and chi-squares aren’t necessary to determine the likelihood that these results are due to chance. Correlations and Cohen’s D aren’t necessary to determine whether the effect sizes are meaningful.
Women ask for less financial compensation than do men.
Women, my advice to you is simple. Give yourself a raise. Give yourself a giant fucking raise. (I’m channeling my inner Cindy Gallop and I urge you to follow this amazing woman on Twitter or LinkedIn and personally talk about your salary with her here.)
If you’re currently in the $50 to $99 bucket, up your rate to land in the $100 to $149 bucket. If you’re in the $200 to $249 bucket, give yourself a raise into the $250 to $299 bucket. Don’t think twice, it’s all right.
If you’re curious, I may have started my day claiming my worth to be 80% of what my male research colleagues felt they were worth.
It sure didn’t end that way.
You might wish to look at:
This afternoon, visionary Luke Sklar is being laid to rest. After more than three years of experiencing severe depression.
I’ve known of Luke for many years as one half of famed Sklar Wilton & Associates but I’ve only personally known him for about a year and a half. In that time, I was his social media guru. He’d come to me for help figuring out all the strange and ever-changing nuances of Twitter and LinkedIn. He wanted to stay in touch with the current news, and he wanted to take advantage of new technologies. He was my regular proof that old dogs (though at 63, he wasn’t old at all) can learn new tricks, should learn new tricks, should be eager to learn new tricks. He had a sweet smile, a goofy grin, and kind words for everyone in the office whether they’d worked with him for thirty years or thirty days.
Luke was my occasional reminder that people who have depression can get better and that there is hope.
My first instinct on hearing the news was to share it with my colleagues and the rest of the industry who knew and loved him well. But I couldn’t. The inevitable question would come about – how did he die. And we all know that you can’t talk about depression. It’s not like cancer or heart disease or stroke. Shhh….. it’s depression. Don’t talk about it. It’s shameful. The most I could do was post a tweet begging people who are contemplating suicide to seek help. (Please, please, please seek help. We want you here, we need you here.)
So in the wake of this horrible news, I am grateful that Luke was not ashamed of his illness. I am grateful that we are allowed to say depression took his life. I am grateful that more people will realize the true insidious nature of this disease, and that mental health is as important as any other type of health. Amazingly brilliant people who’ve built award-winning businesses filled with amazing employees get mental illnesses too.
Clinical depression comes in all forms. For some people, medication helps tremendously but it still doesn’t cure the illness. The day to day sadness and hopelessness continues to be a minute by minute struggle. Hospital stays are frequent and long, and suicide watch is ever present. Their caregivers struggle to encourage them to live, to eat, to stand up, to finish a puzzle meant for a child, to colour a simple drawing for more than two minutes. They might disappear from social gatherings and you wonder whether they got bored of spending time with you. Or if they’ve moved. In reality, you’ll never know they have depression because you aren’t in their extremely tight circle of people who must know. Shame continues to be an undeserved sentiment that lingers around mental illness.
For other people, medication can take away the incessant life-threatening feelings and make presenting oneself to the world possible. Medication can even make other people think a depressed person is in perfect health. Laughing, joking, playing, working, all in seemingly wonderful health. You’d never guess they have depression because they are the life of the party any time you’re around them. You don’t see them after they close the door behind you and enter a world where the down is far more down that you can even imagine. All you see is their funny tweets, their hilarious Facebook posts, their goofy grin. You think you know. You think you can tell. But I guarantee you cannot. They’ve perfected the act so well that even their best friends could never guess. And then you never see them again because depression kills.
Luke was a firm supporter of Sick Not Weak, an organization dedicated to helping people understand that mental illness is an sickness, not a weakness. Their goal is to create a community of people who come to gain strength and stay to give strength, to help both sufferers and the people who care about them, and most of all to get as many people as possible, in a loud, firm, confident voice to share the words “I am SickNotWeak.”
I know a few people in our tight community of market researchers who have been brave enough to share their experiences with depression. I am truly grateful to you for your bravery and willingness to openly share your experiences. You are helping to save lives.
I know other people who have depression but I can’t talk about them. I’m still not allowed. But I can talk about Luke. You can talk about Luke. Please spread the word that mental illness is an illness. That you are sick, not weak.
As a conference speaker, the best sales pitch you can offer on stage is a presentation that educates and entertains the audience. One that explicitly shows them you understand what the audience needs.
I chat with a lot of speakers who assure me they didn’t do a sales pitch and then are astonished to find out that they did. I also chat with other speakers who are so paranoid about NOT doing a sales pitch that they strip out all the good parts of their presentation. Fortunately, there are some easy things you can do to prevent both of these situations.
Ban these words
Never say the word we. Never say the word our. Never say the word us. These tiny unassuming words automatically turn the most glorious presentation into a horrid sales pitch. And your audience has no need for a sales pitch. They are sitting in front of you because they are desperate for knowledge and insights. They want to know your personal opinion, what you have discovered from your techniques. They want to engage with and listen to you as a person. They’d rather not tweet how boring and out of touch you were.
Don’t name-drop your products
Companies spend thousands of dollars trademarking brand names. While it’s helpful to have names so that your employees and your clients know that they’re all talking about the same thing, no one in the audience cares about your cutesy names. They don’t care that you use SalesForce or SurveyMonkey. They care that you understand marketing and research. So if you find yourself wanting to say the name of a tool while you’re talking, instead simply say ‘these types of tools’ or ‘these types of companies.’ I can assure you that you don’t need to use any of your brand names or trademarked names in your presentation.
Don’t describe your company
Your audience doesn’t care about your company and they certainly don’t need you to present a detailed explanation of all the products and services your company offers, even if that slide only takes 3 minutes. That slide explaining your company needs to be turned into a discussion of how your specific topic impacts the industry. Don’t tell the audience that Annie Pettit Consulting is a business that combines artificial intelligence and eye tracking. Instead, tell the audience that eye tracking has seen huge advancements with the application of artificial intelligence. Strip out the branded content and focus on the educational content.
Don’t describe your company philosophy
Don’t waste valuable presentation time talking about your company mission and philosophy. It is not important for the audience to understand your company philosophy in order to understand the research. The audience doesn’t need to know that your company believes research should be easy. The audience DOES need to know how research can be made easy. They also don’t need to know that your mission is to solve problems. Instead, explain to them how research processes can be used to solve problems.
What is your reward?
If you do a great job of educating and entertaining your audience, they will line up to ask questions, get your business card, and they will email you afterwards asking for advice and copies of your presentation. Guaranteed.
Every person who’s ever sat in a conference audience
Happy International Women’s Day! Let’s meet some #MRX women who are flying under the radar #IWD #WIRe #NewMR #WIREheroes
Happy International Women’s Day!
The market research industry is lucky to benefit from a diverse range of people. Indeed, unlike some industries that are vastly male or vastly female, about half of us are women.
I know many women within our industry who regularly take the stage or sit on association boards or have roles on leadership teams. You probably know them too. Don’t you think it’s time to get to know some other fabulous women who keep the cogs or our industry turning? Let me start with two of those fabulous women!
I first met Kim Wong when she interviewed for a researcher position at Conversition, a social media research company. It was quickly apparent that she was a perfect choice. She figured out our business super fast, even though it was a strange concept at the time. She soon became a wizard at sentiment analysis, content analysis, and data quality of social media data. We could trust her to turn any set of random data into exactly what we needed. You know how amazing it is to find a colleague who can take a task and run with it independently? Yup, that’s Kim. Kim, cheers to you, your awesome contribution to our research team, and to the market research industry. 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽
Meredith Morino is another quietly awesome researcher who deserves a big round of applause. I love your dedication to and passion for qualitative research. I love your openness to try new things even when they seem outside your usual way of doing things. I love that you’re a team player who works hard to ensure that you and your colleagues at Sklar Wilton & Associates do well. Meredith, I look forward to many more intriguing blog posts from you, and even seeing you present on stage. You’ll be awesome, I know it. 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽
Do you know Kim or Meredith? It would be awesome if quiet people could stand on stage and get the huge applause that thought leaders/speakers get all the time so let’s do it here. If you appreciate the work that Kim or Meredith do, leave a note for them here. Even better, send them an email and tell them just how much you appreciate their work.
What do Kim and Meredith need to do now? Recognize another woman in research who is making a difference! Tell us which women researchers are your unsung heroes! You could leave their names in the comments below, tweet their name and why they are awesome, mention why they’re awesome on LinkedIn or, even better, email them and let them know why you think they’re awesome. Don’t forget to tag it #WIREheroes so we can clap for all these awesome people!
What should YOU do? If you’ve been named, and even if you’ve not, it’s your turn to name a woman in research who is flying under the radar. Let’s see how many unsung heroes we have! Don’t forget to tag it #WIREheroes!
Voxpopme 10: What can companies or managers do to support the advancement of women in the workplace? @WomenInResearch #MRX #NewMR
EP10: What do you believe is the ONE most important step companies or managers can take to support the advancement of women in the workplace?
I’m delighted to contribute to this episode of VoxPopMe along with WIRe, Women In Research. The team at WIRe contributes so many good things to our industry in order to help bring more women forward as the experts that we are. Do take the time to check them out and see how they can help you, or how you can help them.
It’s hard to identify one most important step because there are so many small and big things people and companies can do. I’ll frame it like this. Companies can take a good, hard, honest look at the efforts they’ve made thus far and course correct.
- What percentage of your senior leadership team is women? Does your senior team suffer from token womanism? It’s frustrating to research a potential client or employer only to find the senior team is ten men and one women. (Let’s not even go so far as to consider diversity of ethnicity, disability, etc) If your company truly values diversity, it’s literally impossible for the demographics of the senior team to not demonstrate it. And don’t course correct by adding a VP of Diversity. Course correct by hiring an expert in your industry/business, e.g., VP of Data/IT/Research/CustomerExperience.
- What percentage of promotions with senior leadership potential have been offered to women? We know that women are less likely to ask for promotions and raises so pay attention to whether you’re offering these opportunities to people who are asking (overtly or covertly) versus people who have quietly contributed to the bottom line without beating their chest and proclaiming how great they are.
- What percentage of speakers sent by your company to conferences last year were women, and did you send the same woman every time? You might notice that the same speakers appear at conferences over and over again. Well, maybe it’s time to divide up the 25 speaking slots among 10 people, even better among five women and five men who’ve never taken the stage before. In my work with new speakers, I’ve yet to see a single new speaker fail miserably on stage. In fact, the fast majority are AS GOOD AS other speakers. I kid you not. Sure, some show their nerves but the audience cares more about the content than the nerves. I guarantee you’ve got at least one diamond in the rough, probably several. Take the risk, earn the reward.
- Are you an encourager, nudger, promoter, motivator, and ally? Do you regularly (kindly and respectfully) push and prod to help the quiet people show their expertise? Sometimes, asking someone to submit a conference proposal will turn into a yes on the fifth or tenth ask. Keep on asking. Keep on making sure they know they DO have expertise and they CAN succeed as a speaker/leader/manager, or whatever the seemingly scary task is.
Happy Women’s Day! May you share in the joy of equality and respect for everyone.
What is Voxpopme Perspectives? Along with a group of market researchers from around the world, I was asked to participate in Voxpopme Perspectives – an initiative wherein insights industry experts share ideas about a variety of topics via video. You can read more about it here or watch the videos here. Viewers can then reach out over Twitter or upload their own video response. I’m more of a writer so you’ll catch me blogging rather than vlogging. 🙂
HP, Sony and Halo Neuroscience are making waves in the headset industry, with several news announcements in recent days. HP broke the news on Monday that they’ll adding to their core Z4 desktop line.The company is aiming to reach virtual reality (VR) creators with the introduction of Intel’s Core X series of processors, which is the most powerful processor available for consumers. The Core X’s processing power will help draw VR creators to the company’s line of desktops.
HP also announced their Windows Mixed Reality headset.The computer manufacturer will allow consumers to customize their desktop with the 18-core Core i9-7980XE. ECC memory is supported up to 256GB. There are also options to drop down to an eight-core processor if you don’t need all that power in a desktop.
HP has been quiet on the pricing of their desktops, but a starting price of $1,499 has been rumored for the cheapest models. Consumers hoping to buy their powerful PC from HP will need to wait until March to be able to add in the new customization options.
The company’s mixed reality headset is seeing the addition of a “pro version.” The version has washable face pads and also swappable face pads. The virtual reality headset will also be released in March.
HP claims their new headset is geared towards a professional environment, where users are interacting with the system for longer periods of time.The headset offers double padding options that add comfort to long span users. Outside of the added comfort and replaceable pads, the mixed reality headset is the same as the non-professional addition.
Sony has also announced that the company will be releasing their new edition of the Gold Wireless Headset. The headset is geared towards the gaming community, with compatibility for mobile devices and the PS VR.
Sony is following the same concept as HP, focusing primarily on comfort with their Gold headset. The headset is geared towards gamers that enjoy long gaming sessions. The headset focuses on comfort and performance, with 7.1 virtual surround sound options and hidden microphones.
There’s also a companion app which unlocks the headset’s power further. The app will allow for a more customized listening experience so that gamers can adjust how the headset sounds. Sony has not released further details on the Gold headset or where the headset will be available. The headset will likely be available at most retail outlets, but will not be available at online retailers, such as headsetplus.com, that focus on headsets for professionals rather than gamers.
Halo Neuroscience is taking a completely different stance to headsets with their brain-stimulating model. The company offers the Halo Sport neurostimulator headset, which is designed to help users improve muscle memory development and promote brain elasticity. The headset’s manufacturer just announced a $13 million Series B funding round, which will help fund the company’s future development.
Elastic foam nibs offer what the company calls a “Neuropriming” session. The company claims that the headset delivers pulses of energy into the brain’s motor cortex. Users are encouraged to wear the headset for 20 minutes a session, after which their brain will be better able to learn an activity.
Strength and endurance athletes are the target market of the company, which focuses on muscle memory. Musical learning is also benefitted after a session of neuropriming.
The company was founded in 2013 and was started with a group of neuroscientists interested in neurostimulation. Initial results show that wearers experienced better results than those that didn’t use the headset when comparing leg strength.The company’s headset is even being tested for how it can help stroke victims during rehabilitation.
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