Yesterday I spent two hours in a very interesting brainstorm at Oxygen Media. What makes Oxygen Media different is that it is a TV Network and Internet Site that is made by women and mainly targets women.

The company is managed by Gerry Laybourne. Gerry is a very seasoned TV CEO who built and ran Nickleodeon for many years before going into Oxygen. Gerry and I met because she wanted my advise on how to improve the functionality of their web site and I wanted to know more about women and the internet. Why am I concerned with women in particular? Mainly because if there has been one failure at FON so far is to attract women to the movement. At this point FON is over 90% men and this is simply not acceptable.

I also invited Anina to this meeting. Anina is both a model and an internet entrepreneur with her best known project being 360 fashion. Anina is also….a woman. At the meeting we were also joined by Betsy Finston, who you can see in the picture at the right, a long time associate of Gerry.

Now here´s the key question that I had for these women. What is it that brings women to the internet to sites in which they know there´s only women? And here´s a very interesting reply I got. First, Gerry is completely convinced that women are simply different. That their anatomy is different is obvious, but Gerry also thinks that their brain is different and that they think differently as a gender and react differently to media and technology. And not only she believes that, but she has made a big business success out of her belief as his network is mostly watched by women. So why did Gerry think that FON is not attractive to women? Her answer is that because even though women are as interested by technology as men and feel as comfortable with technology as men in the same proportion (she said 80% in both cases feel at ease with technology) women want different things out of technology. Gerry believes that women will care about FON when FON launches the Skype Mobile FON with the FON cradle that allows users to talk for free both from their home and from anywhere where they get FON signal or open WiFi signal. Gerry thinks that FON´s current proposition, “share bandwidth at home and roam the world for free”, is too vague for women, while a proposition like Skype´s, but applicable everywhere, or a mobile SKYPE is very easy to understand. And in this she is right, cause Skype itself does not have the gender problem that FON has.

Now what did I do for Oxygen Media? Well I did give them an idea that you may see implemented in a few months, but unfortunately I can´t yet disclose.

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Virginie Glaenzer on August 11, 2006  · 

Hi Martin,
I really really like your comment about wanted to attract more women at FON. IN the business world in general, women are a minority and it’s sad. But I am confident that things will improve. I hope that with WiFi social-networks, like BUZZeeBee, women who are very active in their communities, will want to take advantage of upcoming wireless tools. (BUZZeeBee may sound familiar if you did get my email, unless your spam tool got ride of them). Thanks for your blog! Very insightful. Virginie

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