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Breaking Into the Boys' Club: How Diversifying Your Team Can Expand Your Market
Elizabeth Lawley, Rochester Institute of Technology

Track: Business Models
Date: Tuesday, February 10
Time: 11:45am - 12:30pm
Location: Plaza

What do successful tools like Blogger and MovableType have in common that other blogging tools do not? What does DoCoMo have that TMobile does not? What did The Sims have that many other games lacked? Women playing major roles on the development and management teams.

Involving women in the design of social software seems like a no-brainer. But the lack of women in the IT and CS fields generally -- and on the leading edge of the field, in particular -- means that women's voices are almost completely absent in the design of new social software tools.

It seems clear that systems built by a homogeneous team of developers are likely to appeal to an equally homogeneous audience. If we want social software tools to disseminate beyond the traditional early adopters, we need design and management teams that look more like the audiences they target.

Lawley's presentation highlights differences between existing social software systems, examines the gender balance in those systems, and offers suggestions to social software developers as to how to think outside of the box when putting together development teams for social software environments.

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