Has a Boulder startup figured out tech’s gender diversity problem?

Has a Boulder startup figured out tech’s gender diversity problem?

Howard Diamond, CEO of small tech company MobileDay, doesn’t sugar coat his approach to hiring.
“I tend to be sexist,” Diamond says.

This could be a problem for a CEO, especially in technology — an industry struggling with its failure to attract or keep talent women in the field. Last year, some of the biggest names in technology — Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter and others — revealed in public diversity reports that their staffs are about 70 percent male.
Not so at MobileDay, where just over half of its 19 employees are women and its head of engineering is a woman. MobileDay’s gender ratio is the result of a mindset, and it’s not complicated, Diamond said.
“I tend to hire more women than men,” he said. “When in doubt, I hire a woman.”

MobileDay, profiled in this week’s print edition, makes an app that lets users enter a conference call with only one tap on their mobile.
Diamond, who’s run other startups and led a 5,800-employee software business, says his experience hiring in tech tells him that women make better managers, and they tend be better than men at putting the company interests above their career.
Women he hires also seem less likely than some men to coast in their new roles, he said. Women often a feel need to prove themselves even after they’ve landed a job they’re perfectly qualified for and excel at, he said.
“I wish it wasn’t that way, but it serves my business.” he said.
Jess Rusin heads MobileDay’s engineering. She spent much of her career in telecommunications before jumping to startups four years ago.

Like a lot of startups, MobileDay wants to hire experienced engineers with obvious talent. A lot women shift to management, leave startups for larger businesses or shift to less technical jobs as they progress in their professions, she said.
“It can be hard to find mid-career women who haven’t transitioned,” she said.
The company’s engineering jobs are mostly male, but that’s offset by women filling a majority of other roles at the company.
Anthony Claudia, head of product at MobileDay, recalls interviewing for the job with Diamond and being told “You’re a guy, so you have that working against you.”

It was surprising, but he wasn’t offended.
“It’s refreshing,” he said.
Claudia sees a much larger proportion of women working at tech startups around Colorado, and Boulder especially, than he did in his years working in tech in the San Francisco area.
MobileDay employees are hard-pressed to identify something different in the company because it has so many women. More voices tend to be heard from in meetings, they say, but MobileDay’s gender diversity makes its product different or has changed the evolution of the company is tough to say.
Hiring at startups is critical. With staffs so small and the need for everyone to perform so high, an individual’s personality has a bigger impact on a business than does a person’s gender alone, Claudia said.
But MobileDay proves that many of the reasons tech companies have for not hiring more women are excuses, Diamond said.
“If you really want a diverse employee base, you can do it,” he said.


No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.