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Women earn only a fraction of venture capital…what’s the deal?

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) If you thought gender bias was a thing of the past, you haven’t been looking hard enough. It’s new hiding spot is in venture capital investments.

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A 2018 study shows that only 3% of US venture capital went towards female CEOs. Is the news annoying? Yes. Surprising? Not really.

Chances are you’ve heard the tale of the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s blind auditions. Essentially, the story goes that the Boston Symphony Orchestra started to hold blind auditions in an attempt to achieve better gender parity…but the numbers of women in the ranks did not increase much. It wasn’t until they realized that the sound of high heels could be heard that the judges realized there was likely still unintentional bias in their rankings. When carpet was put down to muffle the heels, the number of women performers selected increased.

The gender bias is real. For instance, studies have been done where male and female names are applied to the exact same resume and – you guessed it – the resumes with men’s names are much more likely to be selected for an interview. They’re even offered better pay.

Race is also a factor: women of color were assumed to have less education than men, even with the exact same resume.

So, how is the venture capital scene failing women? Harvard Business Review points to the pitching process.

Part of the problem ties into implicit gender bias. In a 2014 study by the Harvard Kennedy School, researchers found that pitches with the exact same script were better received when presented by a man. In fact, even female investors were more likely to choose the pitch headed up by a man.

If at this point you’re thinking we should try to make a pitch anonymous, that’s a good start…but it might not solve all the problems. Women tend to write different styles of pitches, ones that value quantitative proof of concept, rather than grandiose claims of what the company could become.

Women often have to work harder than men to earn their positions, so it’s not surprising that many feel like they need to spend time in their pitches proving why they should even be in the room. Unfortunately, it shows in their pitches, putting them at a disadvantage in the pitching process.

And these are likely just a few of the reasons why it can be more difficult for women to earn capital for their businesses. We’ve only scratched the surface of what women are capable of accomplishing; we need to do better.

Brittany is a Staff Writer for The American Genius with a Master's in Media Studies under her belt. When she's not writing or analyzing the educational potential of video games, she's probably baking.

Real Estate Marketing

Top reasons people unsubscribe from emails

(MARKETING NEWS) Sometimes promotional emails can cause us to purge our inboxes due to over-inundation. New data examines specific reasons customers unsubscribe from mailing listings.

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I recently registered my work email with a company that shall not be named in an effort to receive a 20 percent off coupon. While I received the coupon, I also found myself receiving somewhere around 10 emails per week from this company.

After a few weeks, I had no choice but to unsubscribe from this email listing. Though it did give me the option to minimize email settings, the overwhelming amount I already received was such a turn off that I unsubscribed completely.

This has happened time and again with countless other mail listings, and I know that I’m not the only one burdened with email after email. Apparently this is such a common occurrence that eMarketer was able to conduct a survey that complied the top reasons why people tend to unsubscribe from email lists.

The major reasons were broken down into 13 categories.

26 percent of people stated that they get too many emails in general as the top reason for unsubscribing. Click To Tweet

The additional reasons were as follows: 21 percent report that the emails were not relevant to them; 19 percent received too many emails from a specific company; 19 percent complained that the emails were always trying to sell something; 17 percent stated the content of the emails were boring, repetitive, and not interesting to them.

Sixteen percent unsubscribed because they do not have the time to read the emails; 13 percent stated they receive the same ads and promotions in the email that they receive in print mail (through direct mail, print magazines, newspapers, etc.)

Eleven percent stated that some emails can be too focused on the company’s needs and not enough on the customer’s needs; 10 percent felt that certain emails seemed geared towards other people’s needs and not their own. Another 10 percent did not like the appearance of certain emails, stating that they were too cluttered and sloppy.

An additional 10 percent didn’t trust the email to provide all of the information necessary to make purchasing decisions. Finally, one percent claimed “other” reasoning as the main cause.

Fully 7.0 percent unsubscribed from certain email listings because they said emails did not look good on their smartphones. This is important for marketers to keep in the back of their minds.

Assess your email marketing strategy to ensure you’re fitting the needs of consumers, not just your own personal preferences. Data doesn’t lie.

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Real Estate Marketing

Non-profit employs at-risk-youth and veterans to transform prisons into sustainable farms

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Restorative justice can be a hard concept to understand. To see it working in real life, look no further than Growing Change in Scotland County, NC.

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Throughout the summer, we’ve been having honest and urgent discussions about systemic disenfranchisement, policing, and punishment in our society. These issues affect nearly everybody and everything, even down to what we eat. Grocery stores, for example, are a rarity in lots of impoverished or densely urban areas. Places like this, without accessible sources of affordable and nutritious food, are called “food deserts”.

Multiple studies have indicated that without proper nutrition, children have more difficulty in school. Poor performance in school, in turn, is widely considered by juvenile courts to be a predictor of future criminal behavior, which influences the severity of the punishments that are handed down to young offenders. In other words, statistically speaking, growing up in a food desert may have a negative impact on the rest of a child’s life.

Since these problems are fundamentally related, the solutions could be tied together, too. That’s one of the ideas behind Growing Change, a non-profit farm and educational center located in Scotland County, North Carolina. Scotland is one of North Carolina’s poorest counties, with the highest rates of unemployment and food insecurity in the state.

Growing Change simultaneously addresses these problems and more, targeting food injustice in the Scotland County area while educating at-risk youth about sustainable farming practices, and connecting them with mentorship from wounded veterans returning from deployment. Their goal is to “flip” abandoned prisons across the state, turning Brownfield sites into clean, green farms while providing entrepreneurial opportunities for youth and vets.

In a statement from 2015, they explain that “North Carolina is one of the last two states in which youth are adjudicated as adults for all charges at age 16. By the time some 16 year-olds arrive in the courts they are permanently limited in their employment due to their ‘adult’ criminal record. We will help break this cycle by offering the courts, schools and communities ways of diverting youth from the criminal justice system.”

And they get results, too: Their unique Clinical Pilot Program in 2011 showed 92% efficacy in preventing recidivism among participants.

Skill building and personal development is instrumental, not just for teens and young adults, but for anyone to avoid or remove themselves from the dire life circumstances that drive crime rates. I have personally witnessed the power of this model – my former employer, YR Media, teaches classes in multimedia literacy and production skills to achieve the same ends in Oakland, California. When we help people to grow outside of negative roles and situations, more often than not, they happily do.

Growing Change began just under ten years ago, yet their mission is especially relevant now. The pandemic has only amplified the systemic injustices our country has been facing, long before George Floyd’s death transformed the world.

Effective solutions become almost an afterthought in debates about over imprisonment in the US, even though global statistics speak for themselves: The United States accounts for only 4% of the global population, yet is responsible for roughly 20% of the world’s prisoners.

Restorative justice can be a hard concept to understand due to our cultural notions about crime, and it’s impossible to have a full understanding without concrete examples of how these concepts work in real life. This non-profit is demonstrating a clear, creative vision for how we might build connections that nourish us all, from the ground up.

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Real Estate Marketing

Twitter considers adding paid “premium” subscription

(REAL ESTATE TECHNOLOGY) In a bid for relevance, Twitter announces their intent to pursue exclusive, paid “premium” features.

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Most people would probably agree that paying for social media isn’t a choice they would make, but Twitter makes a compelling case with their announcement regarding premium accounts.

Twitter, a social media platform with a pretty tumultuous history, is considering implementing a paid premium access feature–and, while premium access wouldn’t be required in order to continue using the platform, it seems that Twitter has packaged quite a few desirable upgrades into that “premium” tier.

Whether or not Twitter plans to add premium accounts in the near future is still unknown, but some users have encountered a survey that asks for feedback regarding paid features. Among those features are custom background colors and fonts, an “undo send” option, the ability to upload longer videos, and even an option to see fewer ads.

Many of these features are cosmetic–for example, freedom to add a Twitter-curated badge that identifies you or your company–but some of them do serve the purpose of making premium account owners more powerful on the platform. Being able to upload longer videos is clearly an impactful upgrade, and Twitter’s survey even mentions a tweak wherein business members would be able to access a premium member’s account in a limited, secure manner.

Another aspect of premium accounts could include a “menu” of responses that companies could choose from, making customer service and outreach that much easier.

With the addition of these latter three features, premium accounts could become prime real estate for small businesses and online-based firms–something that has traditionally been more of Facebook’s forte.

It’s prudent to note that nothing is confirmed as of now, and the features listed in the survey may not appear in the final iteration of premium accounts even if premium access is added to Twitter in the future. However, it does seem inevitable that Twitter will roll out some form of premium subscription given that they both hired a team specifically for a similar feature, and mentioned their intention to move forward with subscription options to investors.

Twitter hasn’t exactly been a cash cow as of late, and with many of the social media platform’s initiatives falling flat in the past, no one has been expecting much in the way of growth from the irreverent bird app. A premium subscription for even a handful of users might be the push Twitter needs to become relevant again, both to users and advertisers.

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