What does it take for a woman to be a leader in technology?

Esther Dyson does business as EDventure Holdings, the reclaimed name of the company she owned for 20-odd years before selling it to CNET Networks in 2004. In the last few years, she has turned her sights towards IT and health care. She dedicated two issues of her newsletter, Release 1.0, to the topic (Health and Identity: No Patient Left Behind? in January 2005 and Personal Health Information: Data Comes Alive! in September 2005).  Also in September 2005, she ran the Personal Health Information workshop that laid out many of the challenges still perplexing the health-care community.

Currently, she is on the board of directors of 23andMe and is one of the initial ten subjects of George Church's Personal Genome Project. Her primary activity is investing in start-ups and guiding many of them as a board member. Her board seats include Boxbe, CVO Group (Hungary), Eventful.com, Evernote, IBS Group (Russia, advisory board), Meetup, Midentity (UK), NewspaperDirect, and WPP Group and Yandex (Russia).

Some of her past direct IT investments include Flickr, Del.icio.us, BrightMail, Medstory and Orbitz. Dyson was the founding chairman of ICANN from 1998 to 2000, and was also chairman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation in the 90's. In 1997, she wrote Release 2.0: A Design for Living in the Digital Age, which appeared in paperback a year later as Release 2.1. In 1994, she wrote a seminal essay on intellectual property for Wired magazine.

  • Transcript


Question: What does it take for a woman to be a leader in technology?

Esther Dyson: The same thing is in men and it is personality it is ambition, it is dedication all these things and then it can just be tougher for women going for a fold but it is not, the issue in the end as in technology it is management. I have never succeeded in a large corporate infrastructure I wouldn’t so I kind of by passed all that stuff but your name management hierarchy it is still pretty male environment and many places.

Question: How can women compensate for that?

Esther Dyson: Well, I am not really here to give management advise and the fact is most advice is worthless unless it is specific to a particular person in a particular situation. So it is and the advise is no different whether you are talking that in a tech company or a steel company, in a cosmetics company the culture is more female and this probably easier but there is nothing I can say that is unique your special ways of you succeeding in the technology world.

Recorded on: Mar 21 2008