Women look at things differently.

imagesWhen I was young I always thought that men and women could compete head on, we were equals at every turn and I could do anything a man could do.  I understood that physically I wasn’t going to play pro-football at the same level (although I did play in a flag-football league in high school but that’s for another day).

There has been a lot of research of late on the topic of how women make decisions.  When women join a community online they tend to be quite loyal after opting in.  They do not make those decisions lightly.  They want to decide if the time spent reading something or being part of something is not only worth it but if they commit they want to commit.

I see it in investing too.  Women don’t just jump in on crowd-funding platforms as easily as their male counterparts.  They want to educate themselves first.  They read the business plan, talk to the founder, really think about the pros and cons of the business and think methodically about how they might be able to help the company they are investing in.

This behavior plays out in other areas from taking a job, to volunteering to sitting on a board.  The decisions women make are rarely knee jerk reactions but very thoughtful layered thinking.  That could be why the ROI on women founders is proving to be higher than those started by a man.

What we can learn from all of this is the importance of gender balanced businesses, boards, cap tables and anything we can possibly think of.  It is as important to have the person who jumps in with out a thought be counterbalanced with the person who pauses at every turn to ponder around one table.  It creates better teams.

There are times that I’d love to see more women just do it but I really do believe there is always a method behind everyone’s madness.  Perhaps the counterbalance of the way that women make decisions and look at things is what makes the world go around.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Mario Cantin

    Yep, equality doesn’t mean being the same — it means equal rights and opportunities.[That’s a great line, if I may say so, and I came up with it all on my own ? Mind you, it’s probably been said in different ways hundreds of thousands of time before by others in the past.]

    1. Gotham Gal

      i like it!

  2. Rohan

    Perhaps the counterbalance of the way that women make decisions and look at things is what makes the world go around.100% true.

  3. kbb

    This is so true. It manifests in countless ways. I am an Air Force brat and when you move so often and live in such a rich, diverse melting pot you learn to throw yourself in. If you fall, you get up, quickly wipe the blood off your scraped knees and keep playing. You do this to survive because the alternative is not to play. Two years ago I started an eMBA program at MIT. I notice that the women in the class will not raise their hands and throw their thoughts into the debate unless they deeply understand the subject: they did the reading, finished the homework, followed everything the professor said. The men throw themselves into the discussion regardless. They don’t care, by and large, whether they are square on their haunches. They have a reaction or insight and they share it — if someone points out a weakness in their position, they acknowledge and brush it off. No harm. I do really appreciate your respect for the method behind everyone’s madness. It’s so easy for everyone to say “women should speak up more” – or “just do it” — but in collaboration it’s the diversity of legitimate approaches and views that produces better outcomes.

    1. Gotham Gal

      *They have a reaction or insight and t hey share it — if someone points out a weakness in their position, they acknowledge and brush it off*You hit the nail on the head. It isn’t so easy for women to do that but for some reason it is easy for men to. How does this shift…I have zero idea but it is fascinating.

      1. Joe Cardillo

        That’s a really interesting question. I like both of your comments, and for me the answer (which isn’t junk food immediate response kind of stuff) has to do with creative autonomy. I spend considerable time directly and indirectly supporting folks who don’t fit the obvious labels in startup culture (by things like ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, economic class, etc.) and one of the things I’ve learned and relearned is that very often the outcome doesn’t look or feel the way that I would if I were in their shoes. But that’s precisely the point of focusing on empathy and equal opportunity. If I quietly help to support the autonomy and creativity of a queer, black woman who grew up w/o access to capital and she turns out to have different politics than mine, I want to welcome that. That’s how we get diversity of thought and approach, and ultimately build things that are sustainable and generate medium and long term profits.

        1. Gotham Gal

          Hats off to you for that support. I do the same. My portfolio is extremely diverse on all levels and I make it a priority.

    2. Twain Twain

      Last July, at a major data science I spoke up in front of 1500 attendees (mostly male).A professor of AI had shared this slide on his “master algorithm” theory: https://uploads.disquscdn.c…So I asked him to validate that AI “emulates the brain” and “simulates evolution” — given that AI’s evolution starts from the mathematical functional abilities of the neocortex and is working itself from there towards limbic and reptilian parts where Natural Language and emotions are.Now, that means the AI brain is the inverse opposite, structurally, from the human brain.So … it’s laughable when male AI researchers insist AI’s intelligence is like ours. It doesn’t even meet Science 101 criteria:https://uploads.disquscdn.c…Anyway, he thought that as a woman I wouldn’t have the self-confidence to challenge his clearly wrong suppositions.Women don’t need to have deep subject knowledge. We just need common sense, self-confidence and a curiosity to ask.

  4. pointsnfigures

    1000%agree women look at things differently, make decisions differently etc. It’s a good thing!! It can be totally frustrating for alpha men if you don’t internalize the empathy that you need to participate–and more importantly make sure there is participation.

  5. awaldstein

    The more diverse our world the better.That is true cross genders, preferences and age as well.Work force and culture in general is becoming broader and more mixed and more better all the time.

  6. Barbara Clarke

    What’s so interesting to me is how deliberative we are but we also get so much done as women. We make so many decisions on a daily basis in work and in life and I think we apply this deliberative process to it all.

    1. Gotham Gal

      I think we do too!