Why Is Oxygen Building Software?

Sample Ript Page

Early in our Ript™ project, we met with reps of a large, northwest software company.

We had asked them, “what does you’re company think of women?”

They showed up with a stack of e-mail and no answer. Realizing they hadn’t managed a coherent response, one of them said:

“we build software for people and we believe women are people.”

  1. (they) build for people
  2. women are people
  3. therefore (they) build for women

This is analogous to saying, “all cats have four legs, my dog has four legs. Therefore my dog is a cat.”

The statement is packed with generic assumptions. At it’s worst, such assumptions can cause harm. At the least, they speak to an insensitivity to the needs and desires of women consumers.

Oxygen’s research confirms women are men’s digital peers and dominant influencers of purchasing decisions.

Businesses in other industries have found their women customers provide original insights into their products. Responding to those insights has lead to better solutions for both women and men.

“… women consider a longer list of criteria when selecting consumer products and stores than men do. …If a brand takes the time to understand her list, they’re going to over-deliver to men and still reach women” — Lisa Johnson, author of Don’t Think Pink

So, a better answer would have been, “we build software for women and we believe that leads to better software for people.” Still a little glib but it would definitely result in better software for those women!

We aspire to create playful & purposeful tools that:

  • address real needs in the lives of women
  • go beyond user interface conventions
  • support collaboration between friends and family
  • are accessible on whatever platform best serves the user

Our CEO is a visionary with a love of audacious challenges. We share her belief that we can be of service to women and create an opportunity for our company if we improve the software they use.

We acknowledge the pride of place women hold as our customers and seek to innovate by listening to them.

That’s my answer to why Oxygen is building software.

The End of Summer

Simpsonize My Family

LinkedIn and Age

Astronomical Clock

My company recently held HR training for managers where the instructor said:

  • Do not require dates of employment on applications
  • Do not note or refer to dates on someone’s resume or application

All this because considering age when hiring is, in most cases, both wrong and illegal.

  • If I list three jobs, each of which I worked four years, am I over 40?
  • Same jobs with dates. I began the first job in 1992, am I over 40?

I thought I’d ask LinkedIn why they require the display of dates.

This is their reply…

From: LinkedIn Customer Service
Sent: Monday, August 13, 2007
To: Ken H. Judy
Subject: Re: dates worked in experience profile

Hi Ken,

While we can understand your position along with your companies HR training basically providing the length of employment or the dates you began with a company (start date) and the date you left the company (end date) would pretty much be the same. If I started with LinkedIn March 01, 2007 and I left them April 1, 2007 that would mean I was one month old? I don’t believe this would really have much to do with a person’s age. When entering employment dates on a resume you don’t enter your date of birth neither should you do that on your CV. Please let me know if this addresses your concern as I am not sure I understand how entering your employment dates is age based discrimination.


I’m comforted that you “understand my position”. Thanks LinkedIn Privacy Lead!

I realize experts recommend listing dates and only using the most recent 10-15 years of experience. Still, what I reveal about myself is fundamentally my decision not the administrators of a social network.

Oh, and thanks for clearing up that thing about the one month olds. I was confused about that one…

Inspect and Adapt – A Fable

There once was a carpenter building a metal box. Try as he might, he couldn’t get nails to stick into much less attach two pieces of metal.

Apparently, other people were having a lot of success using nuts and bolts. So he got some.

Hammer as he might, all he ended up with was dented metal and bent bolts.

Tools - collage made with Ript

So he consulted an expert. Careful observation indicated the expert used a screwdriver. Great! He happened to have one in his toolbox.

He noted that the useful part of a screwdriver was the slotted tip at the end. So, he cut it off and taped it to the head of his hammer.

After one strike, the tip broke off and fell to the floor.

“Boy, my hammer is really letting me down,” he thought to himself. “I guess I’ll have to use the whole screwdriver.”

He went to the store and bought another one.

Once he got home, the man held it in his hand. It didn’t feel right. Any decent tool has a grip that goes at right angles to the head. He found a piece of wood and attached the screwdriver to the end.

That felt a little better but the screwdriver was very light. No decent tool was that insubstantial. So he attached a weight to the tip. That felt better! Now he was making progress!

Confident in his tool, the man pounded away at more bolts.

He managed to make a dozen deep scratches and bend several bolts before the screwdriver broke.

“That was worse than before! Screwdrivers are really overrated and it took so much work before I could even use it, ” the man said to himself.

“I’m not making that mistake again. I’m going out and get a really good hammer!”