Last week I attended the Summit Series in Los Angeles which featured a virtual who’s-who of the modern business world, including Reed Hastings, Tim Ferris, Shonda Rhimes, Beth Comstock, Jessica Alba and Kobe Bryant, to name but a tiny fraction.
As a frontier tech investor, one of the highlights of Summit LA17 was a wide ranging discussion with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (conducted by his brother Mark, by the way). Bezos touched on a myriad of topics, both professional and personal, but his primary focus was on his reusable rocket company, Blue Origin. “We have to go to space to save earth”, Bezos says bluntly. The key to quickly opening up that frontier, he adds, is “lowering the cost of admission so thousands of entrepreneurs can have startups in space like we saw on the internet.”
As I listened to one of the most successful and intriguing businessmen on Earth, I was thinking that, as a woman, Bezos’ main contribution might not be his commitment to providing an environmental Plan B but rather a here-and-now gift in the form of his primary business, Amazon.
Simply put, the procurement of goods for home and family is inefficient. In the past I have heard time and time again that one of the major challenges that female executives and entrepreneurs face is the ability to juggle both home and office, a problem that has plagued female executives since they arrived in executive suites. The fact is that their To Do list is more voluminous than their male counterparts because generally they also oversee shopping, food and child rearing duties.
Amazon to the rescue. While the debate rages over whether the shopping titan should be seen as a consumer godsend or a small business menace, the fact is that the company has successfully cut the amount of time needed to shop for clothes, appliances, toys and food dramatically, allowing busy female executives to concentrate on turning the gender status quo asunder.
2017 has been a banner year for women making strides, coming together to support each other in achieving parity in the workplace. There are obviously several factors contributing to the timing but I thought someone should thank Jeff Bezos for his contribution because it doesn’t usually come up on the list. Now we just need Waymo autonomous cars to do school carpools and soccer practice. It’s happening already. So watch out for the unleashed talent.