On July 15 - 16, the DLDwomen conference is being held for the fourth time in Munich. In this interview, the founder Steffi Czerny speaks about its variety of topics, why men should also attend, and what she has learned from her children.
How do you imagine the stereotypical DLDwoman?
Hopefully there is no such a thing like a stereotypical DLDwoman. I’m looking forward to an exciting network of CEOs, scientist, managers, technological pioneers, founders, poets and philosophers that discuss the future in a curious, creative and performance-oriented and engaged manner, not only on stage.
The topics of the DLDwomen are highly diverse. What is the concept behind it?
The digital revolution is changing our world with enormous speed. To examine these changes in the social context and to present their outstanding designers personally is part of the DNA of DLD. Therefore it’s obvious that we can’t be monothematic. We will focus on topics that bring about the most radical change, especially for women; the future of work, health, family, education and shopping.
Of course we also address the biggest driver of this upheaval, big data, as well as the associated cloud computing and social media. All these things fundamentally changed the way we work, how we organize our social environment, our health, shopping, etc.
For many people terms such as "big data" are familiar, but the mechanisms behind it tend to be rather, let’s say opaque.
The more we know about it, the more we talk about it and actively educate, the better. But who does really know this stuff nowadays? Who can read the algorithms and recognize the codes? Programming is a cultural technique, which determines our lives these days. We consume and share personal information, without a clue about what we do and what impact it could have. Without getting involved, uncertainty or even alienation, rejection, and denial begin to emerge. In my opinion, programming should be a basic school subject. Elora Israni and Ayna Agarwal, the founders of the She ++ initiative, have recognized what tools we need to understand the world and shape it. On one hand, they try to inspire women to develop enthusiasm for programming, on the other hand, they investigate what economical effects it would have if more women were pushing for technology professions.
How does this "programmed reality" affect the world of work?
Today everything is linked with everything, it's all about recognising the underlying patterns and we have to adjust ourselves to the fact that the linear logical thinking is sooner or later taken over by machines. What do we offer in response to this? Is it true what John Gerzema says that the key skills for the next generations are much more assigned to female behavior?
According to studies on the future of work, our children will not only have one but several jobs in 10-15 years. If the social bond towards a company or a profession changes completely, doesn’t that mean that we should change our school curricula?
Does digitization and the associated "end of the company" favor a flexible lifestyle and solve alleged dilemma for women?
Hopefully it does, as long as we approach it with courage and commitment. At DLDwomen, Ursula von der Leyen, Federal Minister for Labour and Social Affairs, will meet women like Jackie Reses, Jaleh Bisharat, Margit Wennmachers and Gabi Zedlmayer, and most likely discuss the topic "Future of Work". Isn’t it funny that some ministers travel to Silicon Valley? At DLDwomen valley leaders come to the ministers (she smiles).
Why should men attend the conference DLDwomen?
Men should attend for various reasons. More than 80 percent of the online purchase decisions of consumer goods are made by women. Thus, women are wonderful customers. Female students perform better than boys at the same age, they study more successfully and get good jobs. Social norms - such as early marriage and having children quickly - dissolve, the glass ceilings and prejudices are breaking, and success stories - even without quota - are becoming more and more regular. But what does that mean? Take the traditional family model for example. How do men deal with their wives earning higher salaries than them? What is their role in their wives’ balance between job and family? How do career-oriented women arrange their desire to have children? What does "social freezing", the freezing of egg cells at a young age, mean for men? Men, who have social competition in their genes, should suddenly learn that collaboration is the much more important key competence in the successful companies of our age, and that women are better prepared for it? Despite the whole quota topic, those are issues that affect us all!
Absolutely. I would like to follow up on the subject of "consumer markets". How is this economic factor in DLDw discussed?
The fact that 80% of online purchases are made by women speaks for itself. At DLDw we hope to identify the reasons for female purchase decisions. Also, what does that mean for cities, are shopping centers turning into showrooms? I am looking forward to the conversation between Scott Galloway and Susan Gilchrist on brand positioning. Laudomia Pucci will explain how the great tradition brand "Pucci" is positioned digitally. And of course Susanne Botschen, who writes a large e-commerce success story with Mytheresa.
What political issues do you consider particularly urgent?
The infrastructure of our global world is changing fundamentally, but too often we look at it from outdated perspectives. We need to understand the transformative power of digital innovations on us and influence our governments to take chances without being slowed down by regulations. In concrete terms, I am very excited about Viviane Reding, the EU Commissioner and DLD Co-Chair, who will also touch the European attitude towards the PRISM monitoring program of the NSA.
The demands for wage equality, ratio, care benefits, etc. differ in strength throughout the generations. What can you learn from your daughters (and your son)?
To be “always-on” and still have a real social life. Not to take status symbols so serious, car-sharing is a wonderful example. Basically, this generation also has a greater naturalness in environmental matters.
What role does the DLDw play for the publishing house Hubert Burda Media?
A publisher is a sensitive structure whose commercial success has always been closely linked with good themes, exciting stories and innovative media products. For 10 years, DLD ties a dense network with the forefront of the digital revolution in Silicon Valley for Hubert Burda Media. Long before the German media world has emigrated there, a very close, almost family relationship has developed with many of the local opinion leaders, from which we often learn early about trends and innovation.
In addition, the DLD is a real media product, which suits an innovative publishing house like ours very well. We convey our stories and scoops not on paper or on screen, but in real-time conferences. Disruptors such as Marissa Mayer or Mark Zuckerberg at first hand! Much like in magazines or websites we divided our conferences thematically into arts & culture, politics and lifestyle. At DLDwomen the issues are more feminine, more relevant for women. Our advertisers are our sponsors, and our print run is a bit more exclusive due to our by-invitation-only policy.
With the Nymphenburg Porcelain Manufactory you have chosen an exceptional location. How did this happen?
The Porcelain Manufactory is a wonderful "haunted" place where the perfect harmony of pure senseless beauty and highest technical perfection has been driven for centuries
DLDwomen is taking place in Munich July 15 - 16, 2013. Apply for a ticket to this exclusive conference, tune in on the beat of our community on the DLDpulse and find regular updates on the DLDw13 programme and speakers here.