As part of the TechCrunch20 conference I’m doing with Mike Arrington I have to pick seven people to act as judges. The basic role of the judges will be to send Mike and I suggestions of who to have DEMO at the conference and to be at the conference to give feedback on the speakers.
Right now I’ve got four of my seven select and I realized that all four are white, middle aged, males–like myself. I’ve been reading Anil Dash going off on conferences that don’t have diversity, so I guess I’m particularly tuned into the issue.
Of course, when I used to run conference back in the Silicon Alley Reporter days I would always get the person who would stand up and blame for not having enough INSERT GROUP HERE on the panel. I would of course respond that this was a panel about INSERT TOPIC HERE and that we had invited the five biggest companies in the space, and it turns out that all five of their CEOs are white males. What was I supposed to do, find a company that doesn’t belong on the panel because it’s either a) in another vertical or b) not significant in terms of size?!? Crazy.
It’s wrong to blame conference producers for their events mirroring the demographics of the industry.
That being said, I’m looking deeply at trying to find some diversity for my selections. Clearly when it comes to picking great companies or products there are plenty of