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Diversity and Inclusion in the Metaverse
The game industry serves billions of customers in the world, representing women and men and non-binary people of every conceivable…
The game industry serves billions of customers in the world, representing women and men and non-binary people of every conceivable background, culture, region, romantic partners, different abilities and life experiences. Few of these people work within the industry that makes the products they enjoy; one sobering statistic is that only 24% of game developers are women. Many other types of people are far less represented than they exist within the game-playing public.
I met with a number of these people in the corner of the metaverse called Clubhouse. Over a hundred people joined us for the conversation. Some of them were people like me, those who have enjoyed disproportionate advantages in access to capital, power and opportunity. We got to listen. But there were not enough of us. This message is for those who are like me, yet were not there.
In my own company, I want to make diversity more than a catchphrase in a corporate training session. The time has long passed. What would this mean?
First, to the extent that I have a little power and influence, this is a subject I want to use my platform to communicate more consistently. Second, I don’t want to hire people to fill “token” positions. This is going to take some effort because I can’t simply complain about not having access to these candidates: it will mean connecting myself to communities that are not part of my traditional networks. I’m going to find the best and brightest and put them into positions of power and responsibility. I’m excited because I know these people will become role models, attract additional talent, and make my company smarter and more relevant to our customers.
I know I need to get better at listening. Many people from diverse backgrounds have learned to package their ideas and thoughts in ways less likely to provoke fragile responses. It will mean training my ear to hear what someone is saying, not simply how they say it. This will take work.
The above is what people have told me would help, and it is what I will be doing. If you want to actually make the world a better place — an oft-quoted throwaway phrase from startup founders — then I invite you to join me in doing the same. My goal is to see far more diverse people at all levels of organizations, not only the people doing the handcrafting of games, but all the way up to our Boardrooms.
A few people in our meeting shared a few organizations I wanted to pass along to help others in their journey:
Leadership for Diversity (L4D) is an organization with resources and information to improve diversity and inclusiveness in your organization.
The Fourth Floor is an organization that prepares women to join Boardrooms.
Watermark is an organization that provides leadership development for women.
If you have others to share, I’d be very curious about them.