Reading List: David Kelly interview, Invest in Women, Kauffman Ecosystem Survey

The nice thing about train rides to the City is that they give you a chance to catch up on your reading.

Had Sunday night not been the premier of so many great shows (damn you, DVR, and your 4-channel limitation), I’d have recorded the 60-Minutes interview with David Kelly.   I kind of hate that so much air time early in the interview was focused on Steve Jobs and his relationship with Kelly and IDEO, if only because Kelly has been at the forefront of product design and the design thinking movement for nearly 40 years and stands on his own merits well beyond the shadow of his late client and friend.   Just like Kelly’s human-centered design, the interview extracts a humanity that resonates.

Pilar Stella, in Forbes Woman, draws an interesting link between the results of the 2012 election and women entrepreneurs. “The election was a wake-up call demonstrating that Americans really are changing and the national identity is evolving demographically and socially,” she writes.

As we move forward in 2013, the same remains to be seen for the greater business and investor communities – whether they will adapt to and take advantage of the changing demographics and identity of our country, entrepreneurs and businesses, and our increasingly interconnected, multicultural and globalized economy. Women and minorities continue to lag behind their white male counterparts in compensation and representation in both large corporations, in start-ups, and in investment and venture capital funding. Yet, more reports are demonstrating their increasing presence and success, further indicating that they are a force to be recognized for doing business differently, creating equal or better returns, and for positively impacting social and planetary outcomes.

She makes the case that investment opportunity is shifting to businesses formed and managed by women and minorities, and points to data and resources that demonstrate and catalyze the point.  (And, yes, I really do dislike the idea of Forbes Women, as if somehow women need a special, gentler, more pink business publication. Then again, the reportage of Forbes often suggests that it could carry the sub-title “Just for Men.”)

Amid the reading, one “to do” item, if you please:  I  don’t enjoy the Kauffman Foundation’s surveying techniques (they love open-ended questions and free-form answers), but this survey assessing regional startup ecosystems is pretty important.  If you have 5 minutes (or more if you want to be really thoughtful), please give it a shot.  It will be very interesting to see how perceptions of Silicon Valley compare not just to other regions, but to perceptions recorded in earlier surveys.

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