I recently turned 30 (agh!) and as one does at major points in their life I started reflecting on where I am today and how I got here. And the most surprising thing for me was the realization that I identify myself as working in tech. In fact, not only do I work in tech, with Specsy, but I also run an organization with the name “tech” – right in it FashionTech Toronto. Despite this, I’ve always considered myself a fashion girl. Retail in particular. There is nothing I love more than discussing the fine points of retail operations, merchandising and trend forecasting. But even more than that, I absolutely love looking at all of these areas and how technology is transforming them. And that, I suppose, is the answer as to how I ended up in tech.
But that brought me to another thought. What does it even mean to work in tech anymore? It’s like saying you like sports. What do you mean by that? Playing sports or watching sports? Team sports or solo sports? Or do you really mean you enjoy sitting in a pub with friends with sports on in the background? So what does it mean to work in tech and why is it significant to even ask this? Because tech is the foundation upon which our society is being redesigned and rebuilt for future generations. And to identify all of the opportunities afforded by tech means that we need a diverse group of people, as diverse as our society, identifying and leveraging these opportunities. But tech is also scary and intimidating, so people without a traditional “tech” background tend to steer clear.
What we should really be asking is which field do you work in to which tech is now being applied? If we don’t have diverse people with a varied mix of unique abilities and perspectives to identify and leverage opportunities afforded by tech-driven change, we will not see diverse perspectives and representation in the tech-based society that we are building. So whether you’re in fashion, or travel, or finance, I’m willing to bet that you are also in a “tech” field to some degree. The question really is how is tech impacting your specific discipline? And what exactly is the tech-based opportunity that you, and only you, can identify and nurture to contribute to the diverse tapestry of our tech-based society? Mine just so happens to be in fashion and retail. What is yours?