Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Male entrepreneurs using social networks as an extension of the boardroom

Should a woman behave more like a man to make it to the top?
How much are male and female traits visible through social networks such as Twitter?

Here are a couple of tweets, one from a male and one from a female entrepreneur. Can you tell which is which?

I feel very sorry for you on the score last night! Want a tissue?

Just heard a fab quote re the role of a parent “our job is to give children the courage to go out into the world & a home to come back to”

OK, so it was dead easy to spot. The first was from a man and the second from a woman. 
But is that generally true of male and female entrepreneur tweeters or do female entrepreneurs have to emulate male traits? 

My team at the University of Hertfordshire have been busy researching just that…..

We analysed nearly 5,000 tweets from twelve influential entrepreneurs over one-month. 

Our results showed that male entrepreneurs tend to use social networking sites to compete and dominate whilst women use them to build networks.

We also showed that men ‘tweet’ about business 46% more than women.
In fact even their more casual conversations involve business. So they really do have one-track minds. A business track.

And when it comes to blatant self-promotion, the males again come out as the top tweeters.
They do a lot more of blowing their own trumpets, sounding off 61% more self-promotional tweets than their female counterparts.

Female tweets are more supportive, friendly and more lifestyle-y.

In fact the female entrepreneurs put out more than twice as many tweets about their non-business life than men. 

These top women also tweeted 77% more supportive and conversational content than males. They were more likely to join in an on-line chat, respond to others with a friendly comment or messages of support.

It seems from these new findings that men are using social media as an extension of the board room or the sports field - where they typically like to lead the competition and dominate. 

Women seem to use social media far less aggressively, using it more socially to build contacts and network with people, as is often the case in the ‘real world’. Yet many are matching their male entrpreneurial counterparts when it comes to generating wealth.

The top 5 entrepreneurs by how much they tweeted in one month (Jan-Feb 2011) are below. They have an estimated combined wealth of £1.28billion*
             1. Michelle Mone 1,030 tweets
2.    Lord Sugar 965 tweets
3.    Duncan Bannatyne 660 tweets
4.    Theo Paphitis 505 tweets
5.    Martha Lane Fox 275 tweets

·       The University of Hertfordshire was awarded the Times Higher Education ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year 2010’

Monday, 18 April 2011

Shop like a Zombie

Pasty-looking people with unfocussed eyes goggle menacingly at the shop’s window display, hands and faces pressed hard against the glass. Cabinets of sparking goods stand within. An unearthly moan of desire emanates from the frustrated crowd.

What’s this? A description of shoppers waiting for Primark’s doors to open on a Saturday morning?

No, it’s actually a scene from Romero’s film, the Dawn of the Dead. And the pasty-looking people aren’t shoppers. They're zombies.

But the scene does capture something that Philip Horne, in his article ‘I shopped with a Zombie’ descibes as the transformation of merchanise into a spectacle which, these days, seems to have a compulsive quality. And researchers have now identified the kinds of magical transformations that many shoppers expect when making purchases.

In her study Marsha Richins, from Trulaske College of Business, identified four types of expectations:

Transformation of the self
That’s the belief, commonly held by young people and people in new roles, that a purchase will change who you are and how people perceive you. For example, a woman interviewed for Richins study wanted to have cosmetic dental surgery because she thought it would improve her appearance and self-confidence.
Transformation of relationships 
Is the expectation that a purchase will improve your relationships with others. For example, a woman in the study wanted a new house as she thought then she'd entertain more often and make more friends.
Hedonic transformation
This is the belief that a purchase will make life more fun. For example, a man in the study believed a new mountain bike would give him more incentive to get out and go on "an adventure."
Efficacy transformation
is the expectation that purchases will make you more effective in your life. For example, some study participants believed buying a new car would make them more independent and self-reliant.

Nothing wrong with any of these reasons, you might think. They only become problematic when the purchaser spends the money and then, as often happens, doesn’t get the expected outcome. Because things like good relationships, independence, self-reliance and confidence come from working on your inner self, not from outer trappings.

Research shows that most people's beliefs about the life-transforming properties of their purchases are completely fallacious. Yet these beliefs are still very powerful motivators to spend. Worse still, if you have strong and unrealistic transformational beliefs you are more likely to overuse credit and take on excessive debt.

In Romero’s film the zombies rise from their graves and stagger to the shopping mall. What a shame no-one told them those glittering prizes wouldn’t be life-transforming.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the office.....

the toddler gets chicken pox, the after-school club gets axed and your childminder emigrates to Siberia in search of an easier life.

Working mums have been a regular blog topic here on Sheconomics, and we've been lucky enough to have Becky from Babybudgeting give her view on family finance as well as the fabulous Jessica Chivers giving us a sneaky heads-up on her new book Mothers Work!

So I guess those two ladies, with their fingers on the pulse of the working mum, won't be surprised to hear that 'desperate need of money' drove 80% of mums surveyed by Philips AVENT back to the day job. 

That still leaves one in five mums returning for the sake of their sanity, rather than for the salary, which is something that Jessica's research had highlighted. In Mothers Work! Jessica talks about how mums cope with (apart from the guilt) the crippling costs of childcare and how some mums simply couldn't afford to go back to work. The Philips AVENT survey showed that almost half of them get round this by roping in the grandparents. A further 40% decided that the average £4,280 a year that childcare costs simply made it not even worth thinking about getting the business suit back on. That figure is a modest estimate, according to Jessica, who says the cost of employing a nanny can escalate to £22,220 p.a. outside London.

Jessica's view is that parents need to get creative about the way they organise childcare, and they need to become better negotiators. That includes pay rises, not being shy about promotion and asking for flexible working, an arrangement that appealed to 70% of the Philips AVENT respondents. 

Becky has lots of good advice on how to manage a budget that's been squeezed by the arrival of a baby and you can watch her discussing it here with money advisor Sue Hayward. 

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Weirder than fiction!

If you wonder what really led to the economic crash of 2008 then I urge you go and see Inside Job, the film directed by Charles Ferguson.
It starts with a chilling re-run of the events in the decade leading up to the crisis and then exposes the recklessness, corruption and utter denial of those who let it happen, and even profited from it.

“Inside Job was well received by film critics who praised its pacing, research and explanation of complex material.”

It’s straight-talking, it’s fact and it’s scarier than fiction.
You couldn’t make it up.

Monday, 4 April 2011

New money advice service launched

Are you one of the many women who, when it  comes to asking for advice about money, has no idea where to go? The friendly bank manager is now a distant memory and even friends you trust can offer nothing but financial horror stories.
Or perhaps you’re scared about approaching organisations who offer ‘advice’ for fear you’ll get sold something you don’t want, or get charged for advice?
We’d like to allay those worries and point you to a safe pair of hands.
It’s the government advice service (formally the Consumer Financial Education Body) launched today that really does offer free, impartial money advice. 
We think it's a friendly site that's easy to browse without getting tripped up by horrid jargon. Perhaps it's the green colour scheme and homely images that makes it particularly relaxing and non-threatening? And there are free printed guides on offer, as well as face-to-face services and a free helpline (0300 500 5000).
A big plus is that it's very female friendly, with great sections on childcare, finance for parents, and help with those less-than-happy events like divorce and redundancy.
We particularly like the way they acknowledge that seeking financial advice isn't just a fact-finding exercise, and that money induces a lot of anxiety in people. There's a section headed 'Money Worries' especially for those wobbly times.

Friday, 1 April 2011

The value of a mum in cash terms is £?


Hi I'm Becky and I blog over at Baby Budgeting (www.babybudgeting.co.uk) a 
website for families trying to be savvy with their finances. I am also the 
author of How to afford timeoff with your baby (Vermilion 09)I am a  stay at 
home mum and freelance writer and I do everything around the home. I should 
be a rich womn apparently!

Legal & General have just released some research which finds that the unpaid 
work a Mum does around the home would cost £30,032 to replace (and the 
equivalent for a Dad would cost £21,306).

Here are some more nuggets ( to be used when you need them!) from the 
“Value of a Mum” survey :

-       Despite many Mums working they still spend an extra nine hours a 
week with the children compared to Dads.

-       Mums are still feeling that the burden of looking after the home 
falls to them, with 45% wishing that their partners would do more to help 
with housework and childcare.

-       Even those mums who have part-time jobs don’t hugely reduce the 
amount of time dedicated to parenting – the value of part-time worker mums 
is £28,664 compared to the value of those who don’t work, £31,523

-       The day to day costs of looking after children have gone up 8.3% 
over the last two years, rising from £132 a week to £143 and a massive 31% 
since 1999 when the figure was £109.

Mums do really important unpaid work around the home and they are 
increasingly combining this with a full or part-time job, which means that 
their families are getting pretty good value for their efforts!

The research highlights just how easy it is to underestimate the value of 
the unpaid work parents do and the importance of planning for a future where 
one parent may be unable to work due to illness or bereavement.  It shows 
that 42% of mums and dads feel people should have financial protection in 
place in case anything were to happen to them, but in reality only a quarter 
(24%) of them actually do.

So where’s my 30k then?

Has anyone seen it...?