Oh Forbes. This month I ran across a post from a friend of mine on Facebook that brought the newly released Forbes list of “America’s Most Innovative Leaders”. Majorly disappointing was the face that out of 100 people featured in this list, there was ONE woman. Only one. Out of 100. And she was number 75. What in all the F’s??? And then, just to keep things even, you notice there are only three Latino men and no black men. Come on FORBES. COME ON.
This seems egregious, and it is, but there is a lesson to be learned here. First, Forbes used 4 criteria to create their list. Those 4 indicators were:
- Media reputation for innovation
- Social connections/capital
- Track record for value creation
- Investor expectations for value creation
Then to compound the problem, according to Randall Lane, an editor at Forbes:
“…we then applied that methodology to the CEOs or founders of the largest public companies—mostly those worth $10 billion or more of those growing quickly, which skews toward healthcare and tech.
This pool ultimately proved the problem: Women, as we all know, are poorly represented at the top of the largest corporations (just 5% of the S&P 500) and fare even worse among growing public tech companies. In other words, for all our carefully calibrated methodology, women never had much of a chance here.”
So, what would we have Forbes do? Add some token women?
Obviously, they need to change their criteria because their list does not in any way represent the top 100 innovative leaders in America to me. But they created a methodology, applied it, and published their results. I’m not mad at them for that. If this methodology (which was created and executed by men just FYI) can be so absolutely blind to the world, just think for a second about AI powered algorithms are going to be capable of!
What I am mad at is that they saw their results, knew they F-ed up, and published it initially without any acknowledgement of their obviously biased findings. Sure, they came out later and made a few statements about how they could have positioned their results differently.
So what is our lesson learned here friends? Clearly, there is a whole lot of common sense missing in Forbe’s release. They were dead ass wrong. But we can’t lose touch with the fact that these are actually the facts. And that is what we should be mad about.