Help us shape the future of podcasts for everyone

Help us shape the future of podcasts for everyone

Written by By Aysin Oruz and Sofia Hellsten2019.12.03

One of the biggest challenges facing product and service development is that, historically, women have been shut out of the process. The results is that, across almost every industry, half the global population’s needs and desires have not been sufficiently fulfilled.

And that includes podcasts — a ‘product’ consumed by almost as many women as men. The numbers are moving towards a 50/50 split of men and women both listening to and creating content. But we’re aware that our own development team does not yet reflect this.

In fact, our 60-person team of engineers — the people building the engine powering podcasting for the whole world — is 85% male. If our products and services are to work for everyone of every gender, age or background, we need a more diverse team that better reflects our users.

We’re focusing on expanding that diversity, and we’re actively hiring the best talent across the world — from Scandinavia, France and Germany to the US, the UK and Australia.

But it’s not only our talent acquisition team’s responsibility. Every one of our developers is also pushing to bring more diverse engineers on board, because they understand the benefits of that approach not just for Acast but for the entire podcast industry.

We want to have diversity in the people influencing the entire Acast offering. We know how important it is to reflect the needs and perspectives of a growing diversity of users, and to successfully do so we need those needs and perspectives to be represented within the teams that build our products.

We value diversity not because we have a quota or want to even out the numbers, but because we strongly believe it will give us the edge on our competitors when building and developing our world-class tools and services.

Things have gone very well for Acast since we were founded in 2014, and they say “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, but we’re not resting on our laurels. We can always do more to move the industry forward.

The problem with products and services being designed by men, for men, is the resulting bias in how the world around us is being built — and the subsequent impact on women’s lives. Everything from cars to medical treatments and city planning have been created from a male perspective, leaving women under-represented and, at times, in danger.

For example, women (and even their doctors) might not realize they’re having a heart attack because public health information focuses so heavily on male symptoms. And, in one study, women were found to be at a 47% higher risk of serious injury and a 17% higher risk of dying in a car accident compared to men, because safety tests are simulated using ‘male’ crash dolls.

You might wonder what that has to do with podcasts. Of course, they’re extreme examples — and podcasting is rarely a matter of life and death — but it’s equally important that technology like ours caters for everyone.

We don’t want to look back at the innovations and software developments happening today with the same disappointment we have in something like the car — an incredible invention but one that completely ignored the crucial needs of women.

Acast builds tools for podcast creators and their listeners, a user group growing by the day. Audio, and podcasting in particular, is booming — and that means we have a responsibility to shape the products used, answering everyone’s needs and giving them the power to spread fantastic stories.

As women and as men, we experience and interact with software in different ways — and we might have different priorities and solve problems in different ways — so having these varied approaches represented is an asset for both the development team and the end user.

We’re on the lookout for people who can challenge us to build a product that can be used worldwide, while delivering value for every individual user. If you’re curious about Acast and current job openings please visit our Career Page.