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Adii Pienaar

Family man, seeker and learner. 3X Founder: Cogsy + Conversio (acq by Campaign Monitor) + WooCommerce (acq by Automattic). Ex-Rockstar.

Homogeny

The cat is out of the bag and change is afoot, as I shared publicly for the first time that last week that I am publishing a new book later this year and will be launching a new podcast in support thereof in early-August.

When I first decided to explore the idea of creating a podcast in support of the book, I had one requirement: it needed to include and showcase diverse voices. I didn't want to produce yet another interview-style podcast with the same people that always gets interviewed.

I didn't want it to be just about tech, startups or entrepreneurs either, because we see so much of that online already. Maybe I am just projecting my own needs and thoughts here, but my hunch (and bet) is that there are others here that would appreciate to hear from lesser-known faces, who can share lesser-heard ideas.

As I started to search for and research individuals that could make great podcast guests, I did what I think most people would do: I went to my immediate network, meaning friends and friends-of-friends. This approach has worked for me in the past (the most obvious case being the $500k seed round I raised Conversio 5 years ago) and I had no doubts about it working again.

What I found though was that my friends and greater network was in fact very homogenous. Removing the tech and entrepreneurship part of this (as that is just the most prevalent circle in which I've engaged in the last 10+ years), what I realised is that my friends and greater network mostly looks like and talks like me.

The extent of this was a surprise to me, especially since I tried for example to prioritise diversity in building our team at Conversio (and factually it was an improvement on the team I had helped build with WooThemes / WooCommerce before).

What I didn't realise is how quickly homogeny compounds, unless of course there is a proactive and purposeful awareness of always creating or supporting the spaces for diverse individuals, voices and perspectives.

This homogeny also isn't only about race or gender or heritage. I believe that part of diversity is about enabling, empowering, nurturing and facilitating everyone's unique, magical expression of themselves. Because we all have that magic and when we combine our individual magic, alchemy happens.

I didn't write this to guilt or shame myself or anyone reading this. I do however hope to raise the awareness that - if unchecked - homogeny in our daily lives, conversations and spaces happens very quickly.

PS. If you know of a fascinating individual that is making or creating something and sharing that with the world, and they are vocal about their mission, values, purpose or goals, please let me know so that I can get them on the podcast. 📩 Email me.

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