“Here’s how I do that.”
The woman’s voice was well modulated, confident and upbeat. It totally eased past any defensive response I would have had to a woman stepping in at that time.+
Let me give you some context.
I was standing in my cubicle with a disemboweled 8086 grade personal computer on my desk. Yes, it was several years ago when RAM was measured in kilobytes, not gigabytes. It was the RAM on this machine that was the source of my consternation. I needed to upgrade the memory by 256K. The new chip was in my hand, but I had no tool to remove the old memory chip.
Kim Komando to the rescue. Yep. The Kim Komando you know from the infomercials, radio shows and multimedia. I worked with Kim for a short period of time at ATT. She was an Account Executive and I was a Technical Consultant specializing in voice and data communications.
Kim knew PC’s and she had seen my struggle. With grace and confidence, she showed me how to use the cap from a Pilot pen to extract the old chip. We joked a bit about the advanced toolset and then went on about our work. Over the next year or so we worked together on a couple of accounts and then I changed jobs and lost touch.
Fast-forward a few years. I was flipping through early morning TV looking for something to accompany me while I worked out. And there she was. Kim Komando talking about how to be at ease with personal computers. She was exactly how I remembered her from that day in my cube – bright, upbeat, non-threatening to a male ego and knowing of her shit.
Kim had found her niche. It was clear, in retrospect, just how much passion she had for PC technology and she had found a venue to share that passion with other people. She still shares that passion and I will tell you if you need to understand anything about the digital beast under your fingertips, you can’t go wrong looking to Kim for help.
What got me thinking about Kim? It was seeing another woman with similar characteristics who is starting to find her way to a niche in a man’s world.
In the same way that computers back in the days of 8086 machines were the domain of men, so is rock guitar today. Just look at YouTube and you’ll see most guitar vids are of the male side of the species strutting their audio feathers.
I was in YouTube looking for a decent demo of a guitar effect I was thinking of buying. That’s when I discovered Fuzz Box Girl. Amidst all of the chest thumping, speed noodling, testosterone driven demos was this very different approach from a young woman. Her guitar effect of choice is an organic device called a fuzz box that blends soul and technology into an outrageous sound. For those not familiar, a fuzz box was used by Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones when they recorded the main guitar for “Satisfaction”.
Look at one of FBG’s demos (FBG Blog)and you will see how she has used her unassuming personality and her understanding of her audience to create an identifiable brand. The demos aren’t too long. They focus on the equipment, not the flash of her playing, and they start you off with a light and funny intro while she pans the effect, her guitar and amp and a special cocktail to match the demo. She understands that her target audience is primarily male, gregarious (they play loud rock guitar), interested in sex and very dedicated to their avocation. These guys work hard at their craft, practicing for hours at a time, and have no patience for posers. FBG is the real deal. Not because she is the best player out there, but because her passion for what she is doing is clear and evident. It shows because she, like Kim, has the confidence to just be herself while stepping onto a male playground.
When I started to follow FBG, I was taken by what she had in common with Kim. They are two different people, but have both shown success in traditionally male markets. Both of them also maintained their feminine quality while establishing themselves as experts. They have gained loyal followings because they are doing what they are passionate about and they have respect for their audience. Each understands that they are a brand that needs to be managed and nurtured.
I admit it. I am attracted to women. Always have been. Looks might get my initial notice, but it is the depth and clarity of personality that keeps me attracted. When I wrote my novel, SYN:FIN, I didn’t intend to have smart, competent women take play major roles, they just happened naturally because that is what I expect women to be. The women who I hold close in my life are cut from that same cloth – smart, aware, confident, giving. It doesn’t intimidate me to be around competent women. If anything, I find it to be an absolute rush. We men aren’t better or worse, just very different. Sometimes, we let our egos get in the way of admiring competent women. It must be a relic of the hunter gene. If we can get passed that, then the differences are worth celebrating!
I am sure you have met women who strike you with their confidence and passion for their work or avocation. I’d love to hear about them from you. Add a comment or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading.
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