By Angie Chang (Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Women 2.0)
At the 2012 PITCH NYC Conference, Oxygen Media founder Geraldine Laybourne talks about working out of the “Wild West”. “I built it the way a woman would build it. I built it with partnerships with cable operators.”
Instead of trying to climb the corporate ladder, Geraldine describes herself as mission-driven. She went to Disney because she thought she could make a difference. “I had a dream and at the end of the dream, I woke up gasping for air and I said ‘oxygen’ is what the world needs, it’s really what I needed. We need a place where creative people can own their work. Because I did not do well in a corporate setting, it was very deep – I had to go back to being an entrepreneur. I didn’t like the corporate setting, I didn’t like the way people treated each other.”
Founder Geraldine Laybourne had raised close to $600 million dollars to start Oxygen Media. While it was financed as a cable network, Oxygen Channel was meant to be the first of a cross-channel media brand.
“Oxygen was actually supposed to be more like a utility,” said founder Geraldine Laybourne. “Oxygen was taking this stand that women think differently than men and women have many more jobs than men. They are the chief purchasing agent in the home, the chief financial officer, the chief human resources, psychology, school nurse, everything. Would there be a way in this digital world to make all those different jobs more integrated and to have them connected more seamlessly and more fun? I pray that some of you will go into devising things that make women’s lives better because we do so many different jobs. And that’s what I hoped for Oxygen and we did not achieve that.”
Geraldine asserted, “The reason I sit on technology corporate boards is because I want them to pay attention to the needs of women. It’s not just a little idea – and by the way I think Steve Jobs understood that, I think the way he designed was in the intuitive way that women think and like to operate and it had great benefits to their company. If I was running a big tech company, I would pay a lot of attention to women.”
Women 2.0 readers: What was your biggest takeaway from Geraldine Laybourne’s talk at PITCH NYC Conference? Let us know in the comments.
Angie Chang is Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Women 2.0, a media company offering content, community and conferences for aspiring and current women innovators in technology. Our mission is to increase the number of female founders of technology startups with inspiration, information and education through our platform. Previously, Angie held roles in product management and web UI design. Angie holds a B.A. in English and Social Welfare from UC Berkeley. Follow her on Twitter at @thisgirlangie.