Clinkle’s Awful Hackathon Video Is A Diversity Report In Disguise

Clinkle, the payments startup that has yet to launch an actual product (despite more than $30 million in funding), released a video highlighting a recent hackathon. It’s kind of embarrassing.

Pop music overlays a bunch of smiling coders, some wearing Mickey Mouse ears, playing video games and shooting Nerf guns. They wear shirts that read, “Haters gonna hate.”

Like many hackathons, it’s mostly men.

The handful of times women do appear are carrying grocery bags or organizing a swath of arts and crafts materials lined up on a wooden table. One woman, presumably an engineer, is featured with a MacBook on her lap. 

Were these purchases made using a payment app?

It’s pretty standard for a startup hackathon to be a boys’ club. The Silicon Valley “brogrammer” stereotype permeates both corporate and popular culture—hoodie and t-shirt wearing dudes hunched over an Apple computer, banging out code until from late morning through dinnertime. But if Clinkle ever hopes to successfully get off the ground, it should consider appealing at least a little to both genders.

Women are predicted to control two-thirds of consumer wealth in the United States over the next 10 years, Nielsen reports. What’s more, U.S. women make up 53 percent of payment app users. In the developing markets, women play a critical role in mobile payment adoption, according to an extensive study from the the GSMA, an international mobile operator organization. 

Payment companies need to realize women will be using their product just as much, if not more, than men.

By marketing its company as a male-dominated environment and embracing the “brogrammer” stereotype, Clinkle alienates a large group of consumers who could influence the success or failure of its product.

Why Clinkle Needs Women In The Picture

Clinkle has enough image problems. Despite a wealth of funding, the company hasn’t released anything in the three years since its inception. Also, its experienced executives are departing quickly. Releasing a video that makes the company look like the frat party startup everyone thinks it is doesn’t help its deteriorating reputation. Especially when women in the video are almost nowhere to be seen.

Clinkle founder Lucas Duplan doesn’t look concerned.

It’s a shame this is how Clinkle chooses to be perceived, especially since, according to a LinkedIn search, there are are women who work there, including at least three on the technical team. They’re not just den moms setting up crafts for the boys who need to code.

Clinkle could learn a thing or two from companies like Zulily, an e-commerce marketplace that relied on women and moms to propel it to massive success. Why? Because moms spend money.

Take Heed, Startups

I don’t know who thought this video would be a good idea, but just in case startups are considering a similar marketing move, here are a few teachable moments from Clinkle’s example:

• Don’t produce over-produced videos of your company hackathons if you haven’t released anything in three years. Your investors want your money to go somewhere else. 

• A frat party environment is not something to brag about. 

• Hire women. If women work at your company, feature them in your promotional video doing more than setting up the snack table.

It’s unlikely Clinkle thought, or even cared, about the impact its video might have on women, considering employees were wearing, “Haters gonna hate,” shirts. But if the company keeps promoting an image like this one, it should start wearing shirts that say, “Companies gonna fail.”

Images courtesy of Clinkle.

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