I hear you are seeking a COO, a peer who can partner with you to write the next chapter in Uber’s journey. I applaud this. Uber’s culture is broken and you need help to fix it.Read More
I am a huge fan of the New York Times, but today’s article, “Uber Case Could Be A Watershed for Women in Tech,” really pissed me off.
Yes, it is absolutely true that many forms of harassment against women in the workplace have been going on forever, and yes it is true that sometimes, the individuals responsible for said harassment go unpunished. And it is also true that there are many bro-grammer cultures that can’t seem to figure out how to treat all employees fair and equally.Read More
This is the second part of a two-part series. You can read the first part, here.
As I said in the first part of this series, I’ve noticed tendencies in female founders that I think partially answer the question, Why aren’t more female founders funded? None of these tendencies are “bad,” by the way. Most contribute to our collective strengths as founders and business-builders. But they speak to a mismatch in assumptions between investors and entrepreneurs. They should not be avoided at all costs but rather noticed and accounted for when necessary.
Every time I sit down with a powerful working mom, I wrestle with whether to ask the “mom question.” I don’t want to be part of perpetuating a double standard by asking women in business a question that men are not asked. However, as a mom myself, I want to know the answer — How do they do it? What are their mom hacks? What can I learn from them?
When I first met YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, I was moderating a panel she was on for Harvard alums. We were both wrapping up our maternity leaves. She had just had her fifth child; I’d just had my second. We traded tips on maternity clothes and I peppered her with questions about how she finds her balance. Wojcicki was kindly very open and it’s advice from her and so many other amazing working women I’ve had the chance to meet, that’s helped me manage my own career and family — and helped me to believe that I CAN DO IT.
So, I’ve decided to ask women questions about parenting how and when I feel it is appropriate, and sometimes men too. On the day Yahoo announced the acquisition by Verizon, I spent the majority of the interview asking Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer about running the business. At the end, I also asked about how motherhood has changed her approach to leadership, given that her parenting decisions (rightly or wrongly) became such a flashpoint in her tenure. She lit up as she talked about how amazing it’s been to watch her children learn and how much she has learned about herself in having them: “I love to work. I love to have an impact. I love to talk with them about it…and for me it’s really important to keep going.”
I am scared. About sharing my thoughts publicly. For the first time. And that’s unlike me. But engaging about women in tech is a minefield and so many choose to stay on the sidelines. Then three things happened (not including the nasty man’s behavior in the Presidential debate), all of which compelled me to write, all against the backdrop of having two daughters and many friends who are female founders, corporate execs and VCs.
The first incident is now known by many of us. A white male VC advised women to hide their gender online and in business communication in an OpEd in the WSJ. Sure what he is suggesting is repulsive, demeaning and would roll back women’s rights but that’s not the worst of it. This man actually thought he was helping women and he was so certain he chose not to get feedback before he posted. As expected he was excoriated and ultimately apologized.Read More
Laura Morton has an outstanding multimedia piece on The Silicon Valley Hustle in The New York Times that I’m embarrassed to say I’m just catching up with now. Her stark photos and captions are a cultural anthropologist’s dream. The photo we’re pointing to above is, we think, one of the most vivid images we’ve seen capturing the position of many women in the Valley. There’s way, way more in Morton’s piece; read and see the whole thing. (Thanks, Lee Anna, for the tip.)