“You’re a female founder. A lot of VCs, consciously or unconsciously, sort of automatically discriminate.” — Paul Graham, THE LAUNCH PAD
I was on a balcony enjoying balmy Hawaiian breezes and nursing a beer when I asked my buddy, one of those tech entrepreneur types who made his many millions in his twenties, “So why aren’t there more women in tech?”
I was thinking of a cover story: Where is the female Mark Zuckerberg?
He hemmed and hawed as graciously as possible – “they definitely have the ability” – and said something to the effect of female brains being “wired differently” – while also acknowledging that a lot of it was “social”.
It might have been an unfair question to spring on him. I ascribe to what I think of as the plane crash theory due to something I read when I was taking flying lessons years ago. Basically: a small plane crashes not because of one big thing going wrong, but a bunch of small things that accumulate into total disaster.
I suspect it’s that way with women in tech. Lots of small things going wrong that work to keep them out of tech, or at the margins of tech.
The woman question has irked writer Michael Arrington, who blogged in TechCrunch:
Barack Obama is TIME’s person of the year. Again. I like Obama, but in my ever-so-humble opinion TIME got this one wrong.
It should have been Malala.
Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl shot three times in the head and neck for speaking out for the female right to an education.
As Joanne Bamberger pointed out in a recent op-ed:
…she has raised awareness about the issue of violence against girls and women all over the world — an epidemic that few seem focused on. At a time when Republicans in Congress are fighting about which women should be protected by the Violence Against Women Act here in the U.S., and in a year where many people have had their awareness raised about what women and girls around the world face, through the book and movie Half the Sky, TIME Magazine could have sent a powerful message that it’s time to stop turning away from all the other stories like Malala’s that we never hear about.
I scanned the TIME masthead to try and guess how many female editors had been involved in this evaluation of Obama as being of greater symbolic importance than a fourteen year old girl shot for challenging a brutally misogynist government. click here
She texted me out of the blue and got straight to the point:
How do I become more assertive among people with very strong personalities? I want to be a leader but I’m such a people pleaser it gets in my way.
It’s really bad, my need for approval from others.
Sometimes I will even say I agree with something when I don’t just so the other person will approve of me. It is weak. I don’t want to be that person.
My colleagues are competitive.
I texted back:
As is the world. click here
“Move into yourself. Move into your human unsuccess. Perfection rapes the soul.” — Marion Woodman
“Artists aren’t afraid to be imperfect,” pointed out Jonathan Fields in a recent blog post.
Fields used the example of a student in yoga, a beginner who came to the front of an intermediate class. She tossed down her mat like a gauntlet. She sweated and struggled and contorted herself in full view of everyone. It probably hurt to watch. But she came again the next day. And the next. Because she didn’t care about looking like an idiot, because she knew how to keep showing up, she made rapid progress. Today she’s a yoga teacher.
This example hit home with me because I am getting much more serious about my own yoga practice, and I can tell you that I do not take a spot in the front of the class. I’m in the back, baby. I do take classes that are at my ragged edge, because I like to watch the bendy people. But I struggle with my self-consciousness when my poses aren’t perfect, when I make stupid mistakes, when I drip sweat like a mofo. (That old saying about how men sweat, women perspire? Nuh-uh. I sweat.) The yoga teacher cocks his head at me and asks, “Are you all right?”
I hate that.
After reading Jonathan’s post, I made the connection between my self-conscious struggle in yoga and my equally self-conscious struggle to finish the current draft of my novel. click here
Seek first to understand…. — Stephen Covey
One of my all-time favorite bloggers is Chris Guillebeau (THE ART OF NON-CONFORMITY). Chris uses the term ‘world domination’ as part of his call to arms, from his intensely popular PDF “A Brief Guide To World Domination” to his annual gathering of bright-eyed world-changers held in June and known as the World Domination Summit .
When Chris came through LA on tour for his first book, I hosted an after-booksigning-party for him at my house. I figured anybody willing to make the long and winding trek from Book Soup on Sunset into the hills of Bel Air would be a hardcore fan indeed.
Let’s just say he has a lot of hardcore fans.
“It’s mostly guys,” observed a friend of mine.
I was a bit surprised by this, since Chris’s central message – about living your own life on your own terms – is valid for both genders. My friend, who wasn’t familiar with Chris’s work at the time of the party, pointed out that his use of the term ‘world domination’ might have something to do with it: the language of force and strength, of the conquering and the conquered: click here
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