Making memories

Newsletter editor Lily here.

This is a quick reminder for Chairman Mom Flee attendees to fill out the survey that was emailed to you a few weeks ago if you haven’t. As Sarah’s mentioned previously, we’re making some big changes to next year’s Flee based on feedback from our first two, and we’d love to hear from you! It only takes a few minutes.

There’s lots more to come in terms of Flee announcements for the future, so hang tight (and check out this thread where some attendees posted some highlights)! And now, onto our regularly scheduled programming… Read more...

“Unambiguously awesome”

Like all founders, all mothers, all women—I’ve got a lot going on. I don’t shower many days, because I’m not sure I can spare the ten minutes. 

Every time I get on a plane to go to an intimate Chairman Mom dinner, every time I put the airport hotel and the coach ticket on the Chairman Mom credit card—which, like all unprofitable startups, has an ever yo-yo’ing balance—I wonder if it’s a good idea. Is this really the best use of these dollars and of my focus for the next 24 hours? Is this insane given all I have going on? What am I doing? Read more...

“His only way out is through you.”

I finally got the headspace to tear through Chanel Miller’s amazing Know My Name.

Even if you think you know all about this story, read this book. Even if you think it’s going to be too hard to take, read this book. Even if you aren’t quite sure you can read it, buy this book. 

I was lucky enough to be pretty close to Michele Dauber during the Judge Persky recall. I donated more money to that effort than any other political campaign in my life. I wrote a lot about the link between sexual assault at Stanford and the so-called “pipeline problem” of women coming into the tech industry. I spent so much time arguing about that campaign that supporting it cost me friends and business contacts. Way more than going after Uber. So I probably had heard and read more about this case than a lot of folks.  Read more...

Has motherhood made me soft?

Motherhood made me a better feminist, a better ally, a better warrior for those who need it most, and a more empathetic boss. I feel like I live in the entire emotional spectrum now, and I was only living in a limited band of it before. 

And I think that’s one of the things that is so powerful about the pain, the love, the endurance, and the stamina of mothering. It cracks you open to become so much greater. 

But increasingly, I have had a nagging fear I was afraid to voice. I’ve been wondering if it’s also made me too soft. It’s harder for me to fire people after becoming a mom. It’s harder for me to advocate solely for what I need, because of a concern it steps on someone else’s needs. It’s harder for me to be…selfish. To be greedy.  Read more...

Skip the formalities

Newsletter editor Lily here.

I included Nisha Chittal’s excellent piece about Millennials’ changing views on dinner parties earlier this week, but I think it’s so great that I wanted to write about it, too.

As a Millennial/Gen Z cusper in her mid-20s living in one of the most expensive cities in the country, a formal Martha Stewart dinner party with china and a day spent cooking my a** off in the kitchen just isn’t realistic. Not only am I not a huge fan of cooking, but my roommate and I have approximately five shelves and no pantry in our very New York City kitchen; we sure as hell aren’t wasting that space on fine china over things like, you know, everyday glasses and dishware. Read more...

VSCO moms

If you’ve spent the summer hearing about “VSCO girls” but not really knowing WTF people are talking about, this Bloomberg piece is for you. I’ve been fascinated by the trend from afar for a while, but this article convinced me to download the app, despite the fact that I don’t hang gypsy curtains around my backyard for a Friday night sleepover. 

From the piece: “Even as it became more like Instagram, VSCO made a conscious decision to draw some distinct lines. 

In fact, Flory attributes VSCO’s recent surge to all of the ways it’s different from Facebook Inc.’s Instagram, which thrives on likes, a tally of followers, sponsored influencers and ads. VSCO has none of those metrics. What attracts people to VSCO is its focus on expression and creativity without any pressure for social validation, according to Flory.  Read more...

The people’s billionaire

This week, Marc Benioff wrote an op-ed in the New York Times about everything capitalism isn’t and needs to be if we want a more equal, less hateful world. 

Benioff has long been “the people’s billionaire,” a lone San Francisco mogul who wants himself and his business taxed at greater rates to solve some of the most pressing problems that blight the city that has given so many of them so much wealth. 

From the piece, which shoots holes in the myth that “fiduciary duty” somehow binds CEOs’ hands against doing good: “When government is unable or unwilling to act, business should not wait. Our experience at Salesforce shows that profit and purpose go hand in hand and that business can be the greatest platform for change. Read more...

Too much has happened here

Weekends in my San Francisco house without my kids have become untenable. There are too many ghosts. The rooms and the furniture vibrate with memories. The couch where I sat with Eli that first night home from the hospital, desperately trying to figure out how to get him to sleep, unsure how I could ever do this. Those big bay windows in the front of the house where I’d sat and written my second book. The corner of the room in the front hallway where I crumpled down in tears when my armed guards couldn’t even let me open the door to get my takeout.  Read more...

The dreaded guest list

Newsletter editor Lily here.

Now that I’m in my mid-20s, an increasingly large number of friends and acquaintances are starting to get married. And just this week, two different people were venting to me about a part of the wedding process that seems to create issue for almost every couple: The guest list.

One close friend and her fiancé are arguing over who to add to their hard-capped small guest list, especially considering that they both come from large families and also have many friends they want to be at the wedding. What happens, for instance, if you’ve got 20 first cousins but only speak regularly to three? Do you have to invite all of them, especially if they’d take up over one-third of your guest list, or risk loads of family drama? And then there’s the issue of who’s considered a close enough friend worthy of being on the list—my friend has a very set criteria, while her partner seems to be adding acquaintances he hasn’t seen in half a decade to their guest list draft, much to her aggravation. Read more...

Def not smarter than a 10-year-old

We only got around to opening Eli’s presents from his class birthday party this past weekend, weeks after he got them. This either makes him the least materialistic or most already-spoiled child in the world. Maybe both.

I was delighted—even a little teary—to see a collection of gifts that were so Eli. This is a child who hides so much of who he is to fit in—especially at school—and yet somehow he was given an archeology set to excavate mini-terra cotta warriors. (“I love China!”) A human body activity kit and one of those potato clocks. (“I love science!”) A Minnie Mouse chef hat and apron—picked out by a kid who once teased him for dressing like a girl. (Cue the mom tears.)  Read more...