“If you are willing to endure any amount of pain and not give up, it’s really hard for someone else to kill you.”

The Silicon Valley unicorn club—or companies worth at least $1 billion—tends to be filled with four types of companies.

  • Bros braking laws, yelling “DUDE!”, and improbably getting so much cash having proven so little that failure is almost a challenge for them.
  • Women who have busted their ass for years, finally painstakingly proven their businesses, and are belatedly getting a pile-on of cash.
  • Asian companies with jaw-dropping numbers, markets, and local cash.
  • Boring old SAAS companies that have the metrics to actually support the valuation.

Zipline, which just announced a $190 million round of funding at a $1.2 billion valuation, fits in none of those categories.

Zipline isn’t an overnight success, for one thing. And Zipline is a rare Silicon Valley tech company whose primary market isn’t the US. It delivers life-saving medical supplies to African nations via drones. Despite all the talk about tech “changing the world,” it’s increasingly looking like it’s given powerful folks tools to exploit a lot of the world. Read more...

No more posturing

Today’s guest introduction is written by Amanda Munday, founder of The Workaround and author of Day Nine: A Postpartum Depression Memoir. (You may also remember her from our most recent Chairman Mom Preach!)

Before I left for San Francisco a couple weeks ago, my heart and head were filled with anxiety. For the first leg of my international book tour, I picked San Francisco. And for the launch itself, I picked an event with Chairman Mom, because this is the community who has been so supportive of me as I brought my business baby and book baby into the world. Read more...

PSA: How NOT to compliment a woman

Monday, Paul and I flew down to LA to meet with Chairman Mom’s product team, and before we left town, we had breakfast with Catherine Connors to talk about more cool stuff we are launching. Even better: It happened to be her birthday!

I ordered pink champagne in honor of her hair. We discussed how great it looks and the reaction of strangers and her kids to the move, and then got down to Chairman Mom business.

This was LA, so there was a very attractive young (YOUNG) couple next to us enjoying brunch and bottomless mimosas in the middle of the day. They could have been on The Hills a decade or so ago. Read more...

The big honking difference between us and social media in one image

Sometimes I get asked how Chairman Mom is different that Quora. It’s not a crazy question. Both sites have question and answer around challenging topics at the core of what we do.

The answer of course is our community, but “community” isn’t an accident. It’s the result of a million tiny decisions you make—from business model to growth strategy to each feature you bake into a product.

Examples? By being a subscription based company, we don’t need to addict you into spending more and more time on the site, we just need to give you $5/month of value. And by focusing our fastest growth on companies buying Chairman Mom for employees, we are finding working women where we know they are and where we know we can impact their lives: At work. Contrast that to what we’d get if we were flooding social media with a bunch of must-click, divisive “bad mom/good mom” porn to drive in new users. Read more...

You’re old, kid

Newsletter editor Lily here.

I’m heading back to my hometown of Jacksonville, Florida for the third time in four months for my little brother’s graduation.

Events like high school graduations are bittersweet because they show the passage of time. When I walked across the same stage my brother will seven years ago, my parents weren’t officially divorced, both of my grandmas were there, my aunt and uncle were present, and Obama was still in his first term. Now, for a variety of reasons, there’s a slightly smaller crowd attending my brother’s graduation. There were some questions around if my dad’s partner would attend. My surviving grandma is in poor health and logistically trying to figure out how to make a cross-country trip one last time. Trump is president. Read more...

“At some point your body just shuts down, you can’t take any more pain.”

Mama Bear Robin Wolaner sent me this piece over the weekend. It’s the story of Amy Norman’s horrific experience building Little Passports. Whoa, Nelly. Feeling sorry for yourself? Read this.

If there’s a positive take-away from Norman’s story of divorce and almost losing her home and losing her dad while trying to build her dream, it’s her resilience and the role model she is to her kids.

If there’s a lesson for the Valley it’s this: Sometimes it only takes one person to believe in rock stars like Norman. In this case, it was Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn. From the piece: “The economy was just terrible, but Jeff had committed to put the money in. He said, ‘I committed to lead this round and this is a terrible time to launch a consumer business, but I gave you my word.’ It wasn’t like we had signed anything yet. And he said, ‘I’m going to stick by that.’ And he also knew what was happening in my personal life and I will give him credit to this day for not underestimating what a woman can do, what a human can do if they have it in them.” Read more...

Two minutes’ time to make life better for working women

Our site has been live for a little more than a year and there have been so many compelling insights, confirmations, and surprises during that time. This is what’s fun about building something new versus just daydreaming about it.

One of the big—massive!—aha moments for me has been around employee resource groups, the jargon for those women and family groups inside of companies. If we know each other IRL, you have already had at least one conversation with me about ERGs, because it’s basically all I think about right now. Read more...

Wait a minute: If Uber is the victim, who is the aggressor?

I have never been more happy that my primary day job isn’t being a tech journalist anymore than I was during the run up to Uber’s IPO.

I have simply said everything I have to say about Uber. Pando started reporting on the cracks in this company’s culture, rhetoric, and business model way back in 2012. We were the first to detail cracks in their background checks, their dangerous misogyny, that they wouldn’t win in China, and on and on and on. And we did it despite threats against us, my family, and our business. We were always right. We are still right. What we are seeing now is more evidence of how right we were. Read more...

“It’s just so much d*** swag…”

Netflix’s algorithms have some explaining to do. It said that Beyoncé’s Homecoming was a 67% match for me.

67%????

A word to Netflix.

The other day, Eli insisted someone said “Beyoncé” instead of “fiancé” in a show we were watching because he felt Beyoncé was more relevant to life than whatever the h*** a “fiancé” is.

Evie once convinced me—when I was flat broke—to buy her a pair of solid gold Adidas with the argument, “I think Beyoncé would want me to have these.”

Beyoncé should not only have been a 99.99% match for me. It should have been a 99.99% match for my entire family.
Read more...

Sometimes all they need is an hour of your week

Every year I look forward to those adorable questionnaires teachers make kids fill out for Mother’s Day. They are less funny than they used to be. (“How old is your mom? 10!”) But I still love seeing how my kids sum me up in just a few words.

This year, Eli’s was really fantastic. He drew a sophisticated (for a first grader) picture of me, tall and willowy in a long black dress that I hope he designs and sews for me one day. Among the “fun facts” about mom were: “She runs a company!” and “She works out a lot.” Read more...