I’m deep in the woods with 100 other badasses at the Chairman Mom Flee this week, which means I’m having to follow the Ford and Kavanaugh testimonies through an elaborate game of telephone. I promise I’ll have plenty to say about both next week. And of course plenty of you are already discussing them on Chairman Mom, including inone of today’s questions.
In the meantime…
I have argued up and down this country, in every book appearance, media appearance and keynote that Silicon Valley does not care about data: It cares about patterns. If we want to change the face of who gets to build companies here, we need to change patterns. And that happens one outsized victory at a time.
Do you know how hard it is for a woman to take her company public? Let’s look at the odds…less than 2% of the money goes to companies with female CEOs. And less than 5% of those will ever raise a Series B investment. I don’t have stats beyond that, but we can count female founder CEOs of Nasdaq and NYSE traded companies on our fingers. There’s Katrina Lake. There’s Lynn Jurich. There’s Sheila Marcelo. Even the lists of most powerful women in tech rarely include CEOs, and almost never include founder/CEOs.
In fact, male or female, the odds aren’t great. Less than 1% of companies will ever do $100 million in revenue, according to this piece. That’s pretty much table stakes for going public.
So we need to make a huge deal about Eventbrite’s IPO, no matter how it does now, in the immediate aftermath or in the future.
I had co-founder and CEO Julia Hartz on my podcast just after she decided to take the top job from the first CEO of the company, her husband. We spoke about the confidence gap that almost held her back. She also told me about getting some amazing advice from her mother, when she became a mother. She’d been so focused on the here and now of launching a company, almost immediately getting pregnant, and doing customer service emails from labor and delivery. Once she realized she actually had a long road of MOTHERING in front of her even after the birth, she kinda freaked out. She called her mother and she told Julia, “What got you here will get you there.”
At first Julia was annoyed by the “Zen-BS” sounding advice, but she came to draw on it in life. I think of her mother’s advice often too!
Great co-founder relationships are all about vulnerability and trust—two things that don’t come easily for a lot of women in work relationships, for very, very good reason. I have a theory that’s one reason that starting a company with your significant other can work so well. Most of you know (I think) that my long time business partner, Paul, is also my significant other. It’s so amazing to feel like someone who has your back in life can also have your back in business.
And good spouses/partners, don’t feel threatened by their wives taking over the top job. They are proud of them. I’m sure that Kevin is proud of Julia for getting the company to this milestone. (Mr. Incredible could take a lesson here.)
- Ford and Kavanaugh testimonies – what do you think?
- What big life items are blocking you and how do you handle it?
– Sarah Lacy