I’m so F****** angry about this Kavanaugh situation. Overwhelming polls show that the public doesn’t support him. More than a thousand law professors say he’s unfit. Overwhelmingly more people in this country believe Christine Blasey Ford and not Brett Kavanaugh.
Looks like the aptly named Jeff Flake is flaking and the cool girls of the Senate are getting back in party line. Michele Dauber, the force who lead the fight to recall Aaron Perksy, said this at our retreat last week: This investigation was just theatre, the vote would still be the same.
If you need a place to stew that won’t get you into fights with bots and trolls we haveseveral threads on this on Chairman Mom. I also recommend yesterday’s thread, “Debilitated by the news… how to cope?”
Speaking of Dauber, here’s how badass Tina Lee answered: “I’ve automated my rage-giving by becoming a monthly recurring donor of Michele Dauber’s new PAC targeting anti-#metoo politicians (http://enoughisenoughvoter.org/), as well as vote.org(https://www.vote.org/), which activates and turns out voters in communities of color using a combo of text messaging, radio, and billboards. (They’re YC backed and led by a team of brilliant organizers, 2 of whom are long-time friends.)”
I’m going to do the same today.
Meantime, here’s something funny-because-it’s-awful in the world of misogyny…
Whenever I do talks about why pattern recognition trumps data in the tech world—despite its insistence that the industry is data driven—I show that famous quote from John Doerr at the peak of his power advising an audience of venture capitalists how they too can be successful: “If you look at [Amazon founder Jeff] Bezos, or [Netscape founder Marc] Andreessen, [Yahoo cofounder] David Filo, the founders of Google, they all seem to be white, male, nerds who’ve dropped out of Harvard or Stanford and they absolutely have no social life. That correlates more with any other success factor that I’ve seen in the world’s greatest entrepreneurs.”
So many things about this quote to unpack. The “seem” is amazing. As if it’s happenstance he keeps backing young white men, when he’s telling an audience, that’s the playbook to success. That he actually SAYS “WHITE”! I don’t know why, but I’m always shocked he brings race into it so explicitly. I’m more used to open gender discrimination because, yunno, babies!
But there’s another thing I always point out when I bring this up. He forgets to mention Yahoo’s co-founder Jerry Yang, who’s Asian. In his mind, he’s whitewashed Yahoo because it didn’t quite fit the pattern he wanted to believe in so ardently.
I gave a keynote at Amazon’s gender and diversity summit yesterday, and it was only after I sent in my slides that another inaccuracy was pointed out: Jeff Bezos was not a Harvard/Stanford drop out! He graduated from Princeton. He was also turning 30 when he started Amazon. Not even the age of a young white male dropout with no social life.
After my talk, I saw a long-time journalist and pal Michael Copeland in the audience who had a stint at Andreessen Horowitz. He pointed out another inaccuracy that I can’t believe I’ve missed as well as I know Marc Andreessen and as many times as I’ve read this quote: Andreessen went to University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and he also did not drop out. Why this inaccuracy matters in particular: Privilege. Andreessen did not come from a rich, high status family that could just waltz into an Ivy League school.
Doerr’s quote—this point of view—was not remotely controversial at the time. (And isn’t in many quarters of venture capital now.) Doerr is just the unlucky one to have been memorialized saying it in front of an audience. It is a secret map to how VCs think and why women and people of color just don’t meet that amorphous “gut feeling” test. Not only do they claim race, gender, and age as the reason companies like Google succeeded, they tweak history to make other founders fit that biased pattern.
Speaking of breaking patterns, I am insanely thrilled to brag that Chairman Mom was included in Inc Magazine’s list of 100 Top Female Founders, and I was featured in a breakout story about serial founders on the list. “The Female Founders 100 are the entrepreneurs Inc. has been most intrigued by in the last year, whose smarts are rattling industries far and wide.”
Not only is Chairman Mom one of the newest companies on the list, but it includes some of my absolute heroes in the startup world like Amy Errett, Anne Wojcicki, Heidi Zak, Katrina Lake, Moj Mahdara, Lynn Jurich, Star Cunningham, and yunno…Shonda Rhimes. I encourage everyone to scroll through the list and come up with even more female founded companies you can give your money to. Together, these are 100 women who can break this pattern. You may confuse Jeff Bezos for a young, white male dropout but it’s hard to do that with the rest of this list. Let’s force VCs to confront what women can build.
And thank you for supporting our vision. It’s because of you that we’re on there. We only launched in April and the national attention we’ve gotten has been humbling and exciting. We think it speaks to how important it is that women step out of the mommy wars and division of social media and come to a place where we can all support one another without bots, trolls and divisive ad-based business models dividing us.
Meantime, our questions of the day:
- If you attended the Chairman Mom Flee, what’s the top thing you got out of it?
- Tips for board service at for-profit companies?
– Sarah Lacy