I’m sure many of you saw the news/not at all news a few weeks ago. In 2018—once again—female founders got just 2.2% of all VC dollars. As Fortune put it,“In 2018, all female founders put together received $10 billion less in funding than one e-cigarette company, Juul, took in by itself.” And that collective $2.88 billion was split across nearly 500 female lead teams. All-male teams (all male-teams!) got 76% of the total. That pretty much cuts most women out of the startup game mostly because they were born women. It’s hard to build a track record when we can’t get named to mixed gender teams, let alone raise money for our own ideas.
Author: Lily Herman (page 2 of 10)
“We’re going on a trip in our favorite rocket ship…”
I’ve been overdosing in nostalgia this past weekend. It’s funny the things that can trigger it.
Thanks to the San Francisco rain, Evie has been watching Little Einsteins during recess at school. She’s acting like she’s discovered some new amazing thing none of us knew about. In reality, in the wake of my divorce (read: full on chaos where I had my kids 100% of the time and my nanny soon quit and I was a walking a disaster with a company that was struggling to get profitable and I was being threatened by the largest private company in Valley history…) Eli and Evie and I watched Little Einsteins basically every night. It was a phase that came after Super Why and before Dinosaur Train.
I don’t know if you’ve checked out any of our small groups yet, but, holy hell are they keeping me honest, accountable to my goals, and inspired.
In the financial planning small group, @janak and @mavenandmom are kicking our a**es with weekly and monthly mini-goals. I’ve gotten way farther than I expected way faster. It all started with coming clean in an even safer space than usual on the site about how screwed up our financial lives were.
We are having an amazing conversation in the small group about imposter syndrome that diagnoses exactly *what* I am feeling an imposter about…somehow narrowing it down and naming it has been extraordinarily therapeutic. Similarly, the small group about founder anxiety is honing in on the “muscle memory” of what you have done well in the past to whittle away self-doubt.
One thing will send me into a full-on rant: Calling Chairman Mom—or any business aimed at women or families generally—a “niche” business. It pisses me off for two reasons: The first is half the f*****g population isn’t a f*****g niche unless you are a misogynist and don’t think women count as full people somehow.
The second is NEARLY EVERY HOT CONSUMER STARTUP I’VE EVER COVERED IN TWENTY YEARS AS A JOURNALIST STARTED WITH A NARROWLY DEFINED CUSTOMER. Uber with affluent wannabe “ballers” in San Francisco. Facebook with college kids. LinkedIn with VCs and startup folks in the Bay Area. But somehow when a male founder does it, it’s not considered a negative.
I am not on board with the whole “let’s never use exclamation marks again” train, and I still sometimes say “empowerment” although I know I shouldn’t because it means someone gave women power versus we just took that sh*t.
But here’s one I think we should all scrub from our vocabulary: High maintenance. This occurred to me recently when I was hanging out with a super successful lawyer friend of mine, who works 18-hour days, is an amazing manager to all the women and new parents on her team, is working in a part of law that makes people’s lives better, travels constantly for work, and is temporarily doing two jobs at her company to be a “team player.”
Some of the most thought-provoking threads on Chairman Mom for me have been ones about how we undo the patriarchal damage of body issues when it comes to our own daughters. There was this amazing one about makeup and vanity and this one about how we model weight loss. (If you obsess about either, I recommend starting up a small group off those threads! Just click the “join group” button!)
I’ve been working out a ton, and being very very careful in how I talk to my kids about it, in part because of the wisdom in these threads. I’ve talked about wanting to be strong and healthy and live forever to spend more time with them and how good I feel when I work out. But mostly I don’t talk about it, I just do it regularly, and I think *they* can see the results themselves. They have never actually seen me work out. The only thing I do at home is the Peloton and I close the door.
I was so excited to see this recent Jess Bennett article about how women over 60 are having “a moment.” Lily linked to it in the newsletter, and the gist is this: From Glenn Close to Nancy Pelosi to Susan Zirinsky, women over 60 are in power across multiple industries. From the piece: “It seems that older women, long invisible or shunted aside, are experiencing an unfamiliar sensation: power.”
There’s nothing not to like about this trend, right? I found that my 40s have been such a power decade for me because I’m no longer condescended or sexualized or minimized…or at least not nearly as much as I was in most of my career. People for sure hate me. People are for sure threatened by me. People for sure still think I’m overrated or whatever. But they can’t deny that I’m talented, I’ve accomplished things, I’m a survivor, I have power, I ain’t going anywhere, and trolling me doesn’t seem to have any impact.
I really nailed Christmas for my kids.
They didn’t really ask me for anything because they don’t watch commercials and don’t really have the kind of programming I did as a child. So I thought about what they would want that they didn’t know they want, but the moment they saw it would feel seen and completed.
I got Evie a kids’ DJ set because she’s been going around saying she wants to be a DJ for a year. Her only real experience with DJs was a water bottle that had skunk DJs on it. But I decided to take her seriously. She immediately started laying down tracks. She intuitively just got it and she felt like finally someone was listening to her. Her set comes with an MP3 player and headphones and she records her tracks and goes around listening to them, forcing my friends to listen to them when they come over to the house. She asked me for piano lessons because it has a keyboard and she wants to take things to the next level. DONE.
So I’m gonna tell you something super spiritual that I heard in Soul Cycle last week, and you’re going to not imagine me with a Pumpkin Spice Latte or judge me for finding Soul Cycle truly spiritual. Deal? Deal.
My instructor was talking about a friend who said that they were ready to do battle with 2019 and they were going punch it in the face (or something agro like that.) And I was like “YEEEEAHHHH!!! GRRRR!” when he said it. But then he added this: “I don’t want to fight against 2019. I want to work with it to create change.”
Some of you have asked me if we have a plan for a male-centric version of Chairman Mom. There are, after all, a ton of dads who want to figure out how to be ambitious professionals and engaged parents, and plenty of dudes who feel just as tormented by toxic masculinity as we do.
Yes, there are. And we are thinking it through.
In the meantime, if you’ve got a great guy in your life and you want to subscribe him to something, might I suggest Paul’s new newsletter “How to Be Less of An A**hole”? If you don’t know Paul he is my co-founder at Chairman Mom and the least vocal member of the Chairman Mom team in our community for obvious reasons. He is also my boyfriend and for a long time before that my best friend and business partner.