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No sh*t, Mark Zuckerberg.

“As I think about the future of the internet, I believe a privacy-focused communications platform will become even more important than today’s open platforms. Privacy gives people the freedom to be themselves and connect more naturally, which is why we build social networks.”

No sh*t, Mark Zuckerberg. And thanks for giving me the final slide for my fundraising deck.

We already felt “lucky” to be able to build a place for women to connect where their privacy is completely protected, they have access to sophisticated anonymity tools, and small private groups capped at twelve people—the optimum size for solving problems, if less optimum for advertisers to push consumer packaged goods on moms. Facebook—and the rest of social media, but mostly Facebook—had already made this job easier as it made women’s lives worse. According to a study we did with Survey Monkey: 88% of women witness mom shaming on Facebook, two-thirds see it frequently, and as a result only 4% of women will ask advice online.
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LEGOs as a window into the soul

I have been so manipulated by the LEGO company. The epic rain so far this year in San Francisco means that we’ve now seen The LEGO Movie 2 THREE TIMES in the theatre. Paul was groaning about it being nothing more than a marketing channel, to which I said, “So was He-Man and it brought me and my brother a lot of joy, so stuff it.” To say nothing of the weirdly manufactured Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

But still the degree to which I’ve been played is nagging at me. Our plan Saturday was to see the movie and then go to the LEGO store in the same mall right after. Read more...

“You said to come with an ask and I have one.”

Last night, we held our first monthly meet up for members called The Chairman Mom Preach. It was so amazing. More than 50 women came out to eat tacos, drink wine, connect and most importantly, make asks for what they want and offer what they can give.

There were definitely power users in force. People were introducing each other by user names and comparing their favorite threads. (I basically mobbed @abigrrrl, who I’ve never met IRL, but we’ve talked about some of the most personal aspects of motherhood on the site.) There were also new members who came along, not quite sure what this cult was all about, continually asking things like, “Oh, wait, I can actually ask that on the site???” Read more...

“It’s just so embarrassing to be white.”

“Which is your favorite: Abraham Lincoln or George Washington? I know my answer, but I’m not telling it until you tell me,” Eli began. The three of us were crammed on a peak-commute BART train hurtling towards his weekly therapist appointment.

“I’d have to say Abraham Lincoln,” I said.

“ME TOO!” screamed a victorious Evie as Eli’s face fell.

“I think we should all like George Washington the best because he was FIRST,” says sad Eli. “Besides, Evie only likes Abraham Lincoln the best because she thinks he has magic powers, even though Mrs. Pritchard already told her that’s not true.”
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The strawberry milk incident

Newsletter editor Lily here.

I’m a big fan of filmmaker Casey Neistat and jeweler Candice Pool’s podcast Couples Therapy. For those who don’t know them, husband Casey is a big-time YouTuber who’s also had a slew of highly praised film projects, while wife Candice has been a long-time entrepreneur with a series of successful high-end jewelry lines and other side projects.

Casey and Candice have had a very winding road to their current marriage—including getting married at a courthouse in their bathing suits one month into dating in their twenties (it was annulled a month later), breaking up and getting back together every year for a decade, and now getting married (again) and having two kids. Each episode is brutally honest, with both of them opening up about their struggles with their marriage and their daily life. Their conversations mirror a lot of what we talk about on Chairman Mom: Figuring out how to split parenting and household responsibilities, finding a system for making decisions together, trying to meld different parenting approaches, and more.

One of my favorite moments of the podcast though came in their latest episode. Casey and Candice opened up about the fact that their older daughter Francine, who’s four or five, has been a tiny human terror recently around bedtime. After trying every suggestion under the sun for months on end to get her to go to sleep at a normal hour, the couple’s pediatrician recommended giving a droplet-sized amount of melatonin to Francine in her favorite drink to calm her down. It worked immediately.

Of course, as Casey explains in the episode, parenting doesn’t always go according to plan, and even the best of intentions can lead to some unintended consequences. One evening, he gave Francine her strawberry milk with melatonin, and she didn’t drink it all before bed. Tired, Casey left the sippy cup on the kitchen counter and thought he’d just clean it up the next morning. Instead, Francine woke up before him and proceeded to drink the rest of the melatonin milk an hour before school—and she all but passed out for several hours, sleeping through the entire morning. Needless to say, Francine was more than a little late to school that day.

At this point in the episode, Casey and Candice started laughing hysterically. And in the midst of how high-stakes parenting can feel all the time, the two of them are a great reminder that it’s okay to chuckle at the little mishaps that come with being a parent. It can’t be totally serious all the time. Plus, both Casey and Candice were honest that something similar would probably happen again in the future—after all, they’re two busy, exhausted people raising young children. Chances are they’ll leave another sippy cup on the counter at some point. And in reality, they remind listeners, will a late morning or two due to misplaced strawberry milk really be the end of the world? That’s just life. And it doesn’t make them bad parents. Read more...

Fighting Bias with REVENUE, b*tches

Last night, I was thrilled to host a media dinner of half a dozen awesome journalists and the CEOs of some of the most exciting female-founded companies out there: Cleo, Milk Stork, The Riveter, and Carrot Fertility.

Not only do the five of us (counting Chairman Mom) have in common that we’ve all beaten the odds in raising millions of dollars from top VCs—a combined $45 million to be exact, when the average woman lucky enough to raise venture capital raises on average $800k—but we have a vital mission and a savvy playbook in common as well.
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Rocket-blast with you

From Sarah Lacy, Chief Mama Bear: Sometimes you meet people, and you’re like, “Oh, f***, I wish I was starting this company with THEM too!” That’s how I felt when I got to know Catherine Connors at the Chairman Mom Flee last year. We are in such a mind-meld: On everything from the power of women telling their own stories to the overlooked feminism of princesses to the power of subscription-based online communities.

Well, dreams do come true in princess stories and in startups. I’m thrilled to announce that Catherine is going to be working with us, specifically helping us figure out ways to give you more ways to be thought leaders and build your own communities in this space. Catherine is one of the world’s leading experts on this kind of thing, going back to her days at Babble, her time at Disney, and of course her own blog. Read more...

Thanks for the reminder that I’m a woman

Newsletter editor Lily here.

I’m currently dealing with the extremely not fun experience of moving apartments in New York City. While moving anywhere is almost always stressful, moving in an area like NYC comes with its own issues, including trying to move your new furniture up five flights of stairs in a walkup, hoping your way-too-expensive movers don’t break things, finding out the walls between you and your neighbors are paper-thin because your building was built in 1920, and more.

In my case, my roommate and I moved into apartment hell: When we walked into our unit on signing day, there was no heat (uh, it’s February in the Northeast), no appliances, and no keys, to name a few of the plethora of problems.

What’s been just as bad over the past week and a half, however, has been dealing with a bunch of sexist guys (the landlord, the super, the maintenance guys, you name it) who all look at us, two young women, and assume they don’t have to take us or our concerns seriously, despite the fact they purposely moved us into an apartment that wasn’t ready to be leased. The amount of mansplaining and gaslighting has been through the roof.

Just one of many examples: Our landlord spent one email berating us when we said the HVAC units didn’t work and needed remote controls, which were missing; he claimed there was a magical thermostat in the apartment that would work everything. Unsurprisingly, there’s no thermostat, and when we asked the super, the tenants next door, and a separate maintenance worker about the units, guess what? They all said those units are remote-controlled. It also probably won’t shock you to learn that all of the women on our floor, who are around our age give or take a few years, have had similar condescending run-ins with management.

It’s taken a lot of resolve for me and my roommate to not get discouraged or to back off for fear of seeming “whiny” and unlikable, therefore compromising getting things done in the future. I have my good moments where I remember that we have the legal upper-hand and are paying rent for this apartment, so we have every right to demand fixes. But as I sit here typing next to a radiator that’s leaking water and clanging loudly and a washer/dryer unit that wasn’t properly installed, it’s pretty hard. Read more...

Icky > Patriarchy

For those who don’t think culture change can happen rapidly in organizations, check out the Oscars! Almost all of the awards last night went to projects about or people who were of color, women, or immigrants. And you didn’t see the white men sulking and storming out of the room, did you? They sat and clapped.

In our house, Gaga’s win (me) and Olivia Colman’s win (Paul) were two of the biggest jumping off our couches and cheering moments. I was also thrilled Bao won. As I wrote in a previous Mama Bear newsletter, it ripped my mama heart right out of my chest and I started bawling when I saw it pre-The Incredibles 2. Evie—who is so used to me crying during Pixar movies that she got out of my lap at the end of Coco with WET HAIR—looked at me in the theatre and was like, “Already?” Read more...

The Mama Bear: My leather jacket is doubly empowering

I was fascinated by this piece in Fortune about the leather jacket being the new female powerhouse fashion move. Our friend-to-Chairman Mom Sallie Krawcheck was among those quoted in the piece: “Ellevest CEO Sallie Krawcheck bought her first leather jacket (and got her first tattoo) not long after a ‘very cathartic weekend’ spent jettisoning all the ‘matchy-matchy suits’ she wore in her prior career in banking. The garment has since become something of a signature. ‘It looks strong,’ she says. ‘It occupies the space between an Armani structured jacket and a sweater.’”
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