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I mostly signed up for the Tyra Banks break-out at the (excellent) Upfront Summit last week because I didn’t want to go deeper about heavy political issues involving Trump and Russia. Her keynote that day was strangely raucous, evocative, emotional, confessional, and brazenly confident.
My favorite moment was her description of a time in Italy when she was working as a barrier-breaking Black runway model. At her mother’s insistence, she had researched European fashion labels before going to Paris first, and she booked a record-breaking number of first shows as a result her first week. She knew who wanted red lips, who wanted slicked hair, who wanted pastels and a pout.
I recently had a thought about technical co-founders.
Silicon Valley fetishizes them. Some funds require that you have one in order to get funding. And many—many—VCs say that the reason that they don’t fund more women is because so few women are “technical.” “The pipeline,” you know.
Indeed, many of the prominent female founders who’ve done well tend to be focused on beauty or e-commerce. “What we need is a female Mark Zuckerberg!” I once heard a well-meaning male VC declare, as if he were describing a mythical beast far rarer in these parts than a unicorn.
Like this unrepentant Chairman Mom member, I absolutely overdosed on family during their holiday break—Paul’s family, my family and especially Eli and Evie. I can’t remember a time I had that much quality time with them (despite some pretty heavy work stuff going on).
As is usual with the creatively overloaded duo, we had several stuffies with rich backstories joining us along the way. In Memphis, Eli and Evie took four of our adorable little French, handmade “mouseys.” Aldea, a story on Valencia we love, carries them, and we’ve slowly collected these over the last six years or so. They come in little matchboxes and cigar boxes, and they are everything I would have wanted as a child, but my parents definitely would have never been able to afford. I even found a chef mouse and a king mouse from the same line while I was traveling in Italy last year.
A good friend of mine, Rebekah Bastian, has written an amazing book that has just gone on pre-sale! It’s a choose-your-own-adventure style narrative about a young woman starting her adult life. I thought that sounded intriguing when she first told me about it but had no idea it would be so great on the page. It allows you to reflect on paths you didn’t take and ponder the nature of what a happy ending is.
I liked it so much that I wrote a preface! I did a quick Q&A with Rebekah in hopes of getting you to go pre-order a copy NOW!!!
I can’t stop thinking about this opinion piece by Betsy Cooper in the New York Times. She’s six weeks pregnant, over 30, and declaring it publicly.
She acknowledges the many good reasons women keep pregnancies secret for three months or longer. (Indeed, one she doesn’t note as a first-time mother is not dragging existing children through heartbreak. I had a miscarriage a week before I was set to tell my kids I was pregnant. I can’t imagine if they’d also spent 11 weeks in excitement and anticipation. My grief was enough to deal with.)
I was flabbergasted to see this story about the best and worst cities for Black women in one of the Broadsheet newsletters last week.
On one level, I applaud that someone has done the research, that looking beyond white experience was valued enough to do it. Exposing the data on systemic discrimination is always a gut check of “What the hell kind of country are we?” but, in my opinion, it’s also validation for underrepresented groups that they aren’t “crazy” or “imagining things” or playing some sort of race or gender card.
There is so much we’ve been working on for the last year that I can’t wait to start sharing with you!
The first big thing we have to share is the exclusive beta version of a new Chairman Mom app, which we’d love your help in testing before we make it available to the world.
We’re using Apple’s TestFlight platform for beta testing. If you’re reading this on an iOS device first go here to download TestFlight and then go here to access the Chairman Mom app.
(If you already have TestFlight you can skip straight to the second link!)
Newsletter editor Lily here.
Around this time every year, I realize that my birthday is three short months away. It feels like it creeps up on me; the holidays pass and I look at my calendar for the winter and spring and—BOOM!—there it is in April.
Birthdays start to get weirder over the years. I don’t know about you, but practically all of my friends have some age in their heads where they thought they’d have it all together or that they’d be a “true adult.” My roommate, for instance, had a little bit of an existential crisis on her 26th birthday last summer, because 26 was that age for her in her head all of these years. We ended up drinking many a spicy marg and sharing a basket of fries to commiserate.
One of my favorite things in my home is an old apothecary shelf that I use to organize my jewelry. Unfortunately, for several years it’s become a tangled dumping ground, rather than a place where each item can have its own little cubby. I finally went through it last night—a painstaking and surprisingly emotional journey.
I put the jewelry highly associated with my marriage all in one spot to give to my kids one day. I don’t want to toss it or wear it. It will one day be special to them, and maybe only them. Now it has a place.
One of my favorite daily reads is the NFX newsletter. It’s very startup inside-baseball, but I think James Currier is one of the best startup philosophers—if you will—of our time, frequently stepping back and looking at an industry in ways others don’t. He obsesses about ways to build network effects in businesses, and has a lot of good practical advice you don’t hear elsewhere.
Last week, he did something different: He published a fascinating piece about the math and the network effects in our lives.