Showing posts with label gender. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gender. Show all posts

Thursday, January 02, 2020

The VC Blind Spot

VCs are leaving a lot of money on the table by only investing in people who look like them — mostly white men. Morgan Stanley estimates that VCs could be missing out on as much as $4 trillion in value by not investing in more diverse founders.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Gender And Tech

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Basic Template Of Entrepreneurship

Steven Spielberg, rightly thought of as one of the most creative movie directors, once said, it makes sense to keep the same team and churn out movie after movie, like they produce cars at factories.

What has happened with technology and innovation in just the past 20 years has been amazing, but all that is nothing compared to what is about to happen. And it makes sense to firm up the basic template of entrepreneurship. So we can focus on the more important stuff, like the technology and the innovation.

Curiously that template is waist deep in politics and public policy. The very idea of who owns the company is about to fundamentally alter. The inevitable Universal Basic Income (UBI) will be a huge boost to the innovators. Without that true large scale wealth creation is simply out of reach. The UBI is the oxygen mask that takes you to the top of Everest.

The idea of the corporate culture should be on the cutting edges of social science fiction and egalitarian thinking. Treating people right does not take away from competition or innovation. The second coming of Steve Jobs was primarily that he had learned to treat people better, like he himself admitted. But it goes beyond smiles and handshakes. It is about making fundamental leaps on race and gender.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Vivek Wadhwa I Know Is A Feminist

DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 28JAN11 - Sheryl Sandberg, ...
DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 28JAN11 - Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer, Facebook, USA; Young Global Leader are captured during the session 'Handling Hyper-connectivity' at the Annual Meeting 2011 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 28, 2011. Copyright by World Economic Forum by Jolanda Flubacher (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I am not even aware of the full conversation, but I caught a snippet first on his Facebook page, then on Twitter. Strange things are known to happen in social media. You don't have to be female to be feminist. And for me the term is like saying someone is a civil rights activist. Sheryl Sandberg is a feminist, in my  book. And Vivek getting called the opposite --- well, it is fun! Really. I am like, really? He is a rare man who makes intelligent, well thought out, numbers supported cases for why women should get more in tech. Few men cheer women, fewer still make strong, well thought out cases. Vivek is in the rare category. That is the truth. But don't let truth get in your way. Enjoy Twitter! It is the experience.

Looks like the spat even got colorful!

My response to the podcast that unfairly attacked me

Vivek Wadhwa is not just another dude who writes articles. He is the smartest dude in Silicon Valley. Yes, I did say that. He talks in terms of the trillion dollar industries of tomorrow, in ways only a free thinker can. Top tech CEOs in the Valley can not afford to. They need their horse cart blinders to keep their focus on the narrow stretch that is their company.

The funny thing is, he is not only on the cutting edges of innovation, he is also on the cutting edges of gender in tech. Take his name out and circulate his articles on the topic and compare them to writings on the same topic by top rated feminists. His are more effective. He is outdoing wo-men on gender! That is no small feat.

But a little color on Twitter never hurt.

This is a dude that I want sitting on my company's Board at the earliest possible opportunity. For the record.

The Tragedy of Losing Vivek Wadhwa as an Ally

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Race, Gender And Tech Entrepreneurship

When you are in the political mindset, you are trying to add your little energy to the larger collective energy which, you hope, is trying to move towards a more perfect union. You look at the large arcs of history.

But in the tech entrepreneurship mindset, you don't have the luxury of time, you have to execute, you have to move, you have to play the hands you are dealt with. I think for the most part it is about innovation and hard work, mostly just innovation. If you can take yourself to the cutting edges of innovation, you will, for the most part, win. If you have the stomach to take the risks, to make the jumps. But you don't really have the privilege of theory, or at least not as much. You don't have the privilege of the monk option, where you choose to live on little to give a larger push to the historic arc towards a more perfect union. You have investors, you have team members, you have customers to please. Money is as good a metric as any. You have to make the moves that make the money. Maybe there is not time to watch a change of heart unravel.

You have to move. For the most part you rely on innovation and hard work and charisma. But there are times when you just have to hit back. You might not be black, or Indian, or female, but maybe you are dumb, and fat, and lazy, and ignorant. And being dumb, you need to be called on it. Or maybe you just have a funny face. How about ugly?

You hit back hard and fast. You sting a quick sting. You take a quick bite. Everybody but everybody is at the receiving end of something or the other. You do that to clear up the deck a little so you can quickly go back to innovation and hard work. Innovation is its own sexy. A relentless push to the cutting edges of innovation allows you to wallow in the high clouds of the post-ISMs individuals. Because, we are relentlessly trying to move towards a meritocracy.

The best ideas could come from anywhere. The talent pool is global. If you don't cast your net wide, you lose.

Even without race and gender issues, tech entrepreneurship is plenty of fights. You have to take down an old building to build a new one in its place. That takedown process can feel like violence to some people. Feelings are going to get hurt. But that is how progress is made. The old has to make way for the new. And the new has colorful faces.

Be bold. Take the risk. Sting.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Truly Disruptive

Of all the blog posts I have done at this blog, this has got to be my favorite: My Web Diagram.

I keep thinking in terms of the red circle.

What after the infrastructure has been built? Then what? That has implications. When people in tech talk about disruptive, it is about shifts in the way the technology operates. Digital disrupts the music scene, for example. Disruptions can be to business processes.

But the web is not one technology, just like white is not one people, Indian is not one people. There are many peoples. Africa is not one country.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Race, Gender, Tech (2)

So I Did It
Little Flickers Of Racism
Race, Gender, Tech

Race is like health care policy, it is like foreign policy. It is primarily for the politicians to work on. Gender is the same way. And so in tech I try to talk about the two topics as little as possible. It is not the best arena.

My Web Diagram

On the other hand group dynamics is the number one thing I bring to the table for work. And there gender is just this outstanding, outstanding topic. And I don't even mean that in a political way. I most certainly don't mean that in a "women and children" way. If I were an astrophysicist, the stars might similarly fascinate me. But I am not one. Gender holds that kind of fascination to me. Race and culture are also grand topics, but gender is out there. Staying fascinated with gender keeps me sharp.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Race, Gender, Tech

A representation of the Lion Capital of Ashoka...Image via WikipediaGroup dynamics is the number one thing I bring to the table for work. And there gender as a topic stands out. And I don't even mean in a political way. It is fascinating as a topic like stars might fascinate astrophysicists.

The zen of tech makes it even more possible to see the threads of race and gender. In a city where the subway ride is cheap, even at free events why do you end up seeing a room that is almost all people of one kind? Culture is a powerful force. Like Facebook did not create the social graph, it merely mapped it, tech in general helps you see social threads.

The other day I saw a group photo of the Tumblr team somewhere and it was an all white team, and I noticed. My teams in India are all Indian. (Doubling Down On Tech Consulting) I was at an event in Jackson Heights on Friday and it was a room full of people from Nepal.

And you come across women who would like you to believe they are on the cutting edge of things like the glass ceiling, only it simply does not involve a single white male they might personally know. Or when a white woman does her racist bonding thing with a white male to portray you as The Other. The same platform also is open to acts of sexist bonding, but do you really want to go for that? But then corporate warfare has its twists and turns. And the Internet is globalization on steroids. A billion Indians would not be my idea of a minority.

Permanent War

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The Sheryl Sandberg Profile: The Tech Startup Angle

Image representing Sheryl Sandberg as depicted...Image via CrunchBaseI am going to be honest. I went to this article first and foremost not from the gender angle. I remain curious about the career trajectory of this woman, as I stay curious about the career trajectory of Mark, The Zuckerberg. Little bits and pieces I have gathered on her life have only whetted my appetite. So I dived in for more details. She has had an amazing life story that both men and women can learn from.

She is not a techie. She is an operations person. You can hope to become a billionaire going down that route as well.

Sheryl Sandberg: New Yorker Profile
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Monday, March 28, 2011

Gender Talk And Pragmatism

Manhattan Bridge (Lower Level)Image via WikipediaSo I showed up for this event called The Future Of Women. It was in Tribeca, which is right there by Chinatown. That helps. After the event was over, I walked over to Chinatown, and had some dumplings. But before that I took some cash out from the bank right by my favorite Buddhist temple in the city, the one by Manhattan Bridge.

I am glad I showed up.

Bumped into Scott Heiferman in the lobby. I had not seen him in a long time. I had seen he had RSVPd. But then I have seen him RSVP for an event and not show up several times before, so I was not counting on him showing up. But he showed up.

A lot of people do that. They see an event. They like it. They want to go. And when it is show up time, something else shows up, or they think of something else to do, or they just get plain lazy. It is not like they penalize you for not showing up.

It was a good event. There was some fun, lively talk. There were very few men in the room.

Caroline McCarthy On Gender

So I was watching Tumblr this morning - yeah, I watch Tumblr like others watch TV - and along showed up Kristin. I met her at the first FoodSpotting First Friday early this month. I think I might see her again this Friday. I reblogged her.

Then I realized what I reblogged she had reblogged from Caro, as in Caroline McCarthy. And I am thinking, I thought I followed Caro on both Twitter and Tumblr, but she never shows up in my Tumblr stream. What's going on? I clicked over to her Tumblr page. I found out I was not following her after all. I think I followed her at one point and then unfollowed her later.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Aliza Sherman Takes Mike Arrington To Task

When a blogger links to one of my blog posts, I get a Google Alert in my inbox. This morning I have an alert for Aliza Sherman.
Aliza Sherman: Too Few Women In Tech? We Aren't Blaming Men: I helped pioneer the Web for women back in the early to mid-90s and founded the first woman-owned Internet company - Cybergrrl, Inc. - and the first organization to help women gain a foothold in the budding Internet and new media industries - Webgrrls International...... I'm a doer. I'm an instigator. I'm an innovator. I'm a leader. I create things, build things, write things. Make things happen...... we are STILL having the EXACT SAME CONVERSATIONS today as we were in 1995 ....... . In 2005, I was selected by NEWSWEEK Magazine as one of the Top 50 People Who Matter Most on the Internet ..... it is still so damn hard for women to get bank loans and venture capital ..... unless you are male and can then be considered a "gray hair" which is actually a great position to be in because regardless of your credentials, your gray hair demonstrates wisdom and seasoning. For women, gray hair signifies old, haggard, sloppy, too lazy to dye your hair, too feminazi to care about hair dye, you name it ....... Male venture capitalists tend to fund male-helmed companies. I've been told by many VC's that they funded a young man because "he reminded me of me when I was his age." ....... " "women own 50% or more of some 10.4 million businesses, about 41% of all privately held companies in the U.S." but only 3% to 5% of those companies receive venture capital funding" ....... You are part of the problem, Michael Arrington ... Not many of you have taken positive actions to make positive changes in the system to create more opportunity for ANYONE who is not white and male. ..... You just don't know how to find them, how to approach them, and how to remove the barriers for their entry even once they receive an invitation from you. You have NO IDEA..... Women get such a paltry number of venture dollars, it isn't even criminal, it is insane how little venture capital we get. And the media is dying to write about women? Open any business magazine, any tech magazine, and count the number of stories about women versus men. ....... You are right, Michael Arrington. You cannot speak intelligently on this matter. But you can help those of us who can and those of us who have ideas or projects that can change the fundamental landscape ....... Oh and while you’re at it please work on race, age, and other biases in TechCrunch and your other enterprises
When Mike Arrington says stop blaming men, this guy is assuming he speaks for men. Worse, he is assuming he is the leader of men. I am a man. Mike Arrington does not speak for me. He is not my leader. He most certainly does not speak for me on gender issues. This guy is out and out a sexist.

Complaining about sexism is not whining. I actually feel not enough women complain enough. Because if they did, things would be better for the next generation of women.

Some define positivity as not bringing up sexism as a topic of conversation. Be thankful for what you already have. Why bother bringing about knee jerk defensive reactions among men? Let things be. Focus on the good things. Smell the roses.

If he wants to help make progress on gender, the first thing Mike Arrington needs to do is stop acting defensive.

Women In Tech: The Debate Rages On
Gender Talks
FoodSpotting Is The Next FourSquare
Mike Arrington Is A Sexist Pig: Say PeeeeG!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Women In Tech: The Debate Rages On

This women in tech debate has really taken off, and I am glad.

Here's the guy who introduced me to Twitter, JP Rangaswami.
Women are underrepresented in a number of dimensions in the tech world, and this is noticeable in conference line-ups and in start-up founder lists. .... Take The Indus Entrepreneurs, TiE in short..... TiE was created to ensure that people of South Asian extraction were given the funding opportunities they were otherwise being denied. There was general acceptance of the engineering excellence of such people, but for some reason question marks were raised about their ability to run companies. Which meant that the “engineers” never got funded when they went forward with business plans..... We need to make sure that we eradicate prejudices that go along the lines of: Women don’t code. Founders must code. So women can’t found startups…..Systemic problems often need systemic solutions
I am glad he mentions the organization TiE, and draws the connection between gender and some of the challenges faced by brown people. And the thing he says about it being just fine for women entrepreneurs to not be coders, that is a theme a ran with when I blogged about a panel discussion here in New York City during Internet Week. (Women In Tech-Media Event At JP Morgan: Internet Week) I just had an email from the panel host Neha Chauhan yesterday saying she is working to launch her own startup in October.

And finally JP touches upon a theme I touched upon in a post I put out this past hour, (Gender Talks) that some of the biggest solutions are perhaps political.

Shefaly Yogendra: “Women in tech”: What Gives?:

Gender Talks

The Daily Beast: Leah Culver: Is There a Gender Divide in Startups?: The situation for women in technology isn't ideal. When I show up to tech events, I worry about looking out of place. For every job I apply for and don't get, I wonder if I just didn't fit the interviewer's mental picture of the perfect candidate. When I'm invited to speak at a conference, I doubt that I'm qualified. When most of my coworkers are men, I can't help but wonder why..... we need to criticize less. Blaming other members of the community (especially men) provokes a knee-jerk defense and doesn't help solve the problem. Instead we need to congratulate more women on their accomplishments and praise those who helped them along the way...... I could keep writing about the lack of women in tech, but starting a new company sounds like a lot more fun

Wall Street Journal Blogs: Venture Capital Dispatch: Shira Ovide: Addressing The Lack Of Women Leading Tech Start-Ups: a dearth of women in top positions at emerging tech firms...... Y Combinator has had just 14 female founders among the 208 firms it has funded. ...... in start-up land, where the good idea is supposed to trump social status and everything else, the lack of women in positions of authority stands out...... some techie women are – in true start-up fashion – attacking the problem with meetups, money and social networking ...... Ms. Ziv said she tries to encourage women to integrate more forcefully into male-dominated tech events such as the New York Tech Meetup....... Mr. Wilson, who said 3% of investment pitches he fields are from women, said he has become more attentive about the challenges of women tech entrepreneurs

FoodSpotting Is The Next FourSquare
Mike Arrington Is A Sexist Pig: Say PeeeeG!
Tech, Women, Diversity

Gender in tech is one of those topics where I feel like progress is being made simply when people are willing to talk about it. You will come across defensive men, sure. You will come across women who have internalized the wrong order. And there are people who are simply not interested in the topic any more than they are interested in calculus or robotics.

What's interesting to me with this debate is that the startup world is supposed to be meritocratic and the gender ratio is not that much better in the startup world either. That seems to surprise a lot of people, but not me. Gravity is in effect in Nevada, but it is also in effect in California. That is how I feel.

Men and women could create microcosms of progressive realities. Major social changes will hopefully take place. But they will not take place on their own. I personally see a clear politics, policy angle to this.

A lot of people make the mistake of thinking coding might be a specialized skill, but politics is just common sense. Politics is also a specialized skill. (September 14 Will Birth The New Woman)

I just hope we can keep the topic current, and keep making steady progress. This is not a men versus women thing. Sexism is not good for men either.