Tereza's Op Ed

The following is a guest post by our friend and AVC community member Tereza Nemessanyi, founder and CEO of Honestly Now Inc., a web and mobile social media platform which will release its beta product to the market in September. It was initially published by Reuters. The opinions expressed are her own.

Will the next Google be started by a woman?

After decades investing in “white male nerds who’ve dropped out of Harvard or Stanford,” venture capitalist John Doerr broke a pattern in July: he invested in a woman.

Not that Kathy Savitt was a risky bet.

The former CEO of American Eagle Outfitters and a senior executive at Amazon, Savitt built Lockerz.com, a social networking and commerce site for ages 13 to 30. She grew it from 50 college and high school students to 15.5 million users in less than twelve months, leveraging natural networks of friends and social influence. In the web technology world, she’s a rock star.

Doerr, and his firm, Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers, are well-known for prescient, industry-leading investments including Google, Intuit, and Amazon. They estimate they’ve created 150,000 jobs.

But in an industry obsessed with placing bets based on what’s known as “pattern recognition,” women-led companies are funded less than 9% of the time. According to Shaherose Charania, founder of Women 2.0, this recently dropped as low as 3%. For women age 40+, the rates are even lower.

Savitt, a 47-year-old mother of two, breaks that mold.

Mark Heesen, president of the National Venture Capital Association, describes this more recent phenomenon: “There are more women in the world. They represent a greater share of markets and purchasing power. Being more proactive about increasing their presence in the industry just makes sense.”

Recent studies by the Kauffman Foundation and venture capitalist Cindy Padnos of Illuminate Ventures show high-tech businesses with women in leadership outperform the rest. They are more capital efficient, launching with 30%-50% less capital, generate 12% higher revenues, and have lower failure rates.

If women are so good at starting businesses, then why does it take them longer to start one? Well, according to a Tampa University study, women are bitten by the entrepreneurial bug later than men. Our startup sweet spot is between the ages of 35 and 45 — after we’ve finished school, gained professional experience, had children, and transitioned out of the early “interruption parenting” years. We are eager to apply what we know, to create new businesses on our own terms.

Nonetheless, the two-white-guys-in-a-garage stereotype remains the romantic ideal.

Consider Y Combinator, the tech industry’s most prestigious startup incubator.

Founded in 2005 and located in Mountain View, CA, Y Combinator’s mission is to introduce many ideas to the market quickly and cheaply, so mistakes are small and earnings arrive early. The model works.

It’s funded by big, smart tech money, which is backed by internet pioneers Paul Graham, Trevor Blackwell and Robert Morris. Its participants, who hail from around the country, get to rub elbows with the biggest names in technology. A Y Combinator badge is like flypaper for investors.

But it turns out that fewer than 3% of Y Combinator participants are women. According to Y Combinator partner and author of “Founders at Work” Jessica Livingstone, this ratio represents their applicant pool.

Now, I’m a swing-for-the-fences kind of gal so last year I looked into applying to Y Combinator. They require a three-month relocation to the Valley. Trouble is, I’m a 40-year old suburban wife and mother of two young kids from the New York. So no can do.

blogged and commented in recent weeks about it, and learned I’m not alone.

Leading venture capital investor and blogger Fred Wilson also blogged about the topic to his 10,000 daily readers. And out came a tidal wave — four times his average comment activity. Hundreds of women emerged from the shadows.

Do we need an “XX Combinator” for women entrepreneurs age 40+? Perhaps.

But many male voices of “a certain age” came out too. So did women in their 20s and 30s, without kids. So did African Americans.

They offered compelling alternatives such as the “Kids-In-Bed Combinator” — prime work hours from 9pm to 2am!

Or we could call it “NY Combinator.” The New York startup scene is breaking out. Great wins are happening for our home-grown, such as Gilt Groupe, Foursquare, Etsy and Tumblr. While these groups weren’t conceived by women, despite some of them directly serving that population, New York’s creative class does provide a mother lode of female talent. According to Richard Florida’s 2007 “singles” map, he counted 185,000 more highly-educated, creative single women than men.

These creative juices could be flowing to tech startups if they could get products to market and raise capital. We should grab this moment to support the diverse technology innovation that is popping up all over New York and start serving up the best of what New York — and everywhere else — has to offer, including young-white-guys-in-garages too.

It’s taken me, a Wharton grad with 18 years experience and several startups and an IPO under my belt, twelve months to get from idea to product introduction. In an era where speed-to-market is the name of the game, that is way too long.

Our country is in desperate need of jobs. Innovation creates jobs. And great ideas can come from the most unexpected of places. Including a mom from the ’burbs who yearns to build the next Google.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. kidmercury

    boo hoo, cry, cry, cry, waaahh, waaahh…….pfft.all of this has been discussed before, but in hopes of setting off another controversial day in fredland i will rehash:1. “But in an industry obsessed with placing bets based on what’s known as “pattern recognition,” women-led companies are funded less than 9% of the time. According to Shaherose Charania, founder of Women 2.0, this recently dropped as low as 3%.”VCs cant invest in what doesn’t exist. for instance, there are a surprising lack of VC investments in purple people with two heads. could it be that that is because there are few if any two-headed purple people coming to them for money? the same is true for women. VCs come across lots of entrepreneurs; the vast majority they straight up diss and laugh at, a tiny percentage they fund. how many women entrepreneurs do tehy meet in the first place? VCs have already commented on this issue before.2. “Nonetheless, the two-white-guys-in-a-garage stereotype remains the romantic ideal.” says who? vivek wadhwa (TC writer, college professor, and most importantly, rival of mark suster) did a study showing that the average age of entrepreneurs was 39 — this includes silicon valley and outside the valley too.i hope everyone is evaluated on the merits of their capabilities. also, innovation might not create jobs — look at craigslist. solving the economy begins with government reform, as government is what made this mess (deregulation, monetary policy, 9/11 being an inside job, etc). i know no one actually cares about that, but i enjoy making that point anyway, as it allows me to say “see i told you so” when it becomes more obvious and widely accepted.

    1. David Semeria

      Right-on Kiddo!And while we’re at it, let’s have a fund targeted at improbably handsome English entrepreneurs living in Italy.

    2. fredwilson

      the reason i am making noise about this issue and amplifying other’s voices on it is that we can’t fund what doesn’t exist. Y Combinator’s female applicants are about 3% of its total. that’s about the same ratio we see walking in our door. that is the ratio we have to change. and marketing and messaging is the key to changing it

      1. kidmercury

        1. i doubt you blogging about it is going to get more women contacting you for money. i think there are larger cultural issues at play and that these issues may get resolved naturally over time — or not, if women don’t want them to.2. but let’s assume you blogging does make a difference. why is it important to have women entrepreneurs? isn’t it more important to have good, quality entrepreneurs?3. if having women entrepreneurs is important, what about other demographics? perhaps everyday of the week can be dedicated to whining for a different demographic. can we give the day with the most traffic to indians?

        1. Farhan Lalji

          Kid, although I agree with your ascertion that it’s about having good, quality entrepreneurs, we have to make sure that the widest array are considering entrepreneurship to ensure we’re getting the true best and not the best of those who can.You have to explore the roots behind why a trend is happening before signing off on the idea that it’s okay.My wife is a primary school teacher, and unfortunately not enough men think about becoming primary school teachers so their aren’t enough good make role models in primary education. In the same way female’s need female mentors and role models who can help them make decisions on lifestyle, business and balance just like we males have male role models who can do the same for us.If you don’t reverse or at least explore the trend early on it get’s harder and harder to do so.Whether or not this blog post get’s more female entrepreneurs knocking on Fred’s door isn’t as relevant as whether this helps get more females thinking realistically about starting big businesses.

          1. kidmercury

            i agree with elements of what you are saying. i think for young girls/women who are still finding their identity it can help them to have role models, and there is an element of that in some of these women’s group, which i think is commendable. but i’m not so sympathetic towards grown adult women and their sexist initiatives. i don’t find it the most pleasant of experiences when i am the only indian person in a given environment, but i don’t cry, expect handouts, or assign guilt/blame for a situation naturally being that way.

          2. Farhan Lalji

            I almost want to screen grab this exchange so I can say that I got Kid to agree with “elements” of what I’m saying and then I went and spelt assertion incorrectly, damn browser spellcheck.I don’t think you’re classifying the piece by Tereza correctly, I don’t think there’s crying, expecting a handout or assigning guilt or blame, it’s just a critique of the situation – and a fairly decent one.It’s fine to take on being the only Indian at the party, but it’s also okay to ask the organizer if you can bring a friend, or it’s okay to say, “hey I had a great time, but next time could we do this an hour earlier so my friend so and so can make it”, that’s how I take Tereza’s piece.

          3. Tereza

            Well put!Not crying! LOL

          4. ShanaC

            Kid, I don’t expect anything except for you to be polite: By that I mean for you to say please, thank you, and to have decent table manners so I don’t sit in shock. ;)That being said, Gender relationship are really awkward, even in a post-feminist world. If you stick more women in room who know the same stuff as the guys, it just feels less awkward, from experience.I feel it should be an opt in experience, but that being said, if there are people out there who want to opt in and are scared or nervous for whatever the reason (say they are indian) then they should be helped (and if I am not mistaken, the valley for a number of years had an investment culture to help early Indian emigres in order to give them a step up in life)

          5. Farhan Lalji

            I think The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) was originally started to help young Indian Entrepreneurs get started and network in a similar fashion Women 2.0 and other initiatives are helping Women discover entrepreneurship, good point Shana.

          6. ShanaC

            thank you.

          7. RichardF

            You make a great point Farhan, if it helps to get more females thinking about starting big business then it can only be good.On the subject or primary school teachers, I think it just doesn’t appeal to many men to want to teach the younger pupils (that’s just the results of my straw pole talking to my wife’s male secondary colleagues) In the same way being a geeky coder doesn’t appeal to as many women.

        2. CJ

          1. I don’t know, does Fred blogging about a position open at USV or any portfolio company get more people to apply? I think the answer is yes, as such it should work here as well.2. It depends on the reason why there are less funded women entrepreneurs than men. If the reason is that more women bootstrap then problem solved. If the reason is some sort of access issue systemic in the VC community then Fred publicizing the issue can help remedy that. In the end, those who get funded will have earned it based on the quality of their business, not the bits they were born with, or not as the case may be. I see this more as stepping outside of one’s natural surroundings and actively looking around to see if anything is being missed.3. Every demographic is important, but in the end, the business is what decides if you’ll get funded or not. It’s not criminal to increase your access to a community that might be underserved, it doesn’t mean that you’ll lower your standards for those in that community though. Women, as well as minorities, still need to prove their worth just like any other guy with a gleam in his eye who walks through the door, this is just making sure that they know the door is there and that they can actually open it.

          1. Tereza

            +1 Well said, Malcolm.

          2. Donna Brewington White

            “…this is just making sure that they know the door is there and that they can actually open it.”That’s it, Malcolm.Once again you’ve hit the nail on the head.

          3. CJ

            Thanks Donna! I have to do my part to discourage the notion that ‘minorities'(gender, race or otherwise) are whining or looking for a handout. It’s simply not true. I think the problem is one of access and if the access game is a level playing field then the stats will start to equal out.

          4. Tereza

            +1 yeah malcolm’s da bomb!

      2. David Semeria

        That’s the key point Fred: “we can’t fund what doesn’t exist”.If it doesn’t exist because women think they’re less likely to be funded, then I agree there’s an issue.But if it doesn’t exist because there are just fewer women would-be web-entrepreneurs, then there is no issue – that’s just the way it is.

        1. Tereza

          In my circle I know people in the former camp.

          1. David Semeria

            I’m sorry to hear that – but I don’t understand why.VCs love one thing most of all: traction. If you show them a service that is growing like gangbusters – and has a clear, if as yet unimplemented business model – then they will be interested.As long as the above service is ethical and legal, I really struggle to see why an angel / VC would walk away just because it’s run by a female.

          2. Tereza

            A few things. And these are my observation only…big generalizations.I think if a VC has a reputation of ‘jerk’ then either they don’t go to him. Or if they get a No once they don’t go back later or seek to develop the relationship over the long run because it was a turn-off and they don’t want to do business with the person. (you can say women need to get over that. maybe they do, maybe they don’t, but I think it is part of the dynamic)I don’t know if I’ve seen any women-led businesses that didn’t seek to implement a business model early and create revenue. Women who have to work (rather than extracurricularly) generally need to be making money from day 1 because they have to pay for the roof over their kids head, and stuff like that. All expensive. Would love to hear some examples but more likely they’re in non-scalable consultant businesses where they eat what they kill.Also by the time the traction comes in a serious way, often strategics are at the table too — because they have high interest in female demographics. And she’ll sell at the nice price tag because she didn’t think the VC was so nice to her back when she really needed him the most. So may sound weird but that’s how I hear the logic playing out.Again another big generalization — I think women really remember who was helpful when they needed it the most. And they become very loyal to those people.

      3. Dan Sweet

        this is where the longer term solutions like decent teachers, good schools, mentors, and getting more women in math/sciences become important. back to the hacking education type of event. make some noise for sure, just make sure you also link those aroused back into tangible efforts being made to change the root problems.

      4. RichardF

        Surely the fundamental issue here (in web start ups) is that the ratio of male to female computer science grads is something like 10:1 So where are all these female applicants supposed to come from?You yourself have admitted that you like to back the geeky MIT coder duo (I’m exaggerating) hacking away in a garage, so it’s going to be tough for anyone to get funded if you don’t come from that background.There are ways for anyone of any age and sex to get around this issue and that’s either to teach yourself to code, find a technical co-founder or use an offshore development company to at least get your first version out and gain some traction.If you want to see more women in tech coming to you with the next latest and greatest web app then Computer Science needs to have more appeal as a career to teenage girls than PR.Perhaps HBO should create a new TV series called “Geeks in the Valley” rather than “Sex in the City”

        1. Tereza

          No question we need more CS grads — female, and male too.A data point came out a few weeks ago, though, saying that many males on founder teams are actually not technical. But still getting funded. Only 25-30% of the founding tema members were technical.

          1. RichardF

            that’s a good data point imo 🙂

          2. ShanaC

            so what is causing funding then? how are these things being built?

      5. LAmomma

        I think it really boils down to access and introductions. As the founder of a tech startup (wireless), I’ve surveyed the criteria of incubators and accelerators across the country and found most fundamentally do not meet my needs as a 35 year old entrepreneur who also happens to be a mother. Y Combinator makes it pretty clear they fund hackers. While I’ve been paid to code at various points in my career, at 35, I have broader skills. I think Y Combinator and programs like it are great mentoring for unattached 23 year old compsci grads. Uprooting my family for several months to move back to San Francisco for a paltry $11K (+$3K per founder) in exchange for 6-7% equity on average doesn’t make financial sense. I’d prefer to take the same amount of money out of my bank account, stay focused on building the prototype, and stay close to strategic partners that will have tangible impact on my business. Oh, and still live with my husband and daughter. The ‘warm’ intro to VCs via such programs is desirable, but there is no way I’m going to mess with my childcare setup with a temporary relocation. It would mess with my ability to execute.The ‘warm intro’ to VCs really is the biggest obstacle. Biology dictates we have kids by a certain point, so for those of us who choose to do so, it means we’re often ‘on sabbatical’ while our male colleagues are getting promoted and getting direct exposure to VCs at our former startups’ board meetings. Recently, I’ve test run introducing myself/my company to VCs at industry events. Unfortunately, you can see the initial skepticism in their faces when they start talking to a woman. Worst case, they get flirty. In each case, I’ve been able to turn the situation around, generate enthusiasm for my business and get requests for follow up. However, walking away, I always think – why would I even want funding from a guy whose first reaction was to treat me like a pet doing tricks or his next date? I’m fundamentally going to mistrust his judgment and I certainly wouldn’t want him on my board of directors. Cutting my product launch feature set and bootstrapping seems more attractive in comparison. From the outside looking in, the cost of the capital seems too high. (And I’m fully aware my chance of getting funded through ‘cold pitching’ is close to zero, just like it would be for a man.)That said, I’m still going to push the rock up the hill and try to get funding. The best idea I’ve read so far in these comments is for select VCs to explicitly identify they are open to funding female founders. My advice to VCs: Highlight female founders in your current portfolio on your website. Make it clear you’re open to hearing about the different consumer problems we often try to solve. Recognize we start businesses later in life, we start businesses differently. Recognize in many cases, we lack a common mutual acquaintance to introduce us. Recognize the current incubator/accelerator programs that normally bridge the gap by facilitating introductions for the ‘unnetworked’ don’t meet our needs. We need more seed-stage investment opportunities that are female-friendly. A short list of VCs who are open about re-examining the bias in their ‘pattern recognition’ would be an ideal hit list and a hot commodity amongst female entrepreneurs. We want your money and we want your insight.

    3. ShanaC

      One of the other things in the back of my head. The more I hang out with y’all, the more I feel a need to express being girly because you are competing with a guy who is 39. I have to be otherwise pretty much the same in every other way.

  2. kagilandam

    Peak of hormone secretion in men and women are at different age limits.Male: 15-25Women: 35-45Is there a correlation between entrepreneurial spirit and hormones? Very likely i think. Many studies are supportive of “paranoid behavior under the influence of hormone”… Good luck Teraza and other paranoids out there. I am male entrepreneur at 45 so i come under the catagery of retarded 🙂 .

    1. andyswan

      LOL “It’s all hormones!”. It’s true….I’ve never even heard of a neutered entrepreneur. 🙂

      1. Satish Mummareddy

        Andy, I read an interesting quote in the book House Advantage that you might like.Short Version: “Legislation and regulation just eliminates your competition.”Long Version: “Whenever there is regulation, as long as someone is exempt, and someone always is, the spread will be larger for those that can do the regulatory arbitrage. There will be profit along the way for those who are connected or find the loopholes. Legislation and regulation just eliminates your competition.” — Philip Maymin

        1. andyswan

          Right on….heavy regulation is the Statists utopia, where men and favors are the currency of trade, rather than goods and services.Great quote, thanks.

        2. CJ

          Does it talk about the consumer in there anywhere, or are we just cattle being led to the slaughter for the benefit of the ranch owner?

          1. Satish Mummareddy

            Jeffrey Ma, talks about it in the context of unintended consequences of using statistics the wrong way. And how government tries to do something, because they can’t sit silently. And in doing so they create more regulations. And with any regulation there will be winners and losers. 🙂

          2. CJ

            Government shouldn’t sit silently but they should act in a measured, restrained and educated way. Due to the undue influence of lobbyists the world over, that is impossible. So government acts in a way that makes “winners and losers” and the losers don’t just go away, they buy lobbyists which then spawns more regulations and the cycle repeats. The way through this isn’t a lack of regulation, it’s a lack of overreaching, special-interest written regulation that’s implemented under the guise of protecting consumers but is really just a protection scheme for whomever put up the most money to have the damn things drafted in the first place. Government isn’t the issue, corruption is.

          3. Satish Mummareddy

            The problem is that the lobbyists spend more time thinking about the implications of a regulation, the loop holes in it and how they can exploit them, than the politicians who sign the regulations. So the regulators are always 2 steps behind the lobbyists. 🙂

          4. CJ

            Or rather the politicians get paid not to think about the loopholes and exploits in the regulations leaving the consumer to be fleeced, once again. I have no doubt that it’s a culture of willful ignorance rather than incompetence on behalf of the politicians.

    2. Tereza

      LOL I’m sure there’s hope for you yet!

    3. ShanaC

      You make me nervous for when I hit 35.

      1. Tereza

        Don’t! Look forward to it. FUN!

  3. CJ

    At the firm I work for currently, we have a ‘diversity’ initiative. Contrary to the name, the goal isn’t to hire more ‘minorities’ as much as to ensure that we look outside of our natural comfort zone for talent. Most people have a bias towards a certain type of people, predominately those people most closely resemble themselves physically and mentally. The goal of the diversity initiative is just to make sure that we’re seeing talent in front of us that might otherwise be missed in a business and sector largely dominated by older, white males. There are no quotas and the best person always gets the job(as far as that goes) but it does serve to increase the likelihood of hiring a woman, young guy or other minority into the business because we now go out of our way to find these individuals as well as those who would be in front of us naturally.So while it’s ok to say that VCs only see a few women-run startups, I’d argue that they are missing out by not actively working to broaden their own pool of applicants, they may miss a gem.

    1. fredwilson

      i like your company’s approach

      1. Tereza

        +1At the end of the day it must still be about doing good, profitable business.I think one of the misunderstandings out there is a perception to sacrifice there. But it absolutely is not.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Commented in the thread but then realized that the comments will go to Fred’s inbox and not to you directly. Oh well, you’ll probably see it.

    2. Mark Essel

      That’s a powerful technique. It sounds related to how founders and entrepreneurs look at problems differently than most folks. The easy match or solution, is not always the most valuable. Critically reviewing one’s assumptions is a great habit to form.

  4. Dan Sweet

    you are limiting your universe of woman-led companies to the VC funded ones. are the numbers as dire for non-VC funded companies? maybe women coming in older with more career experience, network and resources don’t need VC as much as the young guys in the garage. or maybe they have their eyes wider open because they aren’t 100% on the gas pedal and are able to see the tradeoffs of taking VC money more clearly than their male peers?

  5. Guest

    Congrats on your upcoming product launch Tereza! I’m looking forward to checking it out.

  6. msuster

    Go Tereza! Would be great to have your story to add to the list of examples we can give the next batch of female entrepreneurs and to VCs who would fund them.By the way, just for reference, about 1 in every 30-40 approaches I get are from women. I am surprised by how low this is and wish it were more balanced. Of the 7 term sheets I’ve written in 3 years 1 was for a woman led company (we lost the deal – too expensive). And right now I’m in discussions with a very talented woman about her company. But unfortunately it’s rare.Love to chat with you about the issue. Let’s chat on the phone one day soon. Thanks for writing this.

    1. ShanaC

      Mark, why are you surprised? And are the nature of the types of businesses different? Perspectives?

      1. msuster

        surprised because I would have expected to see more women

    2. Tereza

      Hey Mark!Love to chat. Aren’t you supposed to be “off the grid”?I’ll ping you.

  7. Farhan Lalji

    Great piece Tereza and good luck with the launch.I wonder what the profile is of the hundreds of women who came out of the shadows with Fred’s previous post. Are these young entrepreneurs or seasoned business people like yourself launching businesses in their 40s?Is it risk profile? Education? Lifestyle? What keeps women from knocking on Fred/Paul/Mark and other’s doors?

    1. karen_e

      Good questions, Farhan.

      1. ShanaC

        Long time no speak- you just had a baby, right, how would that impact running a business?

        1. Tereza

          Not to put words in Karen’s mouth but for the first ~3 months, possibly a bit longer, your night sleep is whacked out or possibly non-existent. And long stretches of naps during the day. Then gets much better. Key is getting the little peanut on a schedule.

          1. ShanaC

            Only helped my local chabad do this. Last kid she had was extremely difficult, so I remember that well. Anyway, Karen, we miss you!

  8. Shripriya

    The thing is… VC’s are entitled to invest in whatever works for them. If Y Combinator’s approach, including requiring people move, works for them, then they can mandate that. They probably know they will exclude people who can’t fulfill that requirement and they are fine with it.I know lots of women in their thirties who are leading startups – some chose to get angel funding, some did not. None of them faced the issue that they were women. And yes, some are mothers. But all of these women worked in the tech industry and learned the ropes. They know how to make stuff work.If you are a man or a woman and don’t know how to build a tech company – whether code or product, it’s going to be hard to get funded.It is only now that the over-40-women-in-tech crowd is reaching the numbers where it is statistically significant. I have a feeling that this issue is one of timing rather than gender bias. Let’s see what happens in the next 10 years with this “class”.Maybe I’m overly idealistic but I believe that if the idea is good, there will be a VC who will fund it. Case in point, the KP investment that is mentioned.It’s great that you are starting your company – you’re at the forefront of my imagined tranche – congratulations and good luck.

  9. David Noël

    Right on, Tereza! Great to see you’ve got Fred’s support and a spot on Fredland.Your post reminded me of a post over at TC Europe by Eileen Burbidge, check it out:http://eu.techcrunch.com/20

    1. Tereza

      Hey David. I did see the article and frankly it pissed me off because she completely missed the age and parent angles. I presume she hasn’t had children but I could be wrong.

  10. awaldstein

    Thnx for writing this Tereza as it spurred some thinking.My bet is that the proportion of women entrepreneurs will increase consistently as the distinction between tech and non tech blurs and clarifies into just plain business with a web based social component.I know successful entrepreneurial women in the editorial, health and travel biz. It makes sense though that as they build communities and web based businesses, more and more will start lining up for seed and VC funding from the traditionally tech funding sources.Your push will help (thanks!) and I think that over time the social web will democratize the gender gap as the web becomes simply the platform for all commerce…regardless of what it is selling.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      Wise words, Arnold.

      1. awaldstein


      2. Tereza

        Thanks so much Arnold. You hit the nail on the head about the blurring of non-tech and tech. There is NO business without tech!! And so much incredible tech capability that now exists and markets that still are ripe for transformation, especially in the the sphere of how women live their lives.

  11. ErikSchwartz

    What’s the gender ratio of frequent commenters on AVC?

    1. ShanaC

      We once did a pole, it’s about 9% women. Surprisingly, there have always been a number of frequent female commentators (me, Tereza, Yule, K Warman Kern, Karen E., Donna), but the numbers have always been low compared to the amount of guysIf only because I keep track and try to be friendly.

    2. Tereza

      I’d be the first to say I’d like to see more female commenters here.One of the reasons original idea for XX Combinator came into my head is that on someone’s recommendation I took a class called the Op Ed Project. I wrote a blog post about it.

  12. Eric Newton

    This is off topic, but did Lockerz really go from 50 to 15.5M in 12 months? How does Tereza define users?

    1. Tereza

      It’s a by-invitation-only community and that’s the number of members.You get points for inviting friends in and doing other things on the site, and use those points against discounts (up to 100% off = free) for exclusive merchandise.


    @terezan, have you considered that the Y Combinator model – many quick cheap ideas – may not capitalize on the untapped knowledge and management skills you have so clearly identified?K–

    1. Tereza

      What I’d like to see is more ideas which reflect an understanding of the huge, untapped women’s markets, create prototypes which can be market-tested.Not enough get to prototype stage because women may have the vision, and know what to do with it, but lack the piece to get that first prototype out.

  14. Mike

    I think the problem stems from the “Y” in Y Combinator. Perhaps it’s time for “XX Combinator”?

  15. Satish Mummareddy

    I am only going to comment about the shaky use of statistics in this post.YCombinator is a program that was setup to help HACKERS found companies. That was the basic premise of the program. If you read Paul’s essays closely, he believes that all good hackers can earn retirement money by working their asses off for a few years on ramen on a company of their own. And that is what he went about trying to prove with YCombinator.The applicant pool for YCombinator is going to reflect the distribution of hackers who contribute actively to open source software. And the way to evaluate YCombinator for gender bias is to compare the applicant pool of YC to the composition of open source developers.It would be nice to see some stats on the gender distribution of developers contributing to the open source community.

  16. Pete

    There is plenty of untapped entrepreneurial talent above the 20-something demographic, but the fundamentals are at odds with each other. Starting a company is not easily compatible with being a key contributor to a family, whether contributing money or caregiving time, or both.If there was a Y-Combinator for parents, most people cannot support a family on $5,000 for a summer…. even if the program was headquartered right down the block from your house. This greatly cuts down the odds of finding dedicated full-time cofounders, particularly of the technical variety. And nothing will change the fact that half-baked, work-in-process, unproven start-up ideas (even if they are the next Google), are worth very little.

  17. MartinEdic

    I personally wonder if the reality is that less female entrepreneurs look for investors? The entire pitching roadshow model (which finally appears to be changing) is a very macho undertaking with emphasis on hard it is, how grueling, etc. I know many women with their own businesses and they tend to grow organically- the subject of VCs seldom comes up.That being said, I think there is a sea change going on in the way companies get funded (super angels, Y-Comb, etc.) that is changing this adversarial investor/entrepreneur model. Hopefully this will make the whole process more appealing to a wide range of people.

  18. kidmercury

    you know i bet it is actually the opposite. i bet if you took two entrepreneurs, one man one woman, who were equal in every way: same entrepreneurial talent, same idea, same market, same team, etc. i bet in many instances the woman is more likely to get funded, because i bet VCs have a bit of a stigma for having an all white male team. so if they bring a woman on board it makes them look more open-minded.which reminds me, i need to get started on building a fund for old rich white men from oil families….they are clearly discriminated against.

  19. baba12

    I am not sure how to react to this post, on one hand I feel that the lack of women entrepreneurs being funded maybe related to the kinds of education many of the women go into and on the other hand i feel that entrepreneurship is not in my view genetically gender based/biased.Most of the women don’t get into Engineering. When I went to school in India at IIT Kanpur, there were less than 5% women in engineering, whereas if you went to a medical school that number would 60% were women.I would think that it is true here in the U.S. as well, if you look at bio engineering disciplines or in molecular biology and material sciences many of the people doing great work are women.Most of these fields require some significant amounts of capital that most of the VC’s including USV would not invest into. 23andme a genomics company headed by a woman got funded primarily by google founder.Most of Silicon Valley VC’s and the many angel investment funds etc or the Y combinators of the world are not willing to make bets on such ventures as their propensity to take on risk has only diminished and there are easy pickings to be had like the foursquares and digg etc.I am not sure if women choose to get into areas like molecular biology because they see a greater good coming out of those branches of science as opposed to what greater good maybe brought about by a gaming company etc.Just thoughts on what maybe reasons why women choose not to get into being a php programmer and slap some code together and create a service that gets $200k in funding and sells out for $25MM to a GoogleOn the other hand in places like India micro finance lenders lend more to women than men and rightly so, they are more responsible and data points that they tend to return the capital and interest on time.Women entrepreneurship in the lower economic strata is what is improving the lives in many rural parts of India( and guessing elsewhere). So maybe Tereza shall just have to lead the way and show the white boiz of the VC world that they are equally capable as their male counterparts. It will take time in marketing and educating women in colleges and in high school to think differently about this career path around entrepreneurship.

  20. andyswan

    Two points:1. Like the “80 cents on the dollar” nonsense that we have to hear about every couple years, this isn’t a gender issue, it’s a choices issue. When people choose to become parents, MOST of them change their lifestyle, work habits and especially their risky behaviors (which includes entrepreneurship). Women tend to scale back harder, because parenting is one job where it actually DOES matter what gender you are, and women ARE better at it! It’s simply the result of a professional “lost decade” that was dedicated to more important things.2. A lot of women start businesses that are very successful and have no need for VC-level funding. Moms are much more practical than “build an app with APIs and clouds, get it funded and hope”. They build services and products that are profitable from the first customer and expand the old-school way….by pleasing customers and building a base.Go Tereza, go Karen, go Kelly…..we’re all rooting for you….but STAY FOCUSED on the problem YOU’RE SOLVING…..don’t get distracted hunting the boogeyman that might not even exist.

    1. Satish Mummareddy

      As a person who was around when Tereza started to comment on avc.com, I agree with andy. Stay focussed on building the business. You will have a bigger impact on women in entrepreneurship by creating a SUCCESS STORY, and then going on to mentor women founders than anything that you can write now. :)We males are cheering for you to be successful. 🙂

      1. Tereza

        You guys rock. Seriously, thanks.

        1. Dave Pinsen

          Look at you, making the big time! Congratulations. At this rate, Fred might even link to your web app when it launches — a rare coup for an AVC commenter.

          1. Tereza

            Hahaha I doubt that!But Dave you know what? You, Semeria, Essel gave me encouragement on my commenting really early on and it gave me a welcoming boost. Made a difference.Oh, and Kid liked something I said and I almost fell over.From then on was completely unleashed. For better or worse!

          2. Donna Brewington White

            “Oh, and Kid liked something I said and I almost fell over.”hahaha — I think it was an “approving comment” from Kid that helped me jump in. But it was Fred saying I was a “regular” that really did the trick.I remember the first time you commented, and Fred encouraging you to comment more often. That was a heartwarming moment. I am SO glad that you took him up on his invitation! Who knew…

    2. Satish Mummareddy

      I learnt this Marc Andreessen’s old blog post and repeat it religiously to every young person I have every managed.”I believe you should look at your career as a portfolio of jobs/roles/opportunities. Each job that you take, each role that you choose to fill, each opportunity you pursue, will have a certain potential return — the benefits you can get from taking it, whether those benefits come in the form of income, skill development, experience, geographic location, or something else. Each job will also have a certain risk profile — the things that could go wrong, from getting fired for not being able to handle the job’s demands, to having to move somewhere you don’t want to, to the company going bankrupt, to the opportunity cost of not pursuing some other attractive opportunity.Once you start thinking this way, you can think strategically about your career over its likely 50+ year timespan.For example, when you are just out of school and have a low burn rate and geographic flexibility, you can take jobs with a certain return/risk profile. If you get married and have kids, you will take jobs with a different return/risk profile. Later, when your kids grow up and you are once again free to move about and you don’t have to worry about tuition payments and a mortgage on a big house in a great school district, but you now have far more experience than you did when you were first starting out, you can take jobs with a third return/risk profile.”

      1. Tereza

        But — two adds:Some people are change agents and their core skill is starting things up, not ingoing operations. What do they go and do when they hit a certain age?Economic cycles come into play. Plus other personal random sh*t you never anticipated (divorce, death, etc.).What he describes is great in the abstract, but I guarantee you life is a lot more complicated and the older we get the more variability you see play out across these algorithms.And yet a shame for that talent to go to waste. I’m not saying venture-backed startups are necessarily the place, but if they fit the criteria, then why not?Why else would people be curious about how people “turned out” at reunions? If it weren’t for the random unanticipated crap the results would fall in a much narrower band. Twenty year reunion — WAY more variability than Five-year reunion.

    3. Mobilizer

      +1Totally agree, it is all about choices and priorities in your life and not so much about gender, age or race issues.

    4. karen_e

      Thanks, Andy, nice comment. I’m bleary-eyed from coping with Mr. 4 Months Plus and his first cold (boo-hoo) but I’ll be back. #Fredland

    5. maverickny

      Great quote: “They build services and products that are profitable from the first customer and expand the old-school way….by pleasing customers and building a base.”Hadn’t thought of it before, but many of us women consultants running a small business are doing just that, well put Andy.Also, what a lovely op-ed Tereza,very nicely written. At some point I’ll be looking to expand and have some office space myself, but nothing I’ve seen fits yet. A open plan space to hang out, use the facilities and develop ideas with others would be all sorts of cool.

      1. Tereza

        That’s a very apt description, indeed many (most?) women-led businesses follow the pragmatic model.And also I’ve too experienced the getting-lonely part of the desk in an office at home. Way too people-oriented for that! Hence the Disqus addiction…And Sally, thanks for the props. 🙂

  21. panterosa,

    It is my feeling, as a Tereza defined demographic (40s, female, mother, entrepreneur, as yet unfunded), that Fred and others do not see as many women walk in the VC door because 1) they don’t think they will get funded, and 2) if they do walk in the door it takes longer for them to arrive there. It is ingrained in many women that they must outperform a man to get the same recognition which is why girls work so much harder in school and more stay in school as a loose rule of thumb. I also think part of what prevents female parents from knocking at all is that their roll out will be longer – Tereza points to 12 months almost sheepishly. As an experiment, I will knock on Fred’s door in the fall and see what happens.Regarding following the hormone surge, I think Tereza has rightfully blown a gasket over this debate and is having a full on tantrum – in the best sense. Recently on themonsterinyourhead there was a post regarding ‘hair on fire’ and I responded that my friend’s dad had asked his 2 year old daughter in full meltdown whether that’s the best she could do. It calmed her down. In Tereza’s case I think she should keep kicking and screaming, she is just warming up. I like that Fred is allowing this release to happen here.


      I’m directing this comment to panterosa, as well as Fred, Kid Mercury & David Semeria.I think there is a third reason women aren’t showing up at VC’s doors. If Tereza is right that women tend to develop their entrepreneurial ideas after they have business experience, then their ideas tend to be more evolved, more nuanced and more complex. As a result, they are “unencouraged” by the very filter – low cost, quick, high failure rate is acceptable – that VC’s broadcast. Net: not a strategic fit and they are smart and experienced enough to know that.That’s why I wonder if individual VC’s might consider pooling a little investment into one “hedge” fund with a different strategy. Specifically, to seek out and invest in one team and one idea led by a mature entrepreneur to leverage existing technologies in their portfolios to make an exponential difference in the market.K–

      1. Tereza

        Katherine I appreciate your saying that and I agree.If you’re experienced it’s pretty easy to discern early on that a bunch will not be a strategic fit. Through research, mutual introduction, casual conversations you can have a lot of success predicting whether it’s a meeting what’s going to go nowhere.This is a core skillset in business development. Ruthless pre-qualification guides us to focus our energy on converting our highest probability targets.Anyone who hadn’t read Spin Selling should. It’s a classic.There is a cost to the No. It takes up my time, energy and I’m sharing my privates. Oh, and could suck on your good mojo like a Dementor, if you let it.Remember also that some VCs measure their people on # deals submitted. So for them they’ll want you to submit even if they have no intent to consider a Yes. The challenge isn’t ‘getting the meeting’. It’s getting one with a high-quality target.

        1. COMRADITY

          Exactly, which is why I wonder if it doesn’t make sense to start a “fund of funds” that lets the VCs continue what they are doing (throwing a little money at something) and aggregate those dollars to invest in a counter strategy as a hedge.In my opinion, there are a lot of great technologies out there. As I mentioned over in the “web is dead” post on A VC, we’ve now got the equivalent of the combustion engine, and a lot of other cool bells and whistles. But we don’t have the car yet. So the counter strategy is to put all eggs in the basket of a figurative “car” that capitalizes on the existing technologies in the VC’s portfolios to create new value that generates money for “newco” and the individual technologies.Just saying women and men with experience would have an edge in pitching because awareness of gaps in the marketplace and management experience to execute productively would be advantages.K—

          1. Tereza

            Interesting model to consider, K.

      2. Donna Brewington White

        Hello K. Warman — seems like we “met” in a similar comment stream.Appreciate the insight in your comment.This whole thing may be about more than just increasing the number of women entrepreneurs. I don’t think the answer is to get women to fit into the old model. Perhaps, there is a new or alternate model — heck, maybe even a different landscape will emerge.Interestingly, “disruption” is a theme in the tech world.

        1. COMRADITY

          Yup.But there are many definitions of disruption.And, in my opinion, few are really budging the elephant in the room.K—

  22. William Mougayar

    Go for it. Your logic makes a lot of sense, and raising the awareness for this issue will surely help.Every big trend needs a poster child, a poster-girl in this case.

    1. Tereza


  23. Zuckerberg


    1. kidmercury

      hahahhaahha……i disagree though. i don’t think fb places will necessarily put the smackdown on foursquare. i really doubt it in fact.

      1. RichardF

        Unfortunately I do. 500m eyeballs and business’s that are already using your platform is a very very big competitive advantage.

        1. kidmercury

          agree fb has a huge advantage in that regard, but i think foursquare is morepositioned for public broadcasting rather than private interactions — thelatter of which i think fb is better suited for. similar to how i don’tthink twitter is threatened by fb status updates. i also think foursquare ismore threatened by up and comers like shopkick than the behemoths likegoogle/fb.although i think location hype is overblown until someone can do the APIproperly, though IMHO no one has an API worth building on for that yet.

        2. Mark Essel

          Foursquare’s one thing is fanatical dedication towards creating value around location sharing.Facebook’s primary mission is to build a massive network of user created content and harvest the collective leisure time of the world into ad dollars and virtual goods affiliates.I wouldn’t count Foursquare out just yet.

    2. fredwilson

      we will seehe who laughs last bestit could be you or it could not be you

      1. Morgan Warstler

        It will TOTALLY be whoever creates a friggin happy hour app on their service. Just tell me whenever I feel the urge – based on wherever I am, where the cheapest bar snack/drink menu is located, whats on it etc. – and i will race to check in there immediately.Everyone is trying to ape Groupon, reverse it, the deals are there already, just aggregated them.People want to save money, but they hate using coupons, and many if not most, prefer to non-new experiences. sad but true fact.Fred, don’t you own someone in this space?

    3. andyswan

      Zuck you!#FIVEsquare already crushed foursquare and your ‘PLACES’ is just a pawn in our empire.More info: http://andyswan.com/blog/20

      1. Guest

        LOL! I love #FIVEsquare. I’m the queen of New York and goodbye Kathleen, I am the new mayor of our yoga studio! Maybe more women just need the #CLAIMsquare attitude and we could up our % numbers?

        1. andyswan

          Tonight, I am the Royal Count of Ruth’s Chris!

        2. Morgan Warstler

          I am now the queen of New York! er, something.

      2. ShanaC

        I thought we agreed to this, I am fivesquare queen of the universe…

    4. RichardF

      Did they also just issue company laptops with the caps lock stuck on?

  24. Satish Mummareddy

    Just to get a better understanding of the problem, Is this the correct summary of this post:1) Businesses run by women perform better than businesses run by men, but there are very few women founded startups.2) Fewer women start companies because women don’t think about entrepreneurship till they are 35+, but they have kids by then.3) So there is a need for an XX combinator to help women with kids get companies off the ground.4) Proof of the need for an XX Combinator is the fact that it took a Wharton grad with 18 years experience, and several startups and an IPO under her belt 12 months to go from idea to product introduction.

  25. Amber Shah

    This is a great article. One of the biggest criticisms I heard about a Woman-focused incubator or investment vehicle was that it would be “affirmative action”. Having respected men in the community, like Fred Wilson and Anil Dash is a huge step in the right direction. We need to be more vocal and provide more education to men and women on why this is a “real” issue.There are many many “business” reasons why it makes sense to support more women entrepreneurs. One mentioned here, that since more people/consumers are women, it makes sense that they can start companies that serve that base better. Another reason is that entrepreneurs aren’t hard to find, but successful ones are, so why not look in a relatively untapped population. Being fair and providing more opportunity for our daughters is just a fringe benefit.

  26. Pete

    On this comment thread, I count only 5 women including Tereza, out of 40 comments. If aspiring female tech entrepreneurs are out there, they would surely know about AVC.com.@tereza – I wonder if your goals would be better achieved by targeting XX Combinator at 20-something women without families. Or programs to drive college-age women into computer science. In other words, there will eventually be more 40-something female entrepreneurs… after they are first 20-something entrepreneurs. Plucking a 40 year old parent out of family life into entrepreneurship will probably continue to be an exception, not a trend.

    1. ShanaC

      Make it 6-7, I’m here, and I would bet money Donna will show up later in the day.as to b- I’m 20 something,, setting up early stage mentorship is really critical. Of the people I know who were female who did comp sci, most did not want to to be entrepreneurs*. The people who were entrepreneurial were not in comp sci. I think we all should refer to her post- if you survey portfolio companies, how many are started by coders- not as many as you would think.*A lot wanted to work for the Google, up to a point. They got concerned by the Google machine’s eating habits, and children. Another chunk wanted to do research.

      1. Pete

        Why is working for Google more attractive to your female comp sci peers than entrepreneurship? There’s an opportunity right there. What if all those grads instead went out and started hacking web apps, and applied to Y-Combinator?Also, where is @Tereza in this thread? On back-to-back phone calls with VCs all day? Nicely played, Tereza, nicely played indeed. 🙂

        1. ShanaC

          Honestly this is a random guessimate.Prestige and not sure what to do post college. Insurance. Other interests. Reality of knowing sooner or later you’d better settle down.”There is a right path”Another good friend makes a bet that I’m the one to end up on Forbes (I doubt that) but that I’m also the free thinker. She needs to know that she is applying to business school after 2-4 years of working, that she’s getting married. (Economics with honors) I’m just a slacker who is on my own path. 😉

          1. Pete

            If you have any inclination at all to do something that seems crazy or risky, then absolutely do it now while you’re young. Don’t look for a path, or comfort, or solicit “how to prepare” advice from older people. Just go do it. It sounds trite, but it is true. You may well end up in a magazine. The worst case scenario is that your MBA application will be more interesting than your friend’s MBA application.It is never too late to conform, but at some point, it does begin to feel ‘too late” to do something crazy (although, it never really is too late to take risks…. only with kids and a mortgage, it gets scarier.) This advice is easier to dispense than it is to follow.

          2. ShanaC

            I have enough of that in me that I am not worried. I also know myself well enough to know what is good for me. Even if I had a job, I still would be hacking at my own thing. I’m not happy otherwise. Some people are like that, something I’m discovering.I do know that there is a push for conformity and some modern stepfordism. It’s been written about.

          3. Pete

            “Even if I had a job, I still would be hacking at my own thing. I’m not happy otherwise. Some people are like that, something I’m discovering.”I think everybody is like that, but most people either don’t make the connection or are afraid. You’re ahead of the game.

          4. ShanaC

            i never said I’m not afraid. I am. I also think that’s normal and something I am growing out of, I see it every day. And that’s where the mentorship can and should play a role.

          5. Tereza

            Hopefully, your whole life you’re hacking at new things, and a little scared.Otherwise, wouldn’t it be dreadfully boring?

          6. ShanaC

            🙂 Of course. I’m an ants in your pants kind of girl. I hate sitting still, and I dream a lot. My mom hates it.But hey, it definitely makes life less boring.

        2. Tereza

          I’m hopping between wifi networks in London en route to Berlin. In fact using the community’s advice to not get slammed on Int’l roaming. Boarding now…

        3. Tereza

          I think a lot if women feel they have very limited time to contribute to their 401k’s and savings before they get off the track to have kids and then start seeking ways to get back in again.Also entrepreneurial skills can be challenging to explain to non-entrepreneurs so a name like Google becomes shorthand for ‘look at me I’m smart’.

      2. panterosa,

        I read avc every day since january but it has taken a while to warm up and comment. And as a single mom, my time is even more limited than partnered moms.Only after Fred’s post describing the different sized companies did I actually consider to call myself an entrepreneur. I have mainly done one person projects, though I am working with partners now, by necessity of scale. I don’t code – I am a designer, I went to art school. But to bring big design ideas to the table in a way which will have traction, I consider avc to be my education.

        1. ShanaC

          🙂 Didn’t realize that. Hi!

          1. panterosa,

            Tereza and I met on the monster, and then met in person, and we have stayed in touch. She kicked my butt to comment more so here I am.

        2. Donna Brewington White

          Welcome to AVC University.

          1. panterosa,

            Thanks, Donna. I have enjoyed your comments.And I am enjoying AVC U.

      3. Donna Brewington White

        Hey, Shana. 😉

        1. ShanaC

          Hey Donna 😀

    2. Tereza

      Lots of women read but don’t comment and they should. I took months to get started myself.I’ve started telling women they absolutely need to comment more, here and elsewhere. It is critical. The group us too silent.I think a lot of people are thinking and doing things to get girls into STEM and I’m doing my part with my own girls and would support programs in my sphere that do the same.I totally support women in their 20’s who go the entrepreneurial path. I was one of them, and we even IPOd (I was first employee, not a founding principal.)I don’t want to pluck anyone from anything. But I see people such as myself with a lot of experience, market insight, operational experience and ambition who are in my age group and our kids are entering school age or beyond and we have a hell of a lot more bandwidth than a few years ago when they were infants or toddlers. I work many many hours around the clock in a variety of locations. But that bed tuck-in is really important for me to be around for whenever I can. That’s when lots of happy hour mixers happen. So I don’t do more than 2 weeknight events a week.Empty nesters are yet another group, BTW. Lots of experience and time.

  27. Morgan Warstler

    My suspicion is we’re getting closer, but we’re not there yet.1. We’re still in a model where coding is the crucial thing, because web programing hasn’t gotten quite dumbed down enough – but it soon will be – essentially hacking won’t matter. Its coming sooner than you think.2. There won’t be ANY difference between: http://www.cordarounds.com/catalog/ and then some gal at etsy who’s just knocking out kick ass product.3. Sourcing in China is going to become ridiculously easy. Already drop shipping from Amazon solves that side.4. That will leave “tone” which older people are good at – see groupon and woot where good copy is crucial.All of this will be like meth for the entrepreneurial 9PM-2AM crowd, it’ll be fun, it’ll long tail, it’ll be rewarding, but it won’t be VC style stuff. But there’e probably some kind of investment play here in helping to compress 1-4 into a factory of some kind.

  28. Alex Murphy

    I think that your approach is right on asking how to change the reality. The comment about hormones is pretty funny, but probably pretty accurate. Entreprenuers act somewhat irrationally. They either go out to start a company that will most likely fail (irrational) or they stay up late at the expense of their health, family, etc (irrational) for the hope of getting a business off the ground that they think will change the world (irrational) and most likely won’t. So, I especially liked your points about age, incubators and some investors narrow points of views.Investors try to balance risk and reward. VCs and Angels are willing to accept more risk, but they need to see the reward. I am not sure that this has more to do with profiling (although some investors clearly do) as opposed to betting more on people who have been part of winning teams. Many women entrepreneurs that are 35 to 45 haven’t been on winning “Start up” teams. They have been part of larger orgs, or as you have pointed out, they are starting a family. Regardless, investors look at this would be entrepreneur and ask, “what start up experience do you have?” When the answer is commonly “none,” and the successful model to date has been previous experience wins, it is tough to get past that hurdle.So … back to my point, how do you change it. While I think incubators are interesting, I think there is a more critical point at least in our Internet / Web industry and that has to do with skill set. 1 in 4 programmers are women. Most online startups or tech centric startups are started by the technologist or the technologist is an early in person. In order for there to be more start ups led by women, I think that you need more female technologists. I think this a long term issue, not a short term one. I think it needs to be fixed. The reality is that we need more technologists in our country now than ever. Not just computers either, we need more technologists in all of the sciences and in math too.

  29. thewalrus

    great to hear the positive spirit Tereza! the only thing that can stop you is you. i definitely would not bet against the next google being started by a woman.its the same as all the experts who say you have to be in the valley. baloney. the rules are, there are no rules. MAXIMIZE YOUR OWN UNIQUE STRENGTHS. we buy into our own hype, biases and oversimplified extrapolations that the future will be the same as the past. but the next big thing is unpredictable by nature. it wouldn’t be disruptive if everyone saw it coming.

    1. Tereza

      Totally inspiring — thanks!

  30. RichardF

    Best of luck with Honestly Now, Tereza, I’m rooting for you and looking forward to seeing the product launch.

    1. Tereza

      :-)Thank you, Richard! Really appreciate.

  31. ShanaC

    I hate Lockerz. it feels a bit Ponzi to me (i got an invite ages ago) I like Savitt. I do think we are missing women’s sweet spot, and mentorship time and ways. I don’t think we are preparing women anymore for “the new stages of being female” where you will have a career (probably multiple) while getting married, having children and managing a household. It’s a totally new type of training that’s emerged in the past 30 years, and it is a total mess. Add in starting a company to that, and you are looking for a new type of woman (that definitely exists, no question)Yes, women will start companies in ther 30s/40s, and it will probably be more common than previously thought of because of the down ramp of corporate life in America. I mentioned this earlier on Gotham Gal’s blog_ what do we want to teach our daughters to prepare? I always get the feeling reading her blog, she doesn’t know either. I’m not sure the “choice” architecture that we wrote for ourselves post the 60’s is what we really mean either.As someone young, how do you just, prepare?

    1. Satish Mummareddy

      I disagree that its a new problem.Just look to female doctors and lawyers on how they handle it. Doctors during med school, residency, and fellowship have absolutely no control over their schedule, work weird hours and have night shifts. Until 2/3 years ago, they had 36 hr shifts. Women make up 50+ % of doctors and have kids. They have figured it out a while ago. And they don’t complain. They JUST DO IT. :)And female doctors run successful private practices on their on terms. I know a female doc that took 40+ patients a day and one who took 8 a day. Both were happy and did it on their own terms.

      1. ShanaC

        This is where it totally helps that my two closest friends from college were a premed(bio) and the other compsci. And both female. And then you look up the statistics of what they are doingWomen tend to want to go into family oriented practices AFTER Fellowship where there is less emergency care over time. As a rule, they do not choose to become surgeons during residency and fellowship, which matters because over the lifetime of my friend’s practice, she’s doing family care and more general types of practices, rather than high risk practices that require demanding time constraints. by the time she is ready to really raise kids (she’s also lucky she’s dating a mathematician on tenure track…) she’ll have a practice set up that is child and family friendly.The exception is Ob/GYN. This is despite the insurance on Ob, but a lot drop the Ob part after a certain period of time because of the insurance load.

        1. Tereza

          Lots of OB/gyns are dropping OB because of malpractice and opening Medispas — “female wellness centers”. You can buy a turnkey medispa business plan off the web for $125 and get started! And manage your own hours.The market for non-surgical aesthetic injectables is about $10b/yr in the US, and the fastest growing segment in plastic surgery. That also includes laser hair removal. Fascinating market. Human vanity is an impulse you can bet money on.Don’t get me started on women in medical fellowships in the ‘male’ disciplines (surgery, cardiology). Not pretty.

          1. ShanaC

            So that’s where the medi-spas come from. Uggggg

      2. panterosa,

        Having grown up in the era of Libby Zion I am still appalled that medicine allows people to practice on no sleep. We stopped that for pilots thankfully. It’s beyond stupid, it’s bound for failure. Lots of people still sadly JUST DO very unenlightened things.

        1. Satish Mummareddy

          Medicine is evolving into a night float system, where they do 1 week of night float every month.

    2. sigmaalgebra

      “As someone young, how do you just, prepare?”You mentioned medicine. That’s one way. Another is law.Here is a way feasible for a larger fraction of women:First, don’t try to be ‘just like men’. When a man is doing his best, then he is also doing something where men have an advantage and a woman is at a disadvantage. Similarly for women.Second, try to understand some reality, especially small business. In college, take some accounting. Maybe one summer study really hard and pass the CPA exam.Third, pick a GOOD husband. For a home based business, be a CPA. Hopefully he owns his own business. So, help him in his business. Do the accounting, customer service, scheduling, office management, HR, telephone, e-mail, publicity, purchasing, taxes, etc. If there are other women in the business, then help him supervise them — he will likely need the help. Be his trusted extra brain, eyes, and ears, ESPECIALLY for your special insight into people and their feelings — he will need that. There’s no chance you can’t write better than he does, so do the writing for letters, sales brochures, publicity. Interface with the lawyers. Bring up the Web site or work with the people who do; there’s no chance his insight into the Web site design and impression will be even half as good as yours. When there needs to be a business dinner with a big customer, go along, look nice, be sweet, and at the end, at home, tell him what was REALLY going on. Help the children learn about the business. If you can, home school the children. Or know enough about education to get good tutoring for the children. Keep the kids away from destructive pop culture. At least know enough about child development and education to do a good job with the emotional, social, verbal, physical, cultural values, ethical, artistic, religious if you do that sort of thing, and intellectual development of the children.Try to be a good contributor to your team of two, and don’t require that he outline every little thing for you and then shower you with praise for every little effort.Finally, don’t get bored, disillusioned, …, angry, wish you were ‘a man’, claim that he gets all the money, power, and awards and be jealous, don’t try to compete with him or win a competition with him by sabotaging him, don’t keep arguing that motherhood is just low grade, menial, scut work that ruins your career just to raise HIS children, don’t go ditsy, be high maintenance or self-destructive, don’t run off to save the whales, spend money on a living room MAKEover for no good reason, drive your car 25,000 miles before the first oil change, insist on a cook, a maid, and a gardener, each Saturday spend $25,000 on clothes, or call an electrician with nothing wrong with the electricity. Are these points merely hypothetical? Not exactly!

      1. ShanaC

        Umm- I was nearly married, and did all the things you described. I even baked for his law firm. (Mun Hamentaschen FTW) I also have taught children to write their first essays. Umm, yeah, when I say it isn’t enough, it’s from life experience. Mostly families are dual income.Maybe I should go back and take an accounting course (though for the record, in NYstate to take a CPA exam you need 3 years of college, minimum)- but exactly how would that resolve the dual income trap?And considering that over 70% of my high school class is engaged, or married, and a good chunk have kids, I can tell you life with no adults can be intensely boring. I sit with these women at shalom zachors, shabbos meals, bridal showers, whatnot (joy of growing up in a more gender segregated community) If you choose your life around getting married and having kids, as my mother would love for me to do- you will not have much to say. It’s actually why I like reading the GothamGal- she has something to say. She does. Same with Tereza. She’s a mother, and she thinks on her own. I don’t want to be stuck like some of the girls I grew up with when I find out that the reason they chose what they chose was because they wanted to be a mommy and devote their lives to their husbands. You have no idea how frustrating it is to go to a wedding with not mixed seating (thank god I’m single, so this rarely happens) and not have someone to talk to, they usually just agree with their husbands or talk about gossip column stuff. I rather go over to the men’s tables so I am not bored. (Suggestion if this ever happens, read more books, particularly whatever is on the NYTimes best seller list) It’s getting better as I’m getting older with a wider and more varied social circle and I get to choose my obligations, but some of these things are a mess.The most depressing and true book I’ve ever read was the Feminine Mystique. I don’t want to be one of those women, out of that book. I know some of those women in real life. I know where to find them online, I know how to make polite conversation. I’m easy to pick out of a crowd in a room full of these women (i’m always the one in the fun socks, or a little more causal clothing, or big earrings, or a man’s dress shirt and a skirt, like I come in peace from some urban area) I’m a person too, after all. I’m not a cartoon character, and your answer makes me sound like I should become one.Trust me, if I had to, I could shut up, take out my more poofy skirts, pin up my hair, and start cooking and baking and get my secretary job until I get married. I also would be miserable.I don’t want to be a guy. They smell funny. I like being me. I’ll keep the poofy skirt and the baking, I’m ditching the secretary role.And when it comes to dating, I want two things- someone who will really love me for me, and hopefully someone who I can bring home to my parents. That, and someone who dislikes live geese as much as I do and is willing to protect me from them (I hate geese, I have an irrational fear of large birds) Finally, as the person who gets you to talk about math- apparently becoming a lawyer is a terrible investment.* If you are becoming a Doctor, you’d better hope for a gender egalitarian marriage for the first few years through the residency and fellowship and perhaps even the early years of setting up a practice, as those are time consuming. You’re not gardening through them.*http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3…

        1. Prokofy

          My mother was right 50 years ago when she explained to me that it was a man’s world, and she’d still be right today.

    3. Tereza

      Part preparation, part “roll-with-it”.The most interesting stuff is what comes out of left field while you’re gunning for your big dream. Because then it gets fun & colorful and you’re truly breaking new ground.

  32. Mark Essel

    Wonderful post Tereza, we’re all very lucky you discovered AVC.I just got laid off today at my day job as a systems engineer (defense contractor) and I have never felt more capable of succeeding. I’m unleashed from the addiction that is a steady paycheck. (my official last day is end of September but if an awesome opportunity comes up, I’ll begin working immediately).From now on I’ll rely heavily on my new understanding of the web stack that’s been hard earned at nights and weekends over the past 10 months. I’m capable of bringing ideas into live web apps and am comfortable figuring out any specific implementation details with a hefty dose of RTFM ;)My goal is to realize my own startup, but I’m not afraid of working hard to build other startups while I work towards my dream. I’m not sure where the next opportunity for me is, but I’m delighted to begin that journey now!

    1. andyswan

      Give em hell, Mark!

      1. Mark Essel

        In a handbasket, for only $19.95

        1. Donna Brewington White

          …sold over the web…

    2. kidmercury

      sucks that you got laid off, but IMHO people tend to do their best when their back is up against the wall, so hopefully it is a blessing in disguise.

      1. Mark Essel

        Groovy KM, I’m looking at it this way too

        1. Tereza

          Me three.

      2. Tereza

        +1 kid

    3. CJ

      I want to ‘like’ this post but it’s tough for me to like a post where you say you just got laid off. So I’ll say, good luck! and I hope the layoff works out for you. 😀

      1. Mark Essel

        I like it, why shouldn’t you 🙂

        1. CJ

          LOL – Done. 😀

    4. David Semeria

      Best of luck Mark

      1. Mark Essel

        Thanks David

    5. RichardF

      Sorry to hear that Mark as they say “as one door closes another one opens”Good fortune

      1. Mark Essel

        It’s an exciting time.

      2. Tereza

        The version I like is “sometimes God closes a door…and opens a window!”Keep those eyes open in all directions, Mark. Find a really specific seed of inspiration — or a few of them — and let’s ideate from there about businesses to be built with your great skills.

    6. awaldstein

      This is tough.If you can bridge it financially…go make that business of yours happen!

      1. Mark Essel

        To say I’m highly motivated would be an understatement :)Appreciate your advice.

        1. awaldstein

          And you have a lot of friends here Mark to lean on for support and help!

          1. Senith statistics tutor

            Good luck Mark! Let us know if we can help in any way.Senith

    7. Donna Brewington White

      Sorry to hear about the layoff, Mark. Excited to see what’s next for you! And about the company you will start someday!

      1. Mark Essel

        I’m excited too!

        1. ShanaC

          Good luck Mark. Maybe this means everything will go smoothly from here on end with Garagedollar (i Like that thing)

          1. Mark Essel

            It’s one of the few needs where people stopped me on the street for help finding sales.The interface will drift between push updates to phone/email to a shared map of local sales with distributed moderation (report spam) and a text description on mouse click/touch of sale markers

          2. ShanaC

            also add email. For the organized in some of us.

    8. Satish Mummareddy

      Good Luck Mark.

      1. Mark Essel

        Thanks Satish 🙂

    9. Aviah Laor

      Sorry to hear that. Try to focus, Mark. One project, full engines ahead. Even if you give 100% efforts it’s hard to succeed, so giving even less will not work. Good luck.http://www.amazon.com/Focus

      1. Mark Essel

        Thanks Aviah, the guy who wrote this post agrees.

    10. Prokofy

      I hear how much you need to protect a positive state — it’s all part of the California cult thing, the Seth Godin books, the replication of Tony Robbins.But…It’s ok to tell the truth of the situation and not cover it up with an induced feel-good. Paychecks are not an addiction; they are a necessity. You are not always going to feel good, you are going to be scared, and it’s not going to be pretty — and it’s ok to admit that. I hope you can find something you love to do and get paid for it.

      1. Mark Essel

        Trust me when I admit, I’m scared shitless. My runway is short, and the cost of failure is my home

  33. SF

    Tereza – On a slightly different track – have you considered approaching your alma mater(s) and talking to them about mentoring young women to prepare for this path? Or at least to be aware of tech/+ entrepreneurship as a future career option? I know my gift officer mentioned such mentoring as an option and an opportunity to get closer involved with my alma mater.

    1. Tereza

      Thanks, SF! Good idea. Actually I’m a three-Penn-degree gal and interestingly i’ve noticed Wharton and some women’s groups starting to follow and reblog me….and a number of alums from across the time spectrum, which is awesome and I am very eager to be more intentional about that and give back.And hopefully, one day, when I’m filthy stinking rich, that support will be financial, too!

  34. Keenan

    I see this as an issue of access, not about gender.Teresa is asking a good question, should there be other programs that provide access to funding, incubators etc. that are more conducive to the unique life elements of women?If women chose a lifestyle that isn’t consistent with today’s incubators, start-up environments as Andy suggests, that is their choice.But, I think those who can create alternative access points, that encompasses more entrepreneurial diversity, will be the winners. (by diversity, I mean, older younger, male, female, race, single, married, etc)

    1. Tereza

      +1I agree with Andy it’s their choice.But that choice also gives them access to market insight that could yield big businesses, and there’s no place for us to go to get the support that other people get.Not all have to provide it. In my original post, I said Y Combinator doesn’t need to change. I called out an opportunity to create one that does address this gap.A lot of people are interested. Some are not. That’s fine.This is America, programs should be different for different reasons.I’ve been surprised at the firestorm generated by what you correctly define as a logistical access issue which I thought was, frankly, almost administrative.

      1. Satish Mummareddy

        Something about this post has been bugging me all day. And I think here is what it is.There are two clearly separate issues that you are combining into one:1) 40+ women who have great ideas with huge market potential need DIFFERENT KIND OF HELP in getting them off the ground.2) There are not enough women who do startups.I feel those are two separate issues. The second issue has a lot of reasons and needs to be handled independently.So if you focus on just #1, people will come all out in support for your initiative.Below is my understanding of the issues with #1a) 40+ women are willing to work hard but have different schedule restrictions, so the mentoring program should be suited to that schedule.b) 40+ women might not be technical, so they need help to build a prototype and with finding a technical co-founder.So there is room for a incubator program that addresses these two issues.I feel everything with respect to VC bias etc is irrelevant. If an incubator can help get a 40+ women to prototype stage to demonstrate the market need then VCs will fund it.

        1. Tereza

          Yes. True.I think it’s ridiculous to exclude a group simply for schedule sync issues.But I have been also been very surprised at some strains who’ve reacted with such vitriol to that.Which leads to your second bit. Look, I’m a woman and I love to help other women because they need the help and ones ahead of me helped me. And some fantastic men helped me too, BTW, and I’m very eager to help guys too.I think every individual is biased. I have my biases. It’s called personal experience. And VC like any other industry is a culmination on individuals. And they sure as hell shouldn’t invest in stuff that doesn’t excite them.And you know what? I don’t want someone to invest in me unless they want it really, really badly. They have got to believe in my dream for my business. Otherwise they’re the wrong partner and eventually that’ll bite us each in the ass. Who needs that agida?Realistically, problems that I see large untapped markets for make the type of person who’s demographically your average VC scratch their head and go, “Huh? WTF?”. It’s not the world they live in. Stuff like the mom who has to have 4 kids at 4 different places at once. Or the mom who’s still struggling with the baby weight, has an office party with her husband and us nervous that this dress (since she can’t afford or doesn’t have time for a new one) makes her butt look big. Or the newly divorced who’s pondering dipping her toe in the dating pool again. Huge swaths of America (and the world) struggle daily with questions like these. To them, they’re not trivial. Technology may play some transformational roles beyond mommy blogs and Facebook. And I promise you they’re not being looked at very closely or with much respect.Cindy Padnos’ makes the important point that we need more female VCs. And I agree. But it will take a very ling time, if ever. We’d need clusters of them in firms to make their presence “normal” and not token. It’s possibly even harder to break into VC than it is to get funded. So it’s a great goal — but I’m not holding my breath.Thanks for breakin’ it down, Satish.

          1. Satish Mummareddy

            I actually buy into all the markets that you talked about. I think it has to do with user empathy. I love to shop. My second career could be a personal shopper at Macy’s, so I see what you are saying.I once talked a male CTO of a famous national clothing retailer, who laughed at me for saying people check out a $50 shirt a few times and wait for its price to drop to their acceptable price. (for me it might be $20) to buy it. He said clothes are like < $100, if you like it you buy it. 🙂

    2. Morgan Warstler

      “Should there be” likely no.”Ought there be” thats the discussion.Should is the policy effectiveness, as in what works – and frankly no, if there was a big return on funding women today in special programs, then there would be such a program.Ought is the moral side – fairness etc. and on that, I’ll go back to saying in the LONG VIEW the market is moral, programming becomes less important over time, but right now – if you cant right edgy code, or be able to out think someone who can (meaning you know what the code can do), you likely aren’t in the power seat.

  35. sigmaalgebra

    If women can do it, fine. No, not just fine, good. No, still better, excellent.But, to quote a women, “I’m reticent. Yes, I’m reticent.” Extra credit for knowing the source.Broadly to women I’d say, BE CAREFUL. In more detail, I’d say, you can be hurt. For more, you are going into the unknown; that’s clear enough, but maybe in some major ways you are going into a dangerous unknown.One thing a person needs to do in life is make good use of time, resources, and opportunities. I have a record that has some good and some bad.One of my uses of time, etc. started with a woman: I’d seen a lot of bright people, but she was one of the brightest I’d ever seen. Rock solid US Midwestern values. Work ethic out of some Max Weber view of the Protestants. Family out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Energy level off the tops of the charts. Constitution of a steam locomotive. Prizes in cooking, sewing. Piano, clarinet, voice. Valedictorian.For fun, she audited a history course, in a lecture hall of 300 students. The prof insisted that audits also take the tests. At the end the prof told her that she should have taken the course for credit since she was the best student in the class and would have made an A. He was wrong: One frosh English composition instructor gave her a B, and she never got less than an A ever again in college. So, she didn’t need more As. Sure, PBK, Woodrow Wilson, ‘Summa Cum Laude’, two years of NSF in one award, research university Ph.D. in mathematical social science.But could she code? She didn’t want to. Had no interest in it. Had paid only minimal attention to it. But I happened to be on a team that designed a new language for artificial intelligence. Our team was supposed to be bright, and some members were supposed to be among the brightest in all of computer science and had credible backgrounds to prove it.Well, for various reasons, she wanted to learn the language. So, I gave her an hour lecture: How to use the computer, how to connect to the server, how to use the editor (two manuals, each about 500 pages), and the macro language, and how to use the AI language.Two weeks later, with no more help, she had a first, significant program running. NICE first program, WAY beyond “Hello World”.I congratulated her on her nice accomplishment. Definitely A work.But she didn’t really illustrate the ‘sense’ of artificial intelligence (uh, I’m not much impressed with that ‘sense’, but she was excellent at finding ‘sense’ where there wasn’t much). So, I gave her about 15 minutes on AI, and a week later she had the best, early AI program I ever saw. She did it quickly, easily, with no real background, and far from her main talents and interests.In particular she beat some of the brightest people in computer science.Brilliant.But, it didn’t work. It was more serious than it didn’t work, but let’s just say it didn’t work. The short reason it didn’t work is that she tried something in technology and business quite different from anything her mother ever did.To invest more in her, at one point I set aside an opportunity for some founder’s stock, and with it today I should be worth about $500 million. Yes, you’ve heard of the company. And I made other investments. I think I’ll get the money back, but if I had it all to do over again I’d do things MUCH differently.I thought and thought and thought, I read, studied, and thought, learned from experts, off and on for years. What the heck went wrong?Eventually I figured it out about as well as any such things can be figured out.Here’s the short answer: Mother Nature was there long before either that brilliant woman or I was. Or, as we know, “It’s not nice to try to fool Mother Nature.”. And Mother Nature is not very clear on just when she thinks she’s being fooled. Uh, there’s no very clear rule book.Or, she was trying to do something, and maybe at times in the past some women could, but mostly they aren’t our ancestors.These views would get me attacked by any Gloria Steinum fan club. Meg Whitman might have some choice words. I know. I’ve heard it all. If you disagree, then there’s an easy way out: Ignore what I’m saying. One of my best talents is writing things people ignore. Besides, I’m not building a solid case.Here’s a slightly less radical view: The field of technology was created mostly by men, using talents men enjoy using, in ways convenient for men. Guess: It may be that as a result few women will be comfortable in technology as created by men.Or, for her, the dense, obscure, now classicErving Goffman, ‘The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life’, Doubleday Anchor Books, New York, 1959.was fast, easy reading. So she was very perceptive about social situations.She also found H. James, ‘The Golden Bowl’ easy reading. Yup, magnificent verbal and social talent.Her secret for how she could spell so well? “I can see the words.” CHEATING!Could she also do original work? Sure, effortlessly. In applied math? Sure.Could she be the key source of ‘architecture’ for a wild success in Internet ‘social media’? Hmm ….But what she was really interested in, her real goal, her real ‘passion’, was getting praise and approval from others. Uh, women, are you beginning to understand? For her, the academics, technology, business, etc. could be at most just tools for that goal.So, the problem was not ‘ability’. Yes, warning: We are told that the issue is ‘ability’. It isn’t always! There can be other issues! E.g., there can be emotions! Uh, maybe at times emotions could overwhelm ability? Believe it.Emotions and women? Here’s one I advise readers not to argue with: “Of COURSE women are MUCH more emotional than men.”. There’s another: “Men and women deserve equal respect as persons but are not the same.” — extra credit for the source. “The French Revolution brought Western Civilization the idea that any lack of equality was a threat of tyranny and that, thus, men and women should be just the same in every respect conceivable” (a loose quote). Uh, did anyone check out this ‘equality’ stuff with Mother Nature and get back a clear answer?Goffman? He was an influence on D. Tannen.Women: The ‘reward structure’ in business is one formulated by men. Men, uh, go for the gold, points on the scoreboard, the bottom line, maybe take pleasure in defeating an opponent, maybe even a “Eureka” in technology, sometimes just curiosity, sometimes just feeling better because they understand something (which can be a way to power), etc. Men can be comfortable cutting a trail alone to find and bring back the gold, happy all the way to the bank, if they see their way clear, then indifferent to what anyone else thinks. “Acceptance and approval” from others may not even occur to men: “A ‘support group’? What’s that?”Uh, men are hopelessly incompetent at gossip.So, women, if you are looking for ANY of acceptance and approval, pleasing a strong leader, membership in groups, emotional security, success in social climbing, being the big source of gossip, security from ‘bonding’ with gossip, being in the ‘in-group’ or on the ‘A-list’, being a leader in any sense of ‘The View’, or even getting a “well done” (uh, we can’t pat you on the head anymore), etc., then you will have a ‘lack of fit’ with the parts of business convenient for men.Is this description rock solid, clear, compelling, and solidly settle the situation? No. Is it a warning? Yes.Conclusion for women? Be careful. Be VERY careful. Take it one step at a time, and leave your path of retreat in place. Wear two life preservers and keep two more in the canoe, along with extra paddles and plenty of emergency equipment. Never be in the canoe alone, watch the weather carefully, never be out at night, and never be out of sight of the shore. Be CAREFUL.Do not assume that just because you can effortlessly, totally blow the doors off boys in much of K-12 and in essentially all of the humanities in college, spell better, write better, have better memories, concentrate MUCH better, have much better manual dexterity (“Boys’ handwriting sucks; no offense”), can get by with less sleep, learn languages MUCH better, understand people MUCH better, still do well in parts of technology when you want to, that there are no more obstacles just within yourself.There are not many women in technology entrepreneurship. Women should entertain that maybe there is a good reason.Be CAREFUL.If I had a daughter, then I’d advise, “No way.”.Yes, I’m the skunk at this Victorian garden party. But, I’ve been there, tried that, and got the scars to prove it. And the evidence on the other side is meager. We’re talking the unknown here, folks. Did I mention, be careful?

    1. Gorilla44

      What the heck is this?!?

      1. sigmaalgebra

        I will try to help you:For an answer, have someone read my post for you and explain it to you.They will tell you that the main point is “Be careful”.For more, no, with your question, don’t try for more.

    2. Tereza

      Believe it or not I don’t mind your comment at all.It’s clearly grounded in a lot of personal experience.You’re very correct that it’s not just about ability. Motivation is key. What’s the motivation? Is it aligned with the business? Is it in line with the rest of her life? Is it a motivation that has legs of a sufficient duration to take the business where it needs to go (and where Investors are counting on it going)?Being told you *can’t* do something motivates a lot of people (and incidentally, children too). Problem is, it peters out.Personally, I’m motivated by the fact I’ve made sh*toads of money for other people and not myself. And also that I believe in the needs I’m seeking to address and truly believe other people are doing them right. And finally, want my daughters to know it’s possible.Not sure it’s good enough, but that’s me.

    3. ShanaC

      One of the sharpest comments I ever heard about this was the following: My romanian female friend remarked that the women in Romania are expected to be smarter at math and “hard sciences” than the men- the cultural notions raised here are minimalized. As a result, they sent more female students abroad to college her year. And she implied more took a science.Be very careful- for you also are fitting into an archetype of presentation to the world on the internet.Meanwhile, this is why I hated math class in 12 grade, when my class finally became mixed gender (and then my graded dropped, I had pretty much perfect math grades all through high school even though I had neutral feelings towards math) It was definitely taught towards who can be the mostly manly math guy- I could have cared less, I just wanted to know why it worked.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        Okay, one thing you don’t want to do is be like the women in ‘The Feminine Mystique’. I read it a long time ago and didn’t ‘get it’. The first chapter is now on the Internet; I read it recently and did ‘get it’. To me Friedan didn’t make her case, but since my first reading I saw enough data elsewhere to make a good case for what she said.I’m sorry Friedan was ‘bored’. A couple should address that issue, and I outlined some ways.Maybe women from Romania would like technology entrepreneurship. Maybe some VCs should fly to Bucharest and hold a big XX Combinator show and tell: Then the first women gives five minutes on her use of the Hahn-Banach theorem and Pettis integration with software in Haskell to make best possible connections in the ‘social graph’ …. Uh, the Romanian women likely didn’t get the memo about emphasizing just user interface and ComScore numbers. So, maybe not!Note: If I actually knew of an application of Banach space to the social graph, I wouldn’t mention it here!Of many related points and ideas, I outlined just two:First, for women going into technology entrepreneurship, be careful.Second, beyond law and medicine, a woman could help her husband run a small business.But you brought up issues beyond just XX Combinator and my two points.You mentioned sitting with the women instead of the men. Yup, once at Christmas all the women gathered in the kitchen, worked with the food, and gossiped. The men gathered in the barn and tried to understand a tractor fuel injector that wasn’t working. Right: At Christmas in northern Indiana a barn can be darned COLD!Which is worse, the green bean casserole with canned fried onions on top in the kitchen or a fuel injector in the barn?Maybe the issue is membership in a group and, if not, then just be upstairs on the computer, with a book, a violin, or some such alone.On “presentation”, the woman I knew understood Goffman easily; I could barely parse the sentences. That some of those points I suggested about women are cliches does not make them always wrong. I doubt that fundamentally things are much different in Romania.Sorry that most of the traditional groups for women are boring. Necessarily doing something special will make a group of similar people smaller, and maybe one reason for ‘social media’ is to let women find appropriate, small groups.For having a bad math teacher, welcome to the club. One solution can be to take the book seriously and essentially f’get about the teacher. Is the goal to learn the math or please the teacher?For poofy skirts, like all real men, a micro second glimpse, at night, in the fog, 400 yards away is sufficient for my autonomous, non-blocking, accurate, poofy skirt detector, with even better statistics if the skirt is moving! Also reported are height, weight, and a few more. A girl in the ninth grade invited me to her party and wore a sheer pastel floral print dress with a poofy skirt and tied with satin ribbons. I should say no more!Yes, there are problems. I outlined the best solutions I know and mentioned some of the dangers I know about.On this subject, I just got e-mail from Darwin — it’s a bit upsetting so I won’t share it!

        1. ShanaC

          It’s not that they are boring, it’s that being forced into the role causes a situational boredom that leads into a lethargic, situational depression.My goal was to learn the math- it also didn’t help that I had to get into this institution known as college, so pleasing the teacher and comforting to some rules are part of that game. Now I am passed that, I get to have choice. Thank god. And thank god that of those male friends who decide they want to learn to sew, they can.I have no idea what Christmas is like beyond TV and what I see in the Macy’s window in Herald Square. Growing up in elementary school, middle school, and high school, I actually went to school on christmas eve and christmas, as if it were a normal school day. Channukah is not such a big deal compared to the High Holidays(two weeks people) or PassoverIntutively- Applying Banach Spaces…..that may not be a fruitful alley because I can’t promise that people in groups produce bijective functions to work with as a model. They’ll be overlaps when you start overlapping people, plus they’ll be certain people other people as individuals want to ignore, creating random difficulties when you want to take f”(x). And that is before degrees of closeness. (where x is a given individual and f is a function describing all the people relating to that person….if you changed x to represent two people, say a couple preparing a wedding, then you get into some strange fun) People are just strange.I tend to discount people who say “All real Men” I’ve dated a really guyish guys. Some of them were more mechanically oriented than me. Some of them are surprised that one of my life goals is to learn to weld (I already know how to solder with a gas/oxygen torch, not with an iron. and how to use a drill, a saw, and a level, and I can crochet.) I would probably prefer as a result to look at how the car works a couple of times. When learning to drive, it’s good to know how the thing works in case it breaks down.

          1. sigmaalgebra

            “Real men” was intended to be mostly just a joke! ‘Real’ men are sometimes real but always cartoon characters! Men’s burden!Christmas: In all the schools I went to, they let out about a week before Christmas and got back sometime after New Years. So, there was about two weeks out of school. So it was Christmas music, food, presents, meeting people in the community, the women gathered working on food and the men in the cold barn working on a tractor, and New Year’s eve.Once I spent the time in a back room finishing some software I wanted to illustrate some of the applied math in my dissertation.My main point about Christmas at the farm was to give an example of what you noted, that the men gather together and the women gather together separately and that my wife complained as you did that what the women were doing was boring and that she wanted to sit with the men. Fine with the men! But she didn’t want to go to the barn and work on the tractor either!Cars: Uh, all ‘real men’ know about cars! It’s just expected! Men’s burden!Getting into College: I actually learned the math and physics and then had the CEEB scores to prove it. Continuing, in college I learned the math, and for grad school had the GRE scores to prove it. For my Ph.D., I did some good enough research, mostly independently in my first summer. Officially in my Ph.D. program, it was all about the research, and there was no coursework requirement.I never had any goal of being a ‘manly’ math guy. I just wanted to learn the math and did. All I saw was, the prettier the girl, the sooner she quit taking math! The girls were terrific until we got to algebra, and then they were GORGEOUS but helpless. Physics was much worse: I’m not sure there was a girl in sight. Same in college. I understood gorgeous, but it took me a while to understand helpless. Ah, all ‘real men’ CERTAINLY can understand physics; more men’s burden!Banach space: It’s a ‘complete, normed linear space’ named after Stefan Banach. So, it’s a vector space, typically infinite dimensional, with some additional properties. The easiest non-trivial example is the real valued continuous functions with domain the set of all x where 0 <= x <= 1. The ‘norm’ of a function is the largest of its absolute values. This collection of functions is ‘complete’ because any sequence of the functions that appears to converge, that is, in the weak sense of Cauchy, converge in the norm, actually does converge (qualifying exam question). The axioms are weak, but still there are some surprising results — open mapping, closed graph, uniform boundedness, Hahn-Banach, and more. Pettis integration is for Banach space valued functions.The axioms are from some older examples. So, state the axioms, prove once, apply many times. There is dessert buffet a mile long of applications although likely none ready for a Series A! There is a first chapter on Banach space in Papa Rudin, ‘Real and Complex Analysis’.You now know more about Banach space than nearly anyone in Web 2.0.I’ve seen some bored women. I don’t understand boredom from motherhood which I regard as a lot of challenging, important, rewarding work.For Friedan’s boredom, get her a job installing roofing shingles when the air temperature is either over 90 F or under 30 F. Or installing mufflers, with dirt and rust in her hair, sharp rusty metal cutting her arms, and molten steel from a cutting torch jumping at her. She could tow cars: That’s where they went off the road in ice and snow and landed in a ditch. So, to tow it out, have to crawl under the car in the ditch and attach the towing cables. Or the car is awash in blood from dead people. Or just work in the barn in the winter, -20 F, 40 MPH wind, getting the equipment ready for spring planting. At his busiest time, my father in law worked 20 hours a day, six days a week, took off Sunday morning for church, and got back to work. He got three children through college from less than 100 acres: Built his own house, barns, feed mixing equipment, etc. Then maybe she will like clean, indoor work, no heavy lifting, no scraped or burned skin, no frozen fingers.I don’t get bored, and bored women are welcome to do what I do, follow my other suggestions, or find more.The last thing I did, yesterday, need to finish today, and avoided being bored, was to write some scriptable software with just text input/output to use the methods in the class for log files for my ASP.NET Web site code. The text I/O makes it easy for me to know later what I did and how to do the same thing again — “Look, Ma: No GUIs”. All ‘real men’ just HATE GUIs (for their own use). Log files are important; I’m getting production quality logging; I have to write the production version eventually, and I don’t “want to take the same ground twice.”That women get ‘bored’ and like to be in ‘groups’ and to ‘gossip’ might be seen as a big ‘pain’ that needs some new, effective, difficult to duplicate, powerful, valuable Internet ‘social media’ ‘aspirin’. Maybe, but I’m working on other things.Oprah’s made money enough from bored women; maybe a Web 2.0 should!Besides, I couldn’t do such work; since it has to do with women, I’d just keep thinking about poofy skirts! Ah, men’s burden!

          2. Tereza

            I actually hope to make a lot of money from bored women, web 2.0, poufy skirts, and woman-to-woman conversations. I think it’s a primal need that’s unmet; not been addressed with much understanding about what they talk about when they’re together, and why.So in this regard you and I are very much aligned.I’d been waiting for a man to build the service and it never happened. So here I am.

          3. sigmaalgebra

            Some possibly relevant points:There the classic E. Fromm, ‘The Art of Loving’. I would call it “People 101”.One of his points is that the fundamental problem in life is the need for people to get security in face of the anxiety from the realization that they are vulnerable to the hostile forces of nature and society. Then he said there are four ways to respond, (1) love of god, (2) love of spouse, (3) membership in a group, and I will omit the fourth.Well, my observation is that, compared with men, this anxiety is much stronger in women and so is the response (3) membership in a group.There is alsoDeborah Tannen, ‘You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation’, William Morrow and Company, New York, ISBN 0-688-07822-2, 1990.So, here (as I recall, maybe in another Tannen book) she explains that to feel more secure women join groups and gossip and exchange feelings.You said “primal”. Yup.Cell phones? Sure, maybe a construction foreman could use one, especially since the construction site might not have land line phones installed yet. But the big money in cell phones was each woman with one nearly implanted in a side of her head so that she could gossip at nearly any waking hour.Yup, there are hundreds of millions of women on the Internet with anxiety who want to get security by joining groups, gossiping, and exchanging feelings.Yup, such descriptions are straight out of ‘Women 101 for Dummies, That Is, Men’.Heck, the thing I noticed first about girls was just the poofy skirts! It took me longer to understand what the girls were doing “Psst, psst, psst” hiding and whispering behind a locker door. Yup, my mother said she wished I’d had a sister so that I wouldn’t respect women so much!So, just why the popularity of Facebook and Twitter? Because people want to publish pictures and little tidbits about themselves? Because they want ‘tweets’, e.g., to say “look what I’m doing now”, “look where I am now”, or a baby version of e-mail to follow? I don’t think so! Makes no sense to me. It ain’t very close to anything in Fromm.Instead, for women, the main reason they use Facebook, etc. about has to be they want to get security by joining groups and gossiping. So, Facebook, etc. are really indirect and awkward solutions and get used because they are the closest approximation out there and also because women often don’t clearly know what they want. E.g., women will be slow to clearly realize what I’ve said and still slower to articulate it.Next, then, is how to use Web 2.0 to satisfy this need?Somehow maybe form groups?Somehow let people find the groups they want to join?Then will want the groups to be successful. Uh, there is the problem of ‘group quality’ as in Groucho’s famous “Any group that would have me as a member I wouldn’t want to join.”.And there will often be issues of ‘social climbing’ involved: “Oh, Barbara, why don’t we meet for lunch on Bob’s yacht? He can have it docked at Glen Cove and have the captain and chef there to make sure everything is ready for us.” “Oh, Barbara, Bob and I would LOVE for you and Bill to join us for the symphony wine and cheese at MOMA.”. “Oh, Barbara, that Nancy, I just can’t STAND her. You won’t BELIEVE what Linda said she did ….”. There are great parodies of women in gossip in the Twelve Oaks BBQ segment in ‘Gone with the Wind’. Women in gossip are not nearly a new thing and were understood clearly enough in that movie and many others. “Oh, Appolonia, did you see the muscles on that Spartan?”! “Oh, gonky, quank dornk slonk dinklunk muknork?”. Gossip’s GOT to go WAY back!Here’s one: Do the women in Japan gossip? If so, then on the tree take the most recent common ancestor of women in Europe and women in Japan. Uh, that may be 40,000 years back. Well by something of a ‘probabilistic’ triangle inequality, that says that both women are closer to the ancestor than they are to each other so that the ancestor had to gossip also. So, now we know what the women in a cave 40,000 years ago were doing — gossiping!So, THAT’S where language came from! Probably took them all of a week!So, yup, I’ve thought of having a Web 2.0 site to help women gossip and form groups.Quickly I decided I have a better way to get rich without struggling with catty, squabbling, quite emotional, often frustrated women — that I don’t really understand — in sewing circles, cake sales, efforts to save the whales, what to do about morning sickness, what to tell a daughter about boys, looking for daycare, finding sales on women’s clothing, what to say to a man in a singles bar, yacht club social climbing, etc.But it’s an axiom that men don’t understand women. E.g., there’s “Never can tell what a woman’s going to do next” — well men can’t tell without, e.g., something from Tiffany’s.So, I wouldn’t see a promising way to proceed. If I did proceed, then I would have to ‘pivot’ about once a week.If you can understand women well enough to see a promising direction, then good for you!

          4. Tereza

            A fun read.I’m very familiar with Tannen.Now will have to dig up Fromm to find out that fourth item.


      There’s no doubt everyone has weaknesses they must overcome to succeed. In fact, in my experience managing people I noticed that strengths and weaknesses are related. For example, someone with great presentation skills might not be a great listener.I also noticed that when I first started writing performance reviews and ran them by my superior (who was always a male) their criteria for predicting success were COMPLETELY different than mine).So, to succeed, a woman must become self-aware of her own personal strengths and weaknesses AND be lucky enough to work for someone who recognizes that the criteria for success in today’s highly competitive market is more about strategic thinking and execution that can both find and thread the needle of opportunity than bull in a china shop bravado.Unfortunately for you, you may have recognized the value of substance over style, but weren’t able to help this woman become self-aware of her personal stregths and weaknesses. Eagerness to please others is indeed a skill that can get people to a certain level in their development, but is a brick wall. I wonder if her early performance was, in fact, more about pleasing you than thinking for herself.By the way, I don’t think this is a weakness of the women who are sharing their thoughts here.K-

      1. sigmaalgebra

        “Unfortunately for you, you may have recognized the value of substance over style, but weren’t able to help this woman become self-aware of her personal strengths and weaknesses.”No, it was complicated with a lot of common problems and more. Actually mostly she was looking for praise from her mother and to ‘save the world’ like her mother wanted her to do — and beauty pageants expect their contestants to say they want to do, etc.I used her example to mention some of the common cases of “danger out there” and to say that women should be careful. I’ve made my case well enough for this thread and should not add more detail.

  36. Liza

    No Garage / No Harvard or Stanford Drop Outs / No Pattern?I applaud Tereza’s post. For several reasons.– First, because I am female, 40+, and, as I write this, I am perched on a stool, laptop on my knees in the corner of a 16 x 20 ft office on the west-side of Manhattan across the table from a female (<20, my partner, still studying and my daughter), with our mid-20s programmer (male, genius, and in post graduate studies) and our early-20s student intern (male, also very bright, and obviously also still studying) off in their respective corners, working, keyboards whirring; as we push towards our self-set deadline to have the alpha version of our product completed and ready to begin testing by friends, experts and close contacts by the beginning of September.– Second, because in quiet moments, I have asked myself: Am I the only ‘seasoned’ female professional with a rewarding career behind her that “has been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug,” as Tereza puts it? Now I know that although we are not many I am not completely alone.– And, third, because Tereza’s post highlights a lot of things that are different about our little group (blog.core398.com). Things – that while they may not fit the pattern, I am sure will be the essence of our success: my years of experience as a transactions lawyer, my partner’s intelligence, high aptitude and female-based creativity, discipline and skills and, beyond doubt, our collaboration with bright young, hard working male students, who are fearless, in the face of the high goals we have set for ourselves (yet, will continue on to complete their degrees … if I can help it).blog.core398.com

    1. Tereza

      Will love to meet you, Liza!We learn a lot from the sh*t that life throws at us. Women grow their confidence in a variety of places, and motherhood is a foundational one of them. When we’re fighting on behalf of others, it’s mind-blowing how tough a woman can be. I see it again and again.And I think that’s very hard to see if someone hasn’t been through it.

  37. Gotham Gal

    I almost posted this editorial today. Glad I didn’t. That would have been too strange considering I am at the beach and you are in the city.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      Great minds…

  38. Donna Brewington White

    Well, Tereza, Fred shares your wonderful post on a day when I am slammed. So, this comment won’t say all I’d like to say. Which given my verbosity is probably a good thing. 😉 Awareness is a necessary component of change. Thank you for helping to create awareness in a way that you are so aptly equipped to do. You are an amazing voice for a time like this.I note that the some of the guys are saying that you should just launch a great company (which you will do) and that this will be an example to other women entrepreneurs (which it will be — and to men entrepreneurs as well). But that’s kinda passive, isn’t it? Your vision is greater than that isn’t it? You are a visionary and ground breaker. You make things happen. It speaks volumes that you aren’t satisfied with merely launching a great company which is a gargantuan task in itself (especially given everything else you’re doing), but also want to proactively help pave the way for others. What you are modeling is pretty admirable. Show ’em how it’s done. You. Go. Girl.

  39. Donna Brewington White

    Thanks for posting this, Fred.You are a visionary…and a sponsor.

    1. RichardF

      That’s why we need the Fred Combinator. AVC is sort of that anyway but an official one would be awesome!

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Fred Combinator!Hadn’t heard that one.Love it!

  40. Senith statistics tutor

    Is the font size changing at AVC?

  41. Somak Chattopadhyay

    Teresa I just read this post and it’s really well written. I have forwarded this to my friends and am so glad Fred shared this too. I have been thinking a great deal about this topic myself as an early stage NY VC who has seen more exciting deals than ever led by incredibly talented women. I have been involved in numerous investments led or founded by women (I hope the number continues to increase) and some of my great mentors in general management and navigating boards (especially understanding the complex dynamics between management and investors) have also been women . I like your ideas of finding new forums to attract these women as it is foolish not to- there are so many areas where women control decisionmaking and it’s a shame they do not have more representation in the investment community. Until they constitute a larger percentage of our industry (it’s beginning to with newer generation of VCs), what are other ways you suggest we as VCs reach out to women entrepeneurs in what you call the entrepreneurial sweet spot (35-45, suburban moms with kids)? Much of our outbound prospecting at least in NY occurs at networking events in urban clusters (tech meetups, cocktail events, etc) and referrals from other deal flow sources who come to same venues. Hard to see how that could overlap with the demographic you’re talking about but I’d love your feedback on this.

    1. Cindy Gallop

      Somak – delighted to see your comment here. Can I suggest that if you want to find great women-founded startups to back, you make it very, very public that you welcome introductions and referrals of female entrepreneurs?In any area where men outnumber women and shouldn’t, a common response to challenge from conference organizers/startup founders/VCs is, ‘Where are the women?/We looked but couldn’t find any/There aren’t any/None applied’. The fact is, particularly in tech, it’s a numbers game. There are far less women than men in the marketplace due to self-perpetuating cycles (lack of visible female role models/women entrepreneurs getting their startups funded means less women motivated and inspired to follow in their footsteps, versus the vast amounts of male role models motivating and inspiring male entrepreneurs). So anyone genuinely interested in fostering and funding women has to more than meet women halfway – has to actually make the effort to publicize the fact that they want to, in order to attract women to them.If you publicize and promote in every way you can that you are the VC firm that actively welcomes women entrepreneurs, they will be drawn to you (and believe me, word will get around very quickly on that one!). Speak at conferences where you make public statements to this effect, and every woman entrepreneur in the audience will line up to speak to you afterwards and tell all their friends. Make a point of stating this in media interviews; make it clear on your website, in your blog, everywhere you can, and you will magnetize great, innovative, brilliant women entrepreneurs who to your point can bring you the future-forward money-making tech enterprises of the future.If you like, email me details re you/what you do at [email protected] – I will happily promote the hell out of any VC who actively welcomes female entrepreneurs, to the whole of my network, by any means at my disposal 🙂

      1. Tereza

        Great note Cindy. I agree with all of it.Also of the women here, how often do you get asked to be on panels? I never do.Would be useful to compile a list of panel-worthy women to have available to panel planners.Either they’re not trying hard enough to find us or we’re not making ourselves easy enough to find. It most likely a combo. For sure, we should make it easier for them.

    2. Tereza

      I agree with Cindy. Publicize heavily.Nice girls don’t crash parties, we get invited.I say that recognizing that women need to be more aggressive; but there will always be a countervailing force telling us to not be outré and trashy.We need a little bit of “Here, kitty kitty…” and put out some milk.Informative — not just pure agenda-less networking, is one aspect. I hate schlepping into NYC for what turns out to be a weak event. High $ and time cost to me.You need to identify people who have an “in” to the population clusters you’re seeking and ask us to share our lists with you; or require each brings a guest who’s new to you.Make it small and intimate enough where we can introduce ourselves to each other (not more than ~12 people). Then we all get value from meeting each other.Think of the Tupperware or lingerie party, book club, or even just a dinner party model. These are proven formats for women to network effectively. Massive hugely profitable business are built on this model!!! And very deliberate about who gets invited. That’s a key part of the value.I can’t over-emphasize the importance of an invitation, of the guest already knowing somebody on the inside.Give that host something (attention? Credit? Service?) for having pulled together the group.Funny thing is since I came out with XX I’ve been approached by a number of groups of women who do something like this. They are organic and carefully curate who’s in, based on the dynamics of the existing group.So interesting to observe this happening in multiple places at once. And it’s off the radar.I think you need to be a scout for these groups.It’s not a ‘build it and they will come’. You have to go find them. Over time, they’ll come to you too.Make sense?

    3. Donna Brewington White

      Appreciate your comment, Somak.

  42. Cindy Gallop

    Lots of great comments on here already, so I wasn’t going to comment until I saw someone highlight the fact there were far fewer women commenting than men, so, hey, what the hell 🙂 I’m 50, I’m an entrepreneur with 2 ventures, http://www.ifwerantheworld.com and http://www.makelovenotporn.com, and I love Tereza’s post. I consider myself a proudly visible member of the most invisible segment of our society – older women – and would love to see more active support shown, and more openmindedness demonstrated when it comes to funding, for female entrepreneurs both young and old.Paco Underhill speaking to AdAge on investing in women:http://adage.com/adagestat/…says, ‘I think one of the ironies of our tech businesses is that so much of it doesn’t recognize that women have the power to take a technology and turn it into an appliance. It’s only when something has mass acceptance to females that it succeeds.’Hopefully posts like this one will help challenge entrenched received wisdom about who and what succeeds in the tech venture space. Many thanks, Tereza.

    1. Tereza


  43. linda abraham

    Well said, Tereza. Great post.With women driving key trends on the web the way they are, this is not an equity issue–it’s about leaving money on the table. Women will see opportunities in the digital space diferently than men, plain and simple. If startups are only being looked at through a male lens, we’ll miss opportunitiesWe need to encourage women to come to the startup table, and to do it on their terms. I’ve done the startup gig twice. I’m sure you’d agree, it’s not for the faint of heart. But with the right team, it’s a blast. As a mom of four, I can attest to what can be accomplihsed between those precious hours of 9 PM to 2 AM. I love the Kids-in-Bed-combinator idea!

    1. Tereza

      Linda please post a link to your blog post and white paper here!Anyone interested in the topic should read both.Linda is a veteran at this with so much to share!

  44. Prokofy

    Silicon Valley start-up culture is nasty and authoritarian. It’s glorified by men because it serves that authoritarian agenda. I do wonder if it is possible to have another kind of culture. Perhaps it is possible for people in New York to make that other culture, and perhaps women getting involved more in technology might change the nature of the software cults.But…I’m not hearing it. I’m hearing merely a sectarian cry of “let my tribe play, too, with the big boys” and not hearing what specific features and methods and cultural changes women bring to the table. Perhaps it’s not about a stereotypical “kinder, gentler,” but it’s about more balance or grounded approachs, less fanaticism. I don’t know. And maybe not. History is filled with examples of when women came to power and were no different then men, and in fact, become loathed even more by men.

  45. Beatrice Pang

    Tereza, thanks for a great post! I certainly have found that women are naturally more social and can have great instincts in building the next generation of digital social experiences! Women talk 20 times as much as men, so they tend to spread ideas more effectively than men do and often more intuitively know what users want. Women also love shopping and can be better at smelling the e-commerce opportunities. Gilt Groupe is a great success case among others!Go women entrepreneurs!