“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any." ~ Alice Walker
Edit: This post was partially in response to this
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>.<a href="https://twitter.com/TechCrunch">@TechCrunch</a>: "What (Some) Silicon Valley Women Think Of <a href="https://twitter.com/Newsweek">@Newsweek</a>" by <a href="https://twitter.com/alexia">@Alexia</a> <a href="http://t.co/ZPpZvrmOnG">http://t.co/ZPpZvrmOnG</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/500Startups">@500startups</a> <a href="http://t.co/uWiMkiAlS9">pic.twitter.com/uWiMkiAlS9</a></p>— Dave McClure (@davemcclure) <a href="https://twitter.com/davemcclure/status/561408289712242688">January 31, 2015</a></blockquote>
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I guess at some point I’m supposed to voice my opinion about the women in tech thing that’s getting page views and sensationalism all over the place. Hell, I’ve been in at least a few articles just because of my gender. My views are complex and rooted in more than just being a woman who invests in tech. I’m also mother of a teenage boy, a closet nerd, an over the moon newlywed after 12 years as a single mom, an MK (that’s missionary’s kid for those of you not reared in the bible belt). I’m an MBA, have been successful in 3 male-dominated industries. Oh, and people still think I’m hot (yeah, I totally said that).
Sooooo, you can imagine the issue is a tough one for me to ponder. You can’t really offend me more than the machismo Mexican culture that I partly grew up with, along with my dad’s views on a woman’s place in the home. Grabbed my ass? Oh no! Not that!! It hardly warrants a response.
But I, like many other people in our industry, am concerned at the complete lack of diversity in the technical peeps around me. After 15 years of working with virtually no women, I now have a staff comprised mostly thereof. And they’re awesome! How was I to know?!? And what are we missing out on when it comes to amazing new innovations with this lack of diversity?
You know the funny part though? Even with the comments to my face, behind my back - mostly awkward, and sometimes even flattering, I never thought I couldn’t do what I wanted to.
Yes, I always thought and acted as if it was in me to get, be and do everything I wanted. It’s a lot of damn work, and probably more difficult as a female. But I never really slowed down and took my eye off the ball long enough to dwell on it. I was too busy proving it.
Until now. You see, I grew up very disadvantaged so never really knew anything other than struggle and unwelcome pity. I didn’t care how much easier it was for some other people. They weren’t me, so what did it matter? I also didn’t care for the charity. I know, quite the contradiction from my upbringing. We gave away new stuff and wore used stuff.
That doesn’t mean I can’t do something about it. After all, as any great marketer will tell you, you probably aren’t representative of the market.
The only thing I can think of to do (other than prove it) is speak with my wallet. I invest in our women-led fund every year and make some direct investments in other startups. For the time being, those direct investments will only be in women-led startups. But save your cooking and shopping apps. I despise both. Bring me some real nerdy stuff that I can get excited about. And no whining or laziness. That's worse than shopping and cooking.