Wednesday, May 12, 2010

nyt: why so few women in silicon valley

By virtue of being the kind of network engineer I am, I'm unlikely to ever be a single-digit employee of a startup. By the time a company needs a full-time employee to handle the kind of infrastructure that I do, they're usually well into the scores of employees. And I haven't really done much of the startup thing. The smallest company I worked for was about 50 people, and even that was fairly well established.

I spent the entire late 1990's tech boom working for a single very large company. It was great fun, and I got to work on big networks and big projects. But it means that there is an entire subculture of the tech industry that I haven't really directly experienced very much -- that kind of technical nomadic thing that I've seen a bunch of friends in the SF bay and other areas go through, moving from startup to startup. (It also is one of the reasons that I've never been laid off, which feels like it makes me a huge outlier in the IT field!)

But even having avoided dealing directly with venture capital firms, I'm kind of appalled by this article in the NYT relaying some experiences an ex-HP manager type had pitching her company idea to VCs.
she recalls one venture capitalist telling her that it didn’t matter that she didn’t have business cards, because all they would say was “Mom.”

Seriously? It's the 21st century! Hey boys, 1975 called, and they want their chauvinism back. Also, 1975 can keep those horrible not-a-scarf-not-a-tie thing women wore with business blouses, too. We don't need those. Hates them, my precious, hates them we do.


  1. On the non-scarf/non-tie thing, if you follow The Daily Show and other news programs, apparently it's time for men to start wearing ascots again.

  2. Having dealt directly with venture capitalists with one of my business plans, I have to say that I am not terribly surprised (sickening as that is to write). I have never dealt with a more narcissistic soulless bunch of animals (although, that's not fair to animals).

    Seriously, after I got done with the meeting I felt an overwhelming to go and wash my hands (only cause a shower would have been impossible at the time). It was actually one of the reasons I dropped the plan and went on to work with another idea I had been working on; that meeting left me knowing that I did _NOT_ want to deal with them, no matter how much money might have been involved.



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Regis has worked as a network engineer since 1994 for small companies and for large companies.