I’m the founder of a startup. It’s a tech startup. I’ve built an online platform that connects real estate developers with investors, and I spend tons of time, energy, and resources making sure this platform is secure, reliable, and easy to use. I love my startup and I love what I do. I am determined to make it one of the best equity crowdfunding platforms in the world.
I wish I could say that l love the tech world as much as I love my startup. But unfortunately, there are some truths in the recent spate of articles about how this industry can be hostile to people who may not look and act like the folks traditionally at the top. The Atlantic‘s April 2017 cover story asks, “Why Is Silicon Valley So Awful to Women?” and a New York Times piece that ran a couple weeks ago tells the story of “Jerks and the Start-Ups They Ruin.”
These articles detail the ways women, minorities, and older workers are paid and promoted less than men, interrupted in meetings more than men, and are much less likely to get funding from venture capitalists. According to the New York Times piece, these are all signs of “bro culture,” which is built on “reckless spending and excessive partying,” values “speedy growth over sustainable profits,” and encourages “cutting corners, ignoring regulations and doing whatever it takes to win.”
All of this makes me feel uncomfortable in the tech world and makes me feel like I don’t belong there. And yet, I know that this is where I want to belong. This is where I know that I do belong. I, and a host of other women, old and young, have plenty to contribute. It’s baffling that we are not embraced.
There is very little that I can do on my own to fix this, but I am doing something small. This Friday, April 21, I’m bringing Bay Area social entrepreneur and financial innovator Jenny Kassan to Pittsburgh for a special one-day workshop for women entrepreneurs. Jenny — a Yale and Berkeley-educated attorney and advisor — has a practice that focuses on helping women raise capital on their own terms and making an impact doing what they love. There is no one in Pittsburgh who has a practice quite like Jenny’s.
So please, come and join me. Come and figure out how to make your business bigger and better. Fly in the face of the “bro culture” by building a spectacular business of your own.