The NYT article here raises two issues dear to our hearts at The Spiral Path: discrimination
against women in the workplace and cultures that frustrate innovation.
In another string to the argument business is irrational and makes decisions that hinder
productivity and profit,
this piece in the New York Times points out the prevailing culture of sex discrimination
at Silicon Valley.
Women, although better at the helm of startups than their male counterparts, are rarely given
the chance. (Now of course The Spiral Path recognises that research is often
misreported so we mention quote the august NYT here with some slight hesitancy.
According to the article:
Women own 40 percent of the private businesses in the
United States … But they create only 8 percent of the venture-backed tech start-ups.
Candace Fleming, used as a case study for the article,
“has a double major in industrial engineering and English from Stanford, an MBA from
management position at Hewlett-Packard and experience as president of a small
Yet she was unable to obtain finance from any of the 30 venture capitalists she tried, instead
raising money from angel investors “including Golden Seeds
, a fund that emphasizes investing in start-ups led by women”.
More disturbing than this, though was the way she was treated by men on her journey.
- one told her that she didn’t really need business cards because they would just
- another showed her a naked picture of himself as a way of inviting her on a yachting weekend
Quoting further from the NYT:
Research indicates that investing in women as tech entrepreneurs is good for the bottom line.
Venture-backed start-ups run by women use, on average, 40 percent less capital than start-ups run
by men and are increasingly involved in successful initial public offerings of stock,
according to a recent white paper by Cindy Padnos,
a venture capitalist who compiled data from 100 studies on gender and tech entrepreneurship.
“When you have gender diversity in an organization, you have better innovation, and I don’t
know where innovation is more important than in the high-tech world,” says Ms. Padnos, who recently
founded Illuminate Ventures, which invests in
start-ups led by women.