Apparently start ups should be nicer to women with children

The basic theme of this piece by Bronwen Clue is that investors are very naughty people for investing in start ups where everyone works hard.

This means that single women with children are disadvantaged in getting a job at a hot start up where they might make millions in stock.

But passion, in a startup context, turns out to be something a little more sinister than simply doing what you love. It’s a belief that if your startup isn’t your life, you will fail. Your startup comes before all else, including your personal relationships. Those with families? Please exit through the back door.

And Arrington warns, “there’s so much money in Silicon Valley now that a lot of non-like minded people have rolled in. Looking for easy stock options at a hot startup. They start whining when they realise that they have to give so much to make it all work.” So, robotic hive-minds need only apply. Arrrr.

Investors like to say they invest in people not ideas, but this doesn’t mean giving people money, it means giving young men money to prove how much they are committed to their idea by not properly compensating themselves.

….

Those who succeeded before are likely to succeed again in the areas that have proven successful. And so the crowd that seeks to replicate Zuckerberg with more young, white, privileged male founders continues unabated. For an industry that prides itself on innovation and “making a dent in the universe”, every time we let investors’ beliefs go unchallenged, we’re guaranteeing the future looks pretty much like the past. Except tomorrow’s winners are richer, younger and more privileged than the white men before them.

So I guess every start up must now pay nice upper middle class salaries, work only 35 hours a week and make sure that creche is fully staffed dammit!

Which is, I hear, how they do it in France. And there might be a reason why it’s Silicon Valley pumping out the new products, not Gay Paree.

17 thoughts on “Apparently start ups should be nicer to women with children”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    Those who succeeded before are likely to succeed again in the areas that have proven successful. And so the crowd that seeks to replicate Zuckerberg with more young, white, privileged male founders continues unabated. For an industry that prides itself on innovation and “making a dent in the universe”, every time we let investors’ beliefs go unchallenged, we’re guaranteeing the future looks pretty much like the past. Except tomorrow’s winners are richer, younger and more privileged than the white men before them.

    Her whine is more complex than just young women with children being disadvantaged. Because I am not sure it is true. I dimly remember being told that more women start their own businesses than men. This is a complex question and her complaint about White Privilege might go down well with some people here but it is clearly bollocks with bells on it.

    The question is why do so many start ups by young White men do so well and those started by non-young, non-White non-men don’t. The young one is easy – middle aged men with children and a mortgage can’t afford to devote so much time for so little cash in hand. They need a secure job.

    The non-men is probably also easy to answer – it is too easy for women. I think that on average success is not vital. After all, women may launch many new start ups but how many of them are selling little knick knacks of one sort or another in a business ultimately supported by their husbands with jobs in the City who want to stop them from being bored at home all day long? Enough to be significant I expect. Women still have the luxury of failing, genteelly, in business and having someone else pay the mortgage. Less pressure to succeed means less success.

    The White is interesting. Are Asians (in the US sense of Orientals as well as the British sense of South Asians) so poorly represented? I can think of one – Jerry Yang of Yahoo fame. That probably means they aren’t.

    So is there some other explanation that works and is more rational than her complaint? Let me try one. For your average computer geek, the difference between a successful start up and failure is massive when measure in the ability to pull women. The choice is really between massive success and hence being Larry Ellison or sitting at home whacking off in front of some bizarre Asian fetish porn. At best you can hope to wait until you’re 35 and you might find someone who has seen better days and needs her credit cards paid off. So why not take a risk? You are hardly worse off if it all fails. Girls still won’t speak to you.

    It is not privilege. Literally it is not. People who succeed in the world of programming do so on their own talents. Well, apart from Bill Gates. You write good code, everyone knows it. You don’t, everyone knows that too. You produce a good product, you make money. If investing in female start ups made as much money people would do that.

  2. Bill Gates was a talented programmer. He wrote Altair BASIC without a machine to test it on, and it worked first time off the paper tape. And he and Paul Allen, like everyone else, worked ridiculous hours when their businesses were startups.

    The basic problem is that people like Bronnie don’t fit well to capitalism. They don’t suit a dynamic economy. The life they want is that of a mandarinate, in which secure, consistent, well rewarded positions can be obtained by following a formal process of gaining qualifications on a predictable career path.

    Which is why of course they’ve spent the past century doing their best to create a mandarinate in western society.

  3. SMFS reminds me of a couple of women on Dragon’s Den when it was still a decent and interesting program.

    Two women had pitched some website idea that would take a year to develop and produce some revenue and wanted something like 100K for 5% of the business. I paraphrase Leo’s response:

    “So you want me to pay you £50k each for a year and if it makes money you get very rich and if it doesn’t I’m out of pocket and you’ve had a nice lifestyle for a year. Get out of here.”

  4. You have to wonder how the French do it though. Ridiculous work rules, actively strangling free enterprise, and yet they still have a GDP per capita higher (just) than the UK.

  5. “Except tomorrow’s winners are richer, younger and more privileged than the white men before them.”

    Since age discrimination against the young is the biggest unfair-discrimination problem our society faces, can one assume the Guardian, with its right-on, anti-unfair-discrimination stance, is actually in favour of the things apparently being railed against?

  6. IanB

    “The life they want is that of a mandarinate, in which secure, consistent, well rewarded positions can be obtained by following a formal process of gaining qualifications on a predictable career path”.

    Following a formal process/ path?. Try bullshitting, brown-nosing, arse-kissing, crawling, backstabbing and, in a number of cases I know of, shagging their way up the ladder.

    That would be more like it.

  7. Ms Clue is continuing the Grauniad rant “the world owes women a luxurious living without them having to work too hard.”
    She has obviously not heard of the phrase “earning a living” which was commonplace when I was young. It was something young men of every class (albeit locally almost all white because it was cold) were expected to do.
    There are lots and lots of working-class entrepreneurs who have started their own businesses – builders, plumbers, electricians, taxi-drivers, my butcher, fishmonger, fruit&veg stall in the market, newsagent, previous baker (when he retired a company bought the business), my neighbour who installs TV,hi-fi and electronic security and often leaves home before my alarm rings, deservedly earning more than I now do, … I know/meet more working-class entrepreneurs who have started their own business than middle-class ones (well, there’s me and my last dentist-but-one and the guys who hired me as a consultant expert after I was made redundant and, er, this guy I knew at college) – definitely more working-class guys, but they are all guys. As SMFS says, a lot (but *not* all) of self-employed women are doing something that they want to do, not because they need to earn a living. My wife meets some genuine female entrepreneurs, such as her hairdresser, who now employs half-a-dozen stylists but not many despite her preference for supporting female businesses.

  8. SMFS,

    I know a developer (Chinese descent) and in his spare time, he taught himself the Unity game framework, so he could write games. He then went on Kickstarter and raised the money to continue doing it.

    And I’ve met a few male programmers like that, but none of the women I’ve met with do that. They turn up, do the job and go home.

    Sometimes, they’re just what appears to be something silly or crazy, something they built for the fun of it. A lot of the hugely successful ones, people had no idea of the demand.

  9. This is the usual Grauniad question-begging: it assumes, without any supporting evidence, that more women, and women with children to boot, in startups would be a Good Thing. A Good Thing for whom is left largely unexamined and is presumably accepted as being women with children and/or Grauniad readers. The tired old trope in so many of these thumbsuckers is that under-representation of group X in activity or enterprise Y is ipso facto wrong, and should be remedied (by measures of varying degrees of coercion, but always, it is tacitly assumed, with Grauniad types at the helm).

  10. Would any of our female readers (or female partners of readers) want to get a job in order to meet some quota or requirement for a company to have females working there at that point? Rather than simply being best person for the job, be the right sex for the job alone.

  11. So Much For Subtlety

    Ian B – “Bill Gates was a talented programmer. He wrote Altair BASIC without a machine to test it on, and it worked first time off the paper tape.”

    You see, things like that I find it hard to believe. No one writes a program that works first time out without a great deal of debugging. He would be God-like to have managed it. Who saw him do it?

    “The basic problem is that people like Bronnie don’t fit well to capitalism. They don’t suit a dynamic economy. The life they want is that of a mandarinate, in which secure, consistent, well rewarded positions can be obtained by following a formal process of gaining qualifications on a predictable career path.”

    Indeed. What they really want is to marry Mr D’Arcy. Nice big house in the country. A firm financial basis of support. And of course no divorce laws in those days. Happy ever after indeed. But they have to say that they don’t like that sort of sexist tripe, and so they want to pretend to have careers so, like, men will take them as seriously as they did Elizabeth Bennett without having to be, you know, smart or sensible. But those careers have to provide the security that marrying someone who owns Pemberley can provide. Hence, as you say ….

    “Which is why of course they’ve spent the past century doing their best to create a mandarinate in western society.”

    And why the entire government is set up to take money from men and give it to women. Why the law takes money from men, no matter what they have or have not done, and gives it to women, regardless of what they have or have not done. So a child unable to legally consent to sexual intercourse is still legaqlly obligated to pay child support if his rapist gets pregnant. And then there’s that poor fool in Cambridge whose wife stole his sperm bank deposit.

    But how is it working out? Women don’t seem particularly happy. They are not doing well in the work place. Indeed they seem very unhappy about it.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2530704/Half-women-bullied-harassed-work-quarter-believe-overloaded-tasks.html

    I suggest that we go back to encouraging them to stay at home with a good husband and leaving work to men.

    The comments on that Daily Mail article bring a tear to my eye. I doubt they are completely representative of the UK, but they show that not everyone has drunk the Koolaid.

  12. So Much For Subtlety

    David Gillies – “This is the usual Grauniad question-begging: it assumes, without any supporting evidence, that more women, and women with children to boot, in startups would be a Good Thing. A Good Thing for whom is left largely unexamined and is presumably accepted as being women with children and/or Grauniad readers.”

    Steve Sailor wrote an excellent article on this where he did examine the unasked question. If Facebook is so good, just how could it have been better with a couple of female and/or non-White faces on the board? Apple? Microsoft?

    What is it that these pasty-faced melanin-deficient future rapists are NOT doing that needs to be done?

    In the meantime, I am with my Lesbian sister-in-the-struggle, Camille Paglia.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *