A entrepreneur friend of mine, who happens to be female, and I were talking. Another female entrepreneur had said that she couldn't get funding for her company because she was female, and that she would have easily gotten it if she was male.
Now, I have no idea if this is true or not. As a straight white male, basically no one has any biases against me. And I have enough female friends to know that women are, in some ways, treated worse than men. That's an unfortunate fact of modern life that seems to be changing in a positive direction. Venture capitalists seems like a smart enough bunch that they would see an opportunity if female entrepreneurs weren't getting the same amount of funding as their male peers, but again I have no firsthand experience so I don't really know.
My friend and I were talking about this and she said something that I thought was really smart. She said, "There are disadvantages to being female, but their are advantages to it, too. And either way, I'm going to do the best I can with what I've got."
What a perfect attitude. It's so obviously true, and it's both a diagnosis of the situation and a solution to it as well. She will be discriminated against in some cases because she's female. But she will also get some opportunities as a result. And either way, she's going to play the cards she's dealt to the best of her ability.
Seeing the world clearly is so important. You can be the best navigator in the world, but if your map is wrong, you're still going to have problems. It seems very often that people with a victim mentality cling to an inaccurate or shaded view of the world, and it holds them back.
I have advantages, and I have disadvantages. I don't complain about my disadvantages and I try not to be too proud of my advantages either. It's just where I'm at right now. I work on the disadvantages to try to prevent them from getting in my way, and I try to focus my energy such that I'm leveraging my advantages as best I can.
At the end of the day, that's the only attitude that yields results. You accept the truth of your situation, whether you like it or not, and you make the best of it.
Photo is the Sydney Opera house. Did you know that the roof is ceramic tile? I figured it was metal mesh or canvas or something from all of the photos. It's really a pretty spectacular sight in person.
In the Q&A portion of an entrepreneurship talk I was giving, I remember getting asked how I overcome biases against women. My response then was that *I just don't care*. It's not that I ignore it, or that I grit my teeth and carry on... But that it’s a non-issue for me.
It is not even on my radar.
My answer did not satisfy the asker, but it’s all I had. I was a fish, and she was asking me how the water is. *What water?*
Yesterday, during wrestling training, a 60kg guy and I were practicing double leg lift takedowns.
Being 55kg and female, I was praised repeatedly for being able to lift him, but when he lifted me, it’s just, duh you should be able to lift her. You’re a guy, and you’re heavier.
It’s the same in sparring too. It’s okay if I don’t score any points — it’s guys I am training with. They are naturally stronger and heavier than me.
But when a guy scores against me, it’s not necessarily because he is competent. He just has a natural advantage - he’s a guy. He’s stronger, duh. If he can’t score against me? My goodness, what is wrong with you, guy.
Poor guy, just can’t win.
Then I realized … it’s not that the collective subconscious sexism of our society is a non-issue for me. I am aware of it, but I take advantage of it.
I seek environments where men have a natural advantage, specifically, where women feel disadvantaged. Like powerlifting and wrestling. Win or lose, I win.
I’d say in consciously seeking out situations where women are at an obvious natural disadvantage, people overcompensate and there are psychological / social advantages to be had from that for women who recognize this.
Thanks for the really thoughtful reply. I found the exact same thing when I took ballet. I was the teacher's favorite and was constantly praised for doing stuff that many of the females in the class could do better and more easily. I also felt like I got more attention, which helped me get better faster.
Hmmm. Your point is taken that attitude (working around obstacles instead of playing the victim) is important, but it bothered me to read, "Now, I have no idea if this is true or not." Because that sounds like climate deniers who say, I'm not a scientist, so I don't know for sure if it's a real thing (so I'm not going to worry about it). I would suggest looking a little (lot!) deeper before you brush off the existence of sexual, age, or race bias just because you haven't experienced it first hand. There are plenty of well-designed studies that have examined these issues and clearly demonstrate they are real and significant, and the people who's lives are impacted by bias are struggling harder than young white males to make a living. Dig deeper.
As a straight white male I have experienced an incredible number of biases. From what degree I have or don't have to who I have worked with to how I talk and whether I like the right "cool" things, almost nothing I do is evaluated solely on its inherent merits.
So I learn what disadvantages can be overcome, and what advantages can make me more effective. In the end the only thing that works consistently is to do something so clearly superior that this is no other real alternative. Even then I get overlooked a lot.
I read Ronda Rousey's book last week because I saw a screenshot of one page where she says that to be the best in the world you have to be able to win twice on your worst day, and win so clearly that no one has any excuse to claim otherwise. If I can't do that I keep working.
As far as I was concerned, she was perfect. She was at least as smart as I was, was a dancer and had the body to prove it, and had a smile that could disarm the national guard. Let's call her Julie.
So, like an earthworm stalking it's prey, I put my usual game on her. Since my last flowchart was so popular, I've made another one to show you how I dealt with the ladies back then:
Nedless to say, things went slowly. We hung out nearly every day for the last couple months of our Senior year summer vacation. Like many guys, I was totally oblivious to her attraction for me. One morning Julie came over really early while I was still sleeping, and squeezed into my twin bed with me. I woke up, and assumed that she must be tired - it didn't even occur to me that she might like me. Finally on the last week of that vacation she said to me,
I attended an event at Kicklabs tonight hosted by Girls In Tech, which was an interview of Twitter CEO Evan Williams by Claire Cain Miller of the New York Times.
Twitter has 300 people and is adding 25 to 30 people per month. Evan says that he now "doesn't know all the people in the company anymore" as Twitter has grown. When asked about his experience as an entrepreneur, Evan said when he started Odeo, he was "too anxious" to be an entrepreneur but the business passion didn't come from within.
Interestingly, there was no Twitter hash tag defined for the event, and and only one audience question was asked via Twitter. Claire, the interviewer, really grilled Evan on Twitter's hiring practices & approach towards women at the company, and in tech in general. So, a question for the comments - do you think he responded appropriately? Should he have to be fielding those types of questions in an interview setting like the one last night? Evan mentioned that Twitter hires women when it can, but Twitter won't hire someone "just because she's a woman." Is that the right approach or the wrong approach? Should there be a quota for women in tech?
I attended an event at Kicklabs tonight hosted by Girls In Tech, which was an interview of Twitter CEO Evan Williams by Claire Cain Miller of the New York Times. Twitter has 300 people and is adding 25 to 30 people per month. Evan says that he now "doesn't know all the people in the company anymore" as Twitter has grown. When asked about his experience as an entrepreneur, Evan said when he started Odeo, he was "too anxious" to be an entrepreneur but the business passion didn't come from within. Interestingly, there was no Twitter hash tag defined for the event, and and only one audience question was asked via Twitter. Claire, the interviewer, really grilled Evan on Twitter's hiring practices & approach towards women at the company, and in tech in general. So, a question for the comments - do you think he responded appropriately? Should he have to be fielding those types of questions in an interview setting like the one last night? Evan mentioned that Twitter hires women when it can, but Twitter won't hire someone "just because she's a woman." Is that the right approach or the wrong approach? Should there be a quota for women in tech? In the video below, Evan comments on: The emphasis on hiring women at Twitter (he says 25% to 30% of the Twitter workforce is female) Michael Arrington's post about the dearth of women in tech Twitter's business model: Promoted tweets are the main initiative for generating revenue on Twitter. Promoted tweets may be inserted into people's regular tweets based on "what you're interested in, where you are, and what you write about" about "Early bird tweets" , which were an experiment, and while still going on, although it's a "side project" now. how "90 million tweets were written today" whether or not Twitter could become a public company. "Seems like there's a chance," Evan said Whether he can remain CEO as the company grows Twitter's main challenge currently, which is "to give you the best tweets. We want to think of more ways for you to opt in" Twitter just added a corporate marketing person What it's like to manage a rapidly growing business (50% of the workforce has been at Twitter for less than 9 months) Evan says the main reason "big corporations suck" is because people don't trust each other. Twitter's attitude towards its role in the Iran elections, and how Twitter doesn't do anything to impede tweets unless illegal or impersonation How they decided on the 140 character limit, and how SMS was a "total hack" by the characters. Fun fact: At first, Twitter was 160 characters, minus your user name, minus 2 characters. What it was like to get married and become a father while balancing being an entrepreneur How Twitter tries to offer a balanced work environment, with yoga, pilates, gym memberships and food An upcoming focus on location & events Bill Gates' usage of Twitter & Facebook (and specifically the frustrations Gates had with Facebook) Thoughts on the new iPhone & iPad applications, and the changing attitude about the importance of mobile, and why Android is not in Evan's top 10 list of priorities How Twitter "imports" employees from outside Silicon Valley and outside the US