I have written 147 Monday posts about Women Entrepreneurs. It is the hardest post I write every week not because it takes time. I need to have a conversation with each woman I write about while I am in front of a computer. Carrying the dreaded Blackberry made it easier for me because I could type on that Blackberry without looking down at any given moment. So when I meet women in my travels who I'd like to write about I need to take the time to connect with them instead of a seat of the pants meeting.
I have thought about doing videos with each of these women instead of a written post but these women come from around the globe so that is a challenge right there. I continue to think about it and perhaps one day I will get there.
I have met the most amazing women over the years who I have written about and who I have not written about. It has been an important issue for me to not only write about women but support their ventures through my investment portfolio and putting on the Womens Entrepreneur Festival with my co-founder Nancy Hechinger.
What I have found is that most of these women (and my guess is it would be the same for men) come from families where either one or both of their parents are/were entrepreneurs. That is not surprisng to me but it would be interesting to see some real data on childrens career paths based on their parents lives. Being an entrepreneur can be anyone who starts their own company to a doctor with their own practice.
Technology is threaded into the majority of businesses that I have invested in yet many of them are businesses that are changing verticals using technology vs pure technology businesses. What I mean by that is I don't see enough women who write code enter my office. They obviously all understand the power of technology and understand how to engage and manage computer programmers as they are the visionaries behind their companies.
There has been a lot of conversation and brouhaha around women and code thanks to the interview with Paul Graham on Valleywag. I particularly liked the thoughtful piece written by Taylor Rose in response to the internet chatter. Fred wrote about it too. Dismissing what Graham has to say with anger gets us nowhere. Thinking about how we solve these issues and make change around the issue of getting more women to engage in writing code from a very young age is productive. The fact that we are having these conversations is a sign that change is happening. I certainly believe we are seeing change.
Does writing code give you a leg up being an entrepeneur in the start-up technology community. Based on the fact that most of the money being invested in start-up companies is provided by men than I would say yes. Is it the end all be all? No. Will we see a shift in the next ten years of women who are computer scientists that have been hacking around on a computer since they were 13? Absolutely because it is what young women want and there are organizations helping to provide that knowledge from Girls Who Code to The Academy of Software Engineering and even universities who understand that engaging women and having an in-depth curriculum around Computer Science is important. I would be bold enough to say that every college/university should make every freshman take one computer science class.
The big question is with more women being able to write code will the businesses that they build change? I don't know the answer to that but being in charge of your own destiny in a technology based business changes when you know how to code. Women are incredible entrepreneurs. They are thoughtful, competitive, strategic, hard-working and strategic. I see that every day. Being able to actually write the technology that is the back bone of their companies just gives them (or anyone) another boost.
I will continue working on the Women Entrepreneur posts as I believe it is important to highlight the many amazing women who are building businesses. They are role models for future generations. We need to highlight their achievements so that the next generation of women feel empowered to make their own mark and perhaps learn a little code along the way.