The Gig Is Up

I have been reading the slow but meaningful fall out of the “boys” in the tech industry over the last week.  It was bound to happen, it was just a matter of when.  I have spent the last decade investing in start-ups.  When I began this journey of my career, I made a conscious decision to invest in women and minorities.  It isn’t that I don’t invest in men but the men that I have invested in are strong supporters of women and treat them as equals with the utmost respect…just as it should be.  Some would say that they are part of the girls club and I am sure that they would all welcome that title.

Over the past decade, I have heard from almost every woman I have invested in about all the inappropriate comments.  That includes sexual innuendos, dismissive respect over their businesses, coming straight out and saying that they do not want to invest in women who are going to have children, noting how hot they are, asking to meet in a hotel room, texting that they miss them and so much more.  It is vile and a complete misuse of power.

Women in tech and many other businesses have heard it all, but we have ignored it or talked among ourselves about that “asshole” to our female peers and moved onward.  Coming out in public takes tremendous strength because the fear has always been if I say anything, I will be marked and it will hurt my career and my company.  I believe, and certainly hope, that times are a changing.

A woman I am invested in noted that as women and people of color rise to the top of the media, more stories like this will come out.  Women have been putting up with this shit for years. In my book, Niniane Wang, Susan Ho, Leiti Hsu and Susan Fowler are heroes.  It takes serious “balls” to do what they did.

Women keep their guard up every time that they enter a room of men and they shouldn’t have to.  I am hoping these heroes have turned the table.  That this will push every single man to think about their behavior and that includes calling out their peers or even partners when it comes to blatant harassment or unconscious bias because women have reached the boiling point.  We are not going to take it anymore.  There should be repercussions for bad behavior and it appears in the past week there was.

The power is shifting.  As more female-led companies become unstoppable, go public or exit at high valuations, our power will shift.  When more women lead publicly traded companies, the power will shift.  When more women make multi-million dollars movies, the power will shift.  The foundation for change has been built over the last ten years.

So all you bad boys….I believe the gig is up.