”When you enter tech, you realize that there are many more men than women. Don’t use that as an excuse. You can’t get deterred as a female founder knowing that’s the situation. You need to ignore those that say you cant do it and surround yourself with a Team who believes in you, believes in your idea, and believes in your ability to make it happen.”
Trouble-Makers Topics: Author, Timely, Kurtzig, Sexism, Re-luctant, Optimistic, Lessons, Q&A: Who, Threat.
Book Review: ‘Troublemakers’, by Stanford University historian Leslie Berlin’s tells the story of female leaders like Sandra Kurtzig at a time when America’s tech industry was in its infancy in the 1970’s. “Silicon Valley had always had a place for women”, says Author Leslie.
Author: Leslie Berlin 48 Teacher, Speech-Writer & Historian for Silicon Valley Archives at Stanford University for last 15 years – BA, MA & PhD. Met her Husband when she was 12 and has 2 children.
Mis-Treatment of Women has affected Silicon Valley, Entertainment, Social Media and so many other Industries + Politics and is starting to be acknowledged in other countries besides USA. (ie, There was the misbehavior at Uber, that forced out its hard charging CEO and allegations of harassment made against top Venture Capitalists VCs.
Timely Subject. As Silicon Valley tech companies struggle with important questions about their influence, reach & culture, it might be the perfect time for a history lesson. In this climate comes the book “Troublemakers” – a history of Silicon Valley in the 1970s – from Stanford University historian Leslie Berlin. Out Tuesday 07 Nov 17, the book tells the story of seven (7) individuals who embodied the Valley’s ethos when the likes of Apple & Intel were in their infancy. “Troublemakers” also contains some “aha!” moments, as readers realize the many connections between the old Silicon Valley and the new.
Two Outstanding Women: 1) Sandra Kurtzig, the first female to take a tech company public – ASK Software and 2) Fawn Alvarez, who went from factory worker to Chief of Staff at a ROLM, once a major Telecom company in Silicon Valley. “Women have been here pioneering alongside men all along,” Author Leslie tells Moneyish (a cool Financial Website for Millenials. “Women have had to be as good, while also contending with a lot of issues that men didn’t need to.”
Sexism: Though long in the making, Kurtzig’s tale can be read as a researched response to James Damore, the now-fired Google engineer who this year wrote an inflammatory Memo questioning if women belonged in science & tech. “This notion that Silicon Valley has an anti-woman bias in its DNA is not borne out,” Author Leslie says, adding that “Females did “everything from building electronics to writing code for video games” back when the now super-prosperous slice of northern California was a backwater. (Women in 2017 typically make up about 30% of Tech industry workforce, but only 17% of the “real” Tech Jobs of U.S.-based employees at major Silicon Valley firms and only 5.2% of CEO positions)
Sandy Kurtzig Now. At 70, she isn’t out of the game. In 2011, she founded Kenandy, an enterprise Software company that launched with $10.5 million in funding from some of the Valley’s biggest VCs. (She now sits on the board.) But though Author Leslie – who wrote a well-received biography of “Mayor of Silicon Valley” Bob Noyce in 2005 – Leslie considers Kurtzig to an O.G. Trouble-Maker. Sandy’s Silicon Valley was also very different from the 21st century tech corridor that popularized jargon like: disruption, scaling, elevator pitch, internet of things, augmented reality, AI &VR.
Reluctant Startup Entrepreneurs. Indeed, Author Leslie argues that Kurtzig and contemporaries like Apple’s Steve Wozniak & Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg were reluctant startup entrepreneurs. “For a lot of them, if they could have thrived within the status quo, they would have done it,” she says, noting that Kurtzig was perversely penalized for being a good Sales Woman in her earlier career. “They was a real sense of a citizen’s duty to do the right thing and benefit the body politic that doesn’t seem to [exist] so much anymore.”
Optimistic. But Leslie is still optimistic about Silicon Valley, which she emphasizes has thousands of entrepreneurial firms like Tesla, Solar City, Kiva that work on Self-Driving Vehicles, Solar, Robotics, Drones, Clowd-Funding, etc – most of them trying to improve the world. These are beyond the big Boys in Silicon Valley of Apple, Google, Intel, HP, Cisco, Oracle, Netflix & Facebook. And she adds that for all the problems of sexism America’s tech titans face, it’s probably not worse than in Hollywood.
Competent Women. “That’s the unfortunate part of being a professional woman,” she says. “But the stories that are coming out were broken by women who were highly and had options” beyond their previous employment. “It’s nowhere near good enough, but it’s a reflection of the [better] opportunities women have today.”
Lessons for Entrepreneurs, from this book? 1) whoever’s on top now is not necessarily going to be on top later, [Winners now, Losers later] and that’s true for whoever’s bringing up the rear. For example, Atari was so important, in 70’s & 80’ and look what happened. They only have Chuck-E-Cheese left.
2) the importance of Team-work. One of these reasons I wrote the book this way is that very often history in general is written in the style of “the great man biography.” I did that when I wrote a book about Robert Noyce. But in this book, I emphasize that the valley was built by so many people, some of whom just just outside the spotlight.
3), the importance of Passing the Baton. Entrepreneurs ideally, need to find someone who’s done it before. When you’re looking to hire people, separating impact from flash can be hard. There’s sometimes a correlation between those two and sometimes not.
Questions & Answers (to/from Author)
Q: Who is the most “fascinating” Tech figure you’ve ever interviewed?
A: It’s tough. I’ve talked to Andy Grove, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett, Gordon Moore, and I’ve talked to all the people in this book. I’m not even sure that “fascinating” is the most important part of that. One of the great things about this line of work is when you get off the phone, or walk away from a lunch, and you say, “Wow. So cool to get to know that person.”
Q: What is the greatest “threat” to Silicon Valley’s tech industry?
A: I think the greatest threat is the proposed shutting down of immigration. There is no American high-tech industry without immigrants. Full stop. Couple that with cuts in public education, and it’s a recipe for disaster. One we lose our leadership in Tech, it’ll be hard to get it back.
Comments: What do you think about the way Women are treated in Tech?
from Moneish.com & Mercury News 07 Nov 17 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4.biz
For more Info, click on Book Review.