Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Halley Tucker -- Describe Yourself!

Halley Suitt Tucker
Someone asked me to describe myself the other day.  There are a lot of biographical details floating around the web about me, but I decided I should give you a five-word bio. Here goes.
1. Evangelist
2. Funster
3. Writer
4. Reader
5. Enterprenerd

Evangelist -- I like to throw my enthusiasm around. If I like a product or a person or a place, I love to just go crazy about it and tell anyone who will listen why it's just so grrrrrrrreat!

Funster -- The secret's out, I love to have fun.  I have a crazy sense of humor and would rather be laughing than doing just about anything else. I find the world pretty darn funny.  Also I love to dance.

Writer -- Love to scribble. I've been blogging since 2002. I just wrote a book. I even love to write letters -- you know, paper ones, with stamps.

Reader -- Like some folks binge eat, I binge read. I never go anywhere without a book. I never end one book without knowing what my next book will be. I have 3 Kindles, that should tell you something. I love very long books.

Entreprenerd -- I love tech and I'm an entrepreneur, TechStars alum and Boston nerd and I just can't help falling in love with programmers (like my husband.)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Paul Graham is MOSTLY correct about #FemaleFounders

Adora Cheung with her co-founder brother. (SJ Merc News)
Paul Graham has addressed the issue of why more women founders aren't given a chance to thrive -- and particularly why his YCombinator accelerator program doesn't have more women graduates.  What he writes is worth reading and well thought out, except for one thing. Women can run businesses without being geeks and many startups are run by non-geeks.

But let's read what he wrote. He pulls the problem apart carefully and brings up the girl geek problem -- they're definitely are not enough women geeks.

I realize though that with female founders, efforts at our stage are not enough. We could in principle have fixed the problem for young founders by ourselves. If we funded enough young founders who went on to succeed, both investors and other would-be founders would learn from their example. But it would be naive to assume we could get the percentage of female startup founders to 50% so long as the percentage of female programmers is so much lower than 50%. Though this is less the case than it used to be, many startups still have a big technical component, and if you want to start that sort of startup your chances of succeeding are higher if you're a programmer. Adora Cheung is a programmer, for example. Software eating the world is still software.

So how would you cause there to be more female programmers? 
That's an important question which he continues to address and I say, good, yes, there need to be more female programmers. But seriously, are all start-ups run by technical CEO's? Seems to me, no one is faster than the VC's to remove a geek CEO and replace them with a person who's background is in Sales or Marketing or Finance. It's the classic story, how the poor little geeky founder gets pushed aside and the company is run by a BUSINESS PERSON.

So that said, are there really not enough women business people to run start-ups? Are there not enough female business majors at colleges or MBA programs to run 50% of all the startups founded? Obviously most VC's have already cast their ballots about having business people in CEO, CMO and CFO slots in startup companies. They make sure their business buddies are put in those places. That's what women business people are having trouble with. We see what goes on.  We know how it works.

To say we need to go back to age 12 and become better girl geeks is pointless. Yes we should all support young girls in getting tech skills now.  But women in their 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's and beyond need opportunities to use their excellent business skills to run companies. We need to be given a chance to be Entrepreneurs-in-Residence at fancy VC firms (jobs I've seen given to men with very thin experience) now.  We need to be that buddy who's put into place to run a startup when the geek founder is floundering, now. We need to be the CEO or CMO or CFO now when we might have 20 years better experience than some 25-year-old kid who was given the gig over dinner because he is the VC's son or nephew.  We need to be on actuals boards and advisory boards of startups now to get inside these positions of power where we can help decide if other qualified women are considered for jobs.

Let's get real. These jobs are very lucrative. The experience is very valuable. As they say about the lottery, you've got to be in it to win it.  And women are outside and not invited in.  And there are many ways they can participate in the tech community with the skills they have today if they were considered for VC, CEO, CMO, CFO, board seats, advisory positions, EIR gigs, just to name a few places where the ratio of men to women is laughable.

So let's have an honest debate. Getting into the tech community in a position of power and wealth, is like having a big bunch of candy and some men don't want to share the candy. But it's time to share the candy.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Been Thinking About: Eat, Pray, Love

Bali (photo credit:
I've been thinking about the movie, Eat, Pray, Love and how it changed the way people feel about two important activities -- travel and divorce.  The movie makes travel look very attractive. The amazing landscapes, streets, hotels, colors and people of Italy, Indonesia and India are hard to forget.  But I would guess most women viewers took away the notion that going on a distant adventure was something they could do and should do and it would make them a new person. We want travel to change us, perhaps makes us wiser.

Having been divorced, I think the movie made that legal adventure look much more fun and a lot more simple that it is. But I want to focus on the travel aspect here.

I'm just back from a six-week book tour through Europe where I was staying in small hotels, big hotels and with friends, a mix of each in a wide range of countries -- Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, France and the UK, in the order I visited them.  There was something I expected in every visit that was delivered to different degrees.  I expected a clean, safe place to stay, but also a unique place that gave me access to the country and the people of that country.

No one takes better care of you than your friends abroad when they welcome you into their own home. My friends went out of their way to welcome me and show me their country. The best way to learn about the culture of the country is living the daily life of your friends in that country. That said, I believe the best way to keep friends who are generous enough to put you up, is to make your stay short and be a very helpful, tidy, cooperative guest.

In small hotels, there were many unique local features and welcoming innkeepers not too different from my friends who invited me into their homes. In large hotels, there was top notch cleanliness, easy access to the town centers and excellent amenities, together with anonymity which you need some days.

Travel is the business of having adventures and making memories.  The literal meaning of "souvenir" is "memory" and not a little pencil or mug or t-shirt made in China that says "Roma" on it. When we travel we hope to carry home unique "souvenirs" of a time and place, where we lived and learned and became a wiser person, maybe even fell in love once or twice.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Much write. Soon stories. Wow.

Oh yeah, my doge here to encourage me.  So many letters. Much words. New stories. Wow!  Go dog go!

And another thing -- lorem ipsum taste so good.  Big bowl full of little lorems and lots of ipsum sprinkled on top to make it so so good tasty. I know you love. Yes me too.  Because nothing says loving like something from lorem ipsum dolor kitchen, so enjoy and eat it up.  Yeah, okay. Said that and there it is.  Sometimes I think, hmmm … sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labor et dolor magna aliqua, don't you agree?
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

All the Reasons Any Woman Needs To Hate CES

  • Women quickly notice they can attend CES dressed like 1. A show girl with next to nothing on (booth babe bimbo mode) or the other end of the sexy scale wearing  2. tacky khakis and an ugly polo shirt.  Great.  You can look like a whore or a male nerd.  
  • The idiots on your “team” actually expect you to go to clubs and enjoy watching naked women dance.  They think you will find this fun or worse, funny.  They think you will giggle like they do.
  • There are so many men from other countries and so few women from those same countries – what gives with that?   Just ride some of the buses from hotel to convention center and look at the crowds.  Where are the other women?
  • Las Vegas – people can say it’s the next big thing, but come on, seriously?!  Until it solves it’s Sexism City problem – there’s no there there.  
  • The stupid “boys will be boys” atmosphere is about as high tech as the PDP-11.  (And you don’t even know what that is, right?)
  • The drinking.  Every woman has a drinking problem in Vegas – some guy drinking too much and slobbering all over them.
  • Female keynote speakers … are there any besides Marissa Mayer?