A couple of years ago, I get an email from Professor Douchebag (not his real name) that he is doing a study on women entrepreneurs and would like half an hour or more of my time. I’m in favor of research, so I schedule him in a week or two later when I have a spot on my schedule and he never calls. When I email him, instead of an apology I get this message,
“We had enough for our sample size but perhaps you would be interested in me consulting for you?”
I wrote him back and said I had no need of consultants that wasted my time and scheduling business owners for an hour, then being a no show with no notice is unprofessional and disrespectful. Recently, I see his study has come out and the main conclusion is that what is holding women CEOs back is “lack of confidence”. First of all, if the only women you interviewed were those who were able to give you an hour of their time at the drop of a hat, you did not have a very random, representative sample of women business owners.
Are you fucking kidding me?
I recently read a post by Hunter Walk, whose fund has funded 26% female founders versus the industry standard of 5%. What that tells me is that if female entrepreneurs are less likely to believe that their firms will receive seed money or venture capital funds than male entrepreneurs do, it is not a lack of confidence but a realistic appraisal of the market.
” it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, when you constantly are telling women how much they suck, when you don’t give them a fraction of the same funding, when you act as if they are invisible and then say, “Look, they just aren’t cut out for this.” In fact, the women who succeed despite the lack of support, in fact, despite the constant disrespect and disregard, are some of the strongest, most resilient people you will ever meet.”
I was playing World of Warcraft last night and was a bit depressed by all of the ideas I got for making educational games more amazing that we just don’t have the funds to implement right now. Compared to the average for women-owned companies, we’ve done well. We have Windows games in the Microsoft Store, iPad games in the app store and even a game on Steam.
We have done all of this with the most minute investor funding. We are still here thanks to three successful Kickstarter campaigns, our wonderful game players, funding from Small Business Innovation Research awards from the U.S. Department of agriculture and less than 0.2% of the funds invested in each of such failed Silicon Valley darlings as Juicero , Jawbone and Luxe.
Do I think that women-owned companies receive less funding than men? It’s not lack of confidence, it’s an absolute fact. Women are less likely to get funded and when they do receive funding the deals are for a lower dollar amount.
In Lots of outrage, little action by Maria Burns Ortiz, CEO of 7 Generation Games, spells it out perfectly, women are judged on their accomplishments while men are judged on their “potential” so the challenge for female CEOs is to get to those accomplishments with none of the outside funds given to men with “potential”.
I’m a world judo champion, Ph.D. and I founded a gaming company with some of the smartest people around and we have bootstrapped and begged and burned the midnight oil to keep this company going and growing. I don’t need more confidence, what I need is the same opportunity for funding at the same rate as my male counterparts.