Well, Newsweek, the Revolution's Not Going to Start Like This


Good on Newsweek for taking on the subject; bad on Newsweek for doing it with this cover, tagline, and story. “The sexism in Silicon Valley is sordid”—like that cover—”shocking”—like nothing in the story—”and systemic”—like the fact that a dumb, salacious cover is required to sell a story that’s such a wide-eyed walkthrough that it ends its first section like this (emphasis my own):

In a community like Silicon Valley, where six- and seven-figure investments are routinely tossed at ideas that sometimes succeed but more often flash-bang and fizzle out like meteors, they were getting only paltry sums—about $400,000 shy of the $525,000 they were hoping for in “pre-seed,” early investment money.
There is, though, one thing these two founders are missing, and it is almost the sine qua non of the fabled Silicon Valley startup. They don’t have penises.


I learned some interesting facts from this story, like how Siri until recently would find you Viagra and hookers but not an abortion clinic. But it is inherently kneecapped by the writer choosing two startup subjects who are not just shockingly dickless but are also shopping around a product called Glassbreakers, “a peer-mentoring platform for companies that want to retain and promote women.” Of course they are having trouble finding funding. The two women should probably be trying to start Airbnb for dog yachts, or an app that will automatically make your nudes look better. Aren’t Silicon Valley blockbusters traditionally built on facilitating an easier lifestyle for assholes? Glassbreakers is a bad example, a non-comparable product explicitly (and distractingly, for the purposes of this story) aimed at targeting the sexism that is only part of the reason why it’s not going huge.

Here’s the type of hard-hitting insight that’s gonna start the revolution:

The anonymity of the Internet has proved relatively more menacing to women.


Here’s literally the conclusion, which represents the “…or a woman’s touch” part of the tagline.

Frustrated, women in Silicon Valley seem to be segregating themselves in women-only venture funds or starting gender-gated funds.
Costello says, “We are in a major time of shift. There is no other time when women have been better educated, earning a majority of undergraduate and graduate degrees and serving in equal numbers in nearly all professions. The control of personal wealth is about equal, as baby boomer men are dying earlier and women are inheriting money from their parents and husbands and have their own assets from working. If we can access 2 percent of that money controlled by women, we don’t need to be begging on Sand Hill Road.”

Yes. When the times get rough, the winners self-segregate. Historically, I believe this is how nearly all cultural revolutions have been won.

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