The year 2017 put gender bias in focus again. Firms must study the numbers if they want to thrive, writes entrepreneur and author Sarah Lacy. In this extract from her new book, Lacy makes the case that hiring women isn’t just the right thing to do – it makes business sense too
Silicon Valley prides itself on being a place that breaks the mold, embracing misfits, disrupting business as usual. We’re so radical that we fund college dropouts who’ve never held down jobs before to build companies. That is pretty radical. Or it was. The first time it was done. Once it becomes the new template for the only thing you fund, you aren’t disrupting anything.
The industry’s top VCs have actually copped to this. During a 2008 keynote at the National Venture Capital Association, John Doerr (one of the top VCs in the history of Silicon Valley) said to Mike Moritz (another one), “If you look at [Amazon founder Jeff] Bezos, or [Netscape founder Marc] Andreessen, [Yahoo! co-founder] David Filo, the founders of Google, they all seem to be white, male nerds who’ve dropped out of Harvard or Stanford, and they absolutely have no social life.” Doerr took it further, saying, “That correlates more with any other success factor that I’ve seen in the world’s greatest entrepreneurs.”