I sat down with an entrepreneur turned investor and professor the other day and we talked about this. He told me that he had recently introduced a woman entrepreneur to someone. He thought she was really good. and they should meet. The investor that he introduced her came back with some feedback that threw him off. He said that she just seemed too arrogant. I give my friend high kudos for coming back with the response which was "would you say that if she was a man"? My guess is the answer is a resounding no.
There was an article written in the WSJ this past week by Sheryl Sandberg and Maria Chavez on Bossy, the B word. How do we level the playing field when young girls are discouraged from being bossy. I am not so sure all women take to that, I certainly didn't and obviously neither did Sandberg but there is something to be said about this. There has been several sociology books written on the topic of how once girls hit middle school they fall to the back of the class so they can be perceived as nice and perhaps popular vs smart. How do we change that?
I have come across more arrogant men in the tech business who are applauded for their bravado with in my humble opinion valuations that are off the charts. Why we don't pull back the reins and build these businesses intelligently at every turn vs just wads of cash is beyond me but maybe I am just looking at it differently. Perhaps I am looking at it from the womans angle.
In the past few weeks I have seen women who are having traction, revenues and a continue flow of customers at their door who continue to be scrappy, humble and almost afraid to take more cash. They are methodical about their businesses, hiring when need be when they should be hiring a little ahead of the curve. They are very interested in showing profitability. They are wary of taking too much cash in at valuations that might seem absurd. On one hand impressive but on the other hand you do have to spend money to make money.
There are so many conversations around this particular topic. My bottom line comes down to women need to be just a bit bolder. Be more confident in your companies not to the point of being "bossy or arrogant" but being "confident and sharp". Go to the head of the class and confidentially raise your hands. I love the way that all the women I work with are going about building their businesses. I am so impressed with how they are all methodical and consciencious. They all have great leadership skills. Not that the men don't who I work with it is just that they go about it differently. I respect both of them. For me it is just fascinating to watch.