If you look at Bezos, or [Netscape Communications Corp. founder Marc] Andreessen, [Yahoo Inc. 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. So when I see that pattern coming in — which was true of Google — it was very easy to decide to invest.”
Wow. A simple Google search for "Pattern Recognition" "startups" led me to this article - “White, male startup companies get funding for being white and male" which naturally I clicked on. It quoted John Doerr, Kleiner Perkins partner and macher investor (Google, Amazon, Intuit), saying the above. The lede on the Restructure post takes that to a bit of an unfair extreme:
When top technology venture capitalist John Doerr decides which startup company to invest in, he consciously and deliberately chooses white males over women and racial minorities.
…because Doerr did not say he chose the young-white-no-social-life-male founder types *over* any others, merely that the pattern resonated. (And here’s the hed the WSJ took from it: “Why Venture Capitalists Don’t Want You to Have a Sex Life”). However, it does illuminate the casual and unconscious way VCs decide who will be a success, which impacts who gets in the door for pitches, who is referred and whose referrals are taken seriously, and who, once in the door, gets the advantage of seeming like “someone I’d want to work with” - the nebulous yet very common descriptor investors often give for who they’d want to invest in.
Men refer men. You have to directly address the problem, or you won’t change it. So if we just keep it status quo, for all the reasons defined in these self-reinforcing networks, they will stay self-reinforcing with the white, geeky, male, Stanford/Harvard-dropout types. And that’s who a lot of the V.C.’s are investing in.
Meanwhile, I couldn’t help but note the lack of concern in any of these pieces with said single, sexless entrepreneurs and how they’d find an appropriate spouse and settle down and have children before it got ominously “too late.” Hmmmmm.
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