Sheryl Schadenfreude, Marissa Misogynist: Ladies, let’s not eat our own.

Posted: May 1st, 2013 | No Comments »

I’ve heard two of the only female tech conglomerate executives called lots of names recently:

Sheryl Sandberg – elitist, vain, selling herself

Marissa Mayer – boastful, anti-mom, anti-feminist

The thing that disturbs me the most is that many of the name callers have been other successful women in business.  Women in the media, women in power, women across the conference table, women at cocktail hours.  I cringe any time a woman in power is attacked…there are so few of them that the attacks always strike me as somewhat personal.  However, when the attacker is another business woman…it really sends me for a loop.  And a tweet by Lena Dunham crystallized my thinking:

Advancing the Cause

Ladies, the mere presence of Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer in top executive slots is advancing the cause with an impact about which we can only dream.  When only 3:100 top CEOs are women, their presence is outsized as a win for us.    Having women who are competent, well-spoken and experienced putting themselves forward in positions of power furthers our cause.  These are executives who want to grow businesses, create jobs, push their product forward.  And, thanks to all that is holy, they are women and not men.

That, ladies, is advancing the cause of gender equality in the workplace.

The narrow expectation that women in power can only advance the cause by LITERALLY making pro-women decisions is myopic and misguided.  We have been at this for hundreds of years, and probably for hundreds more.  Whether we personally feel that one policy decision each female CEO makes is supportive of women in the workforce is inconsequential.  Much more at stake at this point in our struggle is the fact that it was a woman who was empowered to make that decision.  I look forward to the time when all women have to do to advance the cause is make a bunch of empirically pro-feminist business decisions.  In the meantime, the fight right now is just to GET into those positions of decision-making.

Bad Attitudes

What does not advance our cause are people who tsk-tsk, and finger-wag at the women who finally, finally have gotten to the top of the corporate pyramid.

Sheryl seems to have pissed everyone off by ‘blaming the victim’ since she herself is far from a victim.  Whether or not you agree with her, making an impassioned monologue about how she’s wrong serves two separate purposes.  One, that you are smarter than her.  And two, that the most powerful tech woman in the world isn’t as smart as you.  I’m pretty sure at least that second perception, when repeated thousands of times in blogs, news stories, and tweets, is not good for Sheryl’s success.   And when you go further and take her quotes out of context and criticize a book you haven’t bothered to read, then I need to ask: do you really think you’re furthering the cause by making sure everyone knows you are right — or possibly hurting the cause by making sure everyone knows Sheryl is wrong?

Marissa Mayer can move us forward by being an extraordinary CEO that turns a really messed up company around, when no man could do it before her.  In a world where only 1.5% of CEOs in the world’s 2,000 top performing companies are women, we need her to make Yahoo! one of those top performers.  She is not making decisions to ‘tweak’ the H.R. dials at a company that has lost over 40% of its value over the past 5 years.  She’s trying to save it.  And the more outlandish questions she has to answer about whether she’s anti-woman or anti-mom, the more she will not be able to accomplish that.

Do you want to be right?  Or be equal?

Women need to recognize that the constant attention to the failure of these high profile women is the foundation upon which illogical, misogynistic gender bias builds.  A Darden study found that the stock in a company drops after announcing a new female CEO, but not when new male CEOs are announced.  Gender is mentioned more in the articles that write about those new female CEOs than those about new male CEOs.  Being female is wielded as prima facie evidence that we will fail.

Influential women attacking other high-profile women helps strengthen that large, sexist misinformation beast.  The re-tweeted shortcomings of women in power weakens us as a gender much, much more than your being right advances it.  The relentless, full-throated attack by women on other women is what resonates and remains the retardant of their, and all of our, career trajectories.

I’m not saying support these women blindly and suppress your own opinion.  I myself don’t necessarily agree with the individual positions these women have taken.  I am saying, though, take more time and thought in why, how and when you criticize them.  Take the time to think about how others will (consciously or not) use the negative momentum you create to hold us back as a gender.  I’m asking you to play the long game.

In the tallest poppy syndrome, we cut down figures who have risen to places of power in order to raise our own stature.  Trust me, ladies, there will be no lack of other people to cut the Sheryl, Marissa, and Megs down.  You don’t have to prove you can do it better.

Whether or not Sheryl and Marissa can make their companies successful, we need to pray to the Fortune 500 gods that they can.  Only that spectacularly hard-earned level of win can truly move the underpinnings of the workplace gender-bias from where it exists today.




The re-tweeted shortcomings of women in power weakens us as a gender much, much more than your being right advances it.  The relentless, full-throated attack by women on other women is what resonates and remains the retardant of their, and all of our, career trajectories.  Get a hold of yourself.

Moving from Blogger to WordPress

Posted: January 5th, 2010 | No Comments »

In this case, I not only changed from to a self-hosted wordpress blog, I also changed the custom URL.

My hosting choice was (Google “Bluehost discount” for the best affiliate link rates.) Setup with wordpress was very easy, as bluehost has a great integration tool on their dashboard. In addition, there’s a simple WordPress tool for you to just suck in all of your posts automatically into WordPress. In WordPress, go to Tools > Import. Select Blogger from the list. It took about 3 minutes to dupe my entire blog into wordpress.

1) For a general overview, here’s a plain english guide to the steps for the blog hosting move. There are many technical holes in this, so just use it as an overview checklist of things to solve.

2) Forwarding from blogger to wordpress. This site walks you step by step with pictures through a) forwarding posts from old to new, b) not getting penalized by googlebots for duplicate content, and c) leave a custom message as you forward people from your old to new blog

3) Here is a site that will help you ensure that your URLs match so that the old blog post points correctly to the new blog post.

4) Google Wemaster Tools recently opened up the ability to TELL its bots that you’re moving URLs. This is fantastic since you can’t do a 301 redirect in since you don’t have access to the root directory. Activate a Google Webmaster account for your blog in order to get to the tool to alert Google.

The biggest test is that after a few months, my pagerank has held relatively steady. Therefore, my thought is that Google is okay with what I did. Does anything else really matter?

EXPO Elves

Posted: January 4th, 2010 | No Comments »


Behold, a Christmas gift left by one of our developers for another.  It was a 2.5 hour labor of love. If you were wondering, the first thing unwrapped was the tissue box. We are taking bets how long it takes before he unwraps his phone.

EXPO hiring sales talent…midwest/NYC

Posted: October 15th, 2009 | No Comments »

Through the magic of interconnected news feeds, I’m sure a lot of my high school friends will see this, (sorry), but we are hiring at EXPO. It’s post-worthy to the extent that anyone growing as opposed to shrinking has got to be good news generally, right?

Our founding sales exec, David Rubinstein, has nurtured a pioneering team that has launched the adoption of video commerce within the nation’s top brands. We’re very proud to be expanding his group to support the growing flow of F500 companies seeking insights & experiences from our authentic, accountable consumer knowledge base.   As you can guess by the location of the position (Chi/Cin/Min/NYC), we’re working with some of the largest consumer brand names out there. We are looking for someone to help those companies navigate the world of social commerce safely, effectively and valuably.

Here’s the link to the job post, please pass it on freely:

GirlFounder under transfer…

Posted: October 1st, 2009 | 3 Comments »


I’m maturing from blog infancy to blog adolescence by upgrading from a Blogger account to WordPress.  It’s ugly, but I’m working with someone to make it prettier…

I actually have a > zero pagerank, so I am being dainty about how I complete the transfer.   You can see that I’ve duped all my archive posts below.

Thanks for visiting, feel free to link to this site.  All new posts will show up here.

UPDATE: Transferring URLs…Google just put up this summer a way to notify them of the change of website address:

Victims can be rich, too, I guess.

Posted: March 25th, 2009 | No Comments »

While some of you might not have too much sympathy for Jake DeSantis who resigned from AIG, I think that we should all feel sorry for ourselves that talent is definitely draining away from solving the complex, intricate problems we have before us.

On the one hand, I’m incensed that ex-Countrywide executives who caused the problems are able to participate in the solution for additional personal gain. But I also turned to my husband yesterday and said, “Why in the hell is Edward Liddy still working at AIG? Why doesn’t he just say ‘Screw it. YOU people try to solve this problem’ and walk away?” He’s got these idiot Congressmen judging him who can’t even figure out their own taxes. Does anyone realize that he was ASKED to take this job by Treasury Sec’y Paulson? “Six months ago, I came out of retirement to help my country,” Liddy said at yesterday’s House Financial Services subcommittee hearing in Washington. If we’re going to make a scapegoat of someone innocent, we should at least pick someone who was there when the crime occurred.

I have limited sympathy for this guy who wrote the AIG letter above, because I am *sure* in his career he was overpaid, and the money that he says he earned for AIG was enabled by a machine *he knew* was overpriced, overcomplicated, and under-financed. But, we should be careful when John Q Public thinks he knows how best to run these companies, lest we end up driving away people who really do. I certainly don’t want Senators with “wide stances” in charge of maximizing the value during the wind down of a complex financial derivative product company. But I guess beggars can’t be choosers.

Wefollow & ExecTweets

Posted: March 24th, 2009 | 2 Comments »

Noticed in facebook, lots of people have ‘registered’ themselves on wefollow. they’re trying to start a tag-based directory.

My tweets, trying to stay industry or expo-relevant are tagged under #consumer #socialmedia #video:

Also, to cut the clutter of ridiculous spam Tweets, here is ExecTweets, created by Federated Media, powered by Microsoft

Note, I’m not followed by exectweets, so you know it must be good. :)

Sarah Palin and the feminist movement

Posted: October 20th, 2008 | 2 Comments »

I don’t like Sarah Palin’s politics.  But I have refrained from publicly bashing her. Having witnessed the ignorant carnage left after the Clinton effort, I resolved not to sacrifice short-term potshots for the long-term gain of women in politics.

What is dawning on me now is that I think I actually owe Sarah Palin a debt of gratitude for moving the “woman-as-president” movement forward in a way that Hillary Clinton was never going to. Sarah has opened my eyes to the missing link between past female candidates and the Presidential office:

You have to be a hottie.

I have always looked to the Democrats for eventually placing the first woman into the White House, mostly because there are more women to choose from in that party. But the women to choose from, unfortunately, are women of accomplishment, women of intellect, women of leadership. They are not, by and large, women who got ahead because they were hot. Not Geraldine Ferraro, not Hillary Clinton.

I realize now that America needs its celebrities, like it needs its air. And female celebrities, bar none, are beautiful. Geena Davis, the last woman anywhere near the Presidency, was clearly hot. It hit me between the eyes when I read the NYTimes quote above from a Palin rally. I realized Palin broke through despite her lack of qualifications and turned this former truck driver a feminist. He doesn’t even know he is.

A problem we will face is that women who are hot can find easier successes in America than going into politics. Political success is hard and grueling, and makes you intensely vulnerable. Hot women don’t have to suffer that and they aren’t by definition stupid…so why would they subject themselves to that path?

Sarah Palin has demonstrated to me that political women truly can ignite parties that are ruined, evoke love from the angry, and unite those who feel isolated. I’ve never seen it before from a woman in politics, but I hope to see it again soon (in another Party).  And I also hope that other women, women who hope to see a female president in their lifetime, can refrain from attacking her, and instead simply disagree with her.   There is language that can allow you to express your preference without belittling along the way…an example from someone who is responsible for a lot of damage to her public persona:
“I think Palin will continue to be underestimated for a while. I watched the way she connected with people, and she’s powerful. Her politics aren’t my politics. But you can see that she’s a very powerful, very disciplined, incredibly gracious woman. This was her first time out and she’s had a huge impact.”

Rules for being 40 on Facebook

Posted: August 19th, 2008 | 4 Comments »

I recently spent time with 8 women who were old enough to remember Nadia Comaneci’s perfect 10. All were professionals, from Google to Goldman Sachs. Amazingly, only one woman other than myself was on Facebook. No surprise, she was also the CEO of an internet company.

Some were on Linkedin, but seemed to dismiss it as a job tool, not a social network. Regarding FB, privacy seemed to be the loudest concern. “But can’t everyone see it?” was the main objection. The next objection was “Who would want to see it?”. They derided needing to know if their co-worker was now a fan of Michael Phelps, or poking their old college boyfriend.

My description of “completely remapping the social neural network in my brain” didn’t seem to move them much. Transforming my social connections into a movement that I can observe instead of single points that I have to directly contact didn’t resonate. Weakening the isolation that accompanies privacy in favor of participating in a self-selected, partially unintentional social dialogue was baffling.

That said, my group is a strong, fearless bunch of girls, always up for new things (as long as someone else is doing it, too). I’ve set up a ‘secret’ and more public group for them to join, and am sitting back as a few are entering. I’ve been peppering them with advice, which I thought I would list here for those of you who need some courage.

Rules for being 40 on Facebook.
1) Get a picture up. Immediately. Pictures are part of the way the web is becoming personal, less anonymous. Having one up shows that you’re willing to show the person behind the action.

2) Don’t stress over your profile. Profiles are boring and people only look at it once, anyway. Put a few fun things so you don’t seem uptight, but don’t go crazy filling everything out. If you’re over 30, take off your birthyear.

3) Join your school and work networks. Joining networks helps people find you to friend you. The location network you joined when you signed up is lame…it basically lets FB geotarget ads to you, but is too large to be of any use. Go to “settings” in the upper right corner > account settings> networks. Search for your undergrad/grad schools, and the company you work for.

4) Become a fan. Type in a person, politician, cause, even a product or restaurant name in the search box, and then select “Pages” in the tabs. This gives you the ‘official’ brand pages of which you can “Become a Fan”. These show up on your profile. Check out the page first, make sure it seems legit. Michael Phelps has 995,000 fans, and In-n-Out burger has 28,000.

5) Join some groups. Anyone on FB can start a group. I started a group for people who used to work at Oxygen Media back in the day (pre-NBC). To find a group to join, type an interest into the search box, then select “groups” in the tabs. Joining a group shows up on your profile, and is a way to make a statement, without really making a statement. Two that I want to join but don’t have the guts are: “I went to public school….bitch!” and “Zero Population Growth”.

6) Friend Farm. Look at me, I’ve coined a phrase. Everytime you make a friend, go to their friend list and see if there’s anyone you want to friend off it. No one will know you found them by poaching off your friends’ list.

7) Lastly, after you’ve done everything, go prune your personal newsfeed. Almost everything you do in FB is broadcast in your newsfeed, which will show up on all your friends’ newsfeeds. Because FB is a robot, it often sounds like English is its second language, and something like “Daphne Kwon is no longer single” is just embarrassing. Hit your name in the top menu bar. Mouse over any news item you don’t want broadcast, and you’ll see a little “edit” button on the right pop up. Click it and select “delete”.

After a while, when you have time, check out all the fine-tuning under “Settings” in the upper right under account settings and privacy settings. Don’t over do it on the restrictions…. You didn’t go join FB to be private! Take a little risk for a while, let yourself ‘out there’ and see what happens. Who knows. Maybe some day you’ll ask me about Twitter.

NYC Crashes Techcrunch Party

Posted: July 26th, 2008 | 1 Comment »

Last night Bill Hildebolt and I attended the annual Techcrunch Meet-up in the valley. There was a definite dearth of East Coasters there. We did meet some new folks at cool SF companies. But more importantly, we saw a bunch of old friends at even better SF companies. Here’s a more detailed run-down of some of the HBS contingent we saw there:
Heather Harde : has to be one of the classiest people in the joint. CEO of Techcrunch, and our personal ticket connection. (Heather, we should have pulled a Todor and just yelled “BUT WE KNOW HEATHER” at the doorpeople.) Michael A, I don’t know you, and while you looked like you adore Heather, as a woman I have to implore you not to give your beautiful CEO a noogie on the head during speeches. It’s a hair thing.
Tom Patterson : gets second billing because it was his “not-yet-40” birthday. He got sung to by a bunch of drunk entrepreneurs (I think the VCs were lip synching) and a free cake. I thought that big fake check was for you, too, but alas, it was for malaria . Tom’s the CEO of, a soon to be partner of Expo.
Raj Kapoor: whose lovely doctor wife Lydia is due any day! MD at Mayfield and one of the best friends an entrepreneur could have, having been a great one himself.
Carol Linburn , group product manager for mobile authoring at Adobe and one of the nicest people in the valley. Trying desperately at the party to feel like an entrepreneur again. We asked her to go back to work that night and, for the love of all that is holy, get flash working on the iPhone.
Steve Abernethy The founder of and the only guy I know that got kicked out of the Apple store during the iPhone debut because of anti-competitive practices. Steve, Expo taped at the NY Apple store without incident…
Todor Tashev: Director of Investments at Omidyar Network. His wife sings with Sting.
Erik Eklund. Stealth. I’m afraid to even link to his LI profile.
Dana Shapiro Marotto , Marketing at ExpertCEO that just launched in Q2 of this year. Dana, how did you get into HBS with a CPA? Did you just not put that on your application?
Elliott Ng in marketing at, who we saw in line and then completely missed the entire rest of the party.

Was great to see others, like Bong Koh, Deb Schultz, Sam Lessin (another NYC interloper, but he’s like 12 so he fit right in).

Oh, and I cannot fail to mention that as a NYC citizen (our car-related excitement is limited to flagging a hybrid taxi), despite all the change-the-world ideas at the party, the most motivating was seeing Jason Calacanis’ Tesla up close and personal. Bill was hyperventilating. Go electric.