The house was packed tonight at the Women in Tech Panel at General Assembly, in Santa Monica, to kick off a quarterly series featuring women in startups and tech. I attended to hear insights on what VCs look for in terms of being willing to invest in a startup, and to find out how each one of their paths led each panelist to move into her current role. The moderator, Pilar Stella, tossed out a couple of questions to start and then allowed the audience to take over.
I can’t wait to share my thoughts about this panel.
Ultimately I thought they were great, but for a significant part of the panel I didn’t know what to think. I mean, here were five knowledgeable investors sitting in front of a room of entrepreneurial people and as soon as the audience had the floor, they were fielding questions like “Do you think pitching a VC while being eight months pregnant might lead to not being considered a serious candidate for investment?” Or, after a long conversation about how there are studies that talk about gender gaps and how women are socialized systemically out of STEM fields, tossed a question like “What’s up with women who don’t know the difference between HTML and programming languages?” and “Why don’t women see the benefits of learning to program like guys do?” and “Why do they need so much help/support right away to learn how when guys can just get a book and start doing it?”
Seriously, there was a guy who asked those very questions. In a A ROOM FULL OF entrepreneurial women and men. Surely he just wanted to understand the rationale behind that lack of knowledge and/or interest from this particular panel. Because they, being women, could draw upon their experiences of battling groupthink, and be able to enlighten him on those of us who just can’t hack it in STEM. Mm-hmm… /sarcasm.
He identified himself but shall remain unnamed here, because reasons.
Tomorrow — My top 10 takeaways from tonight’s event.