John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins believes that “the most successful tech entrepreneurs are “white, male, nerds.”
“That correlates more with any other success factor that I’ve seen in the world’s greatest entrepreneurs. 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.”
If you dissect it, is an ignorant, short-sighted statement, especially from such a prominent star in the tech firmament.
Let’s take the words separately in their reverse order to see why.
In the tech world, nerds are typically consumed by the bleeding edge of technology, socially challenged and will doggedly pursue their ideas come Hell or high water.
Of course there are more male nerds. Starting in elementary school, girls are discouraged from STEM, whether it’s Barbie saying, “Math is tough!” to the unconscious bias that permeates our classrooms and companies.
As to white, nerds actually come in many shapes, sizes, genders, colors, faiths and from across the socio-economic spectrum. but anyone who follows the current state of tech culture shouldn’t be surprised.
The real reason that that white, male nerds are successful is that they get funded.
They get funded because they are connected — by family, friends, school friends, ex colleagues, etc. — which means they get into the right accelerators (just as Harvard and Stanford are the right schools) or are personally introduced to investors.
The end result is that if you take a superficial look at the stats Doerr’s comment seems to be true—but it is not.
Image credit: TechCrunch