Whether you were alive in 1984 or not, you’ve probably seen Apple’s Super bowl ad. It’s reshown almost every year and has been consistently voted the top-rated Super Bowl ad ever made, which is saying a lot.
When the ad was made women were on an upward trend and were respected members of the tech community — unlike now.
Watching the ad again last week I got to wondering.
If that ad were made today would the person throwing the hammer be a woman?
Or would it be the proverbial “twenty-something guy in a hoodie?”
Not just a woman, but a woman of a certain age, 55, who built her company, BlackLine, over the last 15 years the hard way.
“I funded the company up until 2013, and there were some very difficult times,” she said. “I ended up putting in everything that I had into it. First the nest egg from my options from my previous company. But then I drained my bank accounts and my 401(k). I told my kids, had I been able to access their college savings funds, I probably would have taken that, too. I second-mortgaged my house. I maxed out my credit cards. I begged from friends to cover payroll.
It was difficult and humiliating and scary. I thought, ‘Oh my god, I’m going to be a woman in my 40s who’s bankrupt and starting over,'” she said of the years through about 2005.
That’s grit — the thing everyone is talking about.
BlackLine went public $2 above the target price and soared from there.
On Friday morning, the shares opened at $24.52, a 44% pop. The stock was trading at around $23.31 midday, giving the company a $1.15 billion market cap.
The result of that $2 increase meant raising $46 million more than than the $100 million planned.
Tucker didn’t build BlackLine by raising round after round of funding in an easy money environment—she bootstrapped it.
She did, however, jump on a still unproven new technology/business model.
The turning point happened in 2007, when the idea of cloud computing was very new. She and her team decided to quit making old-fashioned software and sell the service exclusively through the cloud.
And that was true grit.
Congratulations, Therese Tucker.
One Ceiling Down and a few more to go.
This post is dedicated to every woman of every age who has put herself at risk to follow her dreams — whether as an entrepreneur or something else.
By any measure Mark Benioff runs a successful, highly profitable company.
Moreover, he runs one of the most socially responsible companies in the world.
This BI interview with Benioff captures in a short read how Salesforce is a perfect example of a founder who incorporated his values into his company.
His socially conscious approach began when he launched Salesforce as a startup; long before it was profitable.
I view that as a critical part of my business. That’s why when I started Salesforce, on day 1, we put 1% of our equity, 1% of our product, and 1% of our time into Salesforce.org.
Where other CEOs talk, wring their hands and use media time to bemoan the problems, Benioff fixes them.
Gender pay disparity is a good example.
When he saw proof that women were being paid less he made changes to eliminate the disparity and did it without whining or handwringing.
Two women, one our head of HR and one who ran our women’s group said, “Hey, we’re paying women less than men at Salesforce.” I didn’t believe it at the time, when we actually looked at the information we were actually paying women $3 million less than we were paying men for the same amount of work, and so we made an adjustment to how we pay women.
When asked how other companies handle the issue he furnished not only the how, but also the why it doesn’t happen.
Every company has an HR system, every company knows their salaries, that’s obviously how they pay people, and all a CEO has to do is push a button and look at, “Do I pay women the same as men?” Most CEOs are afraid to push that button.
Within moments of meeting you, people decide all sorts of things about you, from status to intelligence to conscientiousness. Career experts say it takes just three seconds for someone to determine whether they like you and want to do business with you.
“You have to look like America looks, and right now the tech space doesn’t look like America.” It’s not just about finding businesses that target minorities or underserved communities, but realizing that the demographic shift also means a shift in power.
And here’s the solution: The old lady of course! After helping the old lady into the car, you can give your keys to your friend, and wait with your perfect partner for the bus. –from Lateral Puzzles via the CBI Blog (more on CBI next Thursday)
This post is for all the fact-loving, data-crunching guys who keep claiming that tech is a merit-based ecosystem where anyone with a good idea who is willing to bust their tail 80 hours a week will succeed.
Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read allIf the Shoe Fits posts here
Yesterday I shared my experiences and the enormous value I found at the AA-ISP conference.
AA-ISP is an international association dedicated exclusively to advancing the profession of Inside Sales. The association engages in research studies, organizational benchmarking and leadership round tables to better understand and analyze the trends, challenges, and key components of the growth and development of the Inside Sales industry.
One of the most interesting occurrences at the AA-ISP conference was an encounter I had in the Exhibitor’s Area.
I was walking along and checking out the different booths during a coffee break and came up on a booth with two middle-aged (like me) women who started to tell me of the advantages of hiring women.
How ridiculous, I thought. Why are they wasting my time with this? Isn’t it obvious that women who have reached a certain level in an organization are generally significantly better at what they do than men in the same position. Why?
Because we live in a chauvinist society that systematically discriminates against women (and minorities), and so to reach the same perk they have to display a level of competence that is clearly stronger than other candidate’s to get the same position. On top of that, they are often underpaid for the same level of work.
My two fellow middle agers were Lori Richardson and Deb Calvert, two female sales pros who lead their own businesses and are working to provide more women with opportunities within sales and sales leadership. Not only were they women, but also wonderful people.
Lori Richardson moderated a panel discussion on “The ROI for More Women in Sales”. On the panel were:
Marilyn Nagel, Co-founder & Chief Mission Officer, NQuotient
Jeanette Nyden, Negotiator, Sound Partnership Strategies Inc.
Bridget Gleason, VP Corporate Sales, SumoLogic
Leslie Gay, Director of World Wide Programs at Hewlett Packard Enterprise
It was a tremendous panel on the efficacy and benefits of hiring women. This came across based on the comments, but also on the charisma and competence that exuded from these women – I was thoroughly impressed.
My only selfish concern is that by them leveling the playing field it removes one of the few strategic advantages I have as an underfunded startup CEO — our team is almost 50% women and we are a mostly engineering driven software company.
I’m joking, of course, but it is astounding to me that people don’t hire the best, regardless of who they are.
Lori ascribed this to the fact that people hire people who are like themselves, but if gender and race are more determinative than competence and attitude, this says a lot about the superficial nature of most hiring managers. And it explains why most organizations are so average.
I hope that these women are successful and I have resolved to continue what I’ve always done – evaluate people on deeper criteria than the superficial ones of race and gender. I want to work with the best; this is the only way to be truly successful.
Before you scoff, think back to the last time you went produce shopping. How willing were you to buy something lumpy, bumpy or funny-looking?
Every year some six billion pounds of United States perfectly good fruits and vegetables go largely unharvested or unsold, for aesthetic reasons. These outcasts are being called “Ugly Produce” or “imperfect produce” by the media – or produce that is deformed, wonky, crooked, or long-necked.
Bias is probably one of the most inclusive human reactions.
Think about the general reaction to a hairless cat or dog.
Research has even shown that unattractive babies aren’t held and cuddled as often as attractive ones.
No question that bias runs deep.
But just like the wasted food is the wasted talent.
It’s amazing to me, but looking back over nearly a decade of writing I find posts that still impress, with information that is as useful now as when it was written. Golden Oldies is a collection of what I consider some of the best posts during that time.
Seniors are already a giant market and growing every day, but the solutions are being done most often by twenty/thirty/forty-somethings who have no real idea what seniors face. Don’t believe me? Try this. Lightly smear your glasses (or sunglasses) with Vaseline and wear them for a few hours. You’ll end up with a much better understanding of the world in which your parents/grandparents see. Or you can do as Ideo did. Read other Golden Oldies here.
How would you respond to the following?
Would you hire a woman?
Would you hire an old woman?
A really old woman?
Could such a woman contribute significantly to a project?
The company recently hired Barbara Beskind and both she and IDEO consider her 90 years a major advantage.
She applied after seeing an interview with IDEO founder David Kelley, who talked about the importance of a truly diverse design team and hires accordingly.
The aging Boomer market has companies salivating and hundreds are developing products for them.
The problem, of course, is that younger designers have no idea what difficulties older people face; not the obvious ones, but those that are more subtle.
For example, IDEO is working with a Japanese company on glasses to replace bifocals. With a simple hand gesture, the glasses will turn from the farsighted prescription to the nearsighted one. Initially, the designers wanted to put small changeable batteries in the new glasses. Beskind pointed out to them that old fingers are not that nimble.
“It really caused the design team to reflect.” They realized they could design the glasses in a way that avoided the battery problem.
It’s the little things that make or break products and the knowledge of the little things comes mostly from having been there/done that.