Tuesday, May 27, 2003

My response to a comment in SPM Discussion about bell curve vs power law.

I'm the one that posted the article about the bell curve. The article did not say that the bell curve doesn't apply, it just said that it doesn't apply in some situations, in networks in particular. It's very clear that the bell curve does NOT apply to internet traffic at nodes, not only by analysis, which has been done ad naseum, but even just thinking about it rationally. The internet consists of a few very, very large nodes and gazillions of small nodes, such as my blog (typaldos.blogspot.com). [Please excuse the use of technical terms e.g. "gazillions" and the blatant self-promotion of my blog.]

Here is more info: http://www.tjm.org/articles/msg00018.html

The most interesting thing about this topic is when I searched for a credible source of info most of the stuff that came up at the top in a Google search were blogs! Something has gone terribly wrong with Google's reputation system when what an individual says, and a bunch of his/her friends point to, ends up at the top of the stack over a research paper from an academic institution. I finally gave up trying to find one, although I know they exist because I took a class on Networks at Stanford in the winter and this was one of the covered topics.

Google is in trouble...now wonder they bought Blogger...they need to separate out the riff-raff from the raff-riff.

Monday, May 26, 2003

I'm finally returning to my blog. It's just one more darn thing to keep updated.

I've been working on my website...it was pathetically out-of-date. Now it's nearly up-to-date but my design skills are terrible. Especially my choice of colors. However, it's still better than Bud Uglly Design. My favorite Uglly Design on their site is Rev 2.0.

Anyway, I've actually got something to say. But first I'd better save what I already wrote since this darn Blogger software isn't very stable.

OK, save complete.

So here's tonight's story on the Typaldos Blog --
Topic: Senior Management Women in Venture-Backed Startups.

A few weeks ago I was interviewed by Jennifer Pittman for an article in the Silicon Valley Business Journal titled "Women-led startups get smaller share of shrinking funds". The SV Business Journal decided to write a story around the latest numbers from "Alternative Investor, an umbrella data and analysis organization of San Francisco-based VentureOne Corp. and Wellesley, Mass.-based Asset Alternatives. The group tabulates venture capital deals with women-led companies every six months."

The numbers for women founders and members of the senior management team have gone down in the last few years, not just in quantity which of course is too be expected given the economic downturn, but also in percentages. The calculation is kind of dumb anyway...if there is just one woman on the senior management that counts. Of course the one lone woman is typically the VP of HR -- certainly a very important position in any company, the employees make or break a company's success, but not a line position. Sometimes the lone woman is the CFO. Anyway, the study shows the following statistics for women founders:

Amount of Money Raised by Companies with a woman founder (as a percentage of the total amount of money raised that year), in the IT industry.
1997 3.48%
1998 5.56%
1999 6.36%
2000 7.58%
2001 7.36%
2002 4.69%

A downward trend to be sure.

I mentioned some other related issues during the interview, most of which didn't get into the article. Here are my follow-up emails to the reporter:

Regarding the Forum for Women Entreprenuers
I originally sent this email to the FWE CEO.

From: Cynthia Typaldos [mailto:cynthia@typaldos.com]
Sent: Monday, July 22, 2002 1:09 PM
To: Susan Hailey
Subject: has FWE been successful?

Now is the time to do a very honest appraisal on whether FWE has been successful.

The purpose of this appraisal would be to figure out if the approaches tried in the past are the ones to keep doing in the future. It's all been a big experiment, and like any experiment, it needs a quantitative analysis of the results.

Running programs is not a measure of success. It's a tool for creating success. Measurements of success could be (over the time frame that FWE has been active):
% improvement in funding to women entrepreneurs
% improvement in viable public companies where a woman was one of the founders
% improvement in number of women on viable VC-backed companies
% of women in management in VC-backed companies

I run a very large job board for hi-tech marketing professionals, and I still see start-up company after company where the entire management team is ALL MEN (OK, maybe the token women is the HR VP). And the same seems to be true in hi-tech public companies despite the tired PR recycling of Carly Fiorina, Carol Bartz, and Judy Estrin.

Email dialogue with Margaret Heffernan

From: Margaret Heffernan [mailto:margaret_heffernan@hotmail.com]
Sent: Monday, July 22, 2002 8:17 AM
To: cynthia@typaldos.com
Subject: Re: your article in Fast Company

Dear Cynthia,

You are absolutely right - women do not need to be "fixed"; the world in which they are forced to operate is what is broken. And many men know it, as well as women.

Thanks for taking the time to write.

Best wishes


Margaret Heffernan

From: "Cynthia Typaldos"
Subject: your article in Fast Company
Date: Fri, 19 Jul 2002 08:59:13 -0700

Dear Margaret,

I was just at a FWE (Forum for Women Entrepreneurs www.fwe.org) event last night here in Silicon Valley. FWE has a new CEO, Susan Hailey. and the meeting was held to introduce Susan to some of the members. Susan gave a short talk, and then asked for input and questions. My input to Susan was to
change FWE from an organization that tries to "fix us" to an organization that tries to "fix the system". I'm tired of being told how to speak, dress, act, etc. I'm a 51-year old confident women, with science and business degrees from UC Berkeley and MIT. What I need is for the barriers be recognized, challenged and destroyed, not new underground tunneling methods. If I have to tunnel I can't be myself.

Thanks so much for writing that article. The men won't like it, and the "let's just get along" women won't like it either. But you're right and it's time that someone had the ovaries to say so.


Study on discrimination at MIT against women faculty members
This is the complete study along with MIT's reaction and action to address the issue of discrimination against female faculty members. I was very impressed at the honest and candor and seriousness that MIT took toward the study.


On the same topic, but a completely different situation, I just got invited to a "private" meeting to discuss social software and its implications to society. (In case you've been under a rock, web communities/collaboration have been reinvented by the people that didn't get it a couple years ago, and annointed a new name so that they can all claim to be pioneers.) I'll post the people invited to this event if I get permission from the organizer, and if I update my blog again this year :-) There are 47 people invited, 2 of them being women. That's a lousy 4.2%. When I asked the organizer about the nearly complete absence of women, his response was "I thought about that, but its tough in a geeks' world." I'm not faulting the organizer at all, he picked the people he thought would be appropriate, and that's how the cookie crumbled.

Well, enough whining, at least for tonight.

Wait, one last whine. This blogging thing coupled with keeping my dang website updated coupled with running SPM, is an enormous time sink. Am I better off by doing this? Is the world better off?