Well this has proven to be a pretty pathetic attempt at blogging so far (oops). But now I’m re-motivated again and feeling slightly [over?-]confident having finally dusted off my Twitter account late last week. If I can microblog (does anyone remember that’s how they used to describe it before it became a word/concept/culture unto itself?), I should be able to properblog, right?
Blah blah blah
That said, my excuse for the past 7 months is that [almost] everything’s been written! Matter of fact, I think more people should just shut up and stop talking, rambling and blogging… Why should I contribute to all of the noise, fodder, naval gazing and random thoughts? At first I thought perhaps I could offer some interesting commentary on the world of tech/startups/VC/company building, etc, but let’s be honest — everything under the sun is already being written about 1000 times more than necessary by people much smarter than me such as the team behind askthevc, Fred Wilson, Dave McClure and literally hundreds of other people more prominently in “the scene”, so what could I possibly have to add to the discussion regarding paying to pitch [don’t do it], fees [get at least 2 term sheets so you can have a chance at negotiating for respectable terms], ideal term sheets [it’s all out there if you Google a bit], how to build great founding teams [ditto], how much VCs need to change [agreed that funds are getting too big], how they’re coming back [Q32009 looks good] or how Europe [UK] is different than the US [where do I start?]
Keep your clothes on
However, I have been thinking about something lately that hasn’t been written about (at all) and that is why women in the London tech ecosystem should not participate in the Nude London Tech Calendar 2010. I know my opinion is going to annoy some people, and I’m sure it will really annoy the organizers (and I know it’s all for charity) and they have much more web presence than I do [none], but still it needs to be said out loud. I know for a fact that there’s a lot of discussion, chatter, snickering and opinions being offered 1:1 and in small group discussions, and while there’s great PR so far in support for the calendars, no one’s coming out publicly to call this out and just say firstly “Come on, get real” and “For god’s sake ladies, take a pass”.
On the first point, let’s be real and brutally honest here. If you want to raise money for charity, there are a million other ways to do it. Organize a 10k, half-marathon, marathon, 3-legged race, whatever. Set up a contribution basket/box at the next TechCrunch event. Organise an event, lunch, drinks and have people contribute there. I mean seriously, is there a business plan around this calendar? How much money is the team seriously expecting to make? How many calendars do you have to sell to make up for the value of the time of all the tech people who will not be working, building companies, investing or consulting while they work on this calendar? (Just take the value of their salaries, options and carry and put that into the charity.)
Not a girl’s girl
Now on the latter point, I do not want to be the “Woman in tech/vc/startups who just writes about women’s issues”, because if you know me, you’ll know I’d rather shoot myself in the head, but no one is saying this in public, so I might as well: Grow up. Do not pose for that calendar, even if it’s for charity, and even if you’re so super secure and confident in your abilities to [run a company, manage people, attain huge success, etc., etc.] that you don’t mind being proud about your physical attributes as well… (Who cares?)
Let’s be clear, my advice that you shouldn’t pose is directed at men too — Girls, guys, everyone, just get real. Keep your egos in check, grow up a bit and even if you’re better looking than the average person-in-tech, it still doesn’t mean people will buy a calendar with your picture in it.
However, more especially for women, and not just for the obvious reasons. Speaking of those, let’s just get those out of the way…
If you’re in this business and want to be taken seriously as a woman, keep your clothes on. If you want to be perceived and judged as clever, quick-witted, with good business acumen, laser-focussed on your work and generally with your shit together, then keep the primary attention and focus on your cerebral achievements and don’t over-flaunt your physical assets.
That was straightforward enough, right? So here’s the other less obvious reason you should not pose nude (even “tastefully”, whatever) for a calendar…
If you’re confident about your appearance and even feel that it might be a bit of an advantage for you (which I will never disagree with), then keep an air of mystery going…! Why the f’k bare the goods for everyone and their brother to see in a calendar? Keep the allure, maintain the mystery, keep the attraction going and the phermones pumping and don’t blow all that future “networking” and deal-making on a calendar.
The more things change..
This is classic “how to get a man” or basic “how to stay interesting” logic. High heels, pencil skirts, just a bit of ankle, leg, neck, shoulder, all of it … All much more alluring and interesting than someone who flaunts it (= skank). Maintain a bit of decorum and you’re going to get a lot more interest than if you take it all off.
We’re in tech. In theory that means we are innovative, intelligent and love a challenge. What happened here (in the name of charity)?