Only 17% of Startups Had a Female Founder in 2017

Whitney Wolfe, Founder of Bumble (Travel + Leisure)

Whitney Wolfe, Founder of Bumble (Travel + Leisure)

Quick, how many female founders of startups can you name (without Googling)? Let’s see, there’s Sophia Amoruso of NastyGal (RIP!), Whitney Wolfe of Bumble, Jenn Hyman of Rent the Runway, and…who else?

Contrast that with how many male startup founders you could name (Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, etc.) and you could go on for days. And that’s without Googling. And without naming their respective companies (Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, and Tesla, in case you’e wondering.)

Why can’t we name more female founders? Do they exist?

Well, yes and no. Crunchbase, a platform that crunches (heh) data for many companies around the world, has been running a study on female founders of start-ups since 2015. And what they found will SHOCK you.

Actually, no it won’t. Only 17% of startups had a female founder as of Q1 2017 (the last recorded study). 17 PERCENT. THIS IS NOT PARITY.

What makes this number worse is that this percentage has persisted since 2012. So women have only have the best seats at the table less than 1/5th of the time for 5 years.

Ladies, let’s start some companies!! Who’s with me?!

No Shit: Tech Startups Founded by Women Have Almost 50% More Female Employees

Emily Weiss, founder and CEO of beauty startup Glossier (Time)

Emily Weiss, founder and CEO of beauty startup Glossier (Time)

Guess what, everyone? It turns out that tech start-ups that were founded by women…wait for it…have more female employees than tech start-ups founded by men. Can you believe it? Not only that, but these female-founded startups have almost 50% more female employees.

I think I can speak for all of us when I say: NO. SHIT.

How was this surprising insight uncovered, you ask? FundersClub, an “online start-up investing platform,” surveyed 85 tech start-ups based in the US. Most of these start-ups measured fewer than 20 employees. Within this survey, the gender breakdown at women-led start-ups registered as 48% female. As the “LA Times” notes, the 48% women stat at women-led start-ups beats the gender breakdowns at the top tech companies. Uber has 36% women, Facebook has 33% women, Apple has 32% women, and Google lags behind with 31% women within the respective companies.

A woman founder begets more women, which leads to a more gender-balanced company. Who knew?!

 

 

 

Facebook Can Tell When You’re In a Relationship

Facebook Relationship Status interface (Daily Mail UK)

Facebook Relationship Status interface (Daily Mail UK)

It’s no secret that Facebook knows everything about its users at this point. The social network knows your favorite movies and TV shows, where you’ve worked, and what you read. Of course, this is all information users manually input. But Facebook can also glean information from a user’s patterns of how they use the site. One thing Facebook can tell from this is when a user starts a relationship.

In 2014, Facebook’s data scientists noticed something interesting: When a couple enters the courtship period, timeline posts increase (presumably both for interaction purposes, and so the other party can see how awesome/funny/interesting, etc. the first person is).

For the visual learners, here’s a chart to illustrate this:

Facebook activity as it relates to relationship status (The Atlantic/Facebook)

Facebook activity as it relates to relationship status (The Atlantic/Facebook)

Once two people are firmly “in a relationship” (as defined by posting an anniversary date), the number of posts decrease, but the tone of said posts becomes happier overall. This probably points to the fact that the couple are spending more time together in person and have no need to post on each other’s walls.

Here’s what that looks like:

Facebook activity in terms of relationship status and positive emotions (The Atlantic/Facebook)

Facebook activity in terms of relationship status and positive emotions (The Atlantic/Facebook)

According to Facebook Data Scientist Carlos Diuk, here’s how the data science behind the study breaks down:

During the 100 days before the relationship starts, we observe a slow but steady increase in the number of timeline posts shared between the future couple. When the relationship starts (“day 0”), posts begin to decrease. We observe a peak of 1.67 posts per day 12 days before the relationship begins, and a lowest point of 1.53 posts per day 85 days into the relationship. Presumably, couples decide to spend more time together, courtship is off, and online interactions give way to more interactions in the physical world.

Facebook’s parameters for this study were users who had “Single” as their relationship status 100 days before changing it to “In a Relationship,” and who were in a relationship 85 days after their posted anniversary date. Anniversary dates used were between April 11, 2010 and October 21, 2013.

In other words, Facebook can tell when you’re…Facebook official.

Trends: Opening Up About Miscarriages

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, 2015 (Business Insider)

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan Zuckerberg (Business Insider)

When Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced that his wife was pregnant with their first child last summer, he made another important statement: that his wife Priscilla had endured three miscarriages over the course of three years.

It’s a huge thing to acknowledge, especially since it seems that any narrative other than an easy pregnancy is given short shift. I applaud Zuckerberg for speaking up about what he and his wife went through, and what many more people work through.

But he hasn’t been the only one. Lately, many celebrities/people with social influence have been speaking up about that painful time in their lives.

Actress Eva Amurri Martino experienced a miscarriage as well, and spoke about it publicly two weeks after Zuckererg’s announcement. Martino’s miscarriage occurred around nine weeks after conception. Earlier this year, actress Kimberly McCullough revealed that she’d suffered a miscarriage last year, losing her baby at 22 weeks.

Shining a light on something helps to normalize it, and hopefully these confessions will encourage others to open up about their personal experiences. We need to keep talking about miscarriages to destigmatize them.

#ThrowbackThursday: Mark Zuckerberg and Pregnant Priscilla Chan, 2015

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, 2015 (Business Insider)

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan Zuckerberg (Business Insider)

On July 31, 2015, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced on (where else?) Facebook that he and his wife Priscilla were expecting a baby girl. He also revealed that the couple had weathered three miscarriages in the span of two years.

Zuckerberg rarely posts personal things on his own site, so this was a break from routine for him. The confession earned him praise.

The Zuckerbergs’ daughter Max was born on Dec. 1, 2015.

Aydian Dowling Could Be The First Trans “Ultimate Guy” for “Mens Health”

Aydian Dowling (Facebook)

Aydian Dowling (Facebook)

This past week has been a banner one for the trans community. First, Laverne Cox stripped down for “Allure” to help empower her various communities (black, woman, transgender). And now, fitness magazine “Men’s Health” might soon have its first transgender cover model.

Twenty-seven-year-old Aydian Dowling from Eugene, Oregon currently leads the magazine’s “Ultimate Guy” search, which searches for the man who “possesses all of the qualities that make up today’s well rounded, active, health conscious and thoughtful guy; is fit and fearless and leads by example.”

Dowling certainly meets those requirements. He began transitioning using hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in Oct. 2009, and had top surgery (which removed his breasts) three years later. In terms of leading by example, Dowling is also a fitness entrepreneur: He created YouTube channel Beefheads Fitness, which focuses on fitness for trans people. He saw an opportunity within the marketplace when he realized that nobody was filling that void, and decided to step in. Dowling also gives back by donating some profits from his clothing company to help transmen pay for top surgery.

As of Sunday night, Dowling sits atop the “Reader’s Choice” leaderboard:

'Men's Health' Ultimate Guy Contest Leaderboard April 19, 2015

‘Men’s Health’ Ultimate Guy Contest Leaderboard April 19, 2015

The rankings are based on user votes, so anyone who comes to the website can decide whether to vote or not. (As you can see, there’s some self-selection bias at play here. But in this case, it might not be such a bad thing.)

Dowling has pretty much blown every other ranked contestant out of the water at this point. Brian Taylor, currently in second place, hasn’t even received 25% of the votes that Dowling has.

The winner of the “Ultimate Guy” contest will be featured on the “Men’s Health” November 2015 issue cover. The magazine’s editors note that “the winner of the reader vote isn’t guaranteed to win the contest, but will be in the top 10 finalists.” It’s very exciting that we’re potentially watching history in the making, and that this represents a large shift in terms of (re-)defining ideas of mainstream masculinity. And we really hope that the “Men’s Health” editors award Dowling the title, if he wins the reader poll.

 

#ThrowbackThursday: Abercrombie & Fitch Ad, 2012

Abercrombie and Fitch ad shot by Bruce Weber (Towleroad)

Abercrombie and Fitch ad shot by Bruce Weber (Towleroad)

Three years ago, acclaimed photographer Bruce Weber shot a promo for Abercrombie & Fitch that featured handsome male models doing things all guys do: wrestling, showering, and kissing.

That last one is depicted up top. Later, the clothing brand claimed that the video (and three related others) were part of an official A&F campaign, even though Weber had identified the video as such on his Facebook page.

Regardless, it’s still a cool image. Abercrombie will always be the first softcore your 13-year-old self squealed over, but it’s at least made some strides towards acceptance (certain other inflammatory comments from former CEO Mike Jeffries notwithstanding).

“Fifty Shades of Grey:” The Myths vs. The Stats

'Fifty Shades of Grey' still (NY Daily News)

‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ still (NY Daily News)

This week, we’re examining different aspects of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” in preparation for the upcoming movie, opening on Feb. 13th. 

One thing “Fifty Shades of Grey” has done is to start a dialogue around depictions of BDSM in popular culture. With the book becoming wildly popular, it’s only natural that those participating in The Lifestyle would begin to point out inaccuracies about the depiction of Christian and Ana’s D/s relationship.

But it also reinforces some common misconceptions of BDSM. Many people’s only experience with BDSM has been vicariously through this book/trilogy, and E.L. James does a real disservice to those who are active D/s participants, not to mention those curious about exploring it.

I’ve identified some misconceptions that the book puts forth, juxtaposed by what existing research has taught us:

1. BDSM practitioners are usually victims of previous sexual abuse.

In the book, Christian was introduced to The Lifestyle via Elena Lincoln, his mother’s friend. Elena introduced Christian to BDSM and domme-d him for six years (roughly ages 15 to 21; he’s 27 at the beginning of the book). So James draws a direct link between sexual trauma and domination, especially with Christian repeatedly telling Ana he had “a rough start in life.”

There is no link between BDSM and sexual abuse. None. This is a common misconception from people who don’t know much about BDSM (and now this erroneous belief is more prevalent due to this damn book).

An Australian study done in 2001-2002, and published by Northern Illinois University in 2008, was predicated on the hypothesis that those involved in BDSM had histories of “sexual coercion, sexual difficulties, and/or psychological problems.” Here’s what the researchers found:

[The respondents] were no more likely to have been coerced into sexual activity, and were not significantly more likely to be unhappy or anxious-indeed, men who had engaged in BDSM scored significantly lower on a scale of psychological distress than other men.

Can we please put this old canard to rest now?

 

2. Having a BDSM relationship ruins a person for vanilla sex

In the book, Christian tells Ana that he has “singular” tastes, and that he’s not a “hearts and flowers kind of guy.” After he sleeps with her for the first time to get “the basics” out of the way, Christian also admits that he’s never had vanilla sex before…until now (aww!).

Is this standard for most BDSM enthusiasts, that they can’t have “normal” sex?

No. No, it is not. Much like Christian Grey is not representative of the typical self-made billionaire (he’s a 27-year-old in the world of telecommunications), the relationship depicted by E.L. James doesn’t represent reality. Shocking!

The same Australian study found this as well, noted in their abstract’s conclusion:

BDSM is simply a sexual interest or subculture attractive to a minority, and for most participants not a pathological symptom of past abuse or difficulty with “normal” sex.

And they should know: The researchers interviewed 19K+ people.

Now that we’ve cleared that up…

 

3. A good BDSM relationship involves the Dom/me doing whatever s/he wants with no regard for his/her sub’s needs and wants

In the book, Christian repeatedly tells Ana that he chooses when he wants her and what they do, that she’s at his sexual beck and call during her time with him. She wasn’t allowed to argue this point; it was in his paperwork that she read and signed.

Nope.

That is not a healthy BDSM relationship (or any relationship for that matter).

A healthy BDSM relationship involves negotiation. For both parties. On what they will and won’t do, and what they’re flexible on. But all involved have a choice.

Likewise, the purpose of a good D/s session is to make sure everyone gets their needs met. And how do they do that? By communicating. By deciding beforehand what will and will not happen. By setting boundaries. Now, Christian does give Ana a list of limits, both hard and soft, so kudos for that.

Communication is prized, hence the inclusion of a “safe word.” If the safe word is used (a common one is “red,” invoking a stop light), all activity ceases. No exceptions.

Ana isn’t given this common courtesy. She has to do what Christian says, and isn’t allowed to advocate for herself. It’s all about his pleasure, and she’s only allowed to receive the pain and ordered to like it. Even in their very first session in the Red Room of Pain, she’s not feeling up to a second round (and Christian notices this), but keeps going. She clearly doesn’t feel comfortable invoking their safe word (which is “red,” of course).

In fact, a study done by Ohio State University, Columbus in 2013 found that the relationship between Christian and Ana constituted intimate partner violence, rather than garden-variety BDSM. (This is definitely evident in the way Ana is always scared of Christian’s reaction to every damn little thing.) The study, published in the “Journal of Women’s Health,” was titled, “‘Double Crap!’ Abuse and Harmed Identity in Fifty Shades of Grey.”

 

And a bonus!

4. BDSM practitioners are hot, brooding young billionaires.

(How do I know Christian is a billionaire? Because he landed at #8 on the “Forbes” Fictional 15 list with a net worth of $2B+.)

I couldn’t find any stats on this. Shocking, right? There are no definite stats on what multi-million- and billionaires prefer in the bedroom. No self-reporting going on here. (Hey Kinsey Institute, there’s an opportunity here.)

If Mark Zuckerberg (age 30, 2014 net worth $34B+) or Box’s Aaron Levie (age 29, estimated net worth $100M) are found to have elaborate sex dungeons in their homes (or, hell, on the Facebook campus), I guess we can say it’s a thing.