Silicon Valley’s latest whipping boy was passionate about women

“My experience with Dave McClure as a woman CEO” (Medium) is kind of interesting. Now that the hated Travis Kalanick has been expelled from Uber, this guy David McClure has been put forward by the New York Times as the new whipping boy:

Mr. McClure, a founder of 500 Startups and an investor, sent her a Facebook message that read in part, “I was getting confused figuring out whether to hire you or hit on you.”

Rashmi Sinha, co-founder of SlideShare, reports that

Dave recognized early on (perhaps even before I did) that many of the rejections were related to my being a woman CEO. … Dave McClure supported me through all this. He was outraged on my behalf and went out of his way to help. … Dave asked me many times to talk about my experience. He invited me to panels and ask me to share my experience. I spoke up some, but did not go into it in any depth.

This is admittedly a small sample (don’t want to be guilty of the same mistake as the New York Times and make broad conclusions from a small and biased sample!), but it seems interesting that a VC who was particularly interested in the gender ID of tech company management was also ultimately brought down in a gender-related complaint. (Most VCs, presumably, don’t care whether it is a man, woman, or green donkey holding a position, as long as money is being made.)

[Separately, Rashmi Sinha shows how we can perpetuate our culture of victimhood. She attributes investor concerns about her company and her as CEO to her gender ID and/or skin color:

Whenever I sensed that the VC across the table might not be receptive to a women, we would switch to my cofounder (& husband) Jon Boutelle taking the lead and making the presentation. The change in response was immediate — they were much more convinced by the story when it was told by a white man than myself.

The final straw was when a prominent VC firm, gave us an offer, as long as I stepped down as CEO. Needless to say, we said no to that one, and also stopped talking to anyone who seemed uncomfortable with my being a CEO.

Of course it is possible that her gender ID played a role. But it is equally possible that husband Jon was a more convincing person. A glance at LinkedIn profiles shows that husband Jon had years of experience as a software engineer and therefore much more of a shared background with a typical VC than someone who studied “Cognitive Neuropsyhology” [sic]. Sinha’s LinkedIn profile shows that she had no background as a CEO. Maybe that is why potential investors wanted to bring in someone else? (This is commonly done with white male founders who lack significant management experience.)

So we can have a never-ending culture of victimhood in the U.S. as long as each of us attributes all of our challenges and failures to bias!]

Forbes says that McClure is married with two children. What was the plan going to be when one of these women accepted his proposition, became pregnant, demanded child support under California family law, and started talking to the wife?

McClure does seem to have been on the correct side of history, at least from the perspective of my Facebook friends. Back in 2014 he started a “500 Women fund that is focused on firms with at least one female founder.” (sourceFortune shows him in September 2016 raising money for Hillary (“He’s with Her”). In response to thoughtful and intelligent questions from a dispassionate female moderator, he went off on a tangent about how much he hates Donald Trump.