During a three hour long panel Q & A this Friday at Tahoe Tech Talk, audience member Barbara Ludwig stood up and asked me about opportunities for women in Silicon Valley. As an answer, I gave her the talking point that while being a woman meant you could probably never share an “Al Gore pissing match story” like Digg founder Kevin Rose had earlier, women in tech could be both as respected and as vulgar as the men I currently shared the stage with.
On that note, 500Startups angel investor Dave McClure took Ludwig’s question as an opportunity to express his opinion on the issue, interrupting me by beckoning for one of the mics, which were limited. I ended up giving him the mic but not before making a “Would you like to share your opinion on being a woman in tech, McClure?” joke.
To make a long story short, McClure dismissed “Too Few Women In Tech” as being a non-issue and Lowercase Capital’s Chris Sacca tried to continue the conversation “I actually wonder if there are substantive differences in the skill sets between men and women sometimes …”
McClure also interrupted him leading to the above tense and expletive filled exchange between McClure and Sacca, which someone surreptitiously recorded and posted to YouTube. My unfunny statement at the end likening McClure to Kanye West “Imma let you finish …” was meant to diffuse the situation, but ended up making it more awkward and coming off wrong out of context.
While many people (myself included) found the cursing and informality of the Tahoe Tech Talks refreshing, I have heard some say that all the F-bombs, interrupting and yelling put them off this latest generation of tech leaders. That being said, imagine being the only woman onstage with a bunch of guys getting in a fight over the issue of women in tech. Yeah.