Tonight at the fireside chat between Sarah Lacy and Ben Horowitz, Horowitz shared his thoughts on sexism in Silicon Valley. As should be expected for those that follow Horowitz, he is clearly on the side of women founders in the Valley.
Horowitz has long been known to be one of the most pro-women people in the technology world, with a few anecdotes being that he always refers to entrepreneurs as “she,” and that he has given public talks about how women are better founders and entrepreneurs.
Horowitz is clear that women do have a harder time than men in some areas, but that the sexism isn’t like “men are better, women are inferior,” but that women and men approach business differently, which throws some people off. During his time as a CEO, it was clear that it is a “real challenge for women in these technology organizations.”
According to Horowitz, one big difference is that women are better at confronting people in business over things that men normally overlook. One example Horowitz gave included a meeting that Horowitz cut a woman off mid-speech, and she came by to complain afterwards that he should have let her finish. Other people in the meeting were taken aback, but Horowitz sees this as a net-positive, as issues shouldn’t be left to fester in any organization.
Women are so adept at communicating that Horowitz says, “Men can know each other for 30 years, talk all day long, and never say anything. Women can have a conversation and talk about all the nasty things going on in their lives, and it’s really intense.”
Continuing with the theme that women are better at communicating in organizations, Horowitz mentioned that the more women that are in an organization, the more open and confrontational the organization will be. This is key to building a healthy company, according to Horowitz.
Horowitz does come down against many people that believe sexism is alive and thriving in the Valley. But for someone that has been around for well over a decade, invests in women founders, and is publicly in favor of women over men for technology companies, there’s more to the story than initially meets the eye.
Continue to watch the livestream of the event here.