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Do you want to be rich or do you want to be in love?

Do you want to be rich or do you want to be in love?   

A wise man once asked me “Do you want to be rich, or do you want to be in love?”  Now, in any normal conversation this would seem like a weird question, but on this particular morning, it wasn’t.   I was working on two sites at the time, Spotery and Dealery, Dealery was blowing up, and Spotery wasn’t.  Dealery was bringing in money, and Spotery was bleeding money and resources.

In my conversation, I had mentioned I loved Spotery and worked on it for so long and Dealery launched in a week but was making money day 1, So I was asked something that stuck with me: “Do you want to be rich or do you want to be in love?”

It was a no brainer to anyone looking in, but to the person that thought of and created the two sites, it was a painful decision. 

I knew my answer right away, but the decision was harder.  All the nights working on it, all the days struggling, how could I just shut it down? 

I used to refer to Dealery, as the ‘hot little sister’.  There was no better description, she was hot and everyone loved her and wanted a piece.  Spotery, was quieter, and only after visiting it a few times, did someone realize how it really could add value to their life.  But alas, the hot little sister was growing in popularity and making money, and Spotery wasn’t.

So I shifted my focus to Dealery and cut all the people I had working on Spotery.  I didn’t love that I had to make that decision, but I was eager to see how Dealery’s massive potential could be developed.  And while it took me a little while to finally let go of Spotery, it became easier once I started thinking of my journey with Spotery as the foundation upon which Dealery was built.  Everything about Dealery came from Spotery: the name, the logo, the color scheme, and even the concept (I’ve often referred to Dealery as “Spotery for Deals”).  We were able to launch Dealery in a week because of the infrastructure of Spotery.  Once I realized that, it became clear what my next steps should be.

Today, I made the executive decision to shut down Spotery.  Dealery’s continued growth and ever increasing potential deserve all of my attention, and I’m eager to give it.  And while losing Spotery may have seemed too painful a few short months ago, I know today that I’ve made the right decision.  In order to provide for Dealery’s future, I must allow Spotery to remain in the past.

List of Women in Tech in NYC

Awesome list of women in tech in NYC.  So if you’re looking for a speaker or someone to be on your panel, you have no excuse to say there are no women in tech…

Check it out.  http://www.afieldguideto.com/

Thank you @Sarita for compiling. 

SXSW 2011 Panels About Women in Tech

Are you a woman in tech?  Well, I’ve compiled a few of my fav. SXSW panels that deal with women in tech. (Full disclosure, the first one is mine)  If you feel I’ve missed one, please let me know and I’ll add it (limor@spotery.com) 

Female and Male Entrepreneurs: Is There a Difference?

http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/7005

Starting a company is challenging whether you’re a female or male, but many believe that women encounter challenges that men will never face. Others feel that gender shouldn’t play a role, and that though there aren’t as many women entrepreneurs in tech, the issues are the same. What are the factors that affect women? Is there one gender and that gender is entrepreneur or are women treated differently? How does being a woman shape the growth of a company? Our panel will discuss the different viewpoints and hear stories from both perspectives.

 

  1. Does gender play a role in entrepreneurship?
  2. What are the factors that affect women?
  3. How does being a woman founder shape the growth of the company?
  4. What are some hurdles for women entrepreneurs?
  5. Besides hurdles, do women ever have an advantage?

Sausagefest: Getting More Women Into New Media & Tech

http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/7571

This industry has a ratio problem. Still. It’s getting better, but panels, conferences, magazine articles, VC funding - it’s all dominated by men. In a big way. Is this because women are lame and uncreative? No. Is it because men are evil and sexist? No. (Sheesh, no.) But - where there is such an obvious and unrelenting gender disparity, there is a problem waiting to be solved. How can women do more to make their ideas happen? (And get money for them?) What do men do differently than women? Is industry coverage lopsided - and if so, how can we change that? What can we blame on the people running all-dude conferences - and what can we take responsibility for ourselves? How can we work together as an industry to encourage the kind of diversity that will free up the very best of our collective talent to rise to the top? Women are great. Men are great. But the ratio in this industry - not great. This panel will address that, and how to change it.

  1. Why should we care about diversity in the industry, anyway?
  2. What do women and men do differently that affects their path professionally?
  3. How can we tackle “The VC Problem” - i.e. less than 10% of VC money funding women-headed businesses?
  4. How can we make dudes care about this subject? (Most panels on this topic are 80% women, at least.)
  5. Is this even a problem, or just bitter people complaining?

Whither the Female Tech Founder

http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/5452

Is the boys club of Internet founders by coincidence or design? This panel will discuss the *real* reasons why there are so few female founders of scalable Internet start-ups. We’ll also talk about what can be done to skyrocket this number. No PC talk permitted.

 

  1. Why are there not more women founded scalable start-ups?
  2. How can we encourage more women to found companies?
  3. What are the challenges women entrepreneurs face?
  4. Who are the best role models for female founders?
  5. Will more women start scalable companies in 2011 and beyond?
My thoughts on Charlie O’Donnell’s post

OK, I re-read Charlie O’Donnell’s post and my opinion hasn’t changed.  Maybe I’m the only one, but I don’t see this as a negative post at all.  

When I first told my brother that it seems ‘harder for women to get funding”, he looked at me and said: “that’s stupid. Why should it matter.  If the idea is good, it’ll get backed”  

And that was the end of that conversation. 

I read Charlie’s post with my brother’s statement in mind.  All I see in this post is an investor trying to give his point of view.  And I have to say, I don’t disagree.  

(For the record, I have no firsthand experience with getting funding.  I have never met with an Angel or VC about funding for my site, only from what I read.)

 I’ll copy and paste parts of the post that I loved and write my comments.  

“I’ve yet to be pointed a single example of someone who absolutely had a backable idea that couldn’t get funded because of their demographic.”

If you read nothing else in the post, read that sentence.  If you have a good idea, and you think it’s the next big thing, or has the potential to make a boatload of money, you’ll be able to find funding.  Done.

Sure, sometimes it’s harder to convince someone to see what you see, but if you can make it into a business or at least show the value in it, I can’t see why you wouldn’t get backed.

“Would it be terrible if we created 10 female heads of marketing of 10 billion-dollar companies instead of 10 new female entrepreneurs?    Whose career more positively affects the role of women in the tech industry?  Marissa Meyer as a non-founder at Google or some new female tech entrepreneur who statistically won’t create nearly as many jobs and revenues as Marissa does everyday--because startups, no matter what the color or gender of the founder, are hard.

I highlight and bold that last sentence, because I can’t tell you enough how much its true.  Stop thinking its glamorous.  The life of a startup founder sucks.  It’s hard, its draining, it’s an emotional roller coaster.  If you think that you wouldn’t be better off running a crazy budget at some awesome company, you’re wrong.  Maybe the words “Would it be terrible if we created 10 female heads of marketing of 10 billion-dollar companies instead of 10 new female entrepreneurs?” was taken badly.  I can see how.  B/c I read it at first and thought, “ouch Charlie”,  but when I re-read it, I got the point.  Unless your company makes it huge, you probably will never see the money that Marissa Meyer at Google has seen.  The budgets you play with won’t be as big, the brand you get to build up isn’t as big, and the lifestyle you have won’t be as great. Ok, so she’s not Larry or Sergey, but guess what, neither are the 1000’s of other Googlers.  And Larry and Sergey alone couldn’t make Google what it is today.

“I feel like half the entrepreneurs I meet with would be so much better off joining someone else’s startup that already has traction.  They’re smart, passionate, capable…and I don’t know if you noticed but if you talk to any top entrepreneur, they’ll tell you their biggest bottleneck is access to great talent.

Everyone wants the startup idea to be theirs.  But that’s just not the way it goes.  And sometimes, you see things after joining a startup that the founder will never see.  Growing the company is hard.  Startups need good people to do that.  If all the good people are starting companies, then who’s working at the startup?

“I feel like we should focus our efforts on creating the best businesses and the best business and technical professionals to staff those businesses possible—and enabling anyone who wants in to get the skills necessary to participate.

It’s much harder making the company something than creating it.

I realize I’m not an “expert” on all things startup.  Mine is still in its infancy stage, having just relaunched a month ago, after an 8 month beta period.  But I’ve had 2 other companies in the past.  My first when I was 24. 

And I’ll tell you this.  Age, gender, none of it matters.  Can we please stop focusing on that, and start focusing on the actual product? 

Maybe my startup will fall flat on its face one day.  Maybe it’ll be huge.   But at the end of the day, none of it will happen because I’m a woman.  It just won’t.   You don’t get a free pass because you’re a woman and you decided to start a company.  That’s just not how life works.

So, build a great company, or join a great company.  It doesn’t matter as long as you love it and do an amazing job at it.  I don’t think anyone cares if you’re a girl or a guy or black or Asian or part alien, if your idea is good, if your product is strong, nothing else matters. 

(please sent all hate mail to limor@spotery.com)