Cher, Orange is the New Black, and What They Have in Common With Women in Tech

I’m going to fling three seemingly disparate ideas at you by way of this conclusion: women remain the very best influencers, window-openers, mentors, and launch platforms for other women’s genius and potential. And we should focus on THAT in the tech and capital investment world until we don’t have to worry about it anymore.

Here’s what Cher, Orange is the New Black, and Women in Tech Have in Common


Cher at 71 is THE Proof That Women Who Rock Clear the Path for Other Women

Maybe you caught 71 year-old Cher perform two full stage performance songs from her 5- decade career repertoire live on the Billboard Music Awards last Sunday. She was given the coveted ICON award that night. You should watch even if you’re not a Cher fan and you can do that here.  

The takeaway? She credited her success and staying power to luck, saying “luck has so much to do with her success…” and that she wasn’t really very special. Really.

Cher’s been humble, self-deprecating, authentic and bold her entire life, and relied on the open arms of many women in her life while doing the same for so many women herself. Bold, humble, willing to fail, chooses to surround herself with men AND women who live according to the “village” value system of lifting others up and be lifted up yourself.

Orange is the New Black 

Four of Orange is the New Black series actresses talked with Chris Hardwick yesterday on AMC about their success, what’s worked and why their amazing Netflix series has been such a popular culture fixture, why they as women seem to have created a kind of magic.

The takeaway in that conversation?

All four of the actresses (Taylor Schilling, Taryn Manning, Danielle Brooks, and Uzo Aduba) described the lack of ego and fear among the co-stars, and they all commented on the presence of sisterhood and mentorship they found with their mostly all-female directorial, production, and acting crew. They all credited that with their performances, the success of the show, the reason why people resonate with it. What’s going on here?

WomenInTech and the Under-valued X Value of Being Girls

So then Saturday this past weekend, I found myself with 15 female founder/CEOS, investors, venture consultants and two men (also a team member of one of the founders and a conscious leadership consultant) as part of the immersion education day for a new tech accelerator forging a new model called FourthWave.  FourthWave is creating a new model for how to grow highly successful best-of-class, inclusive tech companies. Full disclosure: I helped co-found this, but it doesn’t change the truth.

Throughout the day men AND women in the program and some I met meandering around the co-working space The Trade shared an overriding theme: FourthWave is SO different than any other start-up program they’d seen or heard about BECAUSE FourthWave put women founders on equal ground with EVERYONE in the tech world and the start-up scene, including investors. They said it was unique and would continue to resonate with male and female entrepreneurs BECAUSE their program and community reflected that they cared as much about the inner development of founders and co-creating and sharing their assets, knowledge, networks, and opinions as they did about the ROI potential of the people they helped.

Men don’t easily or historically share their networks of influence or their pipeline of $ lest that put them in a less competitive position. To be fair, this isn’t all men, but it is many, and certainly true in the tech capital and the start-up world as men have defined it.

The recipe you see, cooked by Cher, the actresses in Orange is the New Black, the founders of FourthWave and SO MANY OTHER MEN AND WOMEN building different models of power and success is simple: sharing power and co-creating while mentoring others in your path is a wave of not only the future, but a tsunami of extraordinary success that women as value creators seem to have an edge over riding, a edge over traditional, patriarchal power and capital structures and values. This wave isn’t a maverick, it’s the average wave to them.

This is an edge that apparently (by the value success of these women in our program and others) not only breeds better human outcomes, but breeds better bottom lines for all the assets and capital employed to accelerate their potential.

This is so not brain surgery. Bold, willing to fail, leans on her sisters and is a leaning post, keeps the “kill or be killed” out of their value bag, and is not afraid to share power, equity, or capital, OR what or who she knows. This is the fourth wave of feminism and we’re seeing proof everywhere of why it is so damn valuable.

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