Reset by Ellen Pao is a good first of the year read. It will get you fired up to start that business you have always wanted to get off the ground. Why? If Pao’s book is anything to go by, and I believe it is, the business world needs you! It needs people who are not intimidated by the idea of diversity in positions of influence.
During her trial, Pao was often described as cold and unfriendly. When are warmth and friendliness necessary in a venture capitalist? I thought business savvy and good with money would be high up on the list of attributes venture capitalists should have. Ruthless? Assholes? Hopefully not but probably pretty handy. But friendly and warm not so much. Maybe people thought she was trying to make it in the world of kindergarten teaching?
I don’t have the patience for this anymore. Women don’t have to be likable to be good at their jobs. They have to be intelligent and hardworking and willing to learn, all traits Pao possesses. Also, her clients overwhelmingly liked her. They wanted her on their boards and advising them. And she still got fired. Why? Read the book. It might make you mad. I hope it makes you ambitious.
Get out there and start your business. You can totally make it work. You are hardworking and intelligent and willing to learn.
I think that is what Reset means, a resetting of thinking about who can make a business work. You don’t have to be white and male. It helps. I’d be lying if I said otherwise.
But you don’t have to be. Remember that.