Fun Friday – Silicon Valley Cowboys a Dying Breed

Wired today laments the lack of women at C-level in Silicon Valley tech companies. After Carly’s ouster lask week, there are only seven women at Fortune 500 companies and none of them are SV companies. Wired printed my response today.

It’s not surprising that Silicon Valley is particularly difficult for women to move up in ranks – the “cowboy” company style isn’t known for consensus management, team players, or progressive initiatives. The thing to remember is that many of the founders and investors in these cowboy companies (e.g. National Semiconductor, Fairchild, Intel, …) are still going strong in Silicon Valley, and the independent gun-slinger executive who they identify with most strongly is also most likely male. Not always though – Carly’s go-it-alone style fits more with cowboys than the older HP way of Hewlett and Packard. Perhaps Carly would have been better shaking up things at Intel or National Semi? She’d fit right in.

If you want to see Silicon Valley change, watch the obits. The fewer cowboys, the less fascination with the old cowboy style and the more interest in global strategy and fast execution. And women will most certainly do well in this new Internet age.

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