This is a genderflip of this article in the NYTimes. It’s a bit more subtle than some of the other posts, but, besides the fact that most Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are men, I thought it was interesting because:
1. It seems like male silicon valley entrepreneurs are portrayed as “boys” quite often, but it’s kind of weird to hear someone say a woman “grew up” with her start-up. Do we accept infantalizing of men more in tech?
2. It brings up this “hoodie-wearing” image of a successful boy wonder, which is a pretty male image. It reminds me of this article, where VCs basically admit they’re more likely to fund someone who “looks like Mark Zuckerberg”
3. The introverted, somewhat autistic tech-person gives off a little bit of a different vibe according to gender. It seems to be celebrated a little more for men than women in tech.
4. It seems a little weirder/not as politically correct to say a woman did something “on her father’s advice” versus a man doing something “on his mother’s advice,” which just seems sweet.
Diane Karp, Tumblr’s founder, in 2011. She left Bronx High School of Science at 14 to focus on computers, on her father’s advice.
(Picture: Flickr - StevieB44 - Interesting note: I really tried to find a picture with a woman driving a scooter with a man behind her but to no avail)
When Diane Karp was 14, she was clearly a bright teenager. Quiet, somewhat reclusive, bored with her classes at the Bronx High School of Science. she spent most of her free time in her bedroom, glued to her computer.
But instead of trying to pry her away from her machine or coaxing her outside to get some fresh air, her father, Ben Ackerman, had another solution: he suggested that she drop out of high school to be home-schooled.
“I saw her at school all day and absorbed all night into her computer,” said Mr. Ackerman, reached by phone Monday afternoon. “It became very clear that Diane needed the space to live her passion. Which was computers. All things computers.”
Now 26 years old, Ms. Karp never finished high school or enrolled in college. Instead, she played a significant role in several technology start-ups before founding Tumblr, the popular blogging service that agreed to be sold to Yahoo for $1.1 billion this week. With an expected $250 million from the deal, Ms. Karp joins a tiny circle of 20-something entrepreneurs, hoodie-wearing characters like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Foursquare’s Dennis Crowley, who have struck it rich before turning 30.
“When I first met Diane she was 20 years old and wearing sneakers and jeans,” said Bija Sabet, a general partner at Spark Capital, who was one of the first people to invest in Tumblr. “But I knew she was one of these rare entrepreneurs that grew up on the Web and who could come up with an idea, build it herself, and then ship it that night.”
Since founding Tumblr six years ago, Ms. Karp has been admired for her programming skills and Web site design acumen but at times has been a polarizing figure in New York tech circles because she so often blogged about her personal life and party-hopping. she has popped up in the New York Post’s Page Six Magazine, and has been a recurring target for the gossip Web site Gawker, where she was labeled a “fameball,” a derogatory term for someone who has an unquenchable desire for fame.
Tall and willowy, with a mop of black hair and piercing brown eyes, Ms. Karp typically dresses in jeans, a T-shirt and sneakers. She speaks at a rapid clip and, often, for minutes without stopping. Technically, she never graduated from high school, which she cracked in an interview is “hopefully not a condition of Yahoo employment.”
After dropping out and working for a time in small New York tech outfits, Ms. Karp made her way to Tokyo, where she worked for several months for a start-up. she returned to the United States and became the chief technology officer for UrbanBaby, an Internet message board for parents. CNET Networks bought UrbanBaby in 2006, and Ms. Karp took the several hundred thousand dollars she made from the sale to start her own company, called Dianeville. One of Dianeville’s projects was a simple blogging service called Tumblr.
Ms. Karp’s run at Tumblr has not been without problems. She had trouble hiring in Tumblr’s early days, unsure how to even interview recruits. She often thought large companies were too big for their own good, proclaiming she could manage Tumblr with a team of four.
But Ms. Karp stepped out of the party scene and started dating her current boyfriend, a graduate nursing school student at New York University, four years ago. She also appeared to get more serious about her company as it grew from less than a dozen employees to more than 175 today. “Diane has grown up in Tumblr,” said Maria Coatney, who oversees Tumblr’s relationship with media companies.