An uncomfortable but necessary discussion: The Startup Show talks sexual harassment

Because we need to move the conversation forward too


In Episode 5.2 of The Startup Show, we talk about sexual harassment in startup culture.

The recent incident at 500 Startups isn't the first time sexual harassment has made an appearance in startup culture. Far from it, just look at all the recent issues at Uber as a starting point. Nor do we think that this is something that will magically go away anytime soon.

It sucks, and we just feel like startup culture should, and more importantly COULD, be better than corporate culture in this regard. And we think the responsibility for that falls heavily on dudes like us.

Much more so than corporate culture, startup is a meritocracy. Success in startup depends a lot more on the bottom line, and all the effort should be chasing that. There is little room for politics, because the plague of politics will kill a startup a lot faster than it will kill a giant corporation. It's an idealistic view, but if we're not being idealists, why are we in startup in the first place?

Is there a solution? Maybe not, but it doesn't mean we can't start talking about what that solution might look like. Do we need tougher laws? And when does it go from being a moral issue to a criminal issue? Is is different in the employer/employee relationship and the VC/founder relationship? And how do we police it without getting bogged down in useless policy?

We do know this. If we don't talk about it, nothing changes. It's not starting with us, we're just adding our voices.