“Doing my part to smash the patriarchy.” – Andrew Torba
By Andrew Torba (Co-Founder & CEO, Kuhcoon)
The tech industry’s sexism problem really boggles my mind. Not only as a tech entrepreneur, but as a human being. The bigger issue here is that sexism exists not only in tech, but all over the world: where women are viewed as objects rather than the equal, valuable, and individual human beings they are.
I’m here to tell you that our business would not exist without the intelligent, influential, and powerful women in my life. Period.
I was raised by a stay-at-home mom who dedicated 22 years of her life molding my four siblings and me into the people we are today. Her selfless sacrifice and dedication to her full-time job as a mom made it possible for me to stay out of trouble, focus on my education, and follow my dreams. I’m sure many people feel the same about their mothers, but my mom wasn’t only a catalyst to who I am as a person: she also plays a crucial role in our business.
How awesome is that?
For the past six months I’ve watched my mom single-handedly work to maintain our clients’ social media accounts as a social media community manager. She’s a natural people person and understands the core processes of a proper content strategy, community engagement, customer service, and data analysis. The service side of our business is the core to our current revenue stream, and without my mom there is no way I would be able to focus on expanding the software side of our business. It’s been amazing to watch her transform and learn a new set of skills, all while breaking the only-young-people-get-social-media stereotype and becoming a vital part of the business.
Then there is the story of our company’s first investor Beth Sindaco, Esq. Beth was my professor at the University of Scranton in a writing class aptly titled “Writing for the Web.” It was in this class that I learned the core elements of content creation on the Internet, which landed me a columnist position for a Midwestern technology blog TechLi.com. I wrote for TechLi for several months before taking a leap of faith and starting my own company, which is when Beth immediately invested. Our “company” was nothing more than an idea at this stage, but Beth believed in us enough to take a risk.
Her investment laid the foundation of our business and justified our idea.
Another amazing woman not only helped our business, but also helped me personally as an entrepreneur. Her name is Dr. Teresa Grettano and she co-teaches a course at the University of Scranton called “Rhetoric and Social Media.” This course taught me to analyze every aspect of social media with a fine-toothed comb and also to reflect on my own use of social media as a utility. Teresa has also been influential in helping me improve my writing, critical thinking, and rhetorical analysis skills, which have all come in handy over the past two years while growing our business.
When I worked at TechLi I reported directly to Lindsay Morton, the then co-founder and editor of the company. Lindsay has been ranked by countless publications as one of the top social media managers in the world, but in my opinion she’s even better than that: she’s the best there is. She taught me to navigate the social web, build community, and most importantly sharpen my writing. These skills would become extremely influential in our business as well as in the development of my own personal brand.
There are dozens more examples I can think of, from the amazing female contractors we’ve worked with in the past to former female interns and employees, and countless others. The point is our business would not exist if it weren’t for the amazing women in my life or those who were involved in the growth of our company from day one.
The tech industry, and every industry for that matter, needs to understand that women are equally as intelligent, valuable, and hard-working as men. Women are fully capable of starting their own successful businesses, climbing the corporate ladder, writing code, chasing their dreams, and changing the world. It’s time to recognize their vital importance in every aspect of our lives and give them the equal chance at success and respect they deserve.
As a male entrepreneur I pledge to do my part in providing a friendly, safe, and equal atmosphere for women to thrive as executive leaders, board members, investors, advisors, employees, business partners, and fellow entrepreneurs. Hopefully I can inspire others to do the same.
This post originally appeared on Medium.