Men, Prayer, Politics, Horses, Detroit
I can feel some of my peers comfortably into their fifth decade bristling at the term ‘older’. I’m there, so I retain full rights to use the ‘O’ word. So should you, if you are an accomplished woman who has been down some roads, failed productively, lived to tell about it and reached more than a few pinnacles along the way to the five decade mark. I’ve got good news for you: Our skill set just might be the hottest commodity in tech start-ups. I know, I am in one and forced daily to censor my smirks at the escapades of the hot young ones commandeering the future according to them. They can’t do this without me and I know it, even if they don’t.
I have a pretty wild resume: as the daughter of a fifties era housewife whose career stretched to the grocer and back, prone to mommy’s little helpers and Betty Crocker cookbooks, I vowed to live the life she never could and so far I’ve made good on that promise. The result is this: a body of diverse experience, earned wisdom and intuitive knowledge that simply is not available anywhere else, at any price.
Harvard biz school doesn’t have a curriculum built around it, Wharton can’t deliver, nor Michigan, nor Stanford. This treasure trove is made the old-fashioned way: one decade at a time. And it’s drilled into the marrow, tested, proven, tempered. Go ahead, try to find an MBA built life-tough. My dear women friends: You’ve got the goods and Silicon Valley needs them; My dear twenty and thirty-something tech studs: you want a competitive edge? Listen up, here are my 7 reasons why you need one of us on your team:
1. Older women can hold the critical path through any and every kind of chaos omnipresent in start-ups. Why? because we have already seen it, transcended it and solved it, probably more than once. We recognize it, feel it developing, before you even finish your double latte with topping and sprinkles and comb your beard out.
2. Older women have one, and only one agenda: finish the project. We have a handle on the hormone thing, the nesting thing and the pursuit of the seven figures thing. We’re not interested in your skinny jeans, your address or your Ferrari. Chances are we’ve already bedded better, bought the zip code and lost the keys in our last divorce. We just want results. That’s it, end of game.
3. Older women can navigate your fears, insecurities, egos and blind ambition better than you can. We’ve long ago worked through our issues and we can help you work through yours, but first… let’s finish the project.
4. Older women possess the holy grail of all skill sets: radar. Let’s just say we’ve done the reconnaissance work in some nasty markets. We can see corrupt agendas, the deceptively congruent sociopath and the beautiful losers cloaked in the finery of bought and paid-for credentials while you are still trying to wipe the stars from your eyes. We’ll steer you clear and make sure you don’t miss the grounded, brilliant work horses standing right in front of you, ready to… finish the project.
5. VC’s? We have already married and divorced a few, we know the beast. They are much more likely to bite knowing a mother is in the house, hand on the cookie jar, not in it.
6. We can navigate all language barriers. We’ll decipher and condense your codified valley nomenclature quickly and efficiently into just six easy to learn words: Is the damn project finished yet?
7. And finally, when you get over all your hangups about that age thing, come to the realization that we might very well be your Mrs. Robinson, we’ll handle that too, after we… finish the project.
Nancy Kotting is currently holed up somewhere around Ann Arbor, eating ramen noodles, sleeping on a couch and launching a Public Benefit ‘B’ Corp tech start-up…
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