A note from our editor, Elizabeth MacBride:

There’s a well-known phenomenon in business, whereby a man who is bold and asserts himself is seen as a leader, and a woman who is bold and asserts herself is seen as a bitch. Women get caught in a Catch-22 – either you’re a weakling or a bitch. Research established that about a decade ago.

Here are three other killer moves in business that work for men but in my experience can backfire for women – not always, but often.

  • Be humble and give credit where it’s due. A few months ago, as I was in a studious frame of mind bent on making a successful transition from business journalist to author and CEO, I was looking at the tweets issued by my co-author Seth Levine. He was typically humble (He is a humble and fair person, so entirely authentic). I sent out a few humble tweets myself. But whereas his got a lot of love, mine laid there like dead fish. My theory: Being humble or self-deprecating makes men look good. The problem for women is that people believe it when you say you couldn’t have done it alone.
  • Opportunity knocks. Reach out and grab it. This is a particularly pernicious one. But I believe there’s a mating rule that leeches over into the business world. If you reach at an opportunity as a woman, you’re seen as desperate. My biggest deals have come when I inadvertently played hard to get: I was too busy to take a call. That doesn’t mean women should fake being busy, but maybe be more open about how busy you are.
  • Create a sense of urgency. This one, came up in a recent conversation with Allison Long Pettine, an investor and founder of Ad Astra, which focuses on helping and funding women entrepreneurs. “Create a sense of urgency by telling investors you are about to close the round” is classic pitching advice that works for men, not so much for women. We hardly ever believe we’ll be able to close a round (this is entirely rational, given the miniscule amount of investment women get). Pretending we are closing a round comes across as just that: a pretense. VCs, sensing inauthenticity, back away.

So what’s the answer? I don’t have one. The only thing I know for sure that helps is when women share these lessons with each other, and men listen. The root of the word “gossip,” is the same as “gospel.” I often wonder if gossip came to be maligned because it was primarily a grassroots, female form of communication. Pass it on, sister.

PS. I’m doing a book giveaway of The New Builders. For the next few weeks, the first person to respond to this email with your address will get one copy shortly in the mail!

Times of Entrepreneurship Stories of the Week

Older Entrepreneurs Are The Fastest-Growing Segment Of New Business Owners
They may not be able to crash on their parents’ couch if their startups fail but that isn’t stopping people ages 55 and up from turning their ideas into real businesses.

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water view of Portland, ME

Portland, Maine, Is The Center Of An Audacious, $200M Attempt To Build A Tech Hub From Scratch

Plus: Former Google Exec Lars Perkins’ Advice For Getting Into The New Techstars

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The New Builders: Conversations With Women Entrepreneurs

Video: Women of color are the fastest-growing group of business owners in the U.S. What would the economy be like if more women had the support they need to open businesses? 

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two black men informally dressed looking at the camera

The Hub:  Will Buffalo Become The Next ‘Hot’ Startup Mecca? An Automotive Museum Looks To Inspire Women, And An IT Management Company Plans to Hire 500 Employees In Miami

One legacy of the pandemic: There’s a lot of entrepreneurial action taking place, far from the usual hangouts. 

Read the Story »

You may have missed: The Quantum Boom Moves Closer With The Launch Of Two Accelerators (The Startup Kind) Quantum innovation has the potential to disrupt nearly every industry. And the race to lead the way is starting, with the University of Chicago and University of Maryland each putting a stake in the ground. 

Read it here.

Living the Dream

Best practices: Adding some actual leisure to your calendar could make your life more interesting and be the smartest thing you do to protect your health. A study published in the Journal Environment International found that people who work 55 hours or more every week face a 35% higher stroke risk and a 17% greater risk of dying from heart disease than people who work 35 to 40 hours a week.

Buzzworthy: Feeling beaten down by, well, life? Reinspire yourself by checking out Nobel Life, by Stefano Sandrone. It delves into the life stories of 24 Nobel Prize winners, their aha! moments and the challenges they’ve overcome


Wanderlust : a restaurant or activity from our Top Ecosystems list
If you’re looking for some touristy normalcy , check out ZooTampa at Lowry Park—where the Nat Geo Wild Series, which features behind the scenes zoo footage, was filmed. The zoo recommends getting pre-purchased tickets.

Made in the U.S.A.
Ultra-hot weather is already here in many parts of the country. It’s easier to stay hydrated when you carry your own sleek water bottle. Nalgene water bottles are made in Rochester, N.Y. where the company employs 1,200 people. Full-size bottles start at $11.99.

Wanderlust : a restaurant or activity from our Top Ecosystems list
If you’re looking for some touristy normalcy , check out ZooTampa at Lowry Park—where the Nat Geo Wild Series, which features behind the scenes zoo footage, was filmed. The zoo recommends getting pre-purchased tickets.

This story and others on New Builders Dispatch are made possible by a sponsorship from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that provides access to opportunities that help people achieve financial stability, upward mobility, and economic prosperity – regardless of race, gender, or geography. The Kansas City, Mo.-based foundation uses its grantmaking, research, programs, and initiatives to support the start and growth of new businesses, a more prepared workforce, and stronger communities. For more information, visit www.kauffman.org and connect with www.twitter.com/kauffmanfdn and www.facebook.com/kauffmanfdn.

A business journalist for 20 years, am the founder of Times of Entrepreneurship and the co-author of The New Builders.