A note from our editor, Elizabeth MacBride:

Have you noticed that the best conversations at parties take place in the kitchen? You’ll often find women and a few men there, cleaning up or otherwise attending to the hidden work of the house or children. In that space where people feel safer, confidences flow. Confidence is an interesting word, isn’t it? It comes from old French, meaning to have assurance in the good will of another. People who want to help in the kitchen are usually kind, or at least believe they ought to try to be kind, which mostly amounts to the same thing.

If you share confidences with people who help you succeed or reframe your failures into successes, you become self-confident. Many male leaders that I know have that quality. Many women leaders I know struggle for it. My co-author Seth Levine and I were in a “kitchen-space” last week in at the Roux Institute in Portland, Maine. Many people shared their vulnerabilities with us, some in the group and some later. We opened the dynamic when I challenged Seth on the stage. He took it with good humor, and we both made it safer for people to be vulnerable. Put broadly: For women, issuing a challenge means making oneself vulnerable; for men, accepting one does.

For a long time, my experiences of safe places at work were those that excluded men, true for many women of my generation. Many men would be astonished to hear the kitchen-space conversations that go on among high-powered women. They quickly turn to experiences of sexual assaults and abusive relationships, self-doubt, and mindfulness, intuition and magic, the strange tokens women use to navigate a dangerous world. Once, an entrepreneur at a woman’s only event pulled out a string of crystals she wore tucked in her bra and claimed they helped her make clearer decisions. No judgment! I’d rather have a leader who embraces crystals than one who plays with flamethrowers on TV.

Watching and reading about Olympian Simone Biles’ withdrawal for mental health reasons made me grateful for the way younger women are opening the conversation, as she did when talked about the crippling reality of self-doubt — which is physically dangerous for an athlete.
The public space of the Olympics became a kitchen space, or vice versa. Either way, the norm is changing. More people feel safe in more places, and that can only be a good thing.

Times of Entrepreneurship Stories of the Week

white bearded man in white shirt

Danish Startup Peaqs Is Creating A Sandbox Platform To Train Entrepreneurs At University

The debate still rages about whether it’s possible to teach entrepreneurship within higher education. Here’s why Peter Martin Holst, co-founder of Peaqs, is betting it is.

Read the Story »

THE HUB: This Ecosystem Saw 53 Exits In 2020; Techstars Applications Due; And $100K Plus A Trip To Dubai

Tel Aviv’s tech sector boomed last year, leading to exits valued at $4.4 billion. Meanwhile, deadlines are looming for Techstars programs across the U.S. And the winner of TiE Boston’s pitch competition will get to travel to Dubai to vie for $100,000 in a global pitch contest. 

Read the Story »

In Kansas City, A Glimpse Of The True Future Of Entrepreneurship

A record number of people are starting businesses—and women and people of color are leading the charge. Learn what motivates three business owners in the U.S. Heartland who are on the cutting edge of the trend — because the motivations of this generation of entrepreneurs looks different.

Read the Story »

Commentary: Hold Google Accountable For Its Hypocrisy

Chris Schroeder’s take on the firing of Amr Awadallah, a quiet legend in the world of cloud computing. 

Read the Story »

You may have missed: A City Of 66,000 Is At The Center Of An Audacious, $200M Attempt To Build A Tech Hub From Scratch Lars Perkins, founder of IdeaLab when it spawned Picasa, is now running the TechStars accelerator associated with the Roux Institute in Portland, Maine.

Read it here.

You may have missed: Venture Capital Returns Are More Skewed Than People Realize 65% of investment rounds fail to return 1x capital, and only 4% fail to return greater than 10x capital. 

Read it here.

Living the Dream

Best practices: Want to perform better at anything? Do one thing at a time, until you finish. Showing up at your desk isn’t glamorous, but it works, as Quartz explains. 

Buzzworthy: In The Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s Battle for DominationNew York Times reporters Sheera Frankel and Cecilia Kang take on the tech giant, tackling fake news, user data mishandling and hate speech.

Giveaway: Shugri Said Salh was sent to travel the Somali desert with her nomadic grandmother at age six and was later displaced in the Somali Civil War. In The Last Nomad, she offers a glimpse of her family’s vanishing way of life. 


The 4.5 hour workweek : A productivity hack
Want to work less and earn more? Consider moving to a small city like Eau Claire, Wisc., as MarketWatch explores. 

Made in the U.S.A.
Casper, Wyo.-based Wild Gear is getting set to manufacture its “Freedom Series: of coolers – “built to survive in the toughest conditions” – domestically. They start at about $190.

Wanderlust : a restaurant or activity from our Top Ecosystems list
Trying to lead a zero-waste life? Sometimes, it’s easiest to start small. Neutrall, based in Austin, makes beautiful upcycled glass cups created out of discarded materials. At $19.99 for two, they’re also affordable. Bonus cool tips: How to keep your house cool without air-conditioning. The easiest thing to do (duh): open your windows at night.


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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.