TechCrunch hosts Lean-In Techie Talk

TechCrunch, a hip tech blog, launches their first of several 10-12 minute roundtables with female tech moguls to discuss the many hot topics of Sandberg’s book Lean In – the book that has been the #1 Amazon Best Seller for 36 consecutive days.  On May 19, the site published their first component, feauturing the CEO of Piazza and Director of Communications at Box, among other female tech superstars.  The women indulge in Sandberg’s words about fear, marriage, and misconceptions.

Hosts Collen Taylor and Leena Rao open the roundtable by discussing the controversy surrounding Sandberg, such the “daggers” from NYT authors Jodi Kantor and Maureen Dowd about her book.  The women remark that the criticisms aren’t totally valid since they came from writers who hadn’t read the book yet.  Senior Director of Communications at cloud-company, Box, Ashley Mayer comments,

“… [Sandberg] adresses and predicts every counterargument that was out there…Sheryl knew what she was getting herself into when she wrote this…validated all of the criticisms against her.”

After Mayer’s comment, Peer Leah Busque, CEO of TaskRabbit, implicity addresses the “mommy wars” phenomenon by alluding to the men in service Sandberg had worked with, and the animosity she received not from the men, but from their wives.

The conversation then carries on to discuss fear.  Megan Quinn, partner at Kleiner Perkins, appreciates how Sandberg ties in fear and the notion of self-doubt, and expresses how Sandberg believes women focus more on likability than their work performance.  Mayer further reinforces this appreciation by commenting on Sandberg’s own self-doubt, what she calls the “imposter syndrome”, which is when women achieve higher levels of work that we are not experienced enough yet for, but must embrace anyway.  Or better yet, Mayer says,”address it, acknowledge it, and then just fake it til’ you make it”.

CEO and Founder of Piazza, Pooja Sankar, more personally discusses fear by relating with Sandberg with both of their experiences of getting married at a younger age.

“Fear is at the root of so many barriers women face….Without fear, women can pursue professional success and personal fulfillment—and freely choose one, or the other, or both.” – Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In

This first of many mini-series roundtable discussion is a useful tool in understanding some of the bigger concepts in Sandberg’s book, for those who have and haven’t read it yet.  The Gen-Y panel of guests offer personal insight and can relate to many women who are aware of Sandberg, the controversy surrounding her message, and fear in the work place.

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