From a black, gay woman who broke into the boys’ club of Silicon Valley comes an empowering guide to finding your voice, working your way into any room you want to be in, and achieving your own dreams.
In 2015, Arlan Hamilton was on food stamps and sleeping on the floor of the San Francisco Airport, with nothing but an old laptop and a dream of breaking into the venture capital business: she couldn’t understand why people starting companies all looked the same (white, male), and saw the chance to invest in the ideas and people who didn’t conform to this image of how a founder is “supposed to look.” She had no contacts or network in Silicon Valley, no background in finance - or even a college degree. What she did have was fierce determination and the will to succeed.
As much as we wish it weren’t so, we still live in a world where being underrepresented often means being underestimated. But as someone who makes her living investing in high-potential founders who also happen to be female, LGBTQ, or people of color, Arlan understands that being undervalued simply means that a big upside exists. Because even if you have to work twice as hard to get to the starting line, she says, once you are on a level playing field, you will sprint ahead.
Despite what society would have you believe, Arlan argues, a privileged background, an influential network, and a fancy college degree are not pre-requisites for success. Drawing on her remarkable journey from food stamps to venture capitalist, she inspires us all to defy other people’s expectations and become the role models we’ve been looking for.