January 30, 2022

No One in Silicon Valley Is Batting 1000

A summary of one of our favourite blog posts from Aileen Lee

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Aileen Lee is a U.S. venture capital angel investor and co-founder of Cowboy Ventures. Lee coined the often-used Silicon Valley term unicorn in a TechCrunch article "Welcome To The Unicorn Club: Learning from Billion-Dollar Startups" as profiled in The New York Times.

Take a moment to dive into the key points below.

The Batting Average Analogy

The tech ecosystem can often feel like an echo chamber, where people boast about their successes and create the perception that everyone around us is "batting 1000," leading to feelings of stress, inadequacy, and imposter syndrome. Aileen Lee reminds us that no one is ever hitting the ball well all the time, and the best players in softball and baseball history have only succeeded 30% to 40% of the time.

Learning from the Best Hitters

If you want to be a great "hitter" in your professional life, you have to work at it. The best hitters constantly think about their swing and work on improvements, train regularly, and take lots of swings. The analogy for startup life is to take time for self-reflection, self-care, and feedback. Have a plan for improvement, work with a supportive team, and keep swinging with the knowledge that it's not possible for anyone to bat 1000.

Addressing Diversity and Inclusion in Tech

The best batting averages in tech have historically been associated with common gender, race, or educational backgrounds. This can be attributed to attribution error or confirmation bias. Most successful individuals in tech today were brought up in environments that provided them with many opportunities or "at bats." In contrast, others, such as women and underrepresented minorities, have been given less encouragement to participate and fewer opportunities. When they struggle, they are often at higher risk of being cut from the team. Recognizing this problem is an opportunity for the tech industry to take action and promote diversity and inclusion.

Aileen Lee's "No One in Silicon Valley Is Batting 1000" serves as a reminder that nobody is perfect, and even the best players have their struggles. It's essential to practice self-reflection, self-care, and work with a supportive team to improve and succeed. Additionally, recognizing and addressing the lack of diversity and inclusion in the tech industry can lead to a more equitable ecosystem for everyone.

You can read the full article here: https://marker.medium.com/no-one-is-batting-1000-b4dd7115cbbb