Book review: 'Tech Boss Lady'

One foot in front of the other.

That’s how you get anywhere: whether it’s a toe-sliding shuffle or a one-two-three-waltz, the only way forward is step by step. Slow-walk it if you must, but you have to keep going and in “Tech Boss Lady” by Adriana Gascoigne, you’ll find helpful business shoe-prints to follow.

From the time she was a child, Adriana Gascoigne knew that she didn’t want a 9-to-5 job as an adult. Both her parents were entrepreneurs who did whatever it took to keep the family afloat, and Gascoigne spent after-schools and weekends pitching in. For her, self-employment was natural; even so, Gascoigne found herself working in a boys-network Silicon Valley office after college.

Before #MeToo was a thing, she was harassed for being a woman.

Undaunted, Gascoigne persevered until she spotted a problem and created a solution, finally becoming the entrepreneur she always knew she was. In this book, she offers advice for “founders” of the tech sort – which, as she says, is everyone now, because almost all “business today relies on technology to scale.”

The first point she stresses is that every entrepreneur, “and I mean every single one,” has “absolutely no fear,” which is “quickly followed by acute urgency to propel forward.” If that doesn’t describe you, says Gascoigne, then “hit the bench and sit this one out.”

Stay focused on your goals because hard work “will only get you so far…” Be willing to give other women a hand-up; in fact, start doing so as early as possible by giving your daughters or nieces STEM toys. Know how to hire, be a leader, and foster a sense of intrapreneurship in your business. Find a great mentor and be willing to ask for help if you need it but exercise caution when you think you might need a partner. Don’t let failure freak you out. And finally, watch yourself for signs of stress or burnout. You might need an extra jolt of confidence to get back on track.

You’ve got this.

As business books go, “Tech Boss Lady” isn’t bad. It’s not great, either – mostly because, if you’re an entrepreneur, you already know what’s inside it.

Indeed, there’s a lot of same in this book. Like many current authors, Gascoigne focuses more on tech start-ups and relies a lot on personal examples, despite an avowal to avoid doing so. Neither can you avoid rah-rah words about goals and hiring, both which are seen in just about every entrepreneurial book from the last three decades.

And yet, Adriana Gascoigne’s style is surely appealing. She’s smart and bold, and ideas are presented just freshly enough to capture the attention of young businesswomen who maybe haven’t seen this information a dozen times. They might benefit from it, and from Gascoigne’s no-nonsense, straightforward, steel-fisted warmth, the most.

This book can surely be read by anyone with entrepreneurial spirit but it’s really not for men, or for women over 40. For younger women with business-sense, though, “Tech Boss Lady” can be a great first step.

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