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Origin Stories of Tech Companies if Their Founders Had Been Women

OtherOrigin Stories of Tech Companies if Their Founders Had Been Women

Google: The female founders of Google sought a way to access and organize all available information, so they developed an algorithm that would scour the entire World Wide Web and retrieve the very best results. Suddenly, the Internet, which had once seemed less tamable than Miley Cyrus, was orderly and available. Everyone was, like, “Wow, if you two are that organized, you’d make really great moms! Think of the snack boxes!” Unable to get funding, they did that instead. They’ve never made a dime from their algorithm, but the Google search remains incredibly popular. To this day, they’re cited as examples of the most successful female founders in Silicon Valley’s history.

Facebook: Zuckerberg (she wanted to be known as “Zuck,” but it sounded too much like “suck,” which launched a thousand bad blow-job jokes) attempted to create an app that would allow her to rank boys at Harvard. She wanted to rank them on their integrity, honesty, and kindness, so there was no market for it. Unable to get funding, she gave up and took a programming job at Google instead. She was the best programmer in her class, but, still, rumor has it that she got the job because they needed more women.

Apple: This founder wanted the product to be aesthetically perfect, but she was willing to compromise in order to have a battery life longer than the duration of one D.M.V. visit. Also, she said “thank you” to Steve Wozniak on at least two confirmed occasions. (Other instances of gratitude have been reported but not verified.) Unable to get funding—because, in a world without Apple, Samsung actually seems fine—she and Steve Wozniak now have an amicable friendship and create state-of-the-art technology just for the love of the game.

Snapchat: A young woman in a Stanford sorority wanted to send a disappearing picture of her outfit to a friend. (It was her roommate’s shirt, so she needed to destroy the evidence.) Unable to get funding—she never pitched the idea, because, honestly, how much irrational confidence would you need to pitch an idea like that?—she returned the shirt.

Uber: When this founder pitched a ride-sharing app, venture capitalists responded, “Wait, that’s a great idea—can you make a carpooling app to get my kids to soccer practice? Or drive them yourself?” Unable to get funding, she watched John Doerr’s seven-year-old son miss a shot standing two feet away from a completely open goal. “Thank God he has a rich father,” she muttered to herself.

Microsoft: When this founder revealed that she hoped to create the BASIC programming language for a 1975 computer, everyone was, like, “Uhh, #basic much? Drink your pumpkin-spice latte and shut up, Becky!” Unable to get funding, she decided to become a doctor and cure malaria instead. Her uncle regularly tells her that he always knew that she’d make a great nurse.

I.B.M.: She first pitched her company way back in 1911. “Let’s just wait until women are able to vote before rushing ahead on the female-founder thing,” the V.C.s replied. Unable to get funding, she was also unable to vote.

Netflix: She was unable to get funding, because, without hard data, no one believed in the entertainment value of television.

Amazon: Same went for books.

Spotify: And music.

Tinder: She actually was able to get funding. “I’d swipe right,” the V.C.s said, leeringly. She was forced to leave because of their sexual harassment.

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