I’m so sad that Cella Irvine died. Together with Alessandro Piol, in 1994 she was one of the founders of the New York New Media Association (NYNMA), which is the NY Tech Meetup’s ancestor, as we wrote in “Tech and the City”.
I remember interviewing her for our book: being one of the very few women active in the NYC tech community, more than 20 years ago, she had very interesting insights into what it means “work-life balance” in this industry. She didn’t believe such a balance is possible, and instead she chose to alternate work and staying at home to raise her children.
I was also struck by her sensible and contrarian look at the enthusiasm for the new booming season of startups. This is what she told us, from “Tech and the City”, chapter 14 – “City of Women”:
<<Irvine wonders whether, behind the increased number of startups created by women, there isn’t just a bad labor market and the difficulty of finding “normal” jobs. “There is a wave of startups right now that are focused on beauty and fashion, typically with an e-commerce angle, and many of them are started by well-dressed, sophisticated, highly educated women,” says Irvine says. “Now, I think it would be interesting to dig into why that is happening, including a view on how much of that stems from managing a poor employment environment, and how much of it really is a change in how comfortable women feel about being entrepreneurs.”>>
My comment was: <<But even if it were so, it would confirm women’s ability to transform a problem into an opportunity.>>
Anyway, I think that her skeptical attitude is needed to cool down the eccessive hype about startups.