Response to Article: Powerful women fund Gen-Y startup
Nepotism is defined as favoritism (as in appointment to a job) based on kinship.(1) While the Latin origins of the word nepotism imply familial favoritism(2) the current 21st century reality of that word boils down to favoritism point blank. In today’s world, especially the business world, it is all about whom you know and who knows you.
Networking is a HOT topic for those seeking employment, investors, business partners and the next hot thing or person who can win the short attention span of Westerners who just can’t stop consuming.
I argue nepotism, which has always been a barrier for those not born in and to America’s white collar crust and now networking, a concept seemingly benign and universally acceptable – are the new and latest ways the have not have been granted limited access to the have too much.
One of my favorite places in the Bay Area is called The Hub, and an amazing website called meetup.com are two examples of the importance networking and access to creative moneyed circles can help new ideas and innovations come to life through mixing with others who also have new ideas and innovations. The problem in these spaces, which could be argued are the guardians to this new social enterprise order(3) that is upon us, is that they tend to not be accessible, welcoming or known to working class entrepreneurs, innovators and visionaries. This lack of accessibility is a whole other article but suffice it to say, it is indeed based on race, class and geography.
If you are a descendent of fractured or broken family ties and/or have limited or no access to those with economic power, together nepotism and networking are key tools to keeping the status quo. The current dismantling of public education and the limited access to higher education significantly reduces access to and understanding of networking circles and their intricacies to those not born in/of money.
In a world where all things are equal – I actually have no problem with the concept of nepotism. Collaborating with and trusting people you know makes perfect sense. I get the usefulness and necessity of networking. The thrill of finding and connecting with like-minded people sounds perfectly innocuous. Yet, as the saying goes, the devil is in the details.
All things are not equal.
The entrepreneur in me finds the story of Levo League and it’s beginnings exciting and inspiring. The social critic in me shudders a bit at the cavalier nature this article takes regarding the necessity of and connection between the people these young women have access to and know, and the ultimate success of their business plan and ideas.