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Startups, The Clique Blog, Women In Tech

How It’s Like Being The Only Male In A Startup Team? (Founder Perspective)

As a developer and even as a high school computer student I was surrounded most of the time by men. When I started my first entrepreneurial initiative, it was really obvious to start it with two of my friends. Who happened to be male.

We were thinking about the same things most of the time in the same exact way, in our closed male-ish environment. That’s not the main reason our first tech initiative failed but certainly one of the reasons.

When I thought about entering another entrepreneurial journey, my first thought was finding the right people to start it with. Then, Nitzan reached out to me (through my fiance’s friend recommendation), I was impressed from the get-go and joined her on this amazing journey as Clique’s CTO.

When I sat one afternoon with my fiance and her friend, we wondered how is it that most of the tech startups are led by men. We came to the conclusion that lack of confidence is one of the leading reasons. I took an example from a situation that happened a few minutes earlier. Her friend tried to throw a dart to the target mounted on the wall, from a close distance. When I asked her why she hasn’t tried throwing farther, she said that she wanted to try it out before she’ll take the long shot. I don’t know many men who won’t try it right away from far.

Another reason I can demonstrate through the same darts example is the fear to fail. My fiance was afraid to hit the wall with the darts and do small holes in it if she fails to hit the target.

One thing I know, once we pass this confidence barrier professionally we can do anything we want really really good!

Nitzan is an outstanding CEO with a broad skill set and non-obvious mindset, she isn’t afraid of doing the right things and taking tough decisions when it comes to startup life.

Lidor our amazing co-founder & CPO is an experienced product leader with an ‘I can do it all attitude’. As you understand, we were already a mostly female team by then but that didn’t stop there.

Shortly after I’ve hired Shir – our one of a kind full-stack developer. Although I had a chance to hire whoever I wanted, male or female alike, she showed strong analytical thinking and confidence. She is an amazing teammate, developer, and fast-learner.

Left to right: me, Maya, Lidor, Shir, Nitzan and Karmit (not in the picture)

Currently, we are a team of 5 out of which I’m the only male. And we got to eat a salad every day when we were at the office 🙂

While working with these professional women I have discovered three superpowers they all have and I want to share them with you:

  1. Social Dynamics – In a matter of minutes, they connect to a new team member, customer, or investor and start a talk that leads to a new opportunity. We keep getting compliments from all over on how this is felt by others which made me understand how important it is. This is also the case in day-to-day interactions where every team member can speak what on his heart and being heard and listened to.
  2. Attention To Detail – They were very accurate about every feature we built or a message we sent to the world, and passionate about the tiny details needed to make it perfect as possible. That is highly important, especially in a startup where everyone gets to do many things from different worlds all at once.
  3. Openness for Feedback and Constant Improvement – Feedback is the magic word that comes after everything we do, thanks to them. They’ll ask for it and be honest when someone else is asking. In Clique, we hold a Weekly Insights session at the end of every week where everyone on the team shares one insight or dilemma from the last week so we all could learn from one another. This helps us learn and evolve as professionals and human beings.

I worked with both men and women and I can tell all of them are amazing professionals. It depends on if you pass this confidence barrier and believe in yourself. A diversified team is super important for a startup team to be able to grow fast and smart.