Alpha Girls: The Women Upstarts Who Took on Silicon Valley’s Male Culture and Made the Deals of a Lifetime (2019) follows the lives and careers of four women in venture capital, an industry that is only six percent female. Despite their differences, the women employed similar strategies for becoming insiders and their stories have largely not been told.
Author Julian Guthrie, venture partner Sonja Hoel Perkins, and seasoned executive Abe Kleinfeld join moderator and early Tesla investor Laurie Yoler to discuss how Silicon Valley women succeed in the male-dominated venture capital industry.
This guide introduces provocative questions for reflection and conversation to enhance and extend what you learn through watching the video. It is suitable for mature high school students and college and adult learners in an educational, professional, or social setting. It may be particularly interesting for people who are curious about innovation, entrepreneurship, and the start-up ecosystem of Silicon Valley. Consider the discussion questions below or download a PDF of the Discussion Guide.
Venture capitalist Sonja Hoel Perkins has developed many sayings to describe how she works. One is: “We win, not whine.” Another: “Obstacles are my allies.”
Sonja talks about recruiting Abe Kleinfeld for a CEO position to help a struggling company. The two developed a strong relationship and continue to work together today.
Author Julian Guthrie wanted to share the untold stories of women in the male-dominated and little-understood venture capital industry. She selected four different women to feature in her book.
Laurie Yoler talks about the early days of Tesla and Julian Guthrie briefly describes Magdalena Yesil’s role as the first investor in Salesforce.
Sonja Hoel Perkins describes her professional “tricks” for getting along with male CEOs, her role as a VC, and her venture investment strategy. Abe offers his perspective on working with her.
Abe Kleinfeld offers his theories about why there aren’t more women in the tech world.
Sonja Hoel Perkins and Abe Kleinfeld both have ideas about how to handle company board meetings but from different perspectives: Abe as a man and a CEO; Sonja as a woman and an investor.
Julian Guthrie discusses the different ways men and women succeed.
Sonja Hoel Perkins says that her biggest mistake was to worry too much about consensus. She and Julian talk about barriers to women in tech and other industries and the need for diversity.