By Marisa Kendall
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Ellen Pao is writing a tell-all book about her experiences in the male-dominated worlds of tech and venture capital. Pao’s memoir, titled “Reset,” promises to be a “fearless first-person account exposing the toxic culture that pervades the tech industry,”
More than a year after her high-profile gender discrimination trial in San Francisco, Ellen Pao is writing a tell-all book about her experiences in the male-dominated worlds of tech and venture capital.
Pao’s memoir, titled “Reset,” promises to be a “fearless first-person account exposing the toxic culture that pervades the tech industry,” according to a Random House news release. The publishing house announced Tuesday that Pao has signed a deal with Random House imprint Spiegel & Grau.
No release date has been set for the book, and a Random House spokeswoman declined to disclose financial information about the deal.
“In telling her story as one of the few visible, prominent women of color who have reached the C-suite in corporate America and have dared to speak out about her experience,” the publisher wrote, “Pao, now the founder of Project Include, aims to spark a movement to empower other women and minorities.”
Pao took Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, one of Silicon Valley’s most prestigious venture capital firms, to trial last year over allegations that her superiors failed to promote and ultimately fired her because she is a woman. She lost, but the high-profile trial sparked a national outcry against the lack of women in tech and VC, and the boy’s club atmosphere that Pao claimed pervades those environments.
If the book is anything like the trial that riveted Silicon Valley for a month — spectators were forced to stand in the back of the packed courtroom — it’s sure to be a page-turner. Pao’s testimony during the trial included claims that she was pressured into a relationship with a married co-worker at the firm, that she was given an inappropriately sexual book as a Valentine’s Day gift by another male partner, and that she was subjected to talk of the Playboy mansion on a business flight.
Pao was interim CEO of online message board Reddit during the trial, a position she resigned last summer after the site’s users turned against her and circulated a petition calling for her removal. She took a brief hiatus from the spotlight after that incident, reappearing last month to take part in launching a new diversity initiative. Project Include, founded by several prominent women in tech, intends to help companies create an inclusive working environment for women.
Pao’s new book will chronicle her experiences at Kleiner Perkins as well as Reddit, according to Random House.
Freada Kapor Klein, a partner at the Oakland-based Kapor Center of Social Impact and a founder of Project Include, said Pao ignited a critical conversation about gender when she spoke out in court. But companies haven’t done enough to change their culture, she said.
“There’s been a lot of hand wringing, a lot of promises to do better,” Klein said, “but the needle really hasn’t moved. So we clearly need new analyses and new strategies. And I’m hoping Ellen’s book will come out sooner rather than later.”