Meet Axios’ New Owners: Old-Money Atlanta Billionaires Hungry for the Next Big ThingRead More

Art by Haejin Park.
Art by Haejin Park.

Tech’s Most Powerful Stories Are Being Written by Women

Book publishers are giving a new generation of readers what they want: an end to machismo hero worship and an influx of more relatable—and female-centered—thought leadership.

Art by Haejin Park.
Dec. 17, 2021 10:10 AM PST

So there she was. Julie Zhuo. Just two years out of Stanford. At 25, a newly promoted manager at Facebook, wandering around the business sections of Bay Area bookstores, desperately looking for something that would tell her how to lead the team she’d just been battlefield-promoted to run. And finding nothing.

It was 2008, early days at Facebook. (“The Social Network” was still two years away.) Zhuo’s manager had recently pulled her aside to say that the design group had gotten so big, she needed to start off-loading direct reports. “You get along with everyone,” she told Zhuo. And just like that, Zhuo was a boss.

“Very quickly, I realized managing is a job,” she says. To educate herself on how to do it, she went straight to the latest business books on the bestsellers list. Staring back at her were GE chairman Jack Welch’s “Winning,” Jim Collins’ “Good to Great,” Clayton Christensen’s “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” Michael Lewis’ “Next,” Daniel Pink’s “A Whole New Mind,” and Honeywell CEO Larry Bossidy’s “Execution.” All CEOs of Fortune 500s, high-powered consultants, and prominent journalists. All writing at a remove from the present or from the elevated perch of theory.

Zhuo needed something tangible, full of practical, real-world advice that would explain nothing more complicated than how to manage a four-person team. A few years later, Zhuo started keeping a blog to talk about various challenges she faced as both a product designer and a leader. “I thought if I could just put my opinion out on the internet, maybe people would give me feedback,” she says. “I was very upfront with what I was struggling with.”

Get access to exclusive coverage
Read deeply reported stories from the largest newsroom in tech.
Latest Articles
 
My Life's Work AI
The Founder Who Got High on a Rooftop and Came Down With a Business
Art by Clark Miller.
Watching the app you built hit the 10 million-download threshold would be a career high for most founders. But for Ben-Zion Benkhin, it’s just another day at the office. Within the last two years, Benkhin, 26, has launched two wildly popular artificial intelligence–based apps. The first was Wombo.ai, which uses AI to create highly shareable, delightfully weird deep fakes from a...
Latest Briefs
 
Peloton Announces Job Cuts, Store Closures and Price Hikes
South Korea’s Mirae Asset Management Led $250 million SpaceX Investment
Founder of Crypto Exchange Houbi in Talks to Sell Stake for $1 Billion
Stay in the know
Receive a summary of the day's top tech news—distilled into one email.
Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
Art by Josh Brill
Exclusive Asia Startups
TikTok’s $4 Billion Advertising Machine Is Messy Behind the Scenes
Two years ago, social media sensation TikTok came up with a slogan to prod brands to be more authentic in their advertisements on the app: “Don’t Make Ads.
Viral Patel, global head of technology investing for Blackstone Credit. Art by Clark Miller.
Exclusive Venture Capital Startups
Blackstone Plans to Back Tech Startups in $2 Billion–Plus Lending Push
Private equity giant Blackstone is gearing up to make its first major push into lending to startups and technology companies—joining a corner of the debt market that’s quickly heating up.
Photo by Alaska Air Group.
Facebook
For Meta’s Next CFO Susan Li, Metaverse Dreams Mean Real-World Challenges
When Meta Platforms reported its first-ever quarterly revenue decline last month, the Facebook parent company also made a key promotion with little fanfare: 36-year-old finance executive Susan Li would become chief financial officer in the fall, replacing longtime CFO Dave Wehner, who held the role for eight years and would transition to a strategy role.
Enterprise Power List Venture Capital Enterprise
Introducing The Information’s Enterprise Tech Power List
The biggest battle in tech is happening where most consumers can’t see it: the cloud. And a new cast of executives and investors are increasingly calling the shots—making decisions about the future of the battle with trillions of dollars at stake.
Art by Clark Miller.
Venture Capital Startups
Venture Capital’s Limited Partners Warn of Fundraising Slowdown
The era of easy money could be over for venture capital firms. Although VC fundraising has so far matched last year’s brisk pace, limited partners—the people and institutions that invest in VC funds—say a slowdown is afoot.
Data Point Amazon Markets
Why Amazon Is Giving Employees Record Amounts of Stock, Even as It Trims Head Count
At a moment when Amazon’s overall workforce is shrinking, the company is awarding stock to employees at a record-breaking clip to keep top talent from heading for the exits.