By Women inPower Mentor and CEO/Founder of Lucas Point Ventures, Adam Quinton.


I had the great honor of being on an investor panel at Inspirefest in Dublin moderated by the inimitable Kara Swisher, co-founder and Executive Director of Recode.

I applied a “canary in the coal mine” analogy to the rationalizations that some people make around the low proportion of women (and indeed the under representation of many other groups) in Venture Capital (just 6% or so of partners) and tech more generally.

The parable goes like this … canaries were of course small birds taken down mines for safety reasons. But what happened when the poor little canaries expired?

Did the miners blame the canaries for not being tough enough? Hence conclude perhaps that the canaries really needed some extra deep mine training. That way they could “make it” in the underworld just like they, the tough miners, had done for years before the canaries arrives on the scene.

Or did the miners decide that really what they needed was … more canaries. Hey, building a pipeline of canaries would be great! That way there would always be new canaries to staff the mines in the face of canary attrition and maybe even grow the number of canaries.


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