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"... By nature, startups are very non-discriminatory ..."

I don't know about that, maybe in a homogeneous ideal Startup.

Startups by nature tend to be a blended team soup of testosterone, technology and immaturity. Of the three I don't know which is worse. Testosterone is vital because it gives drive and competition. But has the downside of cruelty and bullying. Technology circles also tend to attract a certain cloistered male culture (online or in meat-space). Hostile to difference and eager to argue. The nastiness occurs in arguments over technology is in part due to the makeup of Startup founders, Homo logicus. There is a Coding Horror article discussing Coopers observations if you are interested ~ http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000091.html The last of the Startup ingredients is "immaturity". There's a reason the term "grown-up" is bandied jokingly around Startup-up culture. It has less to do with "Age" and more to do with understanding how the "real world" works and how to deal with it. Put the founder team under enough stresses, let them get tired (because they are working hard) and put before them a decision that has to be made, now! Now place any male founder in this environment and tell me if "discrimination" of some sort will not happen. Let alone a female.

It's no co-incidence that a question in the application asks how long the founders have know and presumably worked together. Because this is a sort of heuristic of future success. It's interesting that Mitch Kapor discussed the issue of poor behaviour in Startups (but not specifically with founders). Behaviour that would never be tolerated in big business at StartupSchool '07 ~ http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Ycombinator-StartupSchool/~3/... [ approx 20Mb] Kapor was most proud of the culture created where good behaviour resulted in a non-discriminatory workplace. It must be easier to do this when you build a 1000 employee company and have a Business background and wide experience.

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