Tracy Chou Profile picture
13 Feb, 18 tweets, 6 min read
a founder friend reminded me that there’s nothing unreasonable in startup world about someone copying an idea. kinda yes BUT imo what is significant and abhorrent here is that i’m building something to solve an intensely personal pain that the copycats don’t get or empathize with
the amount of hate, abuse, harassment, stalking i’ve had to deal with, and still live with to this day, is horrible, angering, traumatic, despicable, and life-changing in a terrible way. @blockpartyapp_ is built with the insights i’ve acquired from suffering through this pain
in dealing with harassment/stalking, i’ve consulted private security folks; one piece of advice i got was to reframe and take back agency. although i’m being attacked, i don’t have to feel like a helpless victim. i am fortunate to be an engineer who can build a technical solution
(btw the ONLY way i’ve been able to get @blockpartyapp_ this far is because i happen to be a fucking good engineer, able to architect and build a ton of the product myself. with our funding i would never be able to hire an eng of my caliber, my comp at eg google would be $800k+)
my worst fear is not that my startup doesn’t make it because i want to be a successful startup founder that makes big $$, my fear is that we get copycatted out of existence in the short term by people who don’t understand the problem and they cannot and do not solve it long term
the people who do not understand online abuse and harassment except from the perspective of having created and fostered it for years, absolutely will not solve this problem. and i, and many others like me, esp those from far more marginalized backgrounds, will continue to suffer
you can already see this proven out by the fact that these copycats are flailing to find product direction and all they can do is copy what we are doing at @blockpartyapp_. they have 10x the resources to build, iterate, out-execute us and they are just copying
i know we are better and way more efficient and understand the problem deeply and have the insight and conviction necessary to solve it, but it’s a completely rigged game
i am still @blockpartyapp_’s lead engineer and responsible for the backend. i am also the only person doing press and marketing. i am the only person doing recruiting and interviewing. i do all our user support and feedback. i also do finance, legal, ops. and manage the team
i can barely even entertain the idea of fundraising right now bc how is it possible to do 7 fulltime jobs at once? i will do what i can and make it happen at the right time but i simply do not have time to take a ton of pitch meetings for consideration of a small check
when i did fundraise, it was all small checks cobbled together. i’m grateful for my investors but for many who didn’t invest, including ones who purport to support female founders, they dragged me through meeting after meeting and still declined or ghosted. even for $5k checks!
the amount of money that @alexisohanian put into sentropy before they even had a product, over $2m, is greater than the entirety of the money i’ve raised. i’m seeing this happen with other white & asian male founded “anti-harassment” co’s too, they get millions pre-product
i am immensely grateful to my investors who got it and were willing to back me from the start. my biggest investors have all been poc and women. thank you @chudson @alexia so much. i think there’s another point to be made about how lps need to be giving these investors more money
it is so grating to hear these other founders and investors make fake excuses for why they care about solving this problem of online abuse. they don’t. they care about making money, off the pain and suffering of people like me. you see this in their track records.
when @ekp (also a @blockpartyapp_ investor) tried to clean up harassment at reddit, @alexisohanian undermined her and threw her under the bus. other investors in sentropy are execs from riot games, twitch — places that have created and fomented massive harassment
last summer i got brigaded by thousands of trolls on reddit for doing an ama (it also escalated to attacks from 4chan) @alexisohanian made noises on social media and literally did nothing to actually address the issue despite still having very close ties to the company obviously
i’m sick and tired of it. y’all need to quit the posturing. quit the gaslighting. it’s even more enraging that you lie and deflect and pretend this isn’t what’s happening. i am very careful about who i call out by name but this has truly crossed a line
it’s hard enough being a female founder in general. i’ve not even shared a fraction of the frustrations and obstacles i’ve had to deal with. having to do so while also being harassed and stalked—i so resent that i have to take time away from work to go file police reports—jfc.

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More from @triketora

12 Feb
happy chinese new year! in case you missed it and want a little twitter drama🍿to inspire you to support and uplift women, poc, and marginalized folks this year, may i refer you to these threads! 🧵of🧵s
here is @karlitaliliana talking about segregated funding and coverage impacts equity and inclusion, calling out @sentropy's launch compared to @blockpartyapp_'s
here is @chaedria naming this situation for what it is: violence. it is violent that people like @alexisohanian use their deep pockets and platforms to back a white man blatantly stealing the work of a woc, against a backdrop of horrific anti-asian abuse
Read 5 tweets
12 Feb
just to spell it out btw
- i am a woc
- i experience harassment
- i have built moderation and anti-harassment tools in the past
- including w/ machine learning, and i have a master’s in ai
- i am a senior staff level engineer who has had to tech lead and build my own product
and somehow non-technical white men who don’t experience harassment and haven’t worked in the space are going to build machine learning tools to solve harassment. right. got it.
there are multiple copycats of what we are working on with @blockpartyapp_ btw. it’s bewildering to watch. the shamelessness, the gall, not just of the founders but the white men who back them too
Read 4 tweets
10 Feb
hi investors, FUND THE WOMEN AND BIPOC WORKING ON THESE PROBLEM instead of throwing the money at white men who don't get it and either keep hitting us up for free advice which they ignore, or just try to copy what we're building with 10x the resources…
PROBLEMS* lol so angry i'm typo'ing
also, journalists, you don't have to write 3x longer pieces covering the copycats i'm just saying.
Read 4 tweets
1 Jan
i’m mentally preparing for another year in lockdown and wondering how i will want to feel a year from now looking back on 2021 if it’s another year of minimal social contact, mostly in my flat, alone. can i find ways to thrive instead of just survive?
i’m feeling a little anxious about setting goals, knowing how fragile mental health can be in circumstances like we are now living through. but i also don’t want to give up before starting...
in 2020, i tried to find coping mechanisms that would at least be “productive” or surface-level healthy, while fully acknowledging them as coping mechanisms. i read a lot (85 books; probably equivalent time on articles). i worked out a lot (30,910 min on peloton; ran ~600 miles)
Read 5 tweets
1 Dec 20
I wrote an op-ed for @theinformation on being a solo female founder & why investor dogma around co-founders is yet another reason the industry is so awful at funding women. Can you believe only 2.1% of VC dollars this year have gone to women?!… Image
People told me repeatedly I needed a co-founder so I kept trying and trying. (I literally even moved to London to try Entrepreneur First, a co-founder matching program!) In the end, all of it was a huge waste of time, energy, and money. And mental health, honestly.
It was super demoralizing to keep being told I somehow wasn't good enough, that I needed to keep searching. That I was doing something wrong. And then to be put down and condescended to and so disrespected by some of the men I tried working with.
Read 8 tweets
29 Nov 20
still mad sometimes when i think about asian american cliques who tell me i’m “not that asian” or “not asian enough”. when did you get to decide who’s “asian” enough? what does that even mean?
some have cited the fact that i don’t exclusively date asian. and SO WHAT? how is that a criteria? if it’s about culture, half of y’all don’t even speak an asian language, definitely can’t read, don’t know the history or culture. how are you judging?
i think y’all saying i’m “not that asian” is your registering offense that i’m not a meek asian woman who conforms to your ideas of who i should be - a traditional wife who will be subservient & fawn over your male superiority. well, sorry not sorry.
Read 4 tweets

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