Whenever you have high growth and more opportunities open up, it’s likely going to mean more opportunities for women. In the New Economy, two things happened. First, we were going so fast that companies needed to reach out to all resources available. Second, part of the growth came not just from technology businesses, but also from e-commerce businesses, so it was easier to get into the field without having a technological background. A lot of women went up the marketing path, rather than the technology path.

Co-founder, president, and CEO
Packet Design Inc.
Mountain View, California

These things did provide women with more opportunities, but I don’t think they changed the game dramatically. Looking back over the past few years, I see that women made as many mistakes as men did.

For entrepreneurs, gaining credibility somewhere before striking out on your own is vital, whether you’re male or female. Beyond that, I would tell young women to be themselves. Women who stress out about being female don’t do themselves or anyone else any good. Lots of women carry a chip on their shoulder, and everyone can see it. And that affects both male and female colleagues.

Judy Estrin co-founded three technology companies before co-founding Packet Design Inc. in May 2000. The First, Bridge Communications, went public in 1985. When it merged with 3Com Corp. in 1987, Estrin continued to run the Bridge Communications division. Her second com-pany, Network Computing Devices, went public in 1992. A year later, she became CEO. She also served as CEO of Precept Software from the company’s founding in 1995 until it was acquired by Cisco Systems in 1998, at which time she became Cisco’s chief technology officer. She is on the board of several prominent companies, including FedEx Corp.