“A hero’s tale of what’s possible when we unlock our potential, continue the search for knowledge, and draw on our lived experiences to guide us through the darkest moments.”—Stacey Abrams
From a Black, gay woman who broke into the boys’ club of Silicon Valley comes an empowering guide to finding your voice, working your way into any room you want to be in, and achieving your own dreams.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY FORTUNE
In 2015, Arlan Hamilton was on food stamps and sleeping on the floor of the San Francisco airport, with nothing but an old laptop and a dream of breaking into the venture capital business. She couldn’t understand why people starting companies all looked the same (White and male), and she wanted the chance to invest in the ideas and people who didn’t conform to this image of how a founder is supposed to look. Hamilton had no contacts or network in Silicon Valley, no background in finance—not even a college degree. What she did have was fierce determination and the will to succeed.
As much as we wish it weren’t so, we still live in a world where being underrepresented often means being underestimated. But as someone who makes her living investing in high-potential founders who also happen to be female, LGBTQ, or people of color, Hamilton understands that being undervalued simply means that a big upside exists. Because even if you have to work twice as hard to get to the starting line, she says, once you are on a level playing field, you will sprint ahead.
Despite what society would have you believe, Hamilton argues, a privileged background, an influential network, and a fancy college degree are not prerequisites for success. Here she shares the hard-won wisdom she’s picked up on her remarkable journey from food-stamp recipient to venture capitalist, with lessons like “The Best Music Comes from the Worst Breakups,” “Let Someone Shorter Stand in Front of You,” “The Dangers of Hustle Porn,” and “Don’t Let Anyone Drink Your Diet Coke.” Along the way, she inspires us all to defy other people’s expectations and to become the role models we’ve been looking for.
Praise for It’s About Damn Time
“Reading Arlan Hamilton’s It’s About Damn Time is like having a conversation with that frank, bawdy friend who somehow always manages to make you laugh, get a little emo, and, ultimately, think about the world in a different way. . . . The book is warm, witty, and unflinching in its critique of the fake meritocracy that permeates Silicon Valley.”—Shondaland
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Rising to the top in Silicon Valley is very, very hard. Which makes rising to the top as a gay Black woman a jaw-dropping feat—and a story worth telling! At the age of 30, Arlan Hamilton was a tour manager for acts like Toni Braxton and Kirk Franklin, and she didn’t know a soul in the tech and finance industries. But that didn’t stop Hamilton from founding her own venture capital company, Backstage Capital, and making it her mission to fund LGBTQ founders, female CEOs, and businesses owned by people of color—basically any entrepreneurs frequently pushed to the margins. Peppered with personal stories and insights that split the difference between empowering self-help tips and kick-ass business strategies, Hamilton’s socially conscious memoir is inspiring and invigorating. And Hamilton’s calm but powerful narration makes this deeply compassionate take on capitalism resonate on every level—it’s about damn time we got to hear her story.
Motivated and inspired!
Listening to Arlan’s story, I see so much of me in her. As a kid, my sister and I slept in a 2 door Camaro with our mom and a shelter. As an adult I’ve slept in my car. I’ve always found way to make ends meet. I have a grand vision of where I see myself and listening to this audiobook I feel more inspired to go for the grandest because I can! It’s like Arlan was talking to me. I hope others feel inspired to go for what they want and do not take NO for an answer.