It's About Damn Time: The Ties Between Purple Sneakers and Venture Capital

As a part of the launch team for Arlan Hamilton’s new book It’s About Damn Time, I was given an advance copy to read before it comes out May 5th. For those who don’t know, Arlan is a venture capitalist with an extraordinary story who is just getting started. She’s the self-taught founder of Backstage Capital, a VC firm "dedicated to minimizing funding disparities in tech by investing in high-potential founders who are people of color, women, and/or LGBT."

As I read the book,
I was relieved that Arlan had put in actionable, step-by-step advice for topics ranging from relationships to money. One of the reasons I’ve drastically decreased the amount of business/self-help books that I read is because they are either repetitive, vague, or both. The vague characteristic is particularly frustrating--you're going to tell me that this collection of paper is a guide, and then neglect to actually lead me anywhere?

uckily, It’s About Damn Time is not that kind of book at all. I was relieved when I made it to Part VI: Confidence, as this is something I struggle with. I got what I was hoping for 2 pages in: a numbered list of her top six tips for how she’s cultivated her own sense of confidence. And wouldn’t you know it--number 2 is none other than clothing. Her “power suit” comes in the form of comfortable clothing that fits her well and purple sneakers. If you look her up, Arlan sticks to this closely; she’s often repping a Backstage Capital hoodie or t-shirt, and her purple sneakers are always present. They’re a nice pop of brightness in what tends to be a sea of dark and muted tones among venture capitalists.

he fact that clothing was that high on her list of confidence tools sparked a internal sense of relief and reassurance. I’ve often questioned whether there’s a point to having a clothing brand. It can feel like an absurd endeavor in a world that’s crowded with countless brands and an overabundance of manufactured clothes. To see that she places a high value on how she dresses reinforced to me that how you present your external self to the world can do wonders for your inner self. Arlan has walked the walk when it comes to this. Throughout the book, she chronicles how having confidence in her ability to adapt helped push her from being homeless to being the leader of a VC firm that has invested 7 million dollars in 120 companies, all while proudly embracing her identity as a Black lesbian woman.

o me, her purple sneakers in particular serve as a reminder that it’s up to each individual to define themselves. There will always be people who encourage you, and there will always be people who criticize you. It’s About Damn Time recounts the hundreds of people who laughed in Arlan’s face, turned her down, and told her no for a million different reasons. Ultimately, she got her first yes from an outside investor, but to me, the most important yes she ever got was the yes from herself.

It’s About Damn Time
can (and absolutely should) be preordered here:

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