These Lady Builders Earned Your Admiration…. Not You, Mackenzie.

Good morning!

It’s Wednesday already.  Just in time for a bit of snark with your morning coffee.

    • Mackenzie Scott (formerly Bezos) is giving away “her” fortune.
    • The women on my list genuinely earned respect – and their riches.
    • Just for fun, some are married to rich men, but not as rich as they are!

This piece is about admiring the right people.  And it’s a bit of fun, as well.

The Charity Industrial Complex Strikes Again!

6 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Matthew 6:1-4

I may be a terrible Catholic, but even I know when to respect the Big Book.

In my mind, there’s no more obnoxious virtue signaling than announcing you’re giving away your money.  Even if it’s your hard-earned cash, just shut up about it and give it away.  But when you didn’t earn it, it’s even worthier of derision.

It’s like saying, “Look at me!  I didn’t make this money, but I still want a tax deduction.”

And that leads me to the newly minted Mackenzie Scott.  

 The meme, back in the day.

The former Mrs Bezos is giving away a large portion of her ex-husband’s money.  The Wall Street Journal reported that Ms Scott will give away $22 billion (of “her” $59.8 billion fortune). 

The piece, written by Talal Ansari, had a couple of choice quotes in it.

“Putting large donors at the center of stories on social progress is a distortion of their role.”

No, it’s not.  It’s just better when they remain anonymous.

“In this effort, we are governed by a humbling belief that it would be better if disproportionate wealth were not concentrated in a small number of hands, and that the solutions are best designed and implemented by others.”

How come she didn’t feel this way while she was married?  Asking for a friend…

Whenever I bring up this subject, I get replies like, “Well, she deserves it.  She raised his 4 children while he built Amazon!”

I’m sure Mr Bezos is grateful.  But boy, $60 billion?  I’m pretty sure she didn’t head up any divisions of Amazon, as well.

To me, there’s no greater proof of the inability to build something – like a company – than giving all your money away.  Especially when it’s not really yours; when it’s house money.

Real Women Entrepreneurs

With all this said, there are some fabulous female entrepreneurs conquering the world.  They deserve everyone’s admiration, whether from girl or woman, man or boy.

As I try to keep the Rude to 1,500 words or so, I’ve only included my favorite five.  There are many, many more.

1. Sara Blakely

How about having a husband, four children, and building a multi-billion dollar company by yourself?

I give you Sara Blakely, creator, founder, and CEO of Spanx.  Sara represents the ultimate in the “think it, manifest it, share it” space.

She took her idea from seed to mature company, helping women everywhere keep their bits in the right spots.

Caveat One Night Stand, boys!

Sara is married to Jimmy Itzler, an enormously successful entrepreneur, himself.  They also co-own a portion of the Atlanta Hawks.  He’s only worth 9 figures, compared to her 10.

2. Diane von Furstenberg

Diane von Furstenberg has lived a life many only dream of.  The Belgian fashion designer is the daughter of a Greek Holocaust survivor and an Eastern European father.

DVF married a German Catholic prince and during the time of their marriage was styled Her Serene Highness Princess Diane of Fürstenberg.  Once they divorced, she lost the right to use the title, but kept his surname.

Von Furstenburg once said, “The minute I knew I was about to be [Prince] Egon’s wife, I decided to have a career. I wanted to be someone of my own, and not just a plain little girl who got married beyond her deserts.”

And boy, did she!

Newsweek once called her, “the most marketable woman since Coco Chanel.”  Her wrap dresses are so iconic, they’re included in the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Since 2001, von Furstenburg has been married to Barry Diller, the famous American media magnate.  She’s worth roughly $1.5 billion; he, around $4 billion.

Escorting Mrs Ring in her favorite DVF wrap dress, just before we got married, 10 years ago.

3. Whitney Wolfe Herd

Whitney Wolfe Herd wins the award for “Greatest Kick in the Ex-Boyfriend’s Goolies.”

Imagine being a part of the founding team of Tinder, designing the logo, getting it popular on college campuses, and then getting booted out.

But she wouldn’t take it lying down!

Wolfe Herd sued two of her co-founders – with one she had a brief romance – for sexual harassment and discrimination. This was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.  Then, Herd co-founded Bumble, which went public this year.  She’s the youngest woman ever to bring a company public, at age 31.

Herd is worth about $1.5 billion.  She’s married to Michael Herd, heir to an oil fortune.  They have one son.

4. Melanie Perkins

I use Canva all the time, and I have Australian Melanie Perkins to thank for founding that unbelievable resource.

Canva is an online graphic design tool that makes it easy to create all sorts of stuff.  Logos, desktop wallpaper, LinkedIn banners, YouTube icons… you name it, you can design it on Canva.

Canva is one of the few tech unicorns that’s actually profitable.

According to the Australian Financial Review, Perkins is worth nearly A$8 billion (about $6.17 billion).

She’s married to fellow Canva co-founder Cliff Obrecht.

5. JK Rowling

If Rowling knew who I was, the self-proclaimed socialist would hate this so much.

But what else can you call her?

This is a woman who, when her back was against the wall, took up her pen in a local Starbucks, and created a multibillion dollar industry in the process.

Heck, she typed out the first Harry Potter book on a manual typewriter!

Calling her an author is altogether misleading.  Like it or not, and she’d probably dislike it intensely, she’s the ultimate entrepreneur in many ways.

She took one talent (writing) and then branched out into websites, toys, and theme parks.  The woman is a titan of industry.

I do wish she’d give herself more credit.  Yes, she collected welfare when she had no other choice.  Who wouldn’t?

But then she gave back, with interest all out of proportion to that which she took.  As she didn’t flee to Monaco (like I would’ve), she paid truckloads in tax and quietly gave much of her money away.

In 2012 Forbes removed Rowling from their rich list after 8 years of being there, claiming that her US$160 million in charitable donations and the high tax rate in the UK meant she was no longer a billionaire.

What a gal!

The Fab Five

These women deserve every ounce of honor they receive.  They’re worthy of emulation by all.  They’re builders.  And that’s what this world needs above all.

What it doesn’t need are the calls to disperse your capital before you’ve actually built something.  And we get that far too often from people who should know better.

But hey, the empty vessel makes the most noise.

Have a Wonderful Wednesday!

All the best,

Sean

 

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