On its face, it all sounds like meaningful change, right? Or at least it sounds a lot better than the very recent public shaming of women who came forward and the sweeping of bad behavior under the rug. (…) Public apologies and one-off actions are superficial ways to react to criticism or put on a happy face, but they often cover up company culture failures that are hard to fix, especially if no one is seriously trying.
While there have been multiple resignations and apologies (complete with crocodile tears), do you really believe that any of these wealthy, well-known, white guys will land anywhere but on their feet? That their actions will have any permanent effect on their future?
If so, you’re living on a planet to which I’d love to emigrate.
Whereas the women who went public will pay a heavy toll.
I [Pao] have heard from several women who spoke up in this newspaper and elsewhere this year that they continue to face harassment. They have been told that discussing their experiences has limited their careers.
After virtual reality startup UploadVR was sued for sexual harassment in May, a male startup CEO publicly commented that lawsuits like this make him “VERY afraid to hire more [women]. It just seems like such a huge risk as CEO.” His comments went viral and he later retracted, apologized and deleted them.
Retracted, apologized, deleted, none of which is likely to have changed his attitude.
Influencers effect the entire global population, because they populate social media, new media, old media, and your entire offline world.
Some influencers are real people who are paid real money to endorse a brand, movement, or some other effort, lending credence as well as a halo effect.
Others are faux.
The symbols that identify “real” influencers and provide immediate legitimacy are sold in a black market that is an open secret among those who earn their living as influencers — and they are willing to pay.
More importantly, it’s a status symbol. The blue emblem can help people gain legitimacy in the business of influencer marketing and bestows some credibility within Instagram’s community of 700 million monthly active users. It cannot be requested online or purchased, according to Instagram’s policies. It is Instagram’s velvet rope.
There’s no question that tech, just like every other industry, is highly biased. It’s become a major issue not because it’s new, but because tech drives much of the economy, which puts it in the spotlight. Added to that, more women and people of color are and speaking out publically about what they have to deal with.
Tech’s main excuse for its lousy diversity numbers is a lack of talent, so they focus on kids to fill the pipeline — but all that really does is provide 5-20 years of avoidance in dealing with the real problem
Among young computer science and engineering graduates with bachelor’s or advanced degrees, 57 percent are white, 26 percent are Asian, 8 percent are Hispanic and 6 percent are black (…) technical workers at Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter, according to the companies’ diversity reports, are on average 56 percent white, 37 percent Asian, 3 percent Hispanic and 1 percent black.
Those numbers certainly don’t add up.
The real problem is culture (duh!) — why spend eight-or-more (usually more) hours where you’re actively not wanted?
According to the study, while smiling during face-to-face communication was perceived as warm and indicated more competence with regards to the first impressions created, a text-based representation of a smile in computer-mediated communication did not have the same effect.
“Our findings provide first-time evidence that, contrary to actual smiles, smileys do not increase perceptions of warmth and actually decrease perceptions of competence,” said Ella Glikson, a post-doctorate fellow at the BGU Department of Management, Guilford Glazer Faculty of Business and Management.
If money, tech, and extracurricular opportunities are what’s critical to kids success, why is the teen suicide rate climbing fastest in high-income, suburban, mostly white schools (along with elite colleges and among entrepreneurs, also mostly white males).
Is there more to education than providing workers to Facebook, Google, and the rest of techdom — who will be needed only until AI is trained to write code?
There definitely is more and it was elegantly summed up by Malcolm Forbes.
Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.
From time to time in the years to come, I hope you will be treated unfairly, so that you will come to know the value of justice. I hope that you will suffer betrayal because that will teach you the importance of loyalty. Sorry to say, but I hope you will be lonely from time to time so that you don’t take friends for granted. I wish you bad luck, again, from time to time so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not completely deserved and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either. And when you lose, as you will from time to time, I hope every now and then, your opponent will gloat over your failure. It is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship. I hope you’ll be ignored so you know the importance of listening to others, and I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion. Whether I wish these things or not, they’re going to happen. And whether you benefit from them or not will depend upon your ability to see the message in your misfortunes.
I think if you’re going to look forward to figure out where you’re going, it’s good to know where you’ve been and to look back as well.
But you are also privileged young men. And if you weren’t privileged when you came here, you are privileged now because you have been here. My advice is: Don’t act like it (emphasis mine).
The only way we will change our hero leaders from the shallow ideologues of today is by changing education.
A new breed of heroes requires different skills, such as deep thinking, critical thinking, empathy and the entire range of so-called soft skills.
Ideology, no matter the flavor or parameters, just won’t cut it.
I’m assuming you’ve read the anti-diversity manifesto, or articles about it, from the Google engineer decrying his company’s diversity efforts and harking back to the ancient reasoning that women are biologically incapable of being good coders, cops and firemen, among other incapables.
(It’s always sad to see this level of scientific ignorance in a technical person. Of course, it’s not easier in a (supposedly) educated politician.)
There are dozens of responses, but Yonatan Zunger’s is the best I’ve seen (hat tip to KG for sending it).
Zunger is a 14 year Google veteran, who left last week to join a startup. He not only refutes it, but analyzes why the damage goes well beyond the obvious. If you haven’t seen it, it is well worth the few minutes it will take to read.
Women also have a brain therefore they write code too.
There, I fixed your #GoogleManifesto.
The one thing in the manifesto I do agree with is that freedom of speech should mean that anyone can speak their mind without fear of shaming or harassment.
However, the tactics he describes that are commonly used in liberal bastions on those espousing right and alt-right attitudes are exactly the same tactics used on progressives and liberals in conservative strongholds.
Our heroes have always been cowboys, but maybe it’s time for something different.
Assuming you agree with him, the question, of course, is how do you change?
One problem with the current version of hero is that they aren’t good at driving innovation — unless they thought of it themselves.
If not, they often respond in one of two ways.
Negatively, by immediately stating all the possible reasons it won’t work; or
duplicitously, by putting it down and then presenting it later as their own idea.
Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde, known for creating social designs that explore the relation between people, technology and space, has a simple idea that provides an elegant solution.
The Yes But chair.
This chair has voice recognition and will give you a little shock when you say the words ‘yes but’. He developed this chair because he was frustrated that so many people start with these words when they hear a new idea.
One useful modification that comes to mind is some kind of control that is capable of adjusting the voltage, since a minor shock might not be enough to jolt a hero out of their rut.
Please join me over the next 10 days for more on changing what what makes a hero.
“For years I thought it was a pipeline question,” said Julie Daum, who has led efforts to recruit women for corporate boards at Spencer Stuart. “But it’s not — I’ve been watching the pipeline for 25 years. There is real bias, and without the ability to shine a light on it and really measure it, I don’t think anything’s going to change.”
Conscious, intentional bias is bad enough, but girls also have to contend with an unconsciously biased society and a dearth of powerful role models.
Women rarely consider themselves experts, unlike men, who will claim expertise on any subject, no matter how ridiculous.
A presenter asked a group of men and women whether anyone had expertise in breast-feeding. A man raised his hand. He had watched his wife for three months. The women in the crowd, mothers among them, didn’t come forward as experts.
Ellen Kullman, the former chief executive of DuPont sums up a large piece of the problem.
The UK’s advertising industry regulator has announced that portrayals of little girls aspiring to be, say, a ballerina while boys hope to be, for instance, a scientist or doctor will be banned from the country’s ads. Many of these air during kids’ programs and target teens through social media.
And if you think this example is extreme it is actually drawn from this Aptamil baby formula ad.
Can bias actually be addressed beyond training and conversation?
Join me tomorrow for a look at how a corporate sexist poster child became a lodestar for gender equity.
Although both articles I refer to are aimed at startup founders, I believe they are applicable to bosses at any level and in any company.
First, no boss ever accomplished their goals by being a jerk.
As Bob Sutton explains in The Asshole Survival Guide, treating people like dirt hurts their focus and saps their motivation. (…) In the podcast, Reid [Hoffman] describes his test of a great culture: Does every employee feel that they personally own the culture?