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Ducks in a Row: Yonatan Zunger’s Response To Google Manifesto

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

https://www.flickr.com/photos/yodelanecdotal/1449868160/in/photolist-3d7XhU-nD4FUb-nphNJ2-nTjSvi-bTwp2k-mXGMEk-pd9LmU-nBPnBS-boeAFR-7LJWi7-avRQjp-7LEZtK-7LJWjJ-ejatXA-21e3h-Li3kk-3fFvBG-bN4EGz-6i8NJe-8fwJhJ-eUAptg-9YDyyr-68eU85-cTB2rG-9B518N-rCyjHM-7fMvid-6pRHL-rp9wWp-CRih1o-A37C92-68aHjz-eKEMv4-A1ToUq-j29oe8-nVy9YM-dpQ5bL-dPoxSV-9PkXo-z8uXHK-6Qm34u-6QgWRc-zLFDXs-zKwsyt-eUMKcb-A3YDeV-DUDt1-A16hdb-7LEZrD-qMWFVH

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.

Ayori Selassie’s is shorter and I’ve reproduced it in full below.

The penis doesn’t write code, the brain does.

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.

It boils down to the age-old us / them attitude.

Join me tomorrow for a look at the skills that will power your career now and in the future — and have nothing to do with STEM.

Image credit: Yahoo

Golden Oldies: Passion Unchecked

Monday, June 5th, 2017

It’s amazing to me, but looking back over more than a decade of writing I find posts that still impress, with information that is as useful now as when it was written.

Golden Oldies are a collection of what I consider some of the best posts during that time.

Passion. Everybdy talks about it; builds companies around it; it infuses cultures — personal, company, country. But, like most powerful emotions, it’s a two-edged sword.

Read other Golden Oldies here.

Last spring I wrote that passion sustains me and keeps my writing, but that even passion needs a day off now and then.

But what happens with there is no day off; when passion is continually cranked up?

When passion runs wild it can lose touch with reality.

You can see the aftermath of unchecked passion in companies whose positional leaders were so focused on their vision that they allowed nothing to stand in the way and the political leaders who are more focused on spreading their ideology than fixing their country.

Passion unchecked yields freely to fanaticism.

Fanaticism obliterates humanity.

Flickr image credit: JM3

Legalized Corruption

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

https://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/5502905667

I rarely write about politics, but it’s that time of year; I live on the border between two states and have to listen to political ads from both. So please, if this post offends you accept my apologies and wield your delete key.

My feelings are driven by the smugness I see across the political spectrum irregardless of parties and beliefs.

Smugness regarding the rarity of corruption in the US vs. its prevalence in other countries.

The way I see it, corruption in the US is rare primarily because it’s been legalized in the form of lobbying and PACs.

Lobbying has long influenced legislation, but as of 2010, when the Supreme Court effectively eliminated restrictions on outside groups, elections themselves went up for sale.

If you doubt me look no farther than the Americans for Prosperity, owned and run by the Koch brothers, which will spend at least $125 million this year, and the growth of super PACs overall.

In 2000, outside groups spent $52 million on campaigns, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. By 2012, that number had increased to $1 billion. (…) In 2014, as of early October, when the campaigns

had yet to do their big final pushes, overall spending was already more than $444 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Roughly $231 million was from the parties and their congressional committees, the rest from outside spending. The biggest chunk of that by far came from super PACs — more than $196 million.

What each of these wealthy individuals have in common is passion, but unbridled passion is the hallmark of the fanatic—and fanaticism paves the road to a closed mind—one that is evidenced by fear, hate and bigotry.

Legal corruption or not, voting is important—if for no other reason than not voting precludes your right to complain.

Or, as my mom used to say when faced with two bad choices, just “hold your nose” and vote against X as opposed to for Y.

And you can avoid the corruption by ignoring ads, whether pro or con, and evaluating candidates and issues in a holistic and pragmatic way that looks at what makes the most long-term sense.

Flickr image credit: DonkeyHotey

If the Shoe Fits: Can a Leopard Change Its Spots?

Friday, February 21st, 2014

A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read all If the Shoe Fits posts here

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Passion is good.

But passion unchecked yields freely to fanaticism.

Fanaticism paves the road to a closed mind.

Fanaticism in business leads directly to ‘not invented here’ syndrome.

Software giant SAP is known for its passion; not for its ability to play well with others, especially startups.

An attitude that is coming home to roost and motivating co-founder Hasso Plattner to change.

It was  “jealousy,” he said, and a “not-invented-here” mentality. “We always worked with other companies, but when they did not do exactly what we wanted them to do, then we developed all kinds of animosities.”

Now, the growing popularity of HANA, SAP’s new database, along with realization that the world has changed is driving change at the software giant.

Along with the normal things large corporations do to connect with startup—venture arm, pitching forums, hacking contests—Plattner is opening a 24-hour café complete with food, coffee, alcohol and even stand-up comedy.

“You know University Drive … the main drag …  in Palo Alto [Calif.]? We have acquired a nice location there and we will open the HANA Cafe by [our tech conference] Sapphire, so in three months.

“… We created it for these [startup] companies. They can come in. They can connect there. We’ll have all the electronic connections to 1,250 companies in the world. They want to have contact to Beijing, they can. … Startup companies can collaborate there. … This is what we want to support.”

SAP plans two more, in Berlin and Shanghai, all running 24 hours a day and fully connected.

New world. New product. New attitude.

The results won’t be in for months, but if stogy SAP does change it will be proof positive that any company can.

In the meantime you have a great, new place to work and hangout.

Image credit: HikingArtist

Passion Unchecked

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Last spring I wrote that passion sustains me and keeps my writing, but that even passion needs a day off now and then.

But what happens with there is no day off; when passion is continually cranked up?

When passion runs wild it can lose touch with reality.

You can see the aftermath of unchecked passion in companies whose positional leaders were so focused on their vision that they allowed nothing to stand in the way and the political leaders who are more focused on spreading their ideology than fixing their country.

Passion unchecked yields freely to fanaticism.

Fanaticism obliterates humanity.

Flickr image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jm3/544343557/

The Hypocrisy of Leaders, Et Al

Friday, March 5th, 2010

hypocriteAnyone who knows me knows that hypocrisy and fanaticism are tied for first place on my list of things-that-I-detest.

Political, religious and business hypocrisy continue to make headlines; rarely do I find myself laughing, but this time I did.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, the undisputed king of monopolistic uncompetitive practices is boo-hooing to both US and European regulators that Google has an unfair advantage in search.

Ballmer said Microsoft believes Google Inc. has done a number of things to gain an unfair advantage in the Internet’s lucrative search advertising market. He didn’t specify the alleged misconduct.

I am not alone in considering this totally ludicrous. And it’s not what Google does or does not do, but that Ballmer has the audacity to complain in the wake of Microsoft’s own track record.

And therein lays the real problem.

The idea that if ‘they’ do it it’s unfair, immoral, or illegal, but if we do it it’s OK.

We saw it in the arguments of torture being acceptable on the detainees at Gitmo.

We see it in the political and religious leaders who preach high moral codes while practicing immorality.

We see it in business leaders who preach ethics and practice them only as long as it’s convenient.

We see it in parents who demand better education and then condemn any teacher that doesn’t give their child a good grade.

We see it in colleagues whom we complain of slacking only to do something similar ourselves.

We see it in friends who share our private information even as we share someone else’s.

To paraphrase Walt Kelly’s Pogo, “We have met the hypocrite and he is us.”

Image credit: Kain Kalju on flickr

Leading with invective

Friday, July 4th, 2008