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.
Since tomorrow’s post takes yet another look at Silicon Valley culture, sources of the blatant misogyny, and how that relates to brilliant jerks and so-called stars, I thought I’d share Rich Waidmann’s take on the subject.
That means it’s a job requirement at his company that every employee treat everyone else with courtesy and respect as well as “going the extra mile” to take care of people in the community who are less fortunate
Then his company did a survey and found that
More than half (55%) of 250 IT professionals in the US. surveyed said they had been bullied by a co-worker. And 65% have said they dreaded going to work because of bad behavior of a co-worker.
Waidmann believes it shouldn’t be that way so he’s starting a No Jerks Allowed movement in an effort to encourage better cultures.
Way back in 2007 Stanford’s Bob Sutton wrote The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t, but looking at the stats I’m not sure how much good it actually did.
The Talmud says, “We do not see the world as it is. We see the world as we are.” Moreover, it’s often as we are that particular day, or even minute, and even as we change, minute to minute, so do others.
Jerks are known to lower productivity and kill innovation, so a lot of good information on identifying and dealing with jerks has been developed since Sutton’s book came out.
Contributing to that effort, here are my four favorite MAP attitudes for dealing with jerks.
Life happens, people react and act out, but that doesn’t mean you have to let their act in.
Consider the source of the comment before considering the comment, then let its effect on you be in direct proportion to your respect for that source.
Use mental imagery to defuse someone’s effect on you. This is especially useful against bullying and intimidation. Do it by having your mental image of the person be one that strips power symbols and adds amusement. (Give me a call if you want my favorite, it’s a bit rude, but has worked well for many people.)
And, finally, the one I try to keep uppermost in my mind at all times
At least some of “them” some of the time consider me a jerk—and some of the time they are probably correct.
Folks. I am about a week behind on recognizing International Women’s Day, but wanted to speak about it today.
There is always an element of folks out there who cry that we are dividing each other more by recognizing every different group of people, but I disagree.
At this point we have roughly 7 billion people in the world and they are each unique. That’s pretty cool if you ask me and I find that recognizing the differences that make us unique can be a unifier.
One reason I want to address this holiday is because I have been personally affected in a profound way by strong female leaders, both in life and work.
These women were mothers, wives, bosses, employees and, in some cases, warriors. I call that out because throughout history there was not always the option for women to follow their own path — it was chosen for them.
I am the father of two beautiful girls, they are identical twins and they light up my life. My wife and I are blessed (and challenged) by them daily. In June I get to experience it again with the addition of our third girl.
If I am being completely transparent, I was never a feminist. I didn’t think men were the superior sex, but I didn’t think the status quo was an issue either. While having girls has helped to change my thinking, the journey began many years ago.
I served five years as a United States Marine and enjoyed the opportunity to be a part of something greater. Now, the Marine Corps has around 200,000 active Marines and about 7% who are female. It’s a male dominated world where recent news has uncovered that misogyny is alive and well unfortunately. I don’t bring this up to shame the institution but to call out the opportunity for improvement.
Within this environment though I had the pleasure to serve under a female Marine officer by the name of Meredith Brown. At the time she was a Major and retired as a Lt. Col.
She was a no-nonsense person who expected results and demanded excellence. I recall how I used to write reports for her and she would pull out a red pen and begin striking things out. As she did that though, she took the time to show why the corrections needed to be made and expected that I wouldn’t repeat the errors.
Now you may be thinking, this lady sounds rough! I will tell you though, she knew what she was doing. I was a young man who needed guidance and she also saw something in me that perhaps I didn’t see myself. As a Marine she was tough but also fair to a fault. She was the first strong woman in my professional career and I valued our time greatly. We still speak to this day and she continues to give sound advice.
How does this fit into culture? Because as a society we have determined that sex, color, background, race or other factors that could be discriminated against are not how we should be judged.
We have deemed actions to be our judgment. Does this always happen? Absolutely not, but we strive for it.
If I had been an older man in a different Marine Corps, I would have never had the opportunity for a female Marine to lead me. I would have operated in a bubble and be unable to see another point of view without great difficulty.
So next time we have a day that celebrates a unique quality about a specific group of people I suggest we take the time to embrace it.
See something from a different perspective, walk in another person’s shoes, so to speak, and learn.
Specifically, the marketing of computer games in the 1980s.
“A lot of early computers were used for game playing,” Elizabeth Ames says. “Those games tended to be more aimed more at boys and men, so it was easy for boys to get a leg up in that area through gaming.”
Consider the stats.
… in the 1970s and early 1980s. In 1984, 37% of computer science graduates were women, but those numbers began to drop dramatically in the middle of the decade. By 2016, that number had been whittled down to 18%.
Computers and games were not only marketed to males, they denigrated females (as did other toys, remember the Barbie “Math is tough” fiasco).
In the beginning Apple couldn’t crack the business market, so it went after the education market. When those kids grew up they were completely hooked on Apple and took that attitude into the workplace.
Jobs’ Apple was a master of brainwash marketing, so those kids also brought Apple attitudes with them, too.
The Apple personal computer that was released at the time was marketed specifically to boys (included teasing girls’ computer skills), as were a whole range of other consoles. This gave rise to male computing culture.
Those boys and young men grew up to start and run companies now.
And it’s those insidious attitudes instilled by all that male-centric marketing that became the cornerstones of today’s bro culture.
Knowing this, the current misogynistic streak isn’t all that hard to understand.
A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read allIf the Shoe Fits posts here.
Most of the tech/business/news-consuming world has been hearing about Uber’s latest, but doubtfully its last, scandal.
Uber showcases a culture where anything goes: sexual harassment; managerial threats, including physical violence.
A culture based on the overweening arrogance and MAP of CEO Travis Kalanick and fully supported by his top management and a subservient/ineffective/actively resistant HR.
So Kalanick did what all CEOs (and politicians) do when someone shines a light in their rat hole — he announced an internal investigation led by external, high profile lawyers and made promises at an all-hands meeting.
“What I can promise you is that I will get better every day.I can tell you that I am authentically and fully dedicated to getting to the bottom of this.”
This from the guy who two short years ago called his company “Boob-er” in GQ, because it was a chick magnet.
There’s an old joke that you should never trust anyone who says “trust me.”
The same can be said about the person who proclaims their authenticity.
Whether you were alive in 1984 or not, you’ve probably seen Apple’s Super bowl ad. It’s reshown almost every year and has been consistently voted the top-rated Super Bowl ad ever made, which is saying a lot.
When the ad was made women were on an upward trend and were respected members of the tech community — unlike now.
Watching the ad again last week I got to wondering.
If that ad were made today would the person throwing the hammer be a woman?
Or would it be the proverbial “twenty-something guy in a hoodie?”
Not just a woman, but a woman of a certain age, 55, who built her company, BlackLine, over the last 15 years the hard way.
“I funded the company up until 2013, and there were some very difficult times,” she said. “I ended up putting in everything that I had into it. First the nest egg from my options from my previous company. But then I drained my bank accounts and my 401(k). I told my kids, had I been able to access their college savings funds, I probably would have taken that, too. I second-mortgaged my house. I maxed out my credit cards. I begged from friends to cover payroll.
It was difficult and humiliating and scary. I thought, ‘Oh my god, I’m going to be a woman in my 40s who’s bankrupt and starting over,'” she said of the years through about 2005.
That’s grit — the thing everyone is talking about.
BlackLine went public $2 above the target price and soared from there.
On Friday morning, the shares opened at $24.52, a 44% pop. The stock was trading at around $23.31 midday, giving the company a $1.15 billion market cap.
The result of that $2 increase meant raising $46 million more than than the $100 million planned.
Tucker didn’t build BlackLine by raising round after round of funding in an easy money environment—she bootstrapped it.
She did, however, jump on a still unproven new technology/business model.
The turning point happened in 2007, when the idea of cloud computing was very new. She and her team decided to quit making old-fashioned software and sell the service exclusively through the cloud.
And that was true grit.
Congratulations, Therese Tucker.
One Ceiling Down and a few more to go.
This post is dedicated to every woman of every age who has put herself at risk to follow her dreams — whether as an entrepreneur or something else.
By any measure Mark Benioff runs a successful, highly profitable company.
Moreover, he runs one of the most socially responsible companies in the world.
This BI interview with Benioff captures in a short read how Salesforce is a perfect example of a founder who incorporated his values into his company.
His socially conscious approach began when he launched Salesforce as a startup; long before it was profitable.
I view that as a critical part of my business. That’s why when I started Salesforce, on day 1, we put 1% of our equity, 1% of our product, and 1% of our time into Salesforce.org.
Where other CEOs talk, wring their hands and use media time to bemoan the problems, Benioff fixes them.
Gender pay disparity is a good example.
When he saw proof that women were being paid less he made changes to eliminate the disparity and did it without whining or handwringing.
Two women, one our head of HR and one who ran our women’s group said, “Hey, we’re paying women less than men at Salesforce.” I didn’t believe it at the time, when we actually looked at the information we were actually paying women $3 million less than we were paying men for the same amount of work, and so we made an adjustment to how we pay women.
When asked how other companies handle the issue he furnished not only the how, but also the why it doesn’t happen.
Every company has an HR system, every company knows their salaries, that’s obviously how they pay people, and all a CEO has to do is push a button and look at, “Do I pay women the same as men?” Most CEOs are afraid to push that button.
Within moments of meeting you, people decide all sorts of things about you, from status to intelligence to conscientiousness. Career experts say it takes just three seconds for someone to determine whether they like you and want to do business with you.
“You have to look like America looks, and right now the tech space doesn’t look like America.” It’s not just about finding businesses that target minorities or underserved communities, but realizing that the demographic shift also means a shift in power.
And here’s the solution: The old lady of course! After helping the old lady into the car, you can give your keys to your friend, and wait with your perfect partner for the bus. –from Lateral Puzzles via the CBI Blog (more on CBI next Thursday)
This post is for all the fact-loving, data-crunching guys who keep claiming that tech is a merit-based ecosystem where anyone with a good idea who is willing to bust their tail 80 hours a week will succeed.