Silicon Valley may be home to some of the world’s most innovative technological problem solvers, but there’s one issue that’s stumped engineers and investors: how to make the Valley more racially inclusive.
In recent months, at least two big, but beleaguered, tech companies have turned to high-profile black women to help come up with solutions to their lack of diversity.
Those high-profile hires include Bozoma Saint John, formerly of Apple, who was brought on by Uber as the company’s chief brand officer.
Meanwhile, Twitter has announced that Candi Castleberry-Singleton, a former marketing executive at Xerox, will be its new vice president of diversity and inclusion. Read more (7/7/17)
Uber is a mess — the “bad boy” ethos shattered, a nervous breakdown in its place. This week, the CEO announced he is taking a sudden leave of absence. A former U.S. attorney general released a brutal audit of the startup’s culture. It’s a terrifying moment for many investors who want that $70 billion unicorn to make them rich or richer — not implode.
But there is one Uber investor who stands out for how she decided to speak up. It was not very Silicon Valley-like of her, but Freada Kapor Klein wanted to turn the crisis into a teachable moment. And while this week’s events could lead her to say “I told you so,” she has a different takeaway.
Let’s rewind a few months. Kapor Klein decided to write an open letter to Uber — which she published with her husband — after a young woman shared an explosive account of sexual harassment at Uber headquarters.
Kapor Klein is a venture capitalist, or a VC. That means she makes money by betting on technology startups. Uber is one of those startups. She has committed to “impact investment” — businesses that can turn a profit while also making the world a better place. For too many years, she says, critics would question her on Uber, and she stayed silent. She tried to influence the company from the inside, though she didn’t see a real will among leadership to change. While “Silicon Valley prides itself on pattern recognition,” the letter said, Uber had “toxic patterns” that needed to stop.
Kapor Klein thought she was just saying what insiders knew: This is not a one-off. Turns out, her peers didn’t like that and wanted her to pay for it.
HBO’s “Silicon Valley” Criticized For Not Casting Females
Silicon Valley tech companies employ computer engineers at a ratio of 70% male to 30% female. Feminists scream this is sexism, while ignoring the fact that bachelor degrees in computer science are awarded at a not so coincidental ratio of 70% male to 30% female. So much for the sexism argument.
Silicon Valley is an HBO comedy on that scene. Feminists are angry because there aren’t more women on the show and bitch that it’s sexism. Feminist bitchfests are designed to a) induce shame and b) force capitulation to their demands no matter how stupid those demands are.
The idea that we should somehow portray the tech business as it should be as opposed to how it is, I think is horses—. What good do we serve? If the show was just 50% women, what good are we doing?We’re just masking. Part of the point of satire is to point out the flaws in reality.
Look, season one, at the end of the season, the guys go to TechCrunch Disrupt. We went up to the real TechCrunch Disrupt and we brought cameras with us, and we shot some footage, which ended up in the show. At the end of the first season I showed a few episodes to a friend of mine, a woman who works in tech, and she said, “You’ve got to put more women in this show. Those crowd shots that you created at TechCrunch Disrupt are crazy. You didn’t put any women in those.” I said, “Those are real. We shot those at the actual TechCrunch Disrupt.” And we didn’t frame the women out — there were no women in the room.
Berg also said “we’re not a social justice show and we’re not here to right the wrongs of society. We’re comedians.”
Feminists demand more women in tech, but there can’t be more women in tech if there aren’t anymore women in tech to get. The numbers don’t lie - 30% pursue the training and you can’t magically make 20% appear out of thin air. You could of course fulfill the feminist fantasy on a TV show as they demand, but that just leads to more insane feminist demands so why bother trying to placate them in the first place?
No matter what you do a feminist bitchfest is coming at you. The best course of action is to summon your inner Alec Berg, call it out as horses— from the beginning, and get back to doing whatever it is you do.