Silicon Valley is talking these days a lot about sexism and harrassment. If you have nmot heard botu it yet, you may just want to read:
– Women in Tech Speak Frankly on Culture of Harassment from the New York Times, dated June 30, 2017.
– Uber’s Opportunistic Ouster in the New Yorker, dated July 10.
I have already mentioned here some dark features of Silicon Valley. For example:
– Is Silicon Valley crazy (again)? in January 2016,
– Something rotten in the Silicon Valley kingdom? in January 2014,
– Silicon Valley and (a)politics – Change the World in NOvember 2013,
There is no doubt Silicon Valley is not a paradise. But i had never seen it as a sexist place. At least not more sexist thn the rest of the planet. And yes, there has been terrible stories, such as rapes on the Stanford campus, but my recollection of the area is more of an asexual place, mostly of introvertite people, like you could see on HBO’s Silicon Valley (right from its 1st episode). Just read (again?) the funny and sad comment: “That’s weird, they always travel in groups of 5, these programmers. There is always a tall skinny white guy, a short skinny asian guy, a fat guy with a ponny tail, some guy with crazy facial hair, and then an east indian guy. It’s as if they trade guys until they have the right group.
– You clearly have a great understanding of humanity.”
But if there is something ot be said about all this, is that hwoever complex a society is and it is never easy to explain human interactions without being simplistic, what some and maybe too many individuals are doing in Silicon Valley is unacceptable and should be fought so that it happens less and less often…
It’s a problem, it’s just not a new problem in Silicon Valley. When companies start to succeed and scale aggressive behavior often gets overlooked until the consequences are brought painfully to the attention of the leadership. Small teams of engineers working in a startup–the exemplar explored in HBO’s “Silicon Valley” for comic effect–are rarely the problem. All of the examples cited are at larger fast growing companies (e.g. UBER, Zenefits) or small investment firms with poor oversight/governance structure.
“Nothing discloses real character like the use of power. It is easy for the weak to be gentle. Most people can bear adversity. But if you wish to know what a man really is, give him power. This is the supreme test. It is the glory of Lincoln that, having almost absolute power, he never abused it, except on the side of mercy.”
Robert Green Ingersoll