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Diversity in Tech

Source: Big Red Car here on a lovely, sunny, mild Texas day. Ahhh, on Earth as it is in Texas. So, the tech world loves the word “diversity.” Diversity is the inclusion in a community of individuals representing multiple viewpoints based on gender, ethnicity, national origin, age, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, politics, and philosophy. Whew! [There may be more. I didn’t mention pets. There is a world of tension between cat people and dog people. I will ignore that for now.] The tech world has done a good job of “talking the talk” as it relates to gender, sexual orientation, and ethnicity/national origin. This is the self-congratulatory view of tech when they get to hold the mirror up to themselves. Much of what tech applauds itself for is very much a work in progress. On the issue of gender, as an example, there are still VC firms which have a single female partner who has been there for half an hour. One of my pet peeves is the VC firm who preaches diversity, virtue signals its wholesale support, and who has not a single woman in its partners pic. Come on. Stop being such hypocrites. Some would say that tech has failed miserably embracing diversity amongst age, religion, politics, and philosophy. God, they are like a gulag when it comes to age discrimination. The old folks are sent to Siberia. Big Red Car, any proof? Well, yes, dear reader, there is some proof of this. Let’s take the issue of political orientation, shall we? Here is a link to a video which was recorded at a Google TGIF meeting. Take a look. Google Pity Party Video What one leaves with is the pervasive sense that the failure of Hillary Clinton to win the election is a tragedy beyond comprehension. The first speaker, Sergey Brin, is a co-founder of Google. As a person in that powerful position, he is sending a clear message – the company is not a welcoming environment for any viewpoint that does not conform to his. This message is driven home by the litany of similarly thinking members of senior management. Note the funereal tone of the Chief Financial Officer. No, her dog did not die. She is likely a cat person. So, the question is – If you were a conservative and felt happy at the election results, would you feel that the company was receptive to your political views or philosophy or would you feel as if the environment was toxic and harsh? Similarly, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was testifying on the Hill to Congress about the culture of Twitter amongst a number of other things. Without prodding, he volunteered the following nugget in a subsequent interview: “. . . we have a lot of conservative-leaning folks in the company as well, and to be honest, they don’t feel safe to express their opinions at the company.”   Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO, admits to running a company where the culture leaves conservatives feeling something other than “safe” to freely speak their mind. What has he done to solve this problem? Nothing. OK, just for the record, I don’t buy the “we have lots of conservative-leaning folks” shtick. Just me. The comments by Dorsey – who I think is a genius – are troubling because they impinge on free speech. Can you imagine working for a company where your political views would be opposed by the entire culture as a living organism? Can you imagine a CEO allowing such a toxic culture to grow unabated? Jack, it’s the Big Red Car. Do SOMETHING. You’re the guy in charge. You are the main stirrer of the culture pot. Put some healthy probiotic organisms into the soup. Please? Free speech, bias So what, Big Red Car? It’s just a thing in Silicon Valley, right? No, dear reader, as SV tech goes goes all tech. Everybody wants to be Jack when they grow up (or Sergey). They are role models. [Just for the record, Jack used to actually be a male model. Haha. Shut up, Big Red Car.] “It is hard being a role model and a male model. Sometimes, I can’t remember which kind of model I am. I have 99 problems and this is one of them.” Jack, what color lipstick are you wearing. Very fetching. Is it on Amazon? In addition, this is an impingement of free speech, a Constitutionally protected right of every citizen. [OK, let’s keep it real. This is NOT a Constitutional crisis.] It is also the spring from which anti-conservative political bias flows. Bias, per Peter Strzok, is OK as long as you don’t act on it. Haha, sorry. I just find that kind of nonsense so funny. Of course, everybody acts on their biases. I love pistachio ice cream. I adore pistachio ice cream. I am biased in favor of pistachio ice cream. I buy and eat pistachio ice cream. I couldn’t fail to act on that bias if paid to do so. So, there you have it, dear reader. Tech talks a good game, but when it comes to providing diversity of philosophy, politics, views – they get an F. No, an F minus. F – <<< talking to you, Google and Twitter But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. Have a great week and be your best embraceable you.    Share this:EmailTweetShare on TumblrPrint Related Source:

Cat Interview7

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Creative Prompts

The Gotham Gal and I listened to the recent Howard Stern interview of Paul McCartney yesterday on a drive from long island to NYC. It’s a great interview, about 1 1/2 hours long, with incredible stories and lots of music. Howard picks out songs, plays them, and Paul talks about how each one came about. If you are a SiriusXM subscriber, you can listen on the web or SiriusXM mobile app. I highly recommend it. Near the end (1 hour 17 mins into the interview), Paul tells a story about being challenged by Dustin Hoffman at a dinner party to write a song “about anything.” Paul accepts the challenge and so Dustin and the other guests decide Pablo Picasso’s last words should be the thing to write a song about. Those words, as Picasso was heading to bed, were “drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can’t drink anymore.” And so Paul wrote this song to those words. And as he was telling this story to Howard, Paul says “I kind of like it, it puts you outside your comfort zone for an hour.” I can totally relate to that. This blog is that way. I wake up every morning not knowing what I am going to write and before heading off to the gym or work, or both, I have written something and posted it. Most frequently I wake up with something on my mind that leads to the post of the day. Which, coming back to Paul McCartney, is how many of Paul’s songs happened. He would wake up with a song in his head and then he’d get out the guitar or sit at the piano and play it. The creative process is hard to comprehend, but working with what is on your mind, challenging yourself, and getting outside of your comfort zone are three tricks that have worked for me and apparently also Paul McCartney, arguably the greatest songwriter of our time.

Cat Interview6

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Marathon Man

The New York Times has a piece up on Eliud Kipchoge, the world’s best marathon runner. I read it with interest yesterday as I like to think of startups as marathons and I am always on the lookout for ideas and insights that can help entrepreneurs and investors. Eliud is an impressive person and, as you might expect, he is extremely disciplined. He says in the piece: Only the disciplined ones in life are free. If you are undisciplined, you are a slave to your moods and your passions. That rings so true to me. It is true in investing, where I like to have a framework and stick to it and not let my emotions get in the way. But it is also true in building companies. Being focused on the long game and what you want to achieve is the best way to get there. I see many teams looking around at what others are doing and it makes them crazy. And I see a few teams heads down, executing their plan, and it makes them calm. In the short run, it can often seem like nothing is getting done, and your competitors are passing you by. But, like the marathon runner, it is never the sprinter that wins the race, it is the dogged and determined that is there at the end with the trophy in hand. Eliud just broke the world record in Berlin today. He finished in 2 hours, 1 minute and 39 seconds. He’s an inspiration to all of us.