Her new book is all about the bro culture of Silicon Valley.
On this episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher, Bloomberg Technology executive producer Emily Chang talks about her new book, “Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley.” One goal Chang feels Silicon Valley should reach: 50-50 representation in board rooms. “So much bad behavior just goes unchecked,” she says, “because there’s no women in the room.”
You can listen to the entire interview here or in the audio player above. Below, we’ve also provided a lightly edited complete transcript of their conversation.
Kara Swisher: Recode Radio presents Recode Decode, coming to you from the Vox Media podcast network. Hi, I’m Kara Swisher, executive editor of Recode. You may know me as someone who never wants to hear anyone use the phrase “cuddle puddle” ever again, but in my spare time I talk tech and you’re listening to Recode Decode, a podcast about tech and media’s key players, big ideas and how they’re changing the world we live in. You can find more episodes of Recode Decode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play Music or wherever you listen to your podcasts, or just visit recode.net/podcasts for more.
Today in the red chair is Emily Chang. I’m thrilled that she’s here. She’s a fantastic journalist. She’s also the author of a brand new book called “Brotopia, Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley.” An excerpt of the book about sex parties in Silicon Valley went viral online when it was published in Vanity Fair. Emily’s also executive producer of Bloomberg Technology and an award-winning TV reporter and an excellent interviewer. Emily, welcome to Recode Decode.
Emily Chang: Thank you. It’s an honor to be in your presence.
So you have been doing a lot of really fascinating journalism lately, all around these issues. You had a great piece, the sex party thing did get a lot more attention, but you had a great piece on Uber and behaviors there, and really some strong work. You were very coy because at the Uber Christmas party you said nothing of any of this that was coming up. Just a little bit about the book. So let’s talk a little bit first about your career and we’ll get to cuddle puddles soon enough, and we’ll explain what that is.
Looking forward to it.
Looking forward to it, but that’s not really the point. I want to talk about the bigger issue, about sexism in Silicon Valley and how it manifests itself and the #MeToo movement. We can all focus on the sex party part of it, but that’s not really the point. I think the point is how to change a culture and how to make it better. So first let’s talk about your background. You do an interview at Bloomberg every day focused on technology. How did you get there?
Yes. I host Bloomberg Technology. We’re a live, daily tech in Studio 1.0, which is a long-form interview show. But you know, when I was in college I thought maybe I wanted to be a journalist, and I started interning at the local news stations and I got …
But always television.
Always television. One of my first jobs was at the network AfterCollege NBC, and I worked my way up as a local news reporter. I ended up as a correspondent at CNN in Beijing and London, and that’s when Bloomberg came to me and asked if I would help launch this tech show in Silicon Valley.
Right, and you were focused on tech at that time?
I wasn’t focused on tech. I was covering China. I was going to faraway provinces.
Because CNN asked me to go.
The Olympics were there and it was just a great opportunity to experience China.
Sure, for a young person, absolutely.
I went with my now husband, so it was a wonderful experience for the both of us. And then this opportunity came up in San Francisco and we jumped on it. I didn’t know what to expect but I felt so privileged to be part of this incredible industry that is changing the world and creating all of these amazing things.
What year was this? This was …
That was 2010.
So I’m going on eight years.
Okay. I’m sorry, I’m much … You’re not going to impress with 2010. If you’d said 1992, like myself, I would be.
I realize. Yes.
If you said ’95, I might be impressed.
Yes, I’m an amateur compared to you.
No, it’s okay. I’m teasing. So you interview all ranges of people, based on the news or … It seems to range, and you’ve had some really tough interviews there, too.
We follow the news. I mean, you know, Apple earnings, where today I was just down in Cupertino talking with Tim Cook. We get people like Tim Cook and Sheryl Sandberg and Satya Nadella, but I also try to interview people who I think deserve more attention.
Those are the best interviews.
The Partovi brothers are coming up on Studio 1.0. They’re the founders of Code.org, very much in keeping with what this book is about and trying to get more girls into code. So yeah, a range. What I like about having the daily show and the long-form show is just the opportunity to have those more in-depth conversations, like the one we’re having now.
Right. And so what got you to write this book? So you’re doing the television thing and you’ve done writing before, right? Correct? Or not? I don’t know, because TV is the way I think of you.
Right. TV is my bread and butter. Over the years as I’ve gotten more tips, I’ve pursued the leads that were really important. The Bloomberg newsroom, we all work together with such an incredible team. And you know, the book, I know you talk about these issues in sort of off-the-record conversations all the time, and people would always complain about this grave inequality. And then when you got them on camera or on the record, nobody said what they really thought.
I just found it staggering that such a progressive industry had such grave inequality. I mean, you know, women make up 25 percent of computing jobs, 18 percent of computer science bachelor’s degrees, 7 percent of VC investors. Women-led companies get 2 percent of venture funding. I just decided why not? Why not try to figure …
And also in Bloomberg you have mostly guys. It’s just, you can’t avoid it. I’m not blaming you for it, but that …
Yes. No. This is a male-dominated industry. The reality is, most of the people in power are men, most of them white men.
Right. So what prompted you to write the book itself? Just that you were watching this topic? Because you could write about almost any topic, you could write about, there’s always the cool startup story. You have Uber books and whatever, we’ll get to that. The two books about Uber never mention sexism, but okay. We’ll see how Mike [Isaac] does. He better mention it. Mike, you better mention it or else.
He better mention it.
Or else Emily and I are on it.
What prompted you to write the book? What was the … because there are so many topics you could write about.
There was a moment. I was interviewing Mike Moritz for Studio 1.0. The goal of the interview was to talking about a book he had coming out called “Leading” and to talk about the breadth and depth of his career. This is one if not the most prominent venture capitalists in the world, chairman of Sequoia Capital.
At the time, Sequoia had no female investing partners in the United States. I said, “What is your responsibility to hire women?” He said, “We take this very seriously. I think we’re blind to gender, race, ethnicity, and we’re looking very hard.” I said, “Well, are you looking hard enough?” He said, “We’re looking very hard, but what we’re not prepared to do is to lower our standards.”
Right, which is only used with women and people of color, just a thought.
I just thought … You know, I couldn’t believe what I just heard. For the next three months …
That was a famous thing you got him to say. That was … It was not shocking.
I wasn’t trying to trap him. I actually …
No, no, no, no. There’s no trapping, it’s what he thinks.
I figured it was something he had thought about and probably had a thoughtful answer for. For the next three months everybody wanted to talk about it. People were horrified at what he had said. Some people, to be fair, didn’t think there was anything wrong with it and understand what he may have been trying to say. I just realized that this has been …
I don’t know how you can have the same kind of people and think that you were being fair in your selection process ever, that you had no problem. It’s just that you had higher standards.
If you judge Sequoia simply on its action, they didn’t hire a woman for 44 years. This is the best venture capital firm. You’re telling me they can’t find one woman?
Or what you’re saying is either women are not qualified to do technology, or you’re not qualified to find them. It’s so easy to think like, “We have all this success.” I’m like, “But what did you miss?” That’s always my feeling, is like how do you know that you didn’t miss the woman who was going to create a cure for cancer, for example.
Look, I think they missed a lot. I think this industry has missed out on a lot of promising women. What I realized in the reaction to that was this has been festering for too long, and it’s about time to figure out how we go there.
This interview was a big deal. I remember that. It was really, I was sort of like … I think I was saying to Nellie, like, “Good for you, get him.” Because he just said the truth — his truth — which they always try to cover up or try to soft pedal or slow roll.
And to be fair, he did clarify.
Which was what? What was the clarification?
He said, “I think there are many women who will flourish in the venture business and we’re trying hard to find them.” And then did hire Jess Lee of Polyvore a year later.
They probably went back and were like, “Let’s find us a woman, stat.”
She’s fantastic. I’ve talked to other folks there who say they’re really working hard on this and there’re female founders who speak very highly of Sequoia.
Right. No, I get that. I think what’s interesting, look, on one hand you have to say, “It is harder because there’s fewer.” Because I book Code conferences all the time, and you’ve been involved in Bloomberg, and it’s last year we got a 50-50, I was thrilled.
Congratulations, it’s so important.
This year I made a … I wasn’t like, “I’m not lowering my standards,” I just, it’s harder and harder to find them. So this year, same thing. I’m really … but I’m spending an enormous amount of my time trying to. And I may not totally succeed, I may not get to the numbers I want. I mean, I definitely don’t get there with people of color, but I do … Like this recent TV thing I’m doing, I’m thinking of it all the time.
What’s interesting is I spend a lot of time pushing myself to work harder, to think harder and to stop immediately past the first four companies. Like, what is interesting? Who is qualified? Who would be a good person? It’s hard. I’m not saying it’s not hard. It’s just the excuses are kind of … at certain levels, board of directors, venture capitalist, there’s plenty of women and people of color to fill those spots, for sure.
I think also one of the most important things is to look at your own data. I think some people, “Oh, you know, I interviewed a ton of women”” But okay, let’s count them. How many women did you interview compared to men? I think a lot of people would be surprised if they looked at their own numbers. I know I’ve been.
Yeah absolutely. I think about it all the time. I think it’s a question of … I was asked the other day about it and I was like, “I think it’s a question of making it a priority and putting it from No. 14 on your list to No. 3 or No. 2.”
Or No. 1.
Or No. 1, whatever. Maybe revenue is No. 1 always, it should probably stay that way. But it’s a really interesting question of effort. I remember that interview because I was like … You know, they tried to dial it back. I was like, “That was the truest thing he said in a long time.” Which was interesting that you got him to say it, but he said, you didn’t have to get him. You know what I mean? Like it was, suddenly he told the truth, which was interesting. So you had that moment, and then how did you get to this? And why “Brotopia”? I love the name “Brotopia,” of course.
Well, that happened two months before I had this idea. I was talking to friends who’ve written books over dinner. They actually are outside Silicon Valley and they said, “I think that would be a great book.” It just so happens that my editor worked in publishing for a long time, and then she worked at a tech company for two years and left because it was so horrible and went back to publishing. She was looking for years for someone to write a book like this. And so we fortuitously connected and that’s when I started. That was two years ago.
All right, and so what was the goal here? Was it focused on just bro culture? Or what was it? Because people don’t like the word “bro,” too, let’s talk about that. They’re like, “That’s not fair,” and I’m like, “I think it’s pretty fair to me.”
Yeah. I know the title makes a statement. To me, it perfectly encapsulates this idea of Silicon Valley as a modern utopia, where anyone can change the world or make their own rules if they’re a man, but it’s incomparably harder if you’re a woman.
I didn’t really know for sure what it would become, and you know the landscape has changed dramatically since I started writing this two years ago. At first, I just wanted to sort of figure out, how did we get here? What happened? And I uncovered a lot of really interesting things about what was going on in the ’60s and ’70s.
And then in the middle of the process, Donald Trump was elected and the #MeToo movement exploded. I saw the momentum of the reporting completely change because all of these women who I thought would never talk, who told me all these stories off the record, were suddenly …
It was amazing you got a lot of them … I mean, it’s interesting because for years I’ve been trying to get people to talk and they don’t, and you sort of give up after a while. Do you know what I mean?
You do, you do.
There was a whole bunch, so many different times. It’s like people are like, “Hey, let’s not bother,” kind of stuff, and then something happened. We’re going to talk about that when we get back, but before we finish this section, so you took time out, or how did you do this? You just were writing it as you were doing reporting and stuff like that?
I wrote it as I was going.
And this was pre-#MeToo, right, before?
Pre-#MeToo, so you were sort of this, doing this reporting, and obviously I saw you talk to a lot of the major figures, like Brianna Wu was a game developer who got attacked in Gamergate. Because some of this was around … Gamergate was sort of there. There obviously was the Pao trial before this, which I think was the real setting-off point of that.
We’ll talk about that in the next section. Talked to Sheryl, talked to Susan, Susan Fowler, the Uber engineer who set off the situation at Uber with her memo. Where do you think it started? Obviously you talked to Aileen Lee and all kinds of … I like this, “Male founder.” At the back it’s, “Meet the bros of Brotopia.” And then you go, “Male venture capitalist without a name,” and then, “Male founder.” It’s very funny. It makes me laugh.
There are a lot of men quoted on the record in the book, and some of them are wonderful.
And then all the women on the back are quoted with their names, which is really like, what a bunch of wimps.
I know, it’s true, right?
That made me laugh. I was laughing so hard. Male founder, any male founder really.
So it started before, though, this has been again, because like you’re hitting the zeitgeist right at this moment. We’re going to talk about that and more when we get back. But so when you started, as you started just reporting about the concept of just in Silicon Valley and just where the numbers are, where the people are and things like that. Before we go, what do you think the No. 1 problem is? Then we’ll talk about that.
I think the No. 1 problem is that bad behavior has been tolerated and normalized for such a long time. If you think about Susan Fowler, this is a woman who was propositioned for sex by her manager on her first day on the job. She reports it immediately and is told by human resources that, “He’s a high performer so we’re just going to let it slide.” I think, you know, the so-called brilliant jerks have been given a pass for far too long.
That’s not the only problem, but I think that is one of them. A lot of business gets done in Silicon Valley outside the office, where there’s all these gray areas and lines get crossed. It’s been a very difficult landscape for women to navigate. The other big issue I think is we need to change the idea of who can do this job. So many more people can do this job. We need more diverse people doing this job.
Wait, not just women. I always think about it because everyone gets it, like we shouldn’t lower standards, we shouldn’t … those kind of things, those same arguments. And I’m always like, “Well, your standards weren’t pretty high when you hired those six guys who ran the company into a wall and they gave it a pass.”
I think about things like Amazon and Roy Price, is the first outing of the investigation didn’t eliminate him. The second one after it became public did. What happened in the first one? You know what I mean? It’s sort of a pass …
I do think there was this inflection point where women started to be believed. Going all the way back to Ellen Pao, a lot of people weren’t on her side. I think that’s changed over the last few years and sort of this realization that we wouldn’t be here, people wouldn’t be telling these stories if Ellen hadn’t told hers.
Yes, 100 percent.
I think the momentum and the willingness to believe women changed, and that also allowed women to be more brave and tell their stories. I think in Silicon Valley a big turning point was the Justin Caldbeck story published by The Information, and Niniane Wang, one of the women who spoke up, who worked so hard to get women to speak on the record in order to get that story published. Huge hats off to Reed Albergotti and the entire team there. I can say that Justin Caldbeck was someone that I’d heard about for a long time, and I was working so hard to try to tell that story. It was like an open secret, but no one wanted to talk about it.
Yeah, yeah. I’d never heard … I have to say, I’ve never heard of him.
They sort of set a standard of a kind of reporting that could be done. If you’ll remember that sort of eight hours of silence after the story was published. No one was saying anything, like, “Is this just going to evaporate into the atmosphere?” Then Reid Hoffman’s book opens at, “This is not okay.”
Right, yeah. Of course.
And then it snowballed, right? It snowballed.
Yeah, absolutely. All right, we’re here talking with Emily Chang. She’s the author of a brand new book called “Brotopia, Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley.” I’m not sure if that’s possible. We’ll talk about that more.
She got a lot of attention for an excerpt in Vanity Fair that was about cuddle puddles and sex parties. We’ll talk about that a little bit. She’s also a host on Bloomberg Technology, executive producer of a interview show she does there that is terrific. We’ll be back, we’ll talk some more.
We’re here on Recode Decode with one of my favorites in Silicon Valley, Emily Chang. She’s the author of a new book called “Brotopia, Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley,” which is very much in the news now, Emily.
But let’s go back to where it started. First of all, on every level of Silicon Valley there’s a lack of women. Venture capitalist boards, CEOs, there’s a lot of women in the mid-levels but they’re often in jobs that don’t count in Silicon Valley, in marketing jobs. I think they count, but they don’t like the engineering jobs. Let’s go back to where you think the … and then we’ll talk about current things like Justin Caldbeck and Susan Fowler and things that happened there. But where do you think it started?
In the book I open with an origin point: In a USC computer lab, where a group of engineers were looking for a photo to test their image-processing algorithm. It just so happened there was a copy of Playboy hanging around in the lab because one of the students brought it in and was enjoying the magazine.
The head researcher said, “I bet there’s some nice photos in there,” and they chose the one that was in the centerfold. That ended up becoming the most popular photo used in imaging processing to this day, from the teams that are working on the iPhone, to Google Images, you show them this picture they’re like, “Oh yeah, I know her.”
Some people don’t know that she’s a naked woman because the photo that survived is this cropped headshot, but she’s looking suggestively over her bare shoulder. To men, this is sort of an amusing historical footnote, but to women it was alienating. I spoke to a number of women who came across her photo over the years, and then they realized she was naked, and that didn’t feel good.
Which is interesting, because early in a lot of this culture there were a lot of women. At Apple, for example, there were quite a few important women engineers there, at some other places there were.
And if you go back even further in the ’40s and ’50s, actually men, to be fair, focused on hardware …
Women were programmers.
… but women were well represented among software programmers, and educated women were actually encouraged to study math. So you have these very influential women, Grace Hopper who worked on the Mark I computer at Harvard, women who were really influential at NASA, other women who were portrayed in “Hidden Figures.”
And then, in the 1960s the industry was exploding and they couldn’t find enough people to fill open jobs. And so a company called SDC, a software company at the time, hired these two psychologists, William Cannon and Dallas Perry, to develop a personality test to find the best programmers. What they determined by interviewing about 1,400 programmers, 1,200 of whom were men, is that good programmers don’t like people. They like things better than people.
Yeah, this image of the geek. Right.
And it perpetuated this idea that the only people who could this job are antisocial male nerds. Because if you’re looking for antisocial people, the research tells us that that favors men over women. These tests were hugely influential. They were used by tech companies for decades and it perpetuated this idea that antisocial male nerds are good at this job.
And therefore you should encourage it.
And therefore we should encourage that. Fast-forward to today, same argument that James Damore, an engineer at Google, uses …
We’ll get to James, Young James. I like to call him Young James.
… to explain what he believes is the root of this inequity. By the way, there’s no evidence to suggest that people who don’t like people are better at computers than people who do.
Yeah. Or, they get stuck in the society, because that whole nerd mentality, like, “Here’s the nerd.” Sometimes, you know, when I was talking to someone, I’m not going to say who it was but someone who has some influence in the media. They were like, “Well, you know, all those guys didn’t have dates at proms.” I’m like, “That is such bullshit.” That is like, you’re going to excuse their misogynist behavior because they didn’t get a date at the prom. That is so reductive and simplistic.
But it did perpetuate this idea of nerds and they’re under siege, and they had bad … and of course you have like a Bill Gates who looks like that, but then you have a Steve Jobs who doesn’t, like who doesn’t manifest that trait.
What’s interesting about Steve Jobs is he was a completely different kind of tech superstar. The industry could have taken this lesson from that: “Let’s look for people who are different than what we thought.” But unfortunately they took the wrong lesson and they decided that risk-taking bro-y types were the people that they should be trying to fund. And so instead of thinking, “We should look for people with a wider diversity of a backgrounds,” which Steve Jobs embodied, instead it just perpetuated a whole new stereotype.
Right. You know, I say this all the time, the meritocracy is a mirror-tocracy, it’s a mirror-tocracy.
I love it. I know. You coined the word mirror-tocracy and it’s so right.
But it’s like they look at each other, but it can happen in any industry like that. This is what a Hollywood producer looks like. This is what a blank looks like. And so we get into that kind of mindset, and often it just perpetuates, and especially among VCs. I think it starts at VCs myself. I think the pipeline argument is part of it. Name the arguments. Pipeline.
Pipeline for sure. Leaky bucket.
Role model problem, all of the above.
Right, girls and math, in sixth grade happens, or third grade, or whatever grade it is.
Well, the stereotype’s already entrenched by then, and so the idea of who can do this job. It’s like, if a girl is good at math or programing, people are like, “Oh my God, you’re so good. That’s so unusual.” It can actually create this feeling of, “Oh wait, maybe I’m not supposed to be here.”
Right, right, right. Which, it doesn’t just leave out girls. I think that’s the myth, is that it doesn’t just leave out girls, it leaves out different kind of people. Like different types of people, that you’re not that and therefore you can’t be that.
And we need people who are empathetic and understand people to be doing these jobs, to understand the users that they’re creating for, to understand their problems.
Because users are 50-50, which is really …
It’s not like only nerds use iPhone, so that to me is what’s the most interesting part. It also creates a sort of crap in, crap out mentality. So you have the pipeline issues. But that’s where they tend to point to all the time, why they can’t do it. I do not believe that is necessarily the biggest problem.
I argue in the book that the tech industry created the pipeline problem by fostering this sort of narrow idea of who could do this, obviously. It wasn’t movies and TV. It started with the tech industry. And then movies and TV and parents and teachers started repeating.
Right, repeating. It’s the same thing on so many issues like that. I think it’s interesting because when you think of gay rights, it’s the same thing. There was a version of a gay man or a gay woman who was not like reality. And of course it perpetuated an idea around it, which was interesting.
So pipeline’s one. One is I think venture capitalists, like they don’t fund, like they just look like themselves. They want to bro-out with the others and do that. Tell me, talk about that.
Look, I mean, if you look at the hard numbers, women entrepreneurs, women-led companies get 2 percent of venture funding. People want to fund companies that they’re passionate about. I think often ideas that are catered towards women suffer. I interviewed Katrina Lake for the book, who pitched her company to 50 investors before one said yes.
And also suffered from sexual harassment.
And suffered from sexual harassment. And look, she just took her company public and mostly did it on her own. If that’s not an example, what is?
Right, exactly. What did she think the problem was?
I think when it comes to VCs she thinks LPs don’t care. She says in the book, “LPs are 100 percent focused on returns. They’re not focused on diversity, and maybe they should be.” She thinks that venture capitalists are looking for ideas that appeal to them, not necessarily ideas that appeal to everybody. And that bad behavior has been normalized and tolerated for far too long.
Right, and we’ll get to that about Uber and other companies. I mean, so there’s that. And then directors is another thing, I think. That to me is the worst because I remember when I wrote, years ago I wrote a story called “The Men and (No) Women of Facebook.” I just put their pictures up and made fun of … I was like, “Look.” Mark, one of them called me and was like, “I’m so hurt.” I’m like, “Well, I just … It’s your pictures, it’s not mine.” I just was pointing it out.
Same thing, the board of Twitter, I gave them a hard time for that for a long time. And then I did a “Men and (No) Women of Web 2.0 Boards.” That to me is … and I got call from, I remember, Andrew Mason, and he was, I think I’ve talked about this before, that he was like, “Well, can you help me find women?” I’m like, “No. Do you think I have binders of fucking women? Are you crazy?” That one, “I know you can find qualified women and people. I’m pretty certain there’s business people all over the map that you can find very easily.”
So it was sort of interesting, and I know there’s all these groups that are coming together to try to push people. But it really isn’t hard in that level, kind of. That to me is like the lowest-hanging fruit of directors, and that’s where a lot of that happens, I think.
Absolutely, I completely agree.
They have one woman …
And I’m glad you mentioned Twitter because I had a fascinating conversation with Ev Williams about online harassment and trolling. He said that he thinks if there had been more women on the early team, online harassment and trolling wouldn’t be such a problem.
No, because you don’t even think of it.
They weren’t thinking about this.
And again, you feel badly for being angry at them for it, but I agree with you. I think that it just wasn’t a priority. It’s priority No. 53.
They were thinking about cheerful and wonderful and amazing things that can be done with Twitter. Not how easily someone could use it to hurl death threats.
Well, one of the things that I’m absolutely certain of the #MeToo stuff, and we’ll get to that in the next section is, would not … it’s not lost on me that women at the New York Times and a gay man broke those stories, because they understand that. They can feel it. They felt it themselves so they were very much more attuned to the problem, and much more able to be empathetic, too, as reporters, which is interesting.
And you know, when you think about it, I have two sons and I was literally walking the other day. I looked behind, I kept looking behind me and looking behind me, because it was dark and late at night. My son is six feet tall and the other one’s five-five, five-seven, or whatever. Whatever, he’s tall, they’re both tall, I’m teeny. My son was like, “What are you doing?” I’m like, “In case I get attacked.” He’s like, “Why do you worry about that?” I’m like, “You will never worry about that.” Like he never … I was like, “You don’t even understand what it’s like to live … I don’t know how I can get you to worry about that.” Which was interesting. I thought it was similar to a thing that happened, but go ahead.
You’re looking over your back in the real world, just as you probably do online. As a woman online, women get the most extreme forms of online harassment. Men get harassed to, but it is just not the same.
I completely agree. We shouldn’t have to have this fear.
It is interesting that, you think of something like Twitter, which is really, I just don’t think the executives there understood the impact of it on people’s lives if they had it themselves. I was at the VR Lab — which, I think it’s going to be the same thing in VR — with Jeremy Bailenson, who’s great. But he has the thing where it’s about empathy and you become a black kid who then becomes a black adult in this, in a scenario where there’s a lot of really … scenarios that are negative, negative scenarios.
What was interesting was, I’m like, “I like this. I like the idea of it. But how can you put a lifetime of living under this?” Because women have a lifetime of microaggressions that they know, that men don’t have. That to me was like, “Can you inject someone while they’re watching their VR with the fear that you might have, or worry when a police officer shows up, or when you’re a gay person that you might be beaten?” It was like, I don’t think you can. That’s my issue, which is interesting.
So let’s talk a little bit about in this book, so there’s the directors, there’s those. What role do founders and CEOs play, the management?
I think change has to start from the top. This needs to be something that CEOs explicitly make a priority and communicate it to all levels of the organization so that everybody at the company also understands that it’s a priority. Some people are doing well; in the last chapter I focus on Slack and what Stewart Butterfield is doing there. You know, every time he tweets about this they get a spike in inbound interest from diverse candidates. That was easy. It really has to come from the top and it has to start early. If you’re starting a company today it’s not too early to think about it, because the longer you go on the harder it will be to change.
But why don’t they? Why don’t they think of it? Because they’ve got other things to worry about, right?
Because other priorities eclipse it. Other priorities eclipse it. It’s about …
Like, “I’m busy doing this. I’m busy doing that.”
Exactly. It’s about making money or the next board meeting or the product launch. I talk about this with Google, where Larry and Sergey actually were quite focused on hiring women in the early days.
They were, yes.
They got some amazing women who are the standout … You know way more about this than I do.
Yeah. I remember talking …
Who are standouts in Silicon Valley today. And then they lost focus on it. The company was scaling and they were growing so fast and they needed to fill the seats. It was all about getting through the financial crisis. And suddenly their numbers are average, they’re no better than anybody else.
No, they’re not very good. Yeah. Yeah, they did put a lot of effort in the early days, I remember that. It was interesting, they were the first to talk about it that I heard of. I was surprised. I remember being like, “Okay, all right. I hadn’t thought about that myself.”
Let’s talk a little bit in this section about … So, Ellen Pao, to me, was the first time when it was sort of voiced. I mean, everyone else sort of grumbled about it behind the scenes, everyone endured these microaggressions. But that didn’t turn out so well for women, and for Ellen for sure.
It didn’t for a couple years, but I actually think the tide has turned. Look, she lost a trial. I would say I think Kleiner Perkins lost …
This is against Kleiner Perkins, the lawsuit around, it was gender discrimination.
I would say that Kleiner Perkins …
That was not sexual harassment, it was gender discrimination, if I’m correct.
Kleiner feels they lost the trial in the court of public opinion, and I think, now a few years later, I think that is the case. When Ellen came out with her story, because she was the first a lot of people didn’t believe her.
Something must be wrong with her.
I’ve done, I know you have as well, a lot of reporting on this and talked to a lot of people. Some people who worked there say, “Well, she wasn’t that good,” and other said, “Well, of course it’s sexist.”
There’s like 900 crappy bros. Come on, like, please.
I do think there’s an interesting lesson in Kleiner in that I believe John Doerr actually tried to hire women, but then didn’t change the culture to include them.
Didn’t do what it takes to stay there.
That’s a new theme I have. It’s like I said, “You can get women in the door, or people to come to the door, but then you don’t do the things that keep them there, or promote them, or to think about their different needs,” and stuff like that. Which is, you know, and then they’ll fail when they’re inside and then you can say, “Look, they fail.” It’s a really interesting problem.
And women are quitting tech twice as fast as men.
Where the jobs are.
They’re not leaving the workplace, they’re going to jobs in other fields. They actually report that, the research shows they like their jobs, but they don’t like the environment. It’s hostile.
When we get back we’re going to talk a little bit about what that is and more from the book that you’re talking about, but I want to go from where we went with Ellen, which I think a lot of people felt disheartened that it didn’t work out, that this culture won again. Where we wrote a story … I remember saying maybe we can’t hire as many women because we don’t want to be in this culture. You know, and then there was the whole Mike Pence thing of it, like, maybe I can’t … I literally heard …
Right, that’s still happening.
My God, every time I hear that I literally …
People are scared to be alone in a room with a woman.
I literally want to hit the men. I’m like, “I’m so close to hitting you I’ve got to leave,” because this is like you cannot control … It’s just an astonishing reaction. That to me is the idea that you need to have other people in the room to make sure that you aren’t falsely accused, this falsely accused idea.
I do think there was this period of time, and I know these feelings are still lingering, where you had companies saying, and VF firms saying, “We don’t want to end up like Kleiner Perkins, we’ll just never hire a woman.” And you had women saying, “I don’t want to end up like Ellen Pao. I just won’t speak up.”
I think gradually …
Let’s set it back. Did Ellen set it back or not? The Ellen trial, not Ellen herself, obviously.
I have to say that overall I think it moved us forward. It moved us forward and it started a conversation that people were not having. The net of it is now women feel safer speaking up, but it was a long process. And I know you’ve spoken to her a lot, it was hard for her.
Yeah, for sure.
And I don’t think you’ll hear as many firms saying publicly, “We don’t want to end up like Kleiner Perkins.”
It’s, “We need to do this right now. We don’t have any more … We are out of time.”
Right, right, but they don’t seem to have changed. They don’t seem to have changed, to me.
I think we all get exhausted by, it’s sort of like the Trump administration, they just exhaust us after a while.
Let’s fast-forward before we get to the next section about today, it was Uber that really did change it. It was the beginning of the #MeToo thing, not for Silicon Valley at least, not, of course, Harvey Weinstein was the issue in a very horrible situation. But here was Uber, which seemed to be the quintessence of all of it.
Susan Fowler literally, that match with her blog post.
Why did that …
I think because she had all of this documentation. She didn’t write it in this kind of complainy way. You sort of read and you were like, “That sounds pretty believable.”
“That’s a bunch of assholes,” right.
And also ridiculous, I mean the leather jackets, all of it. It was just like, you can’t make this stuff up. You had a lot of men saying, “Oh my God, I can’t believe this happening,” and all the women were like, “Uh yeah, this is my life.”
“Of course it is.” Yeah.
I had — I write about this about in the book — I had 12 women in tech, most of them engineers, over at my house for dinner about three weeks after that posted. We sort of talked about how it was so ridiculous that so many people were surprised, and then the other half of the room was completely like, “Yeah, this happens every day.” And you know, these women were, they’re exhausted. They’re tired of being the only women in the room. They’re tired of all of this emotional labor that they have to do to prove themselves.
Someone recently said it was a tax. It’s a tax.
It is. It is a tax, and yet they love their jobs. They love the products they’re making. They’re so excited to be working here. We’ve got to make this place better for them, and I fully believe that we can. It’s not too late. It didn’t have to be this way, but it also doesn’t have to be this way.
Right, okay. When we get back, we’re talking to Emily Chang. She’s the author of a new book called, “Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley.” We’re talking about how to break that up and the impact that #MeToo had on it. We’re going to talk about this excerpt about sex parties — if I have to I will — and more when we get back.
We’re here with Emily Chang. She is a Bloomberg celebrity television interviewer.
And she’s also the author of a new book, “Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley.” We were talking about Uber just a little bit. Do you think people are looking at Uber as like a one-time thing or more than that?
I think it’s more than that. I think it was sort of like a bad example of what’s happening here, on steroids.
It had everything, didn’t it?
It had everything. And then there were journalists all over the place and all of these stories that never would have been told.
That strip club in …
Think of that strip club story, it never would have been told.
That is a story that happens way more than anyone would like to believe, that never gets told, and it got told. They got caught.
Right, right, exactly. And more than that, we did the India rape stuff, it just went on and on and on. It was like everything at that company. Why did that company have such bad juju?
I think it came from the top. I think you had willfulness to break the law. I think it created a dysfunctional culture. I give them full credit for what they built. It’s an incredible service that a lot of people use and need. But I think in that case there was just some glaring leadership issues that affected everyone.
Right, affected everyone and brought everybody down. And also I think the enablers who allowed it to go on. I blame them more than anyone. I get that everyone was cheering Benchmark. I’m like, “But you built the monster. How did you not stop it?” You know, don’t start to say you hate the monster when you built the monster.
Investors have a role to play there, too. They certainly do.
Yeah, I’m glad they did speak up finally, but it sort of …
Took a while.
… took a while. Yeah, it took a while. Which was interesting.
So let’s get into this sex part. I have heard of sex parties but not the cuddle puddles. I’ve heard of … just like the people here, they go off, they hire prostitutes and have a party in Malibu or wherever the hell they’re having parties.
I don’t care about that. I don’t. If they want to … Look, I don’t love it. I don’t condone it. I don’t care, on some level. I live in San Francisco, so there’s a part of me that’s like, “All right, if that’s the way you want to get off.” But you were trying to get to something in that section and it was much pushed back on, so talk a little, explain. Cuddle puddle is where they all sit and hug each other, right?
I’ve never been invited officially.
Think of a shag carpet …
I try to not too …
… and often there are drugs involved and people get very intimate and close.
I’ve heard about this a lot.
I’ve heard it can be a very egalitarian.
I’ve heard about this personally in their personal lives. Why did you want to write about this?
Because, do we care about their personal lives? But anyway, go ahead.
In my opinion, these parties are perpetuating a completely lopsided power dynamic that keeps women down.
Because people at work come to these.
Yes, and in Silicon Valley work lives bleed into personal lives more than perhaps any other industry. It is a gray area and unfortunately it’s making a lot of women feel uncomfortable and disempowered. Silicon Valley, the Bay Area, has this long tradition of sexual positivity and sexual exploration.
Be-ins and live and let live.
And that’s wonderful. Unfortunately women can’t participate in this scene without being victims of a double standard. Because there’s this whole whisper network around who was there.
Right, I think that was the most important part of it.
Whereas, you know, men, it’s sort of like the modern-day golf course. They can pal around with their buddies and they don’t get penalized or discredited because they’re there. But women do, and that’s a problem.
Right, or if they participate, willingly participate. Even it’s willingly, they suffer because of the participation.
There was a lot of pushback too. Explain, how did you feel about that?
You’re talking about one specific party, which was a company-sponsored party. This was a company-sponsored party, sponsored by DFJ, and DFJ apologized for the party when they found out what happened.
I spoke to a lot of people at this party who felt uncomfortable, and there were reports of drugs. I spoke to a young woman who was given drugs and was pulled into one of these cuddle puddles and felt pressured into sexual activity. This is at the company-sponsored event. I think I saw you say something about how company-sponsored events should be cuddle puddle free.
Seems pretty black and white.
TMI, I’ve never been in a cuddle … I can’t imagine anyone would want me in a cuddle party, but that’s another issue. Like, a slap puddle, maybe. But it was interesting, because there’s all kind of … I was fascinated by the pushback. It was like, “I didn’t see it.” I’m like, “Well maybe you weren’t part of that party, or maybe you don’t understand.” A lot of women too were pushing back at it, which was, that was … and I actually ended up in an airport with someone who pushed back against you, and we ended up arguing about it. I was like, “Do you see the bigger picture here?”
I think what it was is, do we want to become school … Like, it was the argument to me, “Do we want to become schoolmarms?” I was like, “Okay, you’re starting with the word schoolmarm and therefore I’m on my back foot with that word. How about we just treat people with respect?” Like with golfing or with ski parties. That happened in Ellen Pao’s thing, that she couldn’t go to the ski party. That you can’t participate. If you could participate equally, I guess, but you can’t participate equally. That’s your whole point.
Absolutely. I’ve been researching this particular topic for two years, so I was sitting on this for a while. I was just happy to get it off my chest and out into the world. I’ve spoken to over three dozen people who’ve been affected by this. Either they went to these parties or they felt shut out by these parties. Men and women.
Right, who didn’t want to do that.
I spoke to men who felt that they were changing the world in challenging social mores by participating in this scene.
Please. It’s been going on since the ’60s, boys.
I spoke to women who, you know, a couple women from other countries. They were entrepreneurs and they showed up at these parties, they were completely shocked. “This is Silicon Valley? I guess I have to be cool with this.” Some of this behavior in some circles has become the norm.
I spoke to a number of women who felt completely shut out, it was damned if you do, damned if you don’t. If they went, they would never get an investment from those people. If they didn’t go, they would never get an investment from those people. I talked to a co-founding team that was broken up essentially because somebody got involved in this, the other person didn’t like it. The reality is it’s a lot more about power than it is about sex.
Absolutely, 100 percent.
And the power dynamic is completely lopsided.
So your point is, men don’t suffer from attending. Women do.
No matter what they do, even if it’s willing, even if it’s consensual. No matter how you slice it, it’s not good.
No matter how you slice it, women lose.
Right, and also the problem is you do mix … In every profession there’s a social mix going on. Which is interesting because it’s hard not to. I’ve stopped going to a lot of this stuff, oddly enough. It’s interesting, because I don’t see the benefit in it.
Yeah, I don’t socialize as much in the industry anymore either. I think especially when you’ve got a lot of young people together, they don’t necessarily know what the boundaries are.
This rises to the level of what’s happening in corporate culture. I’ve talked to a couple female engineers who said at Uber they were invited to strip clubs and bondage clubs. I mean, Susan Fowler confirms this. Like, all the time, they were leaving in the middle of the day to go drinking.
Right, and if you didn’t go, you’re not part of the gang. So they’re like, “We’re equally inviting you,” but do you really want to go there? Are they really comfortable there?
I mean, I went to the Gold Club, which is a strip club in SoMa. At 11:45 on a Friday, AM on a Friday, the line is out the door for lunch. It’s just a $5 lunch so it’s pretty cheap by San Francisco standards. Most of the people in there are tech guys.
And they’re going with their colleagues. They’re going with their boss. They’re doing deals. You talk to the women who work in the club, they’re like, “Yeah, this happens all the time.”
Yeah, but the women can’t go. I just go in. I went to a strip club in Vegas during CES because I had to meet someone. I cannot tell you how horrified the men were that I was there. I was like, “Hey. Hey.” And it was all people I knew and they were like, “You’re here.” I’m like, “Yeah, so?”
You’re like, “And I’m live tweeting.”
“I’m live tweeting.” No, but what was interesting about it is I had no … I think strip clubs are awful. I just think they’re juvenile and awful and so diminishing of women. I could go on and on about them. They’re so stupid on the face of it. I don’t even find, they’re not even sexual, they’re just awful. But at the same time, when I was in there I was like, “Yeah, I’m here. I’m not embarrassed to be here and I don’t feel diminished by it.” Like, “I’m just going to …”
And it was really interesting how nervous people were. They were like, “Why are you here? Are you going to tell my wife?” I was like, “So it is something you aren’t proud of. Aren’t you proud of being here? Like you’re so fast-forward?” It was a really interesting experience because it was during CES and I did run into people, and I do have a profile, and I wasn’t embarrassed. I was so fucking with them and it was really enjoyable.
And this is a place they’re going for lunch, in the middle of the work day.
They were doing work there. I was like, “I wanted to ask you about this.” I was like, “So I’m going to come in here and ask you about it.” It was really funny.
You know how to find them, Kara. You know how to find them.
I know, but I was like, “I’m not going to let them stop me.” Although interestingly, I had to find a man to take me in, because you can’t go to a strip club, even in Vegas, without men taking you in. The guy in front of the line, it was fascinating.
They’re like, “You look suspicious.”
No, they were like, “You could be a divorcée, a wife who’s mad at their husband inside. You could be a feminist.” I don’t know, they had like nine reason why women couldn’t go in alone. So I just found a guy, I’m like, “Take me in now.” But I didn’t want to debate with the bouncer about feminism at all.
In any case, so let’s talk about solutions. You’re obviously trying to solve something here. You’re saying … How do you break it up? I think that’s a big goal, breaking it up, but what has to happen? Name like six, five things that you think have to occur.
Yeah. So, stop tolerating and enabling bad behavior. To me that seems pretty simple. To me the lines are pretty clear.
Stop grabbing boobs in the workplace.
Boys, stop it.
Two, expand your idea of who can do this job. Three, change needs to start from the top. CEOs need to take this on. And I have a lot more prescriptive things in the book. You know, one of the things we talk about with Slack is, if you just try to change awareness, that might not really fix the problem, but if you give people actions that they can do, that will be effective. So whether it’s diversifying your recruiting captains, being explicit about your priorities, structured review and feedback systems. You know, pay people fairly. The pay gap in Silicon Valley is five times the national average. What?
Right. Yeah, that’s a big deal.
Also, easy, right? These companies have a lot of money. Just pay people fairly, and pay people what they’re worth. It has such an impact on how valuable you feel.
I think VCs need to hire women. I think that’s pretty obvious.
And of color diversity, age diversity.
Absolutely. I think LPs need to take a greatest role in putting pressure on these funds to hire women and holding … the boards of these companies, as you said with Uber, you need to hold the company leadership to account when they’re hiring women in their management ranks and hiring women on the board.
It was interesting, during the Ubers, of which we wrote a lot, a lot of people were about, it was, “Don’t be so …” I remember getting a lot of pressure from board members, “Don’t be so hard.” I’m like, “No. I think I will. I’m going to keep doing it.” Or, “You can stop now.” Same thing around a lot of the Twitter, Facebook, social media stuff. “Kara, that’s enough lecturing.” I’m like, “Not yet. Not yet, not until you all stay down and do something better.”
Right, and so the last 10 pages of the book, I interview these six teenage girls who are part of Girls Who Code. They’re coding. They’re so excited to be part of the industry, but they’re also scared. They hear these stories. They knew about Travis meditating in the lactation room.
They knew about the, they know about the toxic culture. They’re getting affected by what they’re sensing from the industry.
So they’re not going to come. They’re not going to come.
There was one woman who, her sister actually worked at Uber and she had decided she didn’t want to go into tech anymore because it was too toxic.
Or it could be, right? There’s the image of it.
It’s scary, they feel like they don’t belong, they don’t have role models.l
So what impact does it have? It means we don’t have … Because I think the internet’s really changing and you need more multifaceted people.
Oh my goodness, I mean AI, machine learning, all of this discrimination is going to get rewritten into these algorithms, and if robots are going to be running the world they can’t be programmed by men alone.
Right. Yeah, same thing with bitcoin. I think Alexi Tsotsis had a really great tweet. It’s like, “Women, get into bitcoin, or men will have all the money again,” like once again kind of thing.
They already do.
They already do.
I mean it’s very young men, like 70 percent young men own bitcoin.
Right, which is really interesting. And then of course, what do they have? A strip club party. Literally. I was like, “Really?”
The Bitcoin Bros.
What is this, like a book? Like, time for the strip club party. Next we will bother women at work. It was fascinating. Literally that was the party they had, and then pretend … and then I thought, “Oh my God, a decade ago I wrote about Yahoo and a strip club, where they were gyrating on programmers.” I remember writing that. And of course Carol Bartz shut it right down, but how did they imagine that was okay at the time?
Because this has been happening for too long.
But it was 10 years ago. No, I know, but it was 10 years ago. It was …
Right, nothing’s changed. Nothing’s changed. It’s still happening, and yet we’re here saying, “We’re changing the world.”
So do you think this has a real … because Hollywood’s, obviously, they’ve created the #MeToo movement, they have Time’s Up. It’s moving here, from what I understand. There’s all kinds of activity around …
It’s time. We need our own Code.
It’s time. No, I think we have to join the Time’s Up thing. I think they’re organizing a tech version of it. But what can be put into place now? Going forward, does there have to be women leaders? You interviewed a lot of women, you interviewed Sheryl and others, and obviously you talked to Brianna Wu around Gamergate, because that was to me the most vicious attacks on women that I’ve seen at all. Those are scary, those are actually … they’re all awful but those were particularly vehemently misogynist. And then you have James Damore pop up, and you have women who are in positions of power, but do they really have to be the ones to clean it up?
No, I think everybody needs to work together on this.
Right, but why is that the concept? Because I just interviewed Sundar Pichai, who’s a wonderful guy, by the way. But he said, “For my daughters.” I’m like, why them?
Right. What about “for my sons”?
Right, exactly. So it was interesting, but even the very best-intentioned men, a lot of them didn’t … a lot of people, when Susan’s stuff came out, or Ellen’s, were like, “I had no idea.” So, where is the leadership from your perspective?
I think everybody needs to lead on this issue. Everybody needs to take a closer look at how they’re running their companies, how they’re behaving. I think, you know, the reality is men right now have the power and the money, and they should be the first ones to change. They can do it today. They can do it today.
I interviewed — I talk about this in the book. I interviewed Peter Thiel at LendIt Conference. This is a guy who’s exploring the bounds of space and building ocean communities.
And he said some very disturbing things about women.
And you know, believes in immortality. When I asked him about the lack of women, he said, “Yeah, you’re right. There really just aren’t enough. I don’t know what to do about it.” What?
That sounds like Peter Thiel.
Wait, what? What?
Did you say, “What?”
I just, you know, I was shocked. I couldn’t … that this is someone who is clearly incredibly intelligent …
Of course he said that. Just so you know, the next move is, “You’re an idiot.” Okay? Is that correct? Is that what you’re saying?
We were in public. We were in public.
That’s when you say it, in public. You shame him. Emily, I’m going to have to give you some lessons on that.
The book is putting it all out in the open.
So hopefully, I hope people read it. But I do think that it’s important to understand the problem before we can figure out how to solve it. Every chapter is sort of a lesson in itself about what can we take away from this time in history? Or, what can we take away from this issue? But I do believe that this is not a foregone conclusion, this is not a fait accompli. You’ve got the smartest people in the world here. If they can change all these things, they can change this too. They can.
If they want to. I honestly, some days …
The will has to be there. The will has to be there.
Yeah, I get it, but I think some days, they don’t care. You know what I mean? On some level they … What bothers me the most is this is a group of people that talk about changing the world, they talk about … like they’re better. They talk about them being better than other people. Honestly, I don’t expect it from the Wall Street people. From the Hollywood people, I am not surprised they behave this way. I don’t think they ever pretended otherwise. And although I hate it, that’s different. But these people put themselves out as better.
I do think that the hypocrisy of this industry is one of the worst parts. There is this, “We’re changing … Don’t be evil. Connect the world. We’re better, we’re smarter than everyone. We know better than you.” And yet, they have the worst numbers. I mean, Wall Street has better numbers than Silicon Valley.
They do. Everyone has better numbers.
The top banks are 50-50. The top banks are 50-50. When I started this, do you know how many people said to me, “Can’t be worse than Wall Street.” Like, –
Yes it can.
Actually, it is worse than Wall Street.
Stop thinking of the Leonardo DiCaprio movie. That’s the past. You know what I mean?
Yes. “The Wolf Of Wall Street” was like in the ’80s.
There’s plenty of sexism in finance, but still …
And everywhere, not just them, the hotel industry.
I have three sons. I have sons too, and their lives will be better in a more equal world. For all the parents out there who want their kids to get into this industry, their daughters aren’t going to have a chance unless this place changes. And you know, it’s not just about the people who want to work here, it’s about the products that they make.
See, I don’t think their sons are going to have a chance, if that’s the kind of men …
You’re right. It could destroy itself.
Right. So are you positive or negative? How do you … I mean, you want to be …
I want to be positive.
All right, so if there’s three things you could change — to finish up — what would you? If you could just wave a wand, what would you do? I know, make a Marsha Zuckerberg, I guess.
Gosh, yeah. No, 50-50. 50-50 CEOs on boards, of VCs. My goodness, how different the world would be. You know, so much bad behavior just goes unchecked because there’s no women in the room.
You’re behaving just the same way you would sitting in a frat house, like no one’s watching. But when there is diversity of people around the table and diversity of background and thought, things change.
Ageism it totally underreported in Silicon Valley. That’s another big issue.
Yeah, I’m holding up the numbers because I’m so old.
We can’t change the past. If I could wave a wand, I would say everybody start thinking about this today. Like, do something today that will bring you one step closer, whatever that is.
The most important to me is pay.
Which, that is so easy. That is so easy, pay people the same. Pay people the same. And when you’re in an industry that pays people an equity and .01 percent can mean millions of dollars, it’s so easy for the pay differential to get so off.
If you talk to … I was talking to someone who used to work at Twitter. This person was like, “Oh my God, if you looked at the numbers. It’s so bad when you see what you see, like just how differently people are paid.” Nobody knows.
Absolutely, and it has a lot of societal things too. I manage people, and I think men are much more aggressive in asking for money. They just are. There’s no way around it in my experience. But it’s also, I’ve got to, I keep thinking I’ve got to pay more attention to it.
We all have to pay more attention to it. Men aren’t going to do this by themselves, women can’t do this by themselves. I do think there’s an incredible movement of women helping each other and I love that.
How pay is done has got to be rethought, but this really does create, it plays into …
Right, and there’s different strategies, negotiating or no negotiating.
It plays into societal problems we have overall, in terms of women being aggressive and not being … Some women … The way it’s set up creates the situation, and then it creates the inequity, and then it goes one after the other, which isn’t … I think pay is where it has to start, because once that happens … People value based on pay, they do.
Right, and you can afford childcare and you can afford to have a more well-rounded life.
Childcare is the second thing. Why isn’t there equal …
Don’t even get in there.
Don’t get me started.
Don’t get us started. We’re lucky. By the way, we’re very lucky.
We make enough money so that we can afford good childcare. But most people don’t, and it holds people back and it’s almost always the women that get held back, much more so than the men.
All right Emily, on that horrible note, tell me one positive thing, give me one positivity.
It’s not horrible. It’s going to be okay. I simply think that … So first of all, I want to talk about some of the amazing men that I interviewed who really — like Max Levchin, who told me …
Max is a good guy.
“I did everything wrong at PayPal. We hired our friends. I didn’t understand what I was doing.”
He’s super woke.
“And now I’m talking at the women’s conferences. I’m focusing on the culture. I don’t use words like meritocracy.” I love hearing that. To Dick Costolo after he left Twitter, when he started his new thing, he’s like, “I’m not hiring another man until I hire another womAn.” Jack Dorsey …
He should have done more about Charles. Dick is a friend of mine. Dick, you should have done more about Charles.
Well, he says he tried.
He should have.
He says he tried. You know that he wouldn’t …
Well, he tells me in the book that he would have done all differently if he could start it over. I think that’s important, to be willing to admit that you learned something. Stewart Butterfield.
There are guys out there who get it and we need more of them.
I’ve got to say, I don’t want to think of men as allies, it’s in their interest. It’s like, they’re humans.
That’s the thing, sometimes it’s like men are allies. I’m like, “How about it matters, like for everybody’s life on this planet?” That’s the thing, that I think we say, “Thank you so much,” and men get much applauded for doing the decent thing, and you shouldn’t get applauded for that. You should just do it because it’s the right thing to do, or because it’s better for your business. I don’t care, whatever. It is always better for your business.
Yeah, I was arguing …
But it doesn’t need to be some goal of social engineering. This is good business.
Yeah, I agree. I agree. I’m always arguing that you shouldn’t … At one point I was like, “It’s good business, but you know what, it’s because it’s the right thing.” Like, “Oh my God, why is doing the right thing the wrong thing?” kind of thing. Which was interesting. I mean, what are you, an oil company? Anyway, you’re not an oil company. Then I always finish with, “You’re so poor, all you have is money.” Which I think is the thing: They’re so wealthy, they’re so privileged.
It creates this sense of entitlement and increasing separation between real people and you become divorced from reality.
Yeah, absolutely. Emily, keep doing this important work. You’re doing some really great stories. Your Uber story was really strong. You did it the day after, I didn’t know it was coming but I was so pleased to read it.
I’m so pleased, all the work you’re doing. This book you all should read. She’s the author of a brand new book. Emily Chang’s “Brotopia, Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley.” You can get it on all the places you get your books. She’s also a Bloomberg technology … is head of Bloomberg Technology. She runs the show there and does great interviews on that cable station. Cable? Is it a cable station? Yeah.
Yeah, Bloomberg Television.
All right. It’s channel 512. I watch Bloomberg television. It’s a great organization and she does great interviews. Often she does interviews I wish I had done myself, which is not very many people I can say that.
Thank you. The feeling is mutual.
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