Janitor takes some food his company produces, adds spices, makes a shitty pitch deck and profit? Cool, but... this could have easily happened in a dozen different configurations and gone nowhere. This is more luck than anything else.
The interesting story begins after that. This guy didn't end his career there - so, presumably, he was't a one-hit wonder. We have an illiterate janitor who suddenly got swept into the orbit of the CEO, without any business or operational acumen. He somehow -how??- managed to learn the ways of the new tribe, learn business, learn to read and write, learn how to lead a business unit, and do it well. This guy came out of nowhere, and had to zero-to-sixty from manual laborer to - what? executive? What position did they put him in? How did he ramp up? What kind of support did he get, if any? What kind of education did they provide him with, if any?
There's a long, interesting story between "janitor" and "successful VP", and they neglected to tell almost any of it!
Edit: Credit also goes to the secretary for putting the call through to the CEO and not acting as a gate-keeper. She could have ended the call. Thankfully, she was open minded too.
There used to be a path from lowly janitor/stocker/etc. to the executive suite but that route has largely closed.
Your comment reminded me of this article I read a while back: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/21/gail-evans-went-from-janitor...
Plus, if every company has a gentleman's agreement to ignore the help then there's no lost opportunity that the competition can jump on.
Did he lack education and experience or formal education and business experience? Being able to manage people requires skills that no formal education I've seen can teach you. It can help, but it doesn't impart the required basics. Things like being able to read a person, know who is being honest, know what is the appropriate level of joking around for a superior/subordinate relationship.
Did he have the skills from non-recognized sources or did he pick these up on the go? Or was some other characteristic enough to make up for a deficit in these?
I’d say value can be found anywhere. It isn’t everywhere. And not everyone has this man’s ability. (Regardless of background.)
Why is the janitor considered "the lowest employee" by you?
* Get the lowest salary
* Are often outsourced with lowest priced bidder winning
* Don't get on programs like bonuses, training, career advancement
* Aren't used in company marketing (Imagine "We have the best cleaned offices")
Somehow that came across as insulting what he did as of low skill level. Oops! Awful faux pas. I think I managed to clarify but I've decided to use less ambiguous words next time ("close to the metal", for instance).
In my experience, it's generally the opposite. Low level is seen as very hard and arcane.
> low level is very hard and arcane
> the opposite
I described this guy and his lab to my parents as a "basic science" which they took to mean it was simple "easy" science. In reality he has studied the same square millimeter of turtle brain and a few proteins for decades, and knows it better probably than anyone who has ever lived.
In these contexts, "basic" and "low-level" means "insane level of detail that no one else wants to bother with."
In my case, we use "low-level" (in English) to convey the "close to the metal", systems programming idea, and the direct translation of "low-level" to refer to shoddy code.
I think people are downvoting because they disagree with you and not explaining why.
Past tense of verb "bear" is "bore" (not "boar", FWIW.)
Degradation of language is degradation of mind.
Most people don't like to sound ignorant and unlettered. You saw that nashashmi graciously said, "Thanks", eh?
To me, these parts of the article stand out, all beginning with his grandmother:
>When he broke the news to his family, his grandfather imparted a piece of advice that would always stick with him: “Make sure that floor shines,” the man told his grandson. “And let them know that a Montañez mopped it.”
He was prepared to execute because he knew the company, out of his own curiosity:
>In between shifts, he set out to make himself seen, learning as much as he could about the company’s products, spending time in the warehouse, and watching the machines churn out crunchy snacks in the lonely midnight hours.
This is the key part: he actively sought the knowledge by himself. From my experience, that's a rare value that is far more important than any shortcomings in his knowledge. People help him without him having power. He already is a leader.
>After nearly a decade mopping floors, Montañez gathered the courage to ask one of the Frito-Lay salesmen if he could tag along and learn more about the process.
Finally, not being able to read must be an exaggeration. He just went to school for four years. This doesn't mean that he stopped reading afterwards. I would assume that he regularly went to the library and thus it came naturally to look there for help. Why would an illiterate seek help in the library if his manager was kind of supportive ("YOU’RE doing this presentation!") and at least would have told him the basics?
>Accompanied by his wife, he went to the library, found a book on marketing strategies, and copied the first 5 paragraphs word for word onto transparencies.
After all, being captain obvious, this is on HN because it is the startup tale: a young, ambitious man without the right education can become a business leader if he stumbles upon the right opportunity. At least for this story, I think the tale is true. There is no need to know more because whatever he learned at Frito-Lay is specific to Frito-Lay. It's his attitude that brought success.
But then again, he didn't become CEO or a regular manager, he is the token multicultural person of the executives:
>vice president of multicultural sales for PepsiCo America
When you get an opportunity like that not learning isn't a realistic option. You do whatever to take advantage of the opportunity.
(Which I will look forward to reading.)
> So Montañez assembled a small team of family members and friends, went to the test markets, and bought every bag of Hot Cheetos he could find.
> “I’d tell the owner, ‘Man, these are great,’” he recalled. “Next week, I’d come back and there’d be a whole rack.”
This is a hype-article for the 'anyone can make it' myth, a myth that fuels culture of overworked young people struggling against structural changes they're told to ignore.
Good. We need more of this kind of thing around here, and less negativity and the "luck is everything, effort is irrelevant, sit on your ass and wait for the government to fix all your problems" bullshit that we've been overrun with lately.
This is a hype-article for the 'anyone can make it' myth
There's a big difference between saying "anyone can make it" and saying "everyone will make it". There's also the fact that there's a wide continuum regarding what "it" means. Not everyone has to become a billionaire to have "made it." If you're working in the fields for less than minimum wage in 110° temperatures, then becoming a manager at McDonalds could easily count as "making it."
People should be encouraged to work hard and pursue their dreams... at the very least, I think we can all recognize that you're more likely to "make it" if you put the effort in, than if you sit around doing nothing.
What a thoroughly disingenuous strawman.
That said, is is hard to explain exactly how "free will" would work in a universe that seems to be mostly - if not wholly - deterministic.
This is something I thought was cool about this guy’s story: by the time he became a janitor, he had already “made it” relative to his campesino upbringing (or at least how the article makes it sound).
But he didn’t stop there.
- guy with a website with a bunch of enterprise software gibberish
You do realize that nobody said that, or anything even remotely close to that, right?
Also... I've actually "been there and done that" as far as doing manual labor, outside, in the NC heat in July and August. So you can think what you want about what I have to say, but at least I'm actually speaking based on a lifetime of experience that includes growing up dirt poor, and managing to make it to a level where I can have "a website full of enterprise software gibberish".
It means that although you are working hard but not working smart.
110° temperatures has a tendency to kill off whatever crop you are growing. It's not a common growing condition and most areas with these temperatures regularly are not considered suitable regions for efficient agricultural production.
Phoenix itself - that is, the "Metro Phoenix" area - doesn't really supply agricultural products, but Arizona in general does, and has a very large and diverse set of climate zones which allow for this.
People tend to think of Phoenix and Arizona in general to be one giant wasteland desert - when nothing could be further from the truth.
Can you find such areas in Arizona? Certainly (but really, they aren't "wastelands" - just really hot and dry areas, but even so, there are plants, insects, and animals around). But there are far more diverse areas climate-wise in the state.
And many of these areas have been or still are large producers of various agricultural products.
Arizona is historically known for it's "5 C's":
Three of which are ag-based (cattle, citrus, and cotton).
...which has had it's downsides and issues recently, but things like that happen and are sorted out.
But it's important that diversity be considered in all forms, not just based on race/sex.
If your "diverse" team is made up of different ethnicities and genders but only consists of ivy league members who grew up in California... well, not really diverse then, is it?
Maybe we just need more focus groups.
No focus group is going to tell you something obvious you don't want to hear. Walk into any library and see what you find in terms of computing from all those companies saving the world. Most likely, very little. Is that because you can't make a billion dollars selling computers to libraries, hotels and airports? Or that it wouldn't be a good marketing opportunity? Probably not. More likely because people don't give a shit and that tech companies are perfectly happy to live in their own bubble of superiority.
This isn't a "blindspot" it's arrogance, and ignorance, and incompetence. Large tech companies can't makes things that are primarily useful to other people. They are busy capturing markets with touch bars and clones of one of their own service that will be shutdown as soon as it grants someone a promotion. Then their employees can go on Hacker News, or their own internal forums, out of view of any opinion that is slightly uncomfortable and fault political correctness for how everyone else just don't understand that the state of computing is their own fault. Because $500k salaries, sophisticated tax planning and probably the least amount of regulation of any market just isn't enough to not see the world through a straw.
This betrays a very non-diverse view of the world :) In more rural parts of the USA, this is kind of the norm (save for the "shareholders", since a lot of rural transactions are among sole proprietors or other sorts of tiny private companies, if they're even formal at all). Sometimes those proprietorships get big fast, and you end up with that weird case where the CEO wears a camo suit and takes stakeholders hunting instead of golfing.
On a different note: it looks like you're mixing up "class" in the economic sense v. "class" in the etiquette sense, and those ain't always equivalent.
Working in an environment where there is nobody like you and you have to always be on your toes for culture conflict is work! These people already get more than enough time outside of their comfort zone and most are more than happy to cash their paycheck because from their frame of reference that's more than enough "success". They don't feel the need to preach about what "their people" are like because they're outliers at work and they're outliers when they go home and that doesn't exactly make one feel authoritative on the topic.
I'm not sure what I'm saying here but it's not as simple as "listen to the diverse people" or "more focus groups".
Are you ready to have some conservatives/Republicans on your team?
Such individuals are no problem.
What I wouldn't want are people who are "my way or highway", non-evidence-based, paranoid conspiracy theorists...
It doesn't matter if they're conservative or liberal - if they're off in the deep end and drowning, they probably aren't going to help a team move forward.
Putting aside whether they’re Trumpers or card carrying communists, there’s a reason that some kind of Overton window tends to occur: viewpoints aren’t relative, and some viewpoints are wrong (on facts, on outcomes, ie. completely detached from reality). Diversity isn’t productive if we are expected to value dangerous delusions. Valuing off-beat or contrarian ideas, sure. But: I like milk and sugar with my tea, you want to smash capitalism violently for the rise of the proletariat; I think that Education should be free but speech should be censored, you believe in concentration camps, QAnon and pizzagate. This can get silly.
1) People of certain backgrounds want to and need to prove they CAN compete.
2) People of certain backgrounds should be helping make decisions even without credentials.
so there are both competent and less competent people that need to be included.
"wait what why? I wasted way too much of my life to accept why less competitive people should have such lucrative roles"
because the profit engine doesn't really need to care about the human worker's competency, it only needs to expand the addressable market. having already reached peak engagement, the business processes have already reached the evolutionary zenith for the incumbent nepotism and meritocrat talent's way of tapping into human consumptive conscious. Expanding that market further requires perceptions that people in those markets can relate to.
1. It identifies and removes certain unnecessary credentials that might rule out people with diverse backgrounds. Requiring a college degree for applicants when a degree provides no benefit on the job is one example.
2. It makes an active effort to find and pursue diverse candidates. Odds are there are plenty of people who are competent enough to do the job. Let's imagine you are hiring 5 engineers from a pool of 100 qualified people. If there are only 10 diverse candidates in that pool and you just hired the first random qualified candidate you find, there is roughly a 60% chance that you end up with zero diversity on the team. If you actively work to get diverse candidates to apply and maybe get 10 additional diverse candidates added to the previous pool, you can still hire the first random qualified person but your odds drop to roughly 35% of having a team with zero diversity.
TL;DR - You don't have to hire less qualified people to have diversity, it just takes a little more thought and effort to make diversity a priority.
I’m saying thats only part of the dilemma and is muddied by that specific binary approach
People talk about interest in certain fields amongst demographics, pipeline problems, resent any perception of undermining a meritocratic process and this hurts everyone
But the kicker is that its not JUST about proving that a proportional distribution of people in a currently underrepresented demographic is competent, there and in the pipeline
Its that companies wont grow to address larger markets if meritocratic diversity is the only thing they look for and try to approve
People - like what you expressed - are barking up just one of multiple trees. Even if you reach peak underrepresented minority, you’ve still failed to bring diverse ideas to the market
If every company wants 50% women and the graduates with interests in CS come out at a 4:1 male to female ratio, the strive for diversity either needs to give up and hire what the pool provides or start giving underqualified women.
TL;DR - Companies absolutely need to lower the bar for minorities if they want ratios that don’t match the pools. This problem is only made worse by the popularity of these very diversity programs.
First, it assumes that the pool of diverse candidates has already been exhausted. Anecdotally I have not seen evidence of that. If it was the problem you claim, we would expect female engineers to make much higher salaries than their male counterparts. There is no evidence that is happening. This will eventually be a problem once every company tries to be more diverse than the pool of candidates, but right now there does not seem to be enough companies prioritizing diversity to an extent that this is an issue.
Secondly one of the causes of the pipeline problem is not having enough visibly successful diverse people in the industry. The more diverse candidates that are put in positions to succeed, the more visible they become to the next generation, and the more likely the next generation believes that this career can be a path they can successfully pursue.
I certainly didn't make the same amount of money as my coworker at my old job.
Or it just means one of the other stated assumptions is wrong, e.g., that companies don't really want 50% women. Every company I've worked for has been happy to hire women for any job, but none has ever made it a quota.
You lost me here. Why is this the case?
So yes, incompetent minorities make more than the competent majorities.
We could use the same fact to prove that giving women more money than men do not increase the ration of women, as otherwise companies would have already done that.
So on paper it looks like they are making the same, but in reality they are making way more than their majority counterpart (because the incompetent majority wouldn’t even be hired in the first place).
I believe many groups that are diverse by gender or race or ethnic composition are actually quite similar if they are the same age even though they might have different upbringings.
I explored this subject in this essay a while back which was based on some reflections I did after an ASK HN i did became quite popular.
my conclusion was "which diversity" is an important discussion to have.
What is this sentence? I had to stop reading here.
Where are problems was an attempt at saying it slightly more vague than where are the problems hiding. It was meant as an opener for the following breakdown of problems.
It could probably have been more eloquent or grammatically correct but I didn't think it would be a show stopper :)
Sorry, you feel that way I think it was an interesting exploration that at least got me to think about diversity and it's use as a business advantage quite differently.
The issue with "Were the problems?" is that it's grammatically incorrect on a level that makes it Really Hard to understand, if not totally ambiguous. I honestly didn't know what exactly you meant until I read your comment explaining it in the other chain.
That said, I like the premise of the article, and how you break down the different types of problems. The idea that the value of diversity is in having different backgrounds, mindsets, and values which provide different perspectives is one that I share.
Maybe for your future posts, consider pushing your text through Grammarly or another English grammar checker to clean up your prose. Solid grammar is a force multiplier when it comes to perceived quality and readability of a text (don't take this to mean Perfect grammar, though. I think an individual's voice shines through inconsequential grammar mistakes).
But I may also be wrong about why people downvoted you; sometimes it just seem random, so you shouldn't take it too seriously.
I am however not going to change that sentence even though I know it doesn't sound (and might not even be grammatically correct) :)
You can think of it as a more open way of asking.
I.e. "where are problems hiding" it's instead of asking what is a problem" because I was trying to explore where they could be found.
Finally found Takis at... Home Depot.
Who knows, maybe they did tests and they didn't sell.
Personally, I like spicy because it's better than the alternatives of sugar and fat. I would say you should be able to eat lots of them without getting full, but then you do get "enchilado".
From your link:
> In July 2001, Dulce de Leche M&M's were introduced in five markets with large Hispanic populations: Los Angeles, San Diego, Miami, Florida; Mcallen-Brownsville, Texas; and San Antonio, Texas. The flavor never became popular with the Hispanic community, who preferred existing M&M's flavors, and it was discontinued in most areas by early 2003.
Perhaps there is an opportunity in introducing it to people who don't have previous experience with this flavor? Just thinking out loud...
Don't make something meant to be something else explicitly. Make something that has the same meaning (or in this case flavor) as something else but make it its own thing for its own sake.
Frito-Lay however, is not immune from boneheaded decisions. After 20someodd years of employment, and a trophy case full of awards, he and some of his [white male] colleagues were laid off in favor of creating a more 'diverse' management roster.
Lacking the experience of those whose positions they took, performance tanked with the new management team, and the person who set it all in motion was fired.
At the end of the day, revenue-per-share is pretty indifferent to age, race, or gender.
Except, as the article shows, diversity often does increase revenue share. Flamin' hot cheetos were invented by a Mexican immigrant who realized that Frito-Lay didn't have any products which appealed to Latino people.
EDIT: Changed Latinx to Latino.
A wide range of backgrounds, opinions, and thought processes is good and what everyone wants, but forcing diversity based on people's unchangeable physical attributes is nothing but injustice masquerading as morality.
I can see latinx only being preferred by non-gender-conforming individuals to whom it applies, as opposed to when referring to individuals rather than to communities (families, neighborhoods, food, etc).
Latino and Latina are also fine. Hispanic as well although that has a slightly different meaning.
I think it’s best to call people by the terms that they use themselves. Foisting a new term on someone to describe their ethnicity doesn’t seem like it would ever be a good idea.
But it is a strong identity in my family, and, for example, I really don't want to be lumped in with the people of Bavarian descent who made up about half of the town I grew up in. I'm nothing like them culturally.
Honestly, "white" isn't an ethnicity and it is borderline insulting to think others can know all about me by my skin color, but I've given up on the idea that my opinion on this will make a difference. It is nice to say it out loud for the first time in years, though.
On the other hand, I also think the Swedish-American OP has an understandable point. Cultural group identification is a natural, strong human urge, and it can be a bit arbitrary and not objectively correspond to actual observable culture or to ancestry.
I wouldn't tell someone living in Serbia who identifies as a Croat that that's nonsense because from an outsider's perspective their culture is 99% indistinguishable from that of a Serb. They have their own reasons for identifying as part of that group, and it's important to them. And similarly I don't really think it's illegitimate for Nth generation white Americans to feel that they are "Swedish" or "Irish" in some way that means something to them. (With the understanding that, yes, they are culturally quite different from someone actually raised in Stockholm or Cork).
But what is you’re ancestry, they will persist. “From America”.
Honestly my parents have told me X generations ago where someone immigrated from, but I can never remember? For some reason the factoid just won’t stay in my brain, and it has zero relevance to me.
For some people the roots of their identity is intensely personal. For others mostly irrelevant. My inclination is that it’s a place of privilege to not know (or particularly care) where your ancestors came from, and perhaps some people would even find that offensive, I’m not really sure. I certainly don’t fault someone for identifying strongly with their own heritage or being proud or even protective of it.
At the same time, though, should we then say that all English-speaking Americans have more in common than whatever ethnic stock they came from in another country, whether Mexicans or Asians or whatever group? Or do you say that just because the Bavarians are "white"?
I’d say it depends on the extent to which they have maintained a meaningfully separate culture within the US, but largely, yes. I think in most cases, a kid born in the US to Chinese parents has more in common with white American kids than they do with kids brought up in Shanghai.
Just my opinion; I don’t have any quantitative way to back this up.
It's more that people likely don't know for sure that you're actually of Mexican descent. You could've descended from any number of Central or South American nationalities, so going with something properly broad like "Latino" is going to be much more reasonable than running the risk of labeling someone as "Mexican" when one actually descends from, say, Colombia.
This is similar to the reason why most people just stick to calling white people "white" or black people "black" instead of trying to guess something more specific.
If you don't like using Latino, there's already a gender-neutral English word works just fine: Latin. Alternatively, Hispanic works just fine too.
'Latin' is more inclusive than 'Latin American' but by the numbers both are more inclusive than 'Hispanic' which generally excludes Brazilians, and other Latin American speakers of minority languages.
Incidentally, the whole "Latin" thing was invented by the French for geopolitical reasons. Recognition of a "latin race" common among the French, Spanish, Italians, and Mexicans, as a means of balancing the scales in what these Frenchmen perceived as their struggle against the Anglo-Saxon and Slavic races.
I’ve had non-<Hispanic/Latino> correct me when I said Mexican but I knew the person was actually Mexican. What gives?
I would recommend simply ignoring anyone who gets offended about how a group they’re not even part of refers to itself.
Perhaps 'actually Mexican' in this context means Mexican ancestry. For communities struggling to be accepted as American, this is a legitimate issue.
But I certainly wouldn't suggest listening to the opinions of random Anglos who aren't affected by the issue at all claiming that "calling someone Mexican is offensive"
These threads always have the same look as the ones where people complained about singular they. Latinx doesn't have centuries of use the way singular they does, but it doesn't really matter. It costs you nothing to respect another person's self-identification.
Whether people should use it as a group term beyond enby Latin American descendants is another matter.
But, as a hispanic, there was already a gender neutral term for this in english. ( hint, i already used it, there's also Latin ). LatinX unfortunately is a bastardization of grammar for a language that has pretty strongly enforced grammar ( hey, we have a "royal academy of language"). It's the introduction of a foreign language construct into Spanish, which is going to have a pretty strong negative reaction by, well, those who speak it. ( and they also have a right to self identify ) Others make better points than I ever will
The term "Latino" was a borrowing of a Spanish word into english, that already had a similar enough meaning in Spanish ( aside from gendering )
And if we want to respect self-identification, we should reserve “Latinx” for the people who actually want to be called that way, not for whole communities 99% of whose members have never even heard the term.
But I'm sorry if I offended anyone. I've edited my comment to say Latino instead.
Yes, they do, “Latin” and “Hispanic” were the dominant terms in English before “Latino” and “Latina” took over and are still current though less common; the main reason Latino/Latina took over is because they respect terminology used in the described community, in a way Latinx (used generically, use as a label for enby members of the ethnicity may be different) does not.
It may be used that way, and that may be it's original use, but I don't think that's it's main use: AFAICT, the main use is as as a general gender-neutral alternative to “Latino” or “Latina” (i.e., basically equivalent to “Hispanic” or “Latin”, but awkward to pronounce either as an English or a Spanish word), often by people who are neither enby nor of Hispanic/Latino/Latina/Latinx ethnicity.
That's the thing though. Enbies don't generally know their gender. If you would use they without anger for an unknown person of unknown gender, it makes no sense to be mad about using it for a known person of unknown gender. You still don't know their gender. Neither of you do. He/him, she/her, man and woman, and sir and ma'am can cause tremendous dysphoria. That's often part of how they know they're not binary.
edit: reduced to key point
There is no faster way to discredit your argument than using absurd language like latinx. I've yet to meet a latino person who referred to themselves as anything else.
If you know significantly more people who refer to themselves as "Latinx", I'd wager that you probably live in the ideological bubble surrounding a fairly liberal American city, but there is certainly a generational component: the term is much more commonly used by American Millenials than by anyone else.
It kind of seems like the opposite is true here...
It seems like they’re just terms to lump a bunch of legitimately different people and cultures into a single, convenient demographic. That’s how I feel about it anyway. Not saying people shouldn’t identify with it, if that’s how they feel. :V
I'm an Indian living in the US. If I see another brown skinned person who does not look Indian, what should I call them? There are many Mexicans into the US, but there are also people from other countries in South America etc. I have no idea what Hispanic actually means, but I've heard it (and Latino) commonly used to refer to that group of people in general, and those the words that I use too.
If you were in Africa and saw a white skinned person, would you call them American or White? Calling them White would "lump a bunch of legitimately different people and cultures into a single, convenient demographic," but that lumping is necessary since you can't know someone's culture just by looking at them - or even after you have known them for a while.
I’m aware that nobody actually says this in real life, but this is what people in the US usually mean when they think of “typical Latino-looking person”.
In reality though, “Latino” is not a very precise way to describe someone with that phenotype, because just like Canada and the US and other countries with a major history of colonialism, there are people of all racial ancestries in Latin America. This is largely ignored in the Western US, I suspect because most of the “Latino” people there are from Mexico and Central America, where most of the population looks like what you describe.
But Latin America started out with all the same major groups that the US did: Native Americans, European settlers, African slaves, Asian immigrants, etc., and so you would expect to find all the same ancestries there as you would in the US, just in different proportions.
And indeed, in places like Uruguay and Argentina, the majority of people would be considered “white” according to US racial classification norms. In the Caribbean, many would be considered “black”. In Brazil there are a lot of people of Japanese descent.
But even in Mexico there are people who look like this: https://specials-images.forbesimg.com/imageserve/5b147c3d4bb...
That guy is Mexican and Latino and Hispanic by any possible definition of those terms, and also “white” (I.e., of primarily Western European ancestry).
The point is: “Latino” and “Hispanic” are not directly connected to phenotypes or biological ancestry in the way you are assuming.
In general I don’t understand why it is so important to describe people by their ancestry, as opposed to their actual culture. If you see a white person in India you can be 99.99% sure they are not culturally Indian, but you can’t really conclude anything similar in the US.
If you are in a rare situation where you need to describe their appearance, Latino or Hispanic would work. At the end of the day, if you're speaking in good faith, people will understand that.
I don't get what the big deal is about someone using latinx is. It's not a pejorative, and it makes some small subset feel better, so what's the loss to anyone?
If I'm talking about someone like my friend from Guadalajara, yes, then 'Mexican' is more specific.
Interestingly I think there is a parallel to this: there’s no widely-used term in English to refer to white, English-speaking people from the US, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. People in those countries just think of each other as foreigners and don’t spend a lot of time talking about their group as a whole.
But there is a widely-used term in France (and probably other European countries) for this group: anglo-saxon. Which is only used very rarely in the US unless you are talking about the actual medieval Anglo-Saxon tribes.
To me this feels similar to how people in the US are much more likely to describe people as “Latino” than people from Latin America are.
I feel like it's probably trying to include both genders, since spanish doesn't have a neutral gender, and that normally annoys me, since it's normally pretty clear when you mean actually-male or neutral-male, but I'm not necessarily against it.
People from around where I come from would've probably gone with latin@, though.
Vida, (a show about gentrification and lesbians in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of LA) markets itself as a Latinx show, not as a Hispanic show, though the showrunner identifies as Latina...
I'm not quite sure that being not being up-to-date on the terminology favoured by advocacy groups intersectionally combining the identity politics of race and gender counts as "out of touch"
For what it's worth, I live in Houston (4th largest US city that has an enormous Latin American representation), and I have never heard the term "Latinx" before. Though now if I do, I now know what it means thanks to Hacker News.
No disrespect is intended with this question, but are you sure that was the real reason? I've seen people get laid off before search for reasons why they specifically were singled out, and come up with some pretty biased excuses for themselves when it was really something fairly mundane. Even when their replacements turned out to be incompetent.
Certainty may be rumors that come from colleagues in other parts of the company that play out exactly as they said it would.
>Why wouldn't he sue for wrongful termination?
This was many years ago in Texas, but imagine having the choice between fighting the brunt PepsiCo's legal team, possibly incurring crippling debt and losing the case to boot (read lack of provability)
Or signing a 5 year NDA and receiving 18 months severance.
(and in response to someone else suggesting incompetence, you know of many companies that offer 18 month severance packages for not doing your job well? I'd love to submit my resume)
I would also say that rumors are not a certainty either, in fact, I would argue that the game of telephone gives rise to biases, not the opposite.
Does that mean that people who don't report abuse aren't victims? I struggle to see the logic behind this statement.
How does a story about a minority janitor who started at the literal bottom, get turned into a grievance thread about the damage done by "diversity hiring" policies?
There’s another offshoot discussion on this thread about how “Latinx” is a ‘white academia term’ and therefore it’s racist. Yet another about gender fluid pronouns and how using preferred pronouns is a burden some are unwilling to accommodate. It has to be the Cheetos.
In one of the first chapters, he himself talks about how he missed out on some promotion at the bank he worked for because "upper management wanted diversity". Very little detail is provided about this policy, so we have to take him at his word.
While I don't really question his interpretation of events, I have to wonder about this unicorn bank that was promoting minorities wholesale over white males in the 1980s.
Not a super cool way to add to discourse.
Kudos to the guy for the initiative, but we are wrong to assume the janitor is in a weak and powerless position. You can work in a factory where you don't see any of the building apart from the walk to your station and the walk to the tea room. You just do your shift operating a machine.
The janitor isn't so intensively over-worked, not physically tied to a machine on a production line. There is scope to travel about the facility and time to observe. There is also scope to be on first name terms with everyone. But most managers would never hire anyone with an entrepreneurial brain into such a role.
Also by being outside any power structure the janitor has nothing to lose and everything to gain.
This story is also telling because of how people in America find it so inspirational. They are chips, a popular junk food item made of corn!!!
Some perspective is needed on that. No atoms were split. If you had two kids, one grew up to be the inventor of a new chips flavour, the other to be a foreign language teacher, which one would you feel best pleased with? Being happy and down to earth isn't good enough though, in America there has to be a rags to riches story for one to be deemed successful.
Secondly, why does it matter that what he made was a popular junk food made of corn? If he was a chef that made a popular meal made of locally sourced ingredients, would you find that more impressive? If he were an artist and he splattered paint onto canvas made of cotton? I’d be careful to not trivialize what it means to make something beloved by millions just because you ascribe negative value to junk food and corn.
This is the bit that some people would be underwhelmed by. Without the janitor story he is just a corporate executive, 'a suit'. And yes I did read the story, 1 + 1/2 times...
The junk food industry is not where the creativity is at. That is not a put down, it is a statement of fact. Most junk food products have not changed in decades. A century ago the brands were the same.
I am sure that there are plenty of fascinating aspects to the business, you could get into vending machines or industrial processes to find a load of intellectually stimulating stuff going on.
But look at it this way:
If you were having to do speed dating and you were an executive for a junk food company, how would you rate your chances?
Even if you had inspired a new flavour of corn chip then you are not going to have the most captivating of chat when the topic inevitably moves on to what you do for a living.
If this was me and the guy at the next table was nurse in the emergency ward, a teacher or even an artist then I would be concerned about my chances.
The fast paced world of junk food sales just has the word 'dull' run before it. As for corn, there is something you hit upon in your comment. Most things in America are made of corn. It is in everything. Beverages have the corn syrup. The meat is made from corn fed animals. Even the chips that should be 'potato crisps' are made of corn. It is this industrial feedstock variety of corn that goes into these things, not a product that can be eaten corn on the cob style as a seasonal treat.
In the rest of the world people eat less corn. I very much doubt that in France there are people having fake flavoured corn products several times a day.
Various native American tribes were corn fed. They did all the original genetic modification for corn. You have to wonder how much modern America really has moved on since everyone is still corn fed there.
Many millions of Americans like cocaine, crack, crystal meth and heroin. Nothing makes them happier. A little bit of their brain lights up when they score. These more powerful substances have hijacked the same pleasure circuits used for the reward system.
The junk food industry has the same gig going on, to all intents and purposes the customers are every bit as addicted as the crack head is. And you just have to look at the waist line of modern day, corn fed America. It isn't healthy.
We hear about food deserts in America. These same food deserts are the places you will find the most outlets for junk food. It is like an invasive species. The humble potato or the carrot does not have marketing executives trying to get the vegetable into everyone's home. The junk food industry does.
Every school has cooks trying their hardest to make nutritional meals for kids. The junk food industry is the enemy. If I was an executive, a suit, in the junk food industry then I don't imagine that I would be getting a lot of respect from the school chef. So, no, I am not putting this guy on a pedestal (or wanting to begrudge him) just because he has made it to the top of corporate America.
One interesting thing is that Frito-Lay had no products targeting Latinos, and no one on the highly paid marketing team did anything about it. The janitor saw the problem immediately, but for some reason the entrenched interests were unable to see it. The CEO by contrast was humble enough to take Montañez’s call, let him give a presentation, and overlook that presentation’s weaknesses to see the good idea at the core.
Also interesting is the backlash he faced from those same executives, jealous that someone less qualified was being successful. As humans we hate to see others doing better than us and try to push them down. No wonder social mobility is so difficult.
I don't agree. He copied parts of it from examples in a book on marketing strategy. One writing a book with samples in it would expect someone to use those samples. It's the whole point.
Otherwise, it's a useless book describing things you can't use.
But if you're giving a presentation to your bosses, pretty much everything is fair game.
It is ethically wrong, however given the fact that he was facing an unfair fight within the organization (other executives trying to make him fail) I believe it was a fair way to combat that.
This is a great story and a good read. Happy he exists. Lord knows I've eaten my share of Flaming Hot Cheetos.
In business, I think this is incredibly commonplace. People have a bad habit of looking at what the competition is doing and copying it.
That isn't a bad strategy if you're in an industry with big margins. For instance, Microsoft spent a lot of time telling people how SQL Server was competitive with Oracle. With their large margins, it made sense to go head-to-head with a similar product.
But if you're selling a commodity like potato chips? You gotta figure out some way to differentiate yourself from the competition, break out of the "commodity" mold.
> Also interesting is the backlash he faced from those same executives, jealous that someone less qualified was being successful. As humans we hate to see others doing better than us and try to push them down. No wonder social mobility is so difficult.
This dynamic is far more dominant than most people realize. I grew up around lots of rich people, coming from a historically-wealthy family with little money (yay scholarships!), so my default mannerisms signal upper-class pretty strongly. I've always been pretty disgusted with the notion of treating people differently based on their background, so I decided it wasn't a system I would personally participate in, and semi-consciously changed my diction and habits to be more déclassé over the course of my teen and college years (to my parents' minor annoyance).
Once I entered the professional and adult dating world, I noticed the degree to which even otherwise-decent people could't resist pre-judging you based on the class that your mannerisms signaled. Depressingly enough, I got by far the most friction from my lower-middle class friends for the mannerisms that I had retained from my childhood. Note that I'm not talking about things like fussing over which salad fork to use (habits that I'm happy to have jettisoned when young), but often-minor differences in diction, habits, and manners (eg, when and how often I choose to thank you to service employees, how comfortable I am expressing how a piece of art or music makes me feel, etc).
After a certain amount of pushing against the tide, I eventually stopped trying to casualize my mannerisms, and over a fairly short period of time ended up reverting to communicating pretty much the way I used to when younger (adjusted for age, obviously). It's been simultaneously amusing and depressing to note the difference in how I've been treated, most notably with respect to female attention and my professional life. I won't even try to delve into the female attention side, but my best guess for the way the baseline of every professional conversation has shifted is that I went from "scrappy & unusually talented" to "bred for success". Again, I find this pretty repulsive, but it's been pretty hard to argue with results. The differences are often hard to articulate, but it's almost like I start every professional conversation from an implicit position of power that I didn't have before.
I'm not really sure what to do about this: my initial thought that trying to change society to treat individuals like humans instead of branded cattle needed first movers, and I was happy to be one of them. But discovering the degree to which class distinctions are subtly maintained by _even those who suffer the most from them_ was enormously dispiriting.
People are weird.
 by which I mean, I grew up in a historically-well-off family that had little money growing up due to some severe mental health issues in my immediate family
 oddly enough, it's been my experience that the most zealous enforcement of class segregation in social contexts is from the bottom-up; I've never had trouble bringing random lower-middle class friends to hang out with friends who grew up with upper-class mannerisms. It's a rather dejecting thought that class segregation in a social context has so many (implicit) enthusiastic supporters among those being hurt by it the most
You perceive subtle rejection a lot more strongly than you perceive someone else being subtly rejected. The effect you perceive could be explained by pointing out that all of the negative interactions involving you were "bottom-up," while the ones involving the "random lower-middle class friends," were top-down.
One of those is a lot easier to observe than the other.
This is obviously partially attributable to the fact that everything about my parents' and my mannerisms fit in well, despite not actually having money. But I feel like the actual (significant) financial gap between me and my social circles provided plenty of opportunity for social friction, and I literally don't remember a single instance of it coming from that group.
More importantly, it would be predictable for people to enforce the advantages that a rigid class system affords them, but it's unexpected to me for those getting the short end of the stick to be enforcing the system more zealously (albeit in a limited context) than those benefiting from it.
(It really bugs me that my comments keep referring to class as if it's a real, important thing about someone's character, but I guess that's sort of the point of my comment: the perhaps-naive disillusionment that I felt upon realizing how insistent most are on enforcing it)
First off, this is a pretty bizarre interpretation of what I said: no one cares if you _don't_ talk about how art makes you feel. It's the rule that you _can't_ talk about it that gets enforced, in certain circles. I should also note that this isn't some esoteric desire: I've been on drugs with these friends enough times to hear them talking about how art makes them feel, but the difference is that, when sober, they not only feel too inhibited to do so but they feel like they have to mock others who do as "pretentious".
Secondly, I dont know what you mean by getting rejected by my extended family. That's certainly not something that's ever happened, either with my family or other people of the same class. The positive treatment I noticed from class signaling (unitentional or otherwise) was entirely from women or in a professional context.
self discipline (class-based, in your description) is something foucault explored quite a bit.
In the real world, speed, timing and practicality matter. I can't get too worked up because a janitor didn't use APA citations for an internal business proposal.
He was less credentialed but was he less qualified?