I have to admit there's a certain elegance in filtering out political people by banning public discussions of politics, though. I especially cringed at this bit:
> Jane Yang, a data analyst at the company, told me that restricting internal conversations would negatively affect diversity and inclusion efforts. For example, she said, the company’s profit-sharing plan gave more profits to people who have longer tenure — a group that is majority white and male. Making that discussion off limits internally could ensure that inequality in profit sharing becomes a structural feature of the company.
It's not like they had a rule that white males get more money, it's a seniority rule! It seems unreasonable to me to extrapolate that to systemic racism in the company.
That's exactly where systemic discrimination originates.
Hardly anyone wakes up in the morning and decides that it's a good day to oppress G people. They wake up in the morning having some amount of privilege, discover that it might be threatened, and their actions that day try to avoid reduction of privilege, even if it means treating G people unfairly. It's not anti-G people at first, it's just pro-self.
Over years this becomes a de facto systemic discrimination, generally without a rule that explicitly says "we don't want G coworkers". Instead there are rules that mean that everybody works on G holidays, the microwaves can't be used for "smelly" food (and guess what, all G food is "smelly" by default), and of course, rule is by seniority in the company which just happens not to have any senior G people in it. Somehow fewer G people get hired, and those that do are in low-status positions.
You can pick your own value for G; it could be gender or nationality or ethnicity or religion or skin color or whatever. It works the same way.
Right, so it's not that the rule is biased, it's just that there's general bias because of other things and this rule isn't compensating for it, which are two very different things.
Equality of result is, by definition, a way to bias things towards a different group, and as a proponent of equality of opportunity, I think that's not a good way to build a just society. That's why I'm against trying to "fix" rules that aren't biased in the first place (ie rules which people who support equality of result consider "not biased enough the other way").
The main concern seems to stem from making the discussion off limits. No "fixes" have been proposed. The first step to solving a problem at all is to admit that there is a problem. Being apolitical is privilege. For the unprivileged, simply defending ones rights and dignity is a political issue.
Why is this?
Because executives at various massive tech companies are getting massive bonuses connected to how many diverse people they hire. They give lavish salaries and large chunks of equity to people who they otherwise would not. Somebody who is getting offers like this is naturally going to have all of their incentives misaligned for joining a startup.
My company's back end code is Java and Python and we interviewed an engineer who I was willing to teach both of these languages to. She happened to be a black woman and only new PHP using the laravel stack. Zero experience doing front end coding and not really a standout when it came to databases and barely new cloud.
She asked for a large equity stake, but also wanted a salary of $195,000. We are not at all in the Bay area and this salary is completely ridiculous for somebody who also wants a lot of equity and has very few skills that connect to our code base.
She was hired at Amazon for some rather boring role on an internal team that helps the data centers meet energy efficiency requirements by building applications that are essentially dashboards for internal decision makers.
We actually talk on regular basis now because I give her some advice for learning Python.
She was simply negotiating based on her market value and her own fiscal priorities and made a sound well-reasoned decision.
If my company hits it big one day which of course is typically not high probability, people like you will show up and say that we are systemically racist. Ironically the twisted incentives at these massive companies are creating this issue. As long as women are significantly less interested in jobs involving things just like men are significantly less interested in jobs involving people we're going to have to admit that trying to bring things to 50/50 proportions is going to create weird incentives that will further create side effects.
That level of pay is reserved for absolute top talent with at least 15+ years of experience everywhere I’ve worked. Only a major corporation could afford to waste that kind of money on a junior level dev.
I my self am an immigrant that don’t consider me self a member of any minority and I can attest to this. I don’t experience discrimination in my day-to-day activities, nor on the job market. The only discrimination I experience is what I inherit from USA’s immigration policies. I.e. I have more restricted international travel and my visa is tied to my employer (which I would imagine would be far worse of an experience if I would belong to a minority).
And this makes sense given the sibling threads. Being from a majority group in a country where I have good access to quality education, health care and other services, as well as good job opportunities. This indeed gives me a privilege that I take with me as I migrate. Non-immigrants that have been rejected these opportunities don’t have it this good.
In my experience immigration status alone is not enough to put into a group that has increased risk of being discriminated against.
When we eventually settled she had a long backlog of health issues, which we had to pay out of pocket to the tune of dozens thousands, because the mythical European free healthcare is only for the extremely poor or the tax evaders.
So fuck people towing the line of "we help immigrants because they are resources" - there are few feel good resources that are ultimately discriminatory and capriciously allocated to the most noisy groups, leaving people in need screwed because activists don't fill their diversity quota cards below a certain melatonin concentration
This logic is kind of bizarre. You don't want to generalize, but only when it comes to putting people from one group into a different group for which you make generalizations.
The rule that “the people who have been here the longest should get a bigger share of the company” is unfair in a society which has a history of segregation that favored one group over another, and still is dealing with the aftermath of said segregation.
To justify: The favored group has more chance of being an early hire and therefore having better current benefits. On a large scale this leads to systematic discrimination which is not cool.
Aside from that being illegal out of the gate due to discrimination laws, who comes up with the formula? Is it revised? What kind of additional bonus are we talking?
Yes, the things you mention are hard to design/decide upon, but strictly speaking that's not an argument against the parent (ie it's not that bonuses based on race/gender are wrong because they're hard to do).
Literally no one said this.
Please try to stay in the actual conversation–it makes for a much healthier discussion.
Join any union in the US, and seniority is pretty much the only metric used to evaluate fair compensation and benefits.
I don't understand what you are asking for.
You really need to read up on how they operate before commenting about them like this.
"It doesn't have to be crazy at work" is a good read that explains where they're coming from.
Understanding that, this move is completely rational.
> > Jane Yang, a data analyst at the company, told me that restricting internal conversations would negatively affect diversity and inclusion efforts. For example, she said, the company’s profit-sharing plan gave more profits to people who have longer tenure — a group that is majority white and male. Making that discussion off limits internally could ensure that inequality in profit sharing becomes a structural feature of the company.
> It's not like they had a rule that white males get more money, it's a seniority rule! It seems unreasonable to me to extrapolate that to systemic racism in the company.
And the reply was:
> Hardly anyone wakes up in the morning and decides that it's a good day to oppress G people. They wake up in the morning having some amount of privilege, discover that it might be threatened, and their actions that day try to avoid reduction of privilege, even if it means treating G people unfairly. It's not anti-G people at first, it's just pro-self.
The argument here is that if we evaluate by a metric that benefits the in-group more then the out-group you end up with doing discrimination.
In the comment you are replying I’m giving examples of fair pay and fair accommodations in general. It is a respond to GP which misunderstands previous post that we should be paying minorities higher to adjust for the bias that is causing seniority benefits being unfair. But as I have said, that is simply not what I’m (nor anybody here is) arguing.
Yes. That's the point. The in group in this case has invested more time. They get more reward. What you're suggesting is rewarding those who have done less more than those who have done more.
Talk about a fucked up sense of equality.
a) Misunderstanding: I’m not suggesting that people get rewarded that have done less. That conclusion does not follow from: don’t engage in reward system that disproportionately benefits your ingroup. I see how you would arrive at that conclusion, but it is false. Not engaging in policies that disproportionately reward your in-group does not necessitate rewarding an out-group by a different metric. These are not two sides of the same coin.
b) False assumptions: Staying longer at a company does not equate having done more. It is entirely possible (and even quite common) that a new hire will contribute a lot more then established workers. A new hire brings with them a new perspective. They might not contribute directly, but they might be asking the right questions which gives more senior workers a better perspective etc.
If you are in favor of a revolution, all the power to you... But if not, then I’m sorry to say that our best option is the slow, painful and gradual correcting for our systemic biases for the next generations.
Trying to 'unbias' (meaning a calibrated, countervailing bias actually) at the other end of the funnel, where incidentally 80%+ are already super liberal, doesn't really get the same mileage.
If people are primarily upset about general societal things rather than clear cut workplace discrimination, I would submit they should focus their activism at those societal things.
And the most funny thing about it is that people propagating this system actually thing they fight for equality and against the abuse of power. While this is exactly how inequality and abuse of power is done.
Thoroughly middle of the road, PHP programmers who can't do front end at all, demanding large equity stake AND a salary higher than anyone else at company. They are just valuing themselves at market for a black engineer.
It's a shame, because in the chance my company (we are already doubling enterprise customers every 3 months) does well, some journalist will comment on how early employees are skewed towards white/male.
(I should note that founder/ceo is a woman who was so amazing when I interviewed that I took a pay cut for more equity, cuz she's a beast who I'm convinced will lead our company to success)
What’s the current gender makeup % of your engineering team, if I can ask? As well, what’s the non white makeup of the engineering leadership and overall leadership team? I found it got easier the less that ratio skewed towards 100%M engineering team and 100% white leadership team :)
Leadership team is mostly female, only 1 male, who is CTO. 1 is Latina, others white.
In the past, I joined a company where entire leadership team was Indian and male. I never would have thought to not work there because they didn't share my race. That would have been bigoted.
“ I never would have thought to not work there because they didn't share my race. That would have been bigoted.”
There’s a wealth of factors that go into a choice to work somewhere, and someone not choosing to work at your company because they don’t see themselves represented isn’t necessarily bigotry, but then also wanting an assurance of a safe space and not always knowing whether it will be. I wish I could tell you otherwise but I’ve had these conversations with a wealth of marginalized groups over my career and the teams I’ve built, so it’s not unusual. It’s not a “oh I don’t want to work with these people because I’m [x] and they’re [y]” matter the majority of the time. It’s more often “man, I’m going to be the only [x] on a team of 30 [y]s” which is often culturally uncomfortable for a lot of people.
And yes sometimes on occasion it is “man, I don’t want to be working with a company of 10 [y]s where I’m the only [x]” or “if the executive team is all or majority [y]s, do I know for sure there’s career advancement opportunities here?”
We do have a rampant amount of sexism, racism, etc in our field (just like many others) and so that is something unfortunately people sometimes suspect. I’m not at all saying that this is the situation at your company - far from it - just saying the choices for people are most often verrrrrry far from bigotry.
Not sure of your background but it’s also not too hard for a CIS white male to not sweat working on any other team composition (say, all Indian) vs the reverse, because hey - even if you’re paying a pioneer tax, you’re probably not paying it for long. There’s a lot of advantages that group has that are often taken for granted. :)
I disagree with catering to candidates own biases though.
If a candidate assumes my startup is bigoted because it's all white, despite talking to us, I don't want them here. Stereotypes are stupid, useless, and immoral, no matter who they are directed at. Imagine if I had a problem with all but 1 of my leadership team being female? That would be me making decisions about them based on their immutable characteristics. Fuck that.
Ideally the earlier you can intentionally focus on diversity the better. This also goes for leadership too - both for hiring other leaders and it’s an easy demonstration that the company’s commitment to diversity isn’t just for token representation purposes.
Anyway...yeah, nothing about catering to candidates biases or people judging you as bigots. I sense the anger here at that but hopefully you can see that’s not where I’m approaching it from.
I think you hit a very good point with the pioneer attacks and it's a higher cost as the team gets larger.
Funny enough I experienced the pioneer tax myself one time but for a different reason than ethnicity or sexuality:
Socioeconomic status. People can't tell by looking at me but within about two sentences they can very accurately HEAR via my speech patterns that I grew up in a lower socioeconomic class than 99% of US born programmers in the industry. I have a very rural dialect but I do work hard to have excellent grammar when I speak. Over the years I've worked hard to suppress the accent while at work and I'm sad to say that it's been very effective in reducing people's biases toward me. Of course that's just anecdotal it's not like somebody was scientifically measuring anything. And I'm fully aware it's a huge luxury to be able to hide what makes you different from people, as opposed to race/gender/etc.
That senior execs making more money is due to their tenure and merit, and not because they’re white and male.
> every discussion remotely related to politics, advocacy, or society at large quickly spins away from pleasant. You shouldn't have to wonder if staying out of it means you're complicit, or wading into it means you're a target. These are difficult enough waters to navigate in life, but significantly more so at work. It's become too much. It's a major distraction.
There's absolutely no reason to believe that there were any "ultra-sensitive trigger-warning micro-aggression seeking activists" at Basecamp among the employees. All we have is a blog post from someone who is overly sensitive to reasonable professional conversations and didn't want to deal with "unpleasant" conversations at work. It's a story told from that person's perspective and we shouldn't take it as absolute truth.
Never, in my experience, because the said activists tend to accuse anyone who disagrees with them of being a bigot.
This is objectively false. There is 100% undeniable proof of these types of employees being there, including one of the heads of data analytics:
> Racist capitalism is poison that has weakened every facet of society and been used to “justify” horrific crimes against humanity while destroying our planet. We need massive power and wealth distribution enshrined in national and international policies.
> Guess who tends to beta spray? Men. White men, in particular.
> If you are white or a man, especially a cis-gendered heterosexual able-bodied white man, do the fucking work. Learn about the characteristics of white supremacy, push through your discomfort, and reflect on how you show up in the spaces you have power. Be ready to apologize when you screw up (we all do!) and then do better. And whatever you do: do not demand that your friends or colleagues or employees or neighbors or acquaintances who belong to historically marginalized groups explain to you all the ways you perpetuate harm and how society got here. Pay an anti-oppression professional for training and coaching; don’t expect us to get you up to speed for free.