Facets: Issue 37

May 14, 2017

From “Hello World” to VP Eng

Nick Caldwell
"I felt for most of my early career that I didn’t have the luxury of failure, because any slip could land me right back where I started in P.G. County Maryland, maybe sweeping the floors at Roy Rogers."

Nick Caldwell's fascination was sparked by a computer with 630kb of memory and ran MS-DOS 2.0. From “Learn C++ in 12 Easy Steps” (received at the age of ten), attending MIT, to VP of Engineering at Reddit, this is his story. Caldwell acknowledges his outlook as an 11-year-old black male at the second-worst junior high school in the county, and contrasts his story with the Valley’s obsession with the risk-taking narrative. Technology is shown not just as a curiosity and a passion, but a motivation to attack the difficult— not only to achieve success, but to ensure safety.

How to Be Excellent to Each Other in 3 Simple Steps

Heidi Pun
"what was supposed to be a safe space for queer folks to share their experiences with their identities and how they relate to the workspace, quickly became an AMA session for non-queer humans.

"Queers are not your personal Wikipedia,” Pun says. Demanding that the underrepresented educate the majority is irresponsible— real inclusion begins with an internal drive to improve, to gather our own knowledge and then apply it— in everything from company swag to the day-to-day language we use. It begins with listening.

A Black Man Walks Into the San Francisco CTO Summit…

Leslie Miley
"Inclusion is not free. It takes time, effort and money. If you are willing to spend money on schwag, you should be willing to spend money on inclusion. #JustSayin”

"Tech and Inclusion: Why So Difficult!” was the title of the talk Rogers gave at the San Francisco CTO Summit. His writing details the irony of asking the attendees, “who identifies as African American?” and receiving no response— a talk about diversity and inclusion, delivered to a crowd where there was no such thing.

The Startup Industry’s Toxic “Side Hustle” Fixation

Kate Knibbs
"startup culture has co-opted and bowdlerized the phrase into an anodyne signifier of entrepreneurialism.... The side hustle is a survival mechanism, not an aspirational career track.”

The "side-hustle" now encompasses the exploding gig economy, and Knibbs digs deep into tech’s obsession with it. The rhetoric of autonomy and freedom associated with the side-hustle serve to shift life’s burdens onto the individual, not the company— luring already-marginalised people toward a work culture with no protections and no benefits. This is especially cynical when employed by companies like Uber, whose endgame is to automate the side-hustle they promote.

What A Real Diversity Strategy Looks Like.

Heather Corallo
“I've been doing diversity work for almost 10 years, and because I’m a woman, I felt that gave me a pass to make sweeping generalizations about diverse groups."

Corallo's experienced the failures of her diversity strategy in one fell swoop— her pregnancy. The well-intentioned initiative was underpinned by bias-influenced data, and (while ensuring that the strategy worked for the business) failed to help the marginalised. From her experience, Corallo offers five pieces of advice to set the foundations for an inclusion strategy that actually works and impacts the well-being of all employees, company-wide.

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