Facets: Issue 04

October 11, 2015

What it’s actually like to be a Black employee at a tech company

Mark S. Luckie
"I didn’t want to be the sole representative of a multifaceted group of people or be siloed into focusing on Black issues."

This piece by Mark S. Luckie was widely shared recently, and for good reason. An empathic, thoughtful essay on what it means to be black in tech, and what contributed to a decision to leave Twitter in order to bring attention to black issues in technology and beyond.

Cracking the Bamboo Ceiling: On Debunking the Survivalist Immigrant Mentality

Bo Ren
"How do we strive for more when the very values embedded within us hold us back in the real world?"

A story of growing up in an immigrant family, and how the cultural intricacies of our upbringing can contribute to our self-image, and then hold us back not only in technology careers, but in terms of ambition and aspiration. Bo Ren writes about inhabiting “the space in-between,” and encourages us not to be pigeon-holed.

Do You Really Need that Gender Dropdown?

Heather Lauren
"When asking users for personal data, it’s good practice to ask yourself what you actually need [gender] data for."

In a detailed breakdown of the implications that a gender dropdown has on a user’s perception of themselves and your product, Heather Lauren challenges its necessity, questioning whether or not it’s needed at all. And if it is, Heather gives considerate, open options to offer the user, rather than demanding they fit into pre-determined boxes.

What my uterus can teach you about being a tech leader

Margaret Gould-Stewart
"I wish there were a feminine equivalent to the term “emasculating,” because that’s how this makes me feel."

Gould-Stewart describes attending a tech event wherein the interviewer of an accomplished woman wanted to talk not about her achievements in tech, but achievements in family. She uses the experience to point out how we describe women in terms of their marital status, their children, and their sex— and how dangerous it is to keep reinforcing that stereotype at events meant to laud their accomplishments in technology.

Gets By

A collection of stories about living with a mental illness, as told by the tech community.

I met Paddy Foran at &yetConf, but was introduced to this project afterwards. Gets By is a series of interviews, "a place for people to talk about the challenges they face and the strategies they’ve found for coping with those challenges." A person shouldn't be defined by their illness. Gets By raises awareness by fostering openness and breaking down stereotypes. You can read more about it (and contribute, if you like) here.

Thank you, and happy Sunday!