Good morning, Broadsheet readers. Yesterday, Monica Lewinsky gave her first public speech in over a decade, and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty had arguably her worst day in ages. Read on to learn why Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella faces an uphill battle in his efforts to appear sincere with employee diversity efforts. Have a great Tuesday!
• Marissa Mayer’s new buy? Yahoo is in talks to purchase video ad platform BrightRoll for around $700 million, according to a report from TechCrunch. The move would help the tech giant build out its video advertising content and BrightRoll could be a strong competitor against Google’s YouTube. As CEO Marissa Mayer shares the company’s third-quarter results today, she is also predicted to outline details for a new turnaround plan to refresh Yahoo’s struggling core business.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Monica Lewinsky’s second act. In her first public address in over a decade, the former presidential mistress announced a campaign to end cyberbullying. The platform seems fitting: “I was patient zero,” Lewinsky said at the Forbes 30 Under 30 summit. “The first person to have their reputation completely destroyed worldwide via the Internet.” As part of her new cyberbullying push, Lewinsky also joined Twitter yesterday and already has more than 50,000 followers.
• Ginni Rometty’s terrible, horrible (no good, very bad) day. After announcing a big earnings miss yesterday, the CEO of IBM watched as shares fell by as much as 9%, hitting a three-year low. Last month, Rometty told Fortune that she had “no regrets” about IBM’s strategy.
• Egg-freezing perk backlash is ridiculous. Covering the cost for female employees at Facebook and Apple to freeze their eggs will no more encourage them to work longer and harder hours than does providing basic healthcare, writes Fortune’s Leigh Gallagher. Instead, the policy “reflects evolved thinking and an understanding of the realistic health costs their employees are likely to face.”
• ‘Getting Ready for Hillary’ spends $1,000 every hour. The former Secretary of State’s super-PAC is spending about $23,000 a day (nearly as much as it brings in) as it preps for her potential 2016 presidential bid. “Rather than building up a large bankroll, we have sought to invest in engaging our supporters and building our list for the day that Hillary’s decision comes,” the group’s spokesman told Bloomberg.
• Marc Andreessen: Silicon Valley’s diversity problem is overstated. “I think the critique that Silicon Valley companies are deliberately, systematically discriminatory is incorrect,” the venture capitalist told NYMag. Instead, he says that broad diversity categories like “Asian” and “white” leave out the many different ethnicities and religions that are represented in large numbers within the tech industry.
A message to tech companies on diversity
By responding to negative media attention as opposed to proactively tackling the problem, companies like Microsoft appear to be falling behind.
To all tech companies battling bad press because of a shortage of workplace diversity, a piece of advice: Get ahead of the story.
After putting his foot in his mouth with a poorly worded comment on stage about women and pay, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is leading a new diversity effort to recruit and retain more women. The initiative will include measures to ensure equal pay, promote more diverse talent from within and train current employees to increase diversity.
“It’s been a very humbling and learning experience for me,” Nadella told CNBC on Monday. “I basically took my own approach to how I’ve approached my career and sprung it on half of humanity.”
While the push seems sincere, it is tainted by the firestorm Nadella created by telling female tech workers that they shouldn’t ask for a raise. If he had announced plans to add more women prior to his misstep it would have been taken more seriously. Now, the company has to defend itself against critics who say the diversity efforts are purely a public relations play.
Google provides an interesting case study for staying ahead of the problem. In May, the tech giant was the first to voluntarily release dismal diversity numbers that showed only 30% of its employees worldwide were women. The company continued its proactive push by publicizing a comprehensive diversity plan a couple months later. Meanwhile, Microsoft did not release its diversity data until earlier this month.
Yes, industry big wigs agree that Microsoft would not be pushing diversity as aggressively as it is now without Nadella’s latest gaffe. But maybe that’s not a problem. Telle Whitney, CEO and president of the Anita Borg Institute, a California-based nonprofit promoting the recruitment of women in technology, said if it takes a public embarrassment for the CEO to take the issue seriously, “more power to him.” Unlike Twitter CEO Dick Costolo who reacted defensively last year to criticisms of sexism in the tech industry, Nadella is using this latest media rant as a learning opportunity.
“The comments that he made about pay show a lack of knowledge about the work that we do,” Whitney added. “What encouraged me is that he took this as a moment to be reflective.”
Click over to Fortune.com to read my full story.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• The myth about women and charitable giving. Despite popular belief, women are more philanthropic than men. American households headed by single females give 57% more to nonprofits than do those headed by single males, according to one study.
• The look of power. Remember how baggy power suits for women used to be? Remember shoulder pads? Now, if you want to project power, “your clothes have to fit you,” says the costume designer for the CBS television series The Good Wife. “It has to look like you command the clothes, not that the clothes are commanding or wearing you.”
• Women know more about cars than men. In a recent survey, more men than women mistakenly trusted insurance-related myths, like the one about how thieves prefer to steal new cars.
ON MY RADAR
|A reputation isn’t like a fashion accessory or a status symbol: An Apple watch, a Tesla or an engagement ring from Tiffany’s. It’s part of who you are. It’s part of who you are, socially and professionally. It’s part of how you think about yourselves. It’s part of your personal and your public identity. Lose it, as you so easily can, and you lose an integral part of yourself.|
|-- Monica Lewinsky|