Great ResignationDiversity and InclusionCompensationCEO DailyCFO DailyModern Board

James Damore’s Memo and Google: The Fallout Continues

August 11, 2017, 5:41 PM UTC

Here’s your week in review, in haiku



What’s a pre-dawn raid?

Well, when a lawyer loves a

witness verrrrry much…



Crack epidemic?

Crime problem. But opioids?

Health crisis. Discuss.



That feeling when our

nation’s lonely eyes all turned

to Dennis Rodman



Fire and fury,

locked and loaded. Guam, sweet Guam

we hardly knew ye



Sedgwick Avenue

Yes, yes y’all, and it don’t stop!

Hip-hop forty-four


Wishing you a lyrical weekend!

On Point

Google holds an international “girls in tech” coding competition, in spite of it allIt seemed like a lovely event, with teams of teens and young women from around the world in attendance, finalists in an app-building competition many months in the making. Google CEO Sundar Pichai was on hand, and took the opportunity to address the elephant in the room. “I want you to know there’s a place for you in this industry,” he told the young women. “There’s a place for you at Google. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You belong here, and we need you.” Earlier that day, a public town hall on the Damore memo had to be canceled, as employees who submitted questions in advance reported being doxed and then harassed in alt-right spaces.The Verge

What Generation Z needs from the workplace
If you’re (understandably) worried about the future of tech innovation, then this extraordinary dispatch from yesterday’s Tech Inclusion conference in New York is a must-read. (Fortune’s Grace Donnelly kept our Slack channel alive with insights all day, and this piece reflects the crackling vibe.) Gen Z, the teens we are currently shepherding to band practice and soccer games, are also bringing imagination, inspiration, and determination to the task of designing the world, keenly aware of the barriers they face. It’s up to us to get out of their way. "Our generation needs to learn the skills of tech but unlearn the discrimination that comes with it," high-schooler Boubacar Diallo said.

Anil Dash: What about labor unions in tech
Anil Dash, the CEO of Fog Creek Software closed out the aforementioned Tech Inclusion conference on a keynote panel, and joined a serious discussion on unionization with fellow panelists author Jennifer Brown, and CEO and founder of All In TogetherLauren Leader-Chivee. While affinity groups and allies are important, labor unions became the flashpoint in the discussion. “It’s labor organizing,” Dash said. “We need unions in the tech industry. Workers don’t have any power.” They successfully outed Bill O’Reilly, he said. "Use the collective power that you have and scare the hell out of the bad actors that are trying to stop you." Click through for some additional insights on diversity for white leadership.

A new platform collects employee ratings and turns them into a snapshot of worker satisfaction
I confess to spending hours on it, and it’s fascinating. Comparably has compiled millions of public ratings and reviews from employees at some 20,000 firms, and offers a compelling look at how employees rate their workplaces in a variety of ways, including compensation, environment, even their own managers. But I spent my time exploring their gender and diversity scores, which purport to reveal what women and other underrepresented groups really feel about their companies. Their “employee net promoter score” works as an indicator of employee engagement, or in some cases, a canary in a coal mine. And yes, Google’s on their platform. (Check out the manager feedback filtered by race and gender.) Play around, then stay tuned for a longer conversation with Comparably CEO and co-founder Jason Nazar, coming next week.

NAACP appeals a ruling allowing a white Alabama town to create its own school district
The ruling, which happened in April, allowed the Alabama town of Gardendale to secede from the racially-mixed Jefferson County school district, to explicitly create its own all-white district. "The District Court agreed that Gardendale’s bid to form its own school district was designed to exclude black school children," said the senior counsel for the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund. "In filing this appeal, we are simply asking the Circuit Court to follow that finding to its logical conclusion and prohibit Gardendale from creating a separate, segregated school district at the expense of the broader community."
NBC News

The Woke Leader

Let a woman in tech help explain why the response to the Damore memo was so intense
Cynthia Lee is a lecturer in computer science at Stanford. She’s worked at famous start-ups at an early stage. She’s even taught the very statistics that Damore attempted to apply in his memo. (She debunks them expertly.) She mentions this by way of explanation: That even with all she’s accomplished, her credentials are constantly questioned, in public and behind the scenes. “Many defenders seem genuinely baffled that a document that works so hard to appear dispassionate and reasonable could provoke such an emotional response,” she says. Damore's wrong-headed conclusions confirm a widespread contempt for women. “It’s important to appreciate the background of endless skepticism that every woman in tech faces, and the resulting exhaustion we feel as the legitimacy of our presence is constantly questioned.” A must read. Really.

My student, my friend, the neo-nazi
Karen Lausa runs a prison book discussion program in Colorado’s largest prison facility, and reports being typically inspired by the level of dedication her diverse group of inmate-students brings to their reading and writing assignments. But one pushed her back on her heels and forced her to confront her promise to stay open-minded. One essayist began his assignment with a confessed love for hate speech and a hidden desire to destroy, then remake, the world according to Nazi ideology. “There was a time when Hitler was a glorified word, and he was considered Uncle Adolf by me and those I lived around,” it began. “Mein Kampf was my go-to book.” It got worse before it got better. Find hope.
The Marshall Project

Maxine Waters is the auntie we all need
Enjoy this rollicking profile of U.S. representative Maxine Waters [D-Calif.], a woman who has been a vocal fighter for civil rights and a thorn in Republican sides for over 40 years. But she has bridged the digital and age divide in ways that few traditional figures ever do. She has inspired a resistance generation comfortable with technology, and who are prepared to elevate the people they love and the messages they need. “Waters has been memedGIFed, quoted, remixed (and remixed again), and hashtagged a thousand times over as a classically trained thrower of shade, a bringer of tea and receipts, a snatcher of wigs, a champion of the people, and a seasoned reader of filth molded in the form of the archetypal Black Auntie,” Jason Parham says in a sentence I wish I had written. “She is a welcome fury in a time of feverish strife.”


We have to think about inclusion, acceptance and diversity, to start. We need to think deeply about our language and communications, and the way we express what technology does.We need to question the mythologies we build around concepts like “founders” or “inventions” or even “startups”. We need to challenge our definitions of success and progress, and to stop considering our work in solely commercial terms. We need to radically improve our systems of compensation, to be responsible about credit and attribution, and to be generous and fair with reward and remuneration. We need to consider the impact our work has on the planet. We need to consider the impact our work has on civic and academic institutions, on artistic expression, on culture.
—Anil Dash