215 Is A Big Number
Where do you even begin with Uber? I think I’m going to start with the
absolute absurdity of Bonderman. Please allow me to list these out
because they are funny as fuck. And yes, I try and laugh more than I
scream and I no longer allow this shit to make me cry.
1. Bonderman –the man’s name itself is too much – Bond(age) Man – ha!
2. He interrupted a woman while she was speaking. Research has shown that men
are more than three times likely to interrupt women other men. (it’s
called being manterrupted and it sucks)
3. He made a sexist joke in public
4. He made a sexist joke in public while being recorded by the
5. He made a sexist joke in public while being recorded by the
media at a board meeting to address sexist and hostile workplace issues
It is simply too much.
All of this on top of 215, which is a very big number. I heard that only
115 of the reported incidents warranted investigation, but when you have
215 reports of sexists and hostile workplace claims in a very short period
of time, that is a huge number. Many of us realize the problem is bigger
because many people just left the company because it was not worth it to
fight. And many were likely just too scared to speak out.
I know exactly what it’s like to be too afraid to speak out about a sexist
and hostile workplace.
The Eric Holder report was what you expected it to be – a blueprint for
diversity and inclusion. I have first-hand experience developing and
implementing D&I education and processes. I was involved with it at
Toyota Motor Sales following Jesse Jackson’s protests. And I helped found
the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender affinity group at TMS. It is
good work, it is hard work, but if the company is committed (and TMS most
definitely was), it can absolutely be done.
I realize it is “pile on Uber” at the moment. This blog is not going to be
a pile on.
I listened with intensity to Freada Kapor Klein on KQED’s California
report yesterday. She is the Uber investor who wrote the open letter to
Uber and really helped shine a light on the slime following Susan’s very
brave blog. Freada has made it her mission to change the culture of the
Silicon Valley from the inside. (Many of you know I am trying to do my
small part with Women in Automotive Technology.) She has verifiable
street creds as an activist and an investor. I was not surprised at all
when she said the company deserves some room to work on itself. I agree.
Uber does deserve a second chance.
What I hope most of all from this debacle is that more people are willing
to shine a light on sexism, hostile workplaces, and bad behavior. Ms.
Klein was right that there are many companies in the valley (and beyond)
with odious cultures, yellow flag warning ignored by investors, and people
who just do not care or are actively hostile to D&I as being “politically
correct.” I hope that Uber forces many more people to file official
complaints and insist on change. I hope a new culture of VC funding
develops that is more diverse, inclusive, and able to make a ton of money
by investing in culturally progressive companies. I met Veronica Osinski
recently and hearing her story as to why she started Trifecta Capital was
just so inspiring. We need more Veronicas, more Freadas, more people
speaking out, and doing the right thing. We need less excuses, less
Bondermans, and less Amit Singhal-type people in places of power.
I feel the time is right to begin to really make long lasting change
inside the companies of the Bay Area. I plan to continue to work for
equality, diversity, inclusion, tolerance, peace, love, and understanding.
Like Anand Sanwal from CB Insights says, I love you.