The problem was that at some point past employee 1000, the big payoffs ended from pre-public stock and the stock’s subsequent run-up from their IPO. But the CEO never noticed that the payoff had ended for the other 95% of his company. Flying to his remote company locations in his private jet, and surrounded by his early employees who were now worth tens of millions of dollars, the mantra of “you really have to want to work here or you ought to leave” rang hollow for the latest employees.
Our usual advice to hardware founders is to focus on getting a product to market to test the core assumptions on actual target customers, and then iterate. Instead, Juicero spent $120M over two years to build a complex supply chain and perfectly engineered product that is too expensive for their target demographic.
After graduating from college with my Master’s, I started my career as a Data Analyst in a tech company in the Midwest and left when it was acquired by a Chinese firm. When I received the job offer from Uber, I could not hide my excitement. I bought my friends fancy drinks and kept bragging about my big move to the big beautiful city of my dreams. I imagined spending weekends hiking with my new nerdy, liberal, open minded buddies who respected human beings irrespective of their gender, sexuality, or religion. I was also nervous to face a culture so different from the humble midwest. I remember how the interviewers constantly tried to trigger me and insulted my intelligence to see if I break under pressure. While they succeeded in triggering me, they failed to break me. I am not someone who breaks under pressure. Also, I have a strong moral compass and I stand up for what is right and fight what is wrong. Therefore, it hurts me to say that despite my grit, I was not prepared to deal with the abuse and dehumanizing treatment I received from my supervisors and colleagues at Uber. Uber finally broke me by destroying my dignity as a human being, and reduced my aspirations by attaching their worth them to a female reproductive organ. Like they did to Susan, Uber killed a part of me that was most precious.
See, even though we know there is wiggle room on qualifications, that’s not always how candidates interpret it, particularly women. While men apply for a job when they meet 60% of the qualifications, women tend to apply only when they meet 100%.
We need our smartphones, notifications screens and web browsers to be exoskeletons for our minds and interpersonal relationships that put our values, not our impulses, first. People’s time is valuable. And we should protect it with the same rigor as privacy and other digital rights.