I Don’t Accept This Apology
Brad Feld

What I find problematic about all this is what reads as surprise and shock.

Women founders have been talking about harassment for years. This instance with the VC and with Uber is just outing a situation that many women in technology could have told you has existed for a long time.

What people don’t want to look at is the rotten nature of the entire industry. Technology companies are often hostile environments for anyone who is not a young man.

I find it instructive to look at the “Careers” or “Jobs” pages for start-ups. Give it a try someday. The work environment is often described as a summer camp for young men who work and play at the office. When you look at the group photos what you see in many cases are people who are under 40 and mostly male. These photos all have a remarkably uniform look. There are few women and there are even fewer people over 40.

Paul Graham at Y-Combinator is famous for his “pattern” for successful start-ups. Where the founder is a hoodie wearing young man from an ivy league school (or Standford or Berkeley). The VC community follows Graham’s pattern. The technology industry worships youth and that youth is generally male.

I have had more than one company tell that that as far as they are concerned, experience has no value. What is unspoken is that what matters is youth and perceived as brilliance (people who win math and programming competitions).

The result of all this should not surprise anyone. Gender and age discrimination. Engineering and management teams that only hire people like themselves. People with little experience running companies that have received millions or tens of millions of dollars of VC funding.

When a company is repeatedly outed for having a hostile work environment (Uber) or when a VC acts like a Trumpian predator, people express shock. The implication is that these people are just a minority. The bad apples in the meritocracy. That saves anyone from having to look around at an industry that often treats people poorly and grinds them down for the promise of a lottery win. They don’t have to admit that the meritocracy is a lie.

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