Tech is not a meritocracy

I was a guest on Bloomberg’s Podcast, Game Plan (Episode 61 to be exact). We discussed whether tech was a meritocracy and my answer was a clear “NO”.

The interesting thing is this: I really believed that tech (and life) was a meritocracy for most of my life. Now I feel the opposite.

If you’re like me (white, straight, male, middle-to-upper class and educated) you need to strongly support people of color and women in order to give them the same opportunities we enjoy. This is proactive, action-based support, not just verbal statements.

Please listen to the podcast episode for the complete context but here’s the gist of my argument: The majority of founders and employees in tech companies are white, straight, educated, middle-to-upper class men because of the following:

  • Access to computers at an early age
  • Successful role models who looked like them (Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Andy Groves, Marc Benioff, Jeff Bezos, Larry Ellison and more)
  • Venture Capital largely flows from white men to white men
  • Incorrect, but very common, belief that men are “better” at technology
  • Western Societal belief that men are the bread-winners and women should raise children and stay at home
  • Deep Societal discrimination against people of color

These are just a few of the huge advantages white, straight, educated, middle-to-upper class men enjoy.

The cards are clearly stacked. Tech is not a meritocracy.

I’m trying to do my part by creating new pathways to jobs in Tech that specifically support people of color and women. We are learning a ton and it’s not going perfectly — but it’s creating progress through action.

There is no quick fix. Just years of hard work.

If you want to be part of the solution, please hit me up! I’m looking for like-minded folks who want to do the work of being allies for people of color and women in tech.


Hanging out at the Treehouse Studio

Hi, I’m Ryan, CEO of Treehouse!

My mission is creating the future of education, so I can help as many people as possible.

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