December 4, 2022

Silicon Valley Slides Back Into ‘Bro’ Culture

“We made a bit of progress, but I feel like that was almost a smoke screen,” said Christie Pitts, an investor at Backstage Capital, a venture capital firm. Now “there’s definitely a feeling of backsliding.”

Two parallel Silicon Valleys have emerged. There’s the ThunderDome of Twitter, where tech thought leaders collect likes by posting edgy memes and spouting flip political takes — then invoke cancel culture when they are criticized. They troll their way into impulsive $44 billion acquisitions, then back out. They promote an entirely online existence inside the so-called metaverse.

Then there’s the day-to-day reality, where women still get just 2 percent of venture capital funding and Black founders get 1 percent, where the largest tech companies have made negligible progress on diversifying their staff, and where harassment and discrimination remain common.

Last month, Estelle McGechie, the former chief executive of Atomos, sued the electronics company for gender discrimination and retaliation. She said she had been fired after she alerted the company’s board to fraud. This month, a Vox report about sexual assault and victim silencing at Launch House, a hacker house backed by Mr. Andreessen’s firm, went largely unremarked-upon by the tech industry’s most prominent voices.

Then Verkada, a security start-up that has faced accusations of harassment of female employees and lax internal controls over access to its surveillance tools, raised $205 million from top venture firms. And Shervin Pishevar, a venture capitalist who was accused of sexual misconduct by five women in 2017, resurfaced as an executive at Kanye West’s company, Yeezy.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/24/technology/silicon-valley-slides-back-into-bro-culture.html

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