Why There’s No Diversity in Tech

To really understand why tech is having a hard time with diversity, you need to understandLibertarianism

The idea of forced inclusion is one that goes against the very Libertarian foundations of tech. The freedom to run your life/company as you wish without outside interference is a sacred right in this community. There are venture capitalists, who pride themselves on being free range and not monitoring their investments.

The idea that an outside group, and for the most part women, Latinos, Blacks are outsiders in tech, would exert power, even force, technologists to be more inclusive, is an idea that sends tremors down the objectivist spines of the greater tech community.

The concept of Objectivism — the focus on individual rights, laissez-faire capitalism, and “facts” — is one that is often hard for outsiders to understand. I didn’t fully understand the philosophy and it’s impact on tech, until I read folks like Ayn Rand and David Boaz.

At the center of objectivism is the belief that “facts are facts”, and “personal opinion or social convention has no impact on facts/reality”. Which is true, except when it’s not.

Reality is not a fixed position. If in a race, one runner starts at the starting -line and the other runner starts 15 feet back, yet both finish at the same time, who’s the better runner? Imagine how good the person who started 15 feet back had to be to run a longer distance, yet get the same time.

Tech is being asked to use their resources to help the runner in back get to the starting line. To be honest, most people in tech are ok with helping as long as they’re allowed to choose when/how/who to help.

What I wrote in 2015:

I was getting tired of encouraging black people to apply to work at companies that will never, ever, hire them. Tech is looking for a certain type of black person (the perfect description of this person can be found in this clip from Ocean’s 11). The hiring process in tech is all about, “who do you want to have an artisanal, organic, beer with?”. If the hiring manager doesn’t see you as a possible friend, the likelihood of getting hired is pretty slim. Black women aren’t high on the “friend list”.

Tech Has a Friend Problem

While tech is very good at disrupting transportation, getting you to chase strange animals into the middle of the street and changing the way you buy razors, the industry is very very bad at inclusion. The reason, they’re not looking for talented employees or interesting investments, but are really looking for friends.

Read the full piece, published over a year ago, Here

Kathryn Finney