They Didn’t Know Any Women


Silicon Valley, HBO

From The New York Times:

Beware the callow misfit who becomes part of the ruling class; rather than disrupt the social order that excluded him, he might just reap its spoils for himself.

A number of the men depicted in Emily Chang’s “Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley” seem to be making up for lost experience, using their newfound wealth and power to get whatever it is they had previously been denied — mainly stuff, status and sex. “From its earliest days,” Chang writes, “the industry has self-selected for men: first, antisocial nerds, then, decades later, self-confident and risk-taking bros.”

The book includes a blistering chapter about the venture capitalist Peter Thiel and the self-styled PayPal Mafia — an all-male clique of company alumni who fund one another’s business ventures. Thiel and a group of mostly conservative classmates from Stanford later founded PayPal and boasted about their entrepreneurial success, casting it as a vindication of their hiring strategy. None of the company’s first engineers were women. As one founder admits, “We didn’t know any.”

In other words, they hired their buddies, and their buddies were all men. Yet they insist that such cronyism was just the meritocracy at work.

“In ‘Brotopia,’ Silicon Valley Disrupts Everything but the Boys’ Club”, Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times