Throwback Thursday: Aluminum Suit Edition

I keep old magazines around the house for their dark comedy value. “Old” has been adjusted recently to mean anything pre-April of this year. For example, my Easter-ready, March 2020 issue of Martha Stewart Living now reads particularly fucked up.

Today, I have randomly chosen this issue of The Atlantic from November 2015. Let’s look back at the concerns of folks during a simpler time.

“The Tech Issue.”

Which start-up will change the world?

The magazine reached out to the valuable people in the tech industry for their predictions on this very important issue.

Tesla, or anything else Elon Musk attempts: 7%

Theranos: 7% (A company that offers fast and inexpensive diagnostic tests)

😶.

Slack: 5% (A group-messaging tool)

Note how the general–albeit elitist–public was only expected to recognize Elon Musk and his innovations. Did non-tech people ever find out about Theranos? Or is it going to end up being just a flash in the pan, trainwreck delight, inside our bubble?

On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the worst)

How bad is sexism in the tech industry? (8/10)

I didn’t feel discriminated against for being a woman in my 20s, but being a new mother is making me a lot more aware of everyone’s biases, including my own. Not enough examples of working mothers means everyone makes silly generalizations about ‘what mothers care about.'”

How serious is the lack of racial and ethnic diversity in the industry? (8/10)

The question of diversity is not just one about the numbers, or even about the culture of hostility toward and willful exclusion of black people and Latinos, the existence of which is axiomatic. It’s about the deep lack of self-reflection and the strong resistance to it. It’s about the deep comfort with being in all-white spaces (or only-white-and-Asian-spaces)–a different but very real type of ‘tech bubble’–and not understanding the impact of that exclusion on the work and society.”

“The entire industry falls back on bullshit excuses like ‘It’s a pipeline problem’ and ‘We’re a meritocracy.’ The latter is particularly pernicious, because baked into the ‘meritocracy’ excuse is the inherent assumption that white men are just fundamentally superior to everybody else.”

Hey, let’s give ourselves a pat on the back for wanting to try, no? We can iterate. It’s just that we have to innovate every day. On technical stuff. And we’ve made some incremental progress.

For one, you can’t say Latino anymore. It’s Latinx. Latinos also have women and non-binary people too–did you know this? Some of them even work in tech! So, the next time you see a stranger that looks like…you know…like they don’t belong where they are. Let them know about this change. They’ll appreciate you letting them know that their identity has been updated for them. And make sure to post about it too so that people can know that your network became more diverse.

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