Yesterday, I watched a pretty interesting conversation/debate between Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel. Naturally — at least for a talk starring two tech billionaires — tech, politics and Silicon Valley were all prominent topics of discussion.

To people even mildly familiar with Silicon Valley, it is clear that this discussion was a microcosm of the much larger real-life clash between Silicon Valley orthodoxy (Reid Hoffman) and the inconvenient contrarians (Peter Thiel). I say inconvenient because, were it not for his wealth and prior reputation, Peter would have been ousted from the Valley a long time ago. As lawsuits like the one by James Damore demonstrate, anyone who is considered “non-diverse” enough (or god forbid, conservative-leaning) is to keep silent at the workplace unless they want to know how it felt to be seen a witch back in the day.

This unspoken reality of the US tech scene is what makes it impossible to maintain the illusion that Silicon Valley is dedicated to tech, first and foremost. The result: you can love tech today and still essentially be denied or basically driven out of it if you are found guilty of wrongthink. What is worse, sometimes you don’t even have to think wrong to become an undesirable. It’s enough to look wrong too (for then you lack the life-serum of “diversity”). Continue reading Silicon Valley Hypocrisy

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All throughout my formal education I always felt uncomfortable with the tacit assumption that uniformity was acceptable or desirable. Why was the whole system structured so that every one studied all and the same facts and figures from all and the same textbooks in all and the same subjects? Why did choice have to be so severely restricted?

These days, we often talk about diversity. We say we value it because it exposes us to unique stories and perspectives; because it disperses power throughout society. But why do we treat diversity predominantly as a rare ore to be mined by enlightened institutions instead of something that can be actively nurtured and created? Continue reading Taking Diversity Seriously means Fostering Individuality

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