Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Diversity Wars

You may have heard about the Google engineer who got fired for writing a memo challenging some of the conventional wisdom about diversity. He had the bad luck or bad judgement to issue this memo just when Google has gotten into some trouble for alleged discrimination against women. If you want a calm, dispassionate analysis of the issues involved, you could (LOL!) check out the Lumonator's take. I'm not going to discuss it though, since I didn't really read the memo and know zero about Google's corporate culture.

I was more interested in this pearl of wisdom from some former Google engineer named Yonatan Zunger:

Essentially, engineering is all about cooperation, collaboration, and empathy for both your colleagues and your customers.

Who da thunk that?

Not me, to be sure, but then I'm not an engineer. Of course I might have suspected that some of those qualities might be useful to at least some engineers as well as humans more generally, but I sure wouldn't have guessed that they were very central. Though come to think of it, weren't those the qualities that say, Nikola Tesla, Steve Jobs and Thomas Edison were famous for? Well no, not exactly.