The Google manifesto – Can Women Perform as well as Men in the Tech Workplace [As Heard on WGAN]
Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors.
Airing date: 08/09/2017
The Google Manifesto – Can Women Perform as Well as Men in the Tech Workplace
Craig Peterson: Well, the Google Manifesto has been the talk of the town this week. Listening to Craig Peterson and I talked a little bit with Ken and Matt about that this morning. Women in tech, what’s going on here?
Matt Gagnon: Craig Peterson us. The tech guru you’ve come to love. He’s back once more. How are you doing Craig?
Craig: Hey, doing good. That’s an interesting discussion, this whole thing about Google thing.
Matt: Isn’t it?
Ken Altshuler: We have been talking about it.
Matt: Did you read the memo Craig?
Craig: I have not read the memo.
Matt: I would encourage you to read the memo.
Craig: Yeah, read the memo. Yeah, the whole thing is interesting because, as you know, I’ve been in the tech business for decades now. And I’ve worked with thousands of people, many of whom have been women. Now, you notice is that many of whom, probably I can think offhand of two or maybe three women. Now I’ve been on the extreme end of the tech business, right? Working in the operating systems. Designing operating system interfaces. Working on the hardwares, I mean the hardware. You know, the chips themselves and how they respond, what they do as well as all of the networking. And I’ve been doing networking, internet work since 1982 on the Internet. So a long time. And what I’ve seen over the years is that there is very, very few women who have been interested in these stuff. Now today I have two of my kids work in my business with me. My eldest son, and now it turns out that my, let’s see, Elahh is, she’s one of my twin daughters who are second youngest. So she’s become very interested in it. She’s in her 20s and so I’ve been sponsoring her to take some of these Cisco exams, courses, and everything else in. And she’s enjoying it. She’s really liking it. I have no idea, guys, why women are just not very well represented in this business. I really have no idea. I don’t, I’ve never worked with anybody over the decades who thought women should not be in this business or who thought women weren’t as good in this business as man, but that there just haven’t been the women.
Ken: Well, and either this manifesto or some people would say that the reason is because left side, right side brain. This kind of the graph the guy says that women more have more anxiety when faced with mathematical problems.
Matt: Yeah, but see again though, that is so by itself out of context. You got to read the memo, Craig. To me, and maybe this is just my bias. When reading this it struck me, because he couched everything he said like 700 times, he said things like that as ways of trying to identify why women weren’t choosing tech and why they weren’t succeeding in growing the same way that men were with some other explanation other than like oh, there’s a bunch of sexists in charge. You know, maybe these are things that we can be cognizant of and identify so that we can actually find ways of making it more appealing for women to be in tech. Ok, it’s not at all what the stupid media accounts were. I mean, I got really angry when I actually finally read this thing. I mean, he’s still wrong about a lot of stuff. But it’s just the tenor of it was not what I thought it was originally when I read the media reports of it.
Craig: I know the stuff that I’ve read over the years about wage discrimination where they say that women are not paid the same as men. And then when you really dig into it you find that women don’t like jobs where they have to work really long hours and they want to spend time with their family. A lot a guys would rather not spend time with their family. In the tech biz, it’s almost 24/7 game where there’s so many things that could go wrong and coding up some of the stuff, particularly at the lower level but now even if some of the higher levels, coding it up is so difficult.
Craig: And takes so long, you know.
Matt: That’s actually a pretty significant part of this memo is that men are willing to like basically kill themselves because they’re interested in the status having like the title. Having the things like that. The women are not as interested in so they will work the 90 hours and do the stupid things which might be actually explaining why women are not as interested in coding. I mean there’s this section in here, it says women on average show a higher interest in people and men in things. And so again, right under that is a bullet point that says we can make software engineering more people-oriented and with pair programming and more collaboration. Unfortunately there may be limits on how people-oriented certain roles at Google can be in the sector center. But he’s actually making a recommendation for how you can change the culture of Google to make it better for women in it so that they can get more people attracted to that particular job.
Craig: You know, you mentioned collaboration in there, Matt. That’s the one thing that you don’t really have in computers, in most areas of programming. Again, when you talk about compilers and operating systems and things. You know you have to deal, you have to interface with other people who are going to use your application programming interfaces, your APIs. But in reality it’s a loner sport. In reality you’re sitting there beating your head against the wall trying to achieve something. And many, many, many studies have found over the years that you cannot speed up the implementation of software or the design of software. You cannot speed it up by putting more people on the project. In fact, if you’re behind schedule, you got to take people off of the project because too many people in this case make it so that you just can’t get it done. So if you’re talking about collaborative, which is what women typically enjoy more the in the very independent stuff, I don’t know that even Google could be successful at that because it is such an independent thing as you’re sitting there because of the complexities. Again, you’ve got to consider thousands of variables. And if somebody on your little team tweak something that changes it on you, you could just be destroyed for weeks’ worth of work just by one person make a little bit of a tweak. So if in fact in the computer biz, you don’t want other people anywhere near your sandbox because they’re going to mess things up for you. And that might, he might be dead on there as far as the collaboration goes, that women, over the years I’ve known one of those women that I’ve worked with. She was a compiler geek and those people are crazy. They are, the stuff they have to consider with optimizations and figuring it all out, it’s just nuts. But she was incredible. She was just wow, you know. But the collaboration part, which is what I see with most people like my daughter’s involvement now, she likes to sit and discuss this stuff and you know.
Matt: And there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s what pisses me off about this thing so much. I know I’m not supposed to say that, I’m sorry. But see, women and men…
Ken: And Matt doesn’t know how to collaborate.
Matt: I know. Well I’m a man. I mean, men and women…
Ken: Matt is in a warfare. Spears and he’s a Neanderthal.
Matt: To deny that we do in fact approach the world a little bit differently on average, again these are all sort of.
Ken: Which is why we need a woman president. My point.
Matt: Well there you go. You think women are different right? And men and women are different. There is no value judgment inherent in that. And maybe if we want more women it’s time to start doing things that would actually incorporate some of their unique skills and make them better than men at things. You know, into tech.
Matt: There you go.
Ken: They’re better than us.
Craig: Well, let them shine at what they’re really good at.
Ken: Yeah. Craig Peterson… like politics. Like presidential politics. Craig Peterson joining us. Tech guru. Let me ask you an unrelated sexist question because we love Game of Thrones. The HBO hacking, more extensive than they originally thought. Can you get us the last three episodes, Craig? Maybe not.
Craig: Maybe not, yeah. Well they stole, these guys who got in there really, really stole a ton of stuff from HBO. And we can expect they’re probably trying to hold HBO ransom.
Matt: Well they are. They already said so. They said they wanted like 6 million bucks.
Craig: Yeah, about things that we don’t even know about yet. Because this whole thing, this is the future people, right? You know we talked about having people who are truly, highly professional and that’s what you need to protect your assets. And I gotta say, in most businesses, the computer guy or gal is whoever knows the most about computers. And you get into a company like HBO or some of these bigger ones and I’ve seen this almost every time I come in to even multinational corporations that have been clients of mine. Anyways, over the years, you come in and the person who’s in charge of IT is a political hack right? They got there because of their uncle or somebody they knew, and they’re bringing in people that are not good enough to protect your assets. It goes back to that old victim in HR, human resources, that if somebody’s an A, they will hire another A. They’d hire another great person. But a B is unlikely to hire someone better than them. Or C, there’s no way they’ll hire an A. And they’re probably not going to hire a B. So you have this gradual slope downward in the ability to do the job frankly. The Peter Principle. And that’s what we’ve seen you know, with 1 1/2 million people short right now. Open jobs in the IT security space. You cannot expect to find good people out there on the streets. And companies like HBO, remember Sony of course, same sort of thing. They’re paying for it.
Matt: Are any of them really paying for it? And I mean, like literally, being extorted? I mean, are any of these companies that get these hacks and then the threats are there. I mean, are they actually exchanging cash?
Craig: Well yeah, they are actually. Many of them. The high-profile ones, not as much. But the lower profile ones, it is happening every day. I don’t know if you know about it, I my work with the FBI. I work with the Boston office on infrastructure protection here for the country. And I get from them two or three times a week different coded alerts about exactly that happening, Matt, where small companies, doctors’ offices, etc. it’s just not worth it for them to not pay the ransom. Companies like FBO, HBO I should say, can look at it and say yeah, I’m getting some publicity out of this. Maybe more people are watching Game of Thrones.
Craig: Yeah, it’s going to hurt us a little bit. In Sony, we had some firings that happened, that’ll probably happen here too. But you know, overall it’s the little guy, again, that gets hurt. It’s just like taxation. The smaller you are the more painful it is and the less you can do about it.
Matt: Alright. Craig Peterson, our tech guru, joins us every Wednesday at this time. Thanks so much for joining us Craig. We really appreciate it. And we will talk to you again next week.
Craig: Gentlemen, take care. Thanks.
Ken: Thank you. Alright, there you go.
Craig: We’re putting the link to that manifesto right here in the show notes, so have a look there. Make sure you subscribe to the podcast. I’d really appreciate it. And check out online, CraigPeterson.com. Take care.