Homepage / Technology / How Silicon Valley can lose the 'frat house' image and get its act together
Amazon says this Prime Day was its biggest shopping event ever Kudlow says President Trump is 'so dissatisfied' with China trade talks that he is keeping the pressure on As stocks regain their footing, an ominous warning looms Goldman Sachs downgrades Clorox to sell, says valuation is 'unsustainably high' How Satya Nadella has spurred a tripling of Microsoft's stock price in just over four years Kudlow says economic growth could top 4% for 'a quarter or two,' more tax cuts could be coming The one chart that explains Netflix’s stunning comeback US housing starts plunge 12% in June to a nine-month low Aerospace titans Boeing and Airbus top $110 billion in orders at Farnborough Target uses Prime Day to its advantage, logging its 'biggest online shopping day' so far this year Billionaire Marc Lasry sees bitcoin reaching up to $40,000 as it becomes more mainstream and easier to trade These are the 10 US airports where you're most likely to be hacked Amazon shares slightly higher as investors await Prime Day results Wreck of Russian warship found, believed to hold gold worth $130 billion A bullish ‘phenomenon’ in bond market is weeks away from fading, top credit strategist says Stocks making the biggest moves premarket: MS, GOOGL, TXN, UAL, NFLX & more Twitter shares up 50% since late April means most upside priced in, analyst says in downgrade EU fines Google $5 billion over Android antitrust abuse Mortgage applications fall 2.5% as buyers struggle to find affordable homes America may not have the tools to counter the next financial crisis, warn Bernanke, Geithner and Paulson Investors are getting spooked as the risk of a no-deal Brexit rises EU expected to fine Google $5 billion over Android antitrust abuse Ex-FBI chief James Comey urges Americans to vote for Democrats in midterm elections Elon Musk apologizes to British cave diver following baseless 'pedo guy' claim Disney, Comcast and Fox: All you need to know about one of the biggest media battles ever Xiaomi shares notch new high after Hong Kong, mainland China stock exchanges reach agreement The trade war is complicating China's efforts to fix its economy European markets set for a strong open amid earnings; Google in focus Hedge fund billionaire Einhorn places sixth in major poker tournament The biggest spender of political ads on Facebook? President Trump Asian stocks poised to gain after Fed's Powell gives upbeat comments; dollar firmer Stocks are setting up to break to new highs Not all FAANG stocks are created equal EU ruling may be too little, too late to stop Google's mobile dominance Cramer explains how Netflix's stock managed to taper its drop after disappointing on earnings Airbnb condemns New York City's 'bellhop politics,' threatens legal retaliation Amazon sellers say they were unfairly suspended right before Prime Day, and now have two bad choices Investor explains why 'duller' tech stocks can have better returns than 'high-flying' tech names Elon Musk is 'thin-skinned and short-tempered,' says tech VC Texas Instruments CEO Brian Crutcher resigns for violating code of conduct Google Cloud Platform fixes issues that took down Spotify, Snapchat and other popular sites Uber exec: We want to become the 'one stop' transportation app 'What a dumb hearing,' says Democrat as Congress grills tech companies on conservative bias Amazon shares rebound, report says Prime Day sales jumped 89 percent in first 12 hours of the event How to put your medical history on your iPhone in less than 5 minutes Investment chief: Watch these two big events in 2018 Even with Netflix slowing, the market rally is likely not over Cramer: Netflix subscriber weakness debunks the 'sky's the limit' theory on the stock Netflix is looking at watch time as a new area of growth, but the competition is stiff Why Nobel laureate Richard Thaler follows Warren Buffett's advice to avoid bitcoin Rolls-Royce is developing tiny 'cockroach' robots to crawl in and fix airplane engines After Netflix plunge, Wall Street analysts forecast just tame returns ahead for the once high-flying FANG group Roku shares rise after analyst raises streaming video company's price target due to customer growth China is investing 9 times more into Europe than into North America, report reveals Amazon says US Prime Day sales 'so far bigger than ever' as glitch is resolved Netflix is on pace for its worst day in two years US lumber producers see huge opportunity, rush to expand San Francisco to consider tax on companies to help homeless Homebuilder sentiment, still high, stalls as tariffs, labor and land drive up costs Powell backs more rate hikes as economy growing 'considerably stronger' Netflix history is filled with big stock declines – like today – followed by bigger rebounds Intel shares get downgraded by Evercore ISI due to rising competition from Nvidia, AMD Petco aims to reinvent the pet store with something you can't buy online Genetic testing is coming of age, but for consumers it's buyer beware Tech 'FAANG' was the most-crowded trade in the world heading into the Netflix implosion, survey shows Netflix weak subscriber growth may indicate a 'maturity wall' that could whack the stock even more: Analyst This chart may be predicting the bull market's demise Wall Street says Netflix's stock plunge is a ‘compelling’ buying opportunity because the streaming giant ‘never misses twice’ Tesla sinks after Musk tweets, again Boeing announces new division devoted to flying taxis Stocks making the biggest move premarket: NFLX, UNH, GS, AMZN, WMT & more Deutsche Bank downgrades Netflix, but says big subscriber miss is not 'thesis changing' IBM is experimenting with a cryptocurrency that’s pegged to the US dollar North Korea and Zimbabwe: A friendship explained Virgin Galactic spinoff Orbit to launch rockets from the UK with space deal Artificial intelligence will create more jobs than it destroys? That’s what PwC says ‘Treasonous’ Trump and ‘Putin’s poodle:' Scathing headlines follow the Trump-Putin summit China’s fintech companies offer ‘enormous’ opportunity, investment manager says Trump's performance at summit with Putin was 'unprecedented,' experts say Walmart and Microsoft link up on cloud technology as they both battle Amazon European stocks seen mixed amid earnings; Fed’s Powell to address Congress How I knew I should quit my day job and run my start-up full-time: Viral website founder China's stocks have been trounced, but the trade war may ultimately be good news for those shares Billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel bets on crypto start-up Block.one Asian shares subdued open after mixed close on Wall Street; energy stocks under pressure Amazon cloud hits snags after Amazon Prime Day downtime Netflix isn't doomed by one quarter unless people start questioning the long-term investor thesis Tech stocks set to sink on Tuesday after rough evening for ‘FANG’ Netflix plummets after missing big on subscriber growth This wristband lets humans control machines with their minds The U.S. has a rocky history convincing Russia to extradite computer criminals Amazon suffers glitches at the start of Prime Day Jeff Bezos is now the richest man in modern history 'The United States has been foolish': Read Trump and Putin's full exchange Goldman Sachs recommends these 5 highly profitable companies — including Nvidia — to combat rising inflation Goldman Sachs releases 'tactical' stock picks for this earnings season Three red flags for Netflix ahead of its earnings report The bond market may be raising recession fears, but don't expect one anytime soon Cramer: Banks are 'making fortunes' but are still as hated as they were during the financial crisis Putin told Trump at summit: Russia never meddled in US election


How Silicon Valley can lose the 'frat house' image and get its act together

Microchips, disk drives, routers, the iPhone. Google, Facebook, Netflix, Airbnb. These are just some of the innovations and innovators rooted in Silicon Valley, a place where disruption is the rule.

If only all those big brains could figure out a way to stop Silicon Valley’s persistent sexism problem.

It’s ironic, disgusting and perplexing that Silicon Valley is home to a company smart enough to almost single-handedly launch the on-demand economy – aka the Uber Effect – while also dumb enough to allow a frat house culture that led to CEO Travis Kalanick stepping down in the wake of widespread allegations of sexism and sexual harassment.

Or the place where SoFi CEO Mike Cagney stepped down following claims of sexual harassment; Binary Capital partner Justin Caldbeck took an indefinite leave of absence after six women accused him of hitting on them while they were pitching him for potential investment; and where Google engineer James Damore was fired after circulating a memo that asserted women are less biologically inclined to work in tech-related fields.

And all of this was in 2017 alone. Things have gotten so out of hand that California State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson in August introduced a bill that would add investors to a list of people – attorneys, landlords, teachers, physicians and other professionals – already prohibited from sexually harassing someone they work with.

The time is overdue for Silicon Valley’s power-brokers to step up and apply their transformational energies to solving the embarrassing issues that have been plaguing the tech sector.

Our tech industry has never been a fan of slow, evolutionary change. It shakes up the status quo. It takes risks. It embraces bold moves. And that is how it needs to act now in attacking the rampant sexism that has been making headlines around the world.

The first step in fixing this must be for the industry to admit it has a problem. Let’s be honest: For years, frat house culture and tech-bro behavior wasn’t just allowed in Silicon Valley but encouraged.

And then Silicon Valley leaders must take daring, decisive action to bring real change: Venture capital firms, boards and C-suites should set a goal of a 50-50 ratio between men and women, and work aggressively toward it.

People often compare the current male-dominated culture in Silicon Valley to the Wall Street boys clubs of the ’80s and ’90s. But it’s more than just an analogy. There’s a vicious cycle at work.

The finance world of today is still heavily male-dominated, and it often rewards a certain type of behavior over real qualifications. That finance world meets up with Silicon Valley through limited partnerships that fund venture capitalists. The VCs they fund are predominantly male. The founders the VCs fund are then mostly male. The VCs and the founders then create male-dominated boards (typically consisting of the VCs and the founders). The board and founders then hire management teams that, you guessed it, are largely male. From the management teams it then trickles down into the employee base.

The main reason cited for the lack of diversity at these senior positions is the mostly male “candidate pipeline.” I’ve been susceptible to this argument in the past as well, and I was wrong.

The reality is that there are more highly qualified female candidates than the male-dominated culture acknowledges. Plain and simple, too many women are being passed over.

VCs in particular need to end the chicken-and-egg game where they claim to aggressively look for women to bring in as partners but claim they can’t find enough women who have a proven track record for investing. Jenny Lefcourt, a partner at Freestyle Capital, writes convincingly that VCs are missing out on great talent and that it will soon become a disadvantage for any firm to not have a woman.

A move to a 50/50 model is not only the right thing to do, but it actually would be good for the business. Studies by McKinsey, Catalyst, Harvard Business Review, and others have shown that diverse management teams and diverse boards outperform their peers.

If 50/50 sounds overly ambitious, it’s been done before, Twenty years ago, 189 countries signed the Beijing Platform for Action, which called ongovernments to strive for gender balance in its leadership positions. Today, six countries have reached the threshold – Canada, France, Finland, Sweden, Lichtenstein and Cape Verde.

If national governments can meet such an objective, Silicon Valley can. Boards can be the catalysts for this change. How?

  1. Acknowledge the Maverick Rule to address the “pipeline” argument. In the movie “Top Gun,” Tom Cruise’s Maverick always had to do it “better and cleaner than the other guy” because he felt his family name gave him a disadvantage in the Navy. Superior performance is also how so many female execs have had to move through the ranks and defeat the boys club. At the SVP, VP and Director levels, the female execs I have worked with have been, for the most part, stronger than their peers. They have had to be. So we should recognize that there is a large pool of mid-to-senior level female execs ready to be called up.

  2. Change the rules. Companies need to loosen the policies that limit their female executives from participating on external boards. An immense pool of talented female executives currently sits at the VP/SVP/C-level across tech, but, unfortunately, too many companies have restrictive policies on allowing current execs to serve on external boards. My former employer, Salesforce is a great example of this. The company has more than 100 female executives. If they were each on two boards, then another 200 board seats at tech companies could be filled by cloud business experts of the highest caliber. And that’s just from one company.
  3. Expand VC partnerships to impact boards.VCs should expand their firms by bringing in more female partners, who will broaden their perspectives on investments while also improving the board diversity in their portfolio companies. There is a current trend at many VCs to bring in “operators” as general partners and not just finance professionals. In the short term, firms could also have female execs who are currently operators at other tech companies serve on boards in their seats, perhaps even as venture partners.

  4. Recognize that boards drive change. Adding qualified, female operators the makeup of boards would also be a catalyst for change in the composition of C-suites, as boards have a significant role in the hiring process at the top echelon. You can also imagine the network effect as boards and VCs think about filling open c-level positions or open partnership opportunities given the exposure provided by these 50/50 boards.

Silicon Valley should make the kind of big bet on women that it makes all the time on technology. Rejecting Silicon Valley’s male culture in favor of diversity and inclusion may be the most important disruption the Valley ever undertakes.

Can we make it happen?

Commentary by Andy MacMillan, CEO of Act-On Software, a marketing automation provider.

For more insight from CNBC contributors, follow @CNBCopinion on Twitter.

Source: Tech CNBC
How Silicon Valley can lose the 'frat house' image and get its act together

Comments are closed.