TWIT 834: Bimbo Squalo

Beep boop - this is a robot. A new show has been posted to TWiT…

What are your thoughts about today’s show? We’d love to hear from you!

Is “Bro Culture” a uniquely American thing? Or is it in younger startups? It is not something I had ever heard of, until recently, and it seems to be limited to games studios, startups and Silicon Valley in particular.

Certainly, I’ve never come across it in my 35 year IT career. Anyone exhibiting that sort of behaviour would have been out on their ear. Certainly it would never be tolerated by management.

I did experience a manager who went up to the boss’ PA and opened his trousers and asked her, what she could do with it? She called her boss for a second opinion.

Her boss then appeared and cleared out the whole office (it was about 6 in the evening, so most people had already left, but a few of us were working late to finish a project due to be handed to the customer in the morning).

He told us to screw the project, he’d explain to the client in the morning, but we were to leave, NOW!

It was only later that I found out what happened.

He marched the manager to his desk, waited, while he cleared it out, took his security card and marched him out of the building. I have no idea, how the guy explained his sudden unemployment to his fiancé!

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In a nutshell: I hope the diversity movement will lead to and make industries benefit from gradual improvement and not just turn into a communicative tool in the PR, marketing, and branding toolbox.

Ok, I might be exploring an unpopular perspective here, but here I go:

50:59 - “Everybody that is in diversity, equity, and inclusion would tell you that diversity, a diverse company is more profitable, has higher engagement from the employees, has better - even innovation is fostered in a diverse environment because you tend to disagree more.” (Carolina Milanesi)

Hmm. Sure. Everyone that is “in diversity, equity, and inclusion” will agree. Well - that may have been an easily misunderstandable statement and/or somewhat lost in translation. But it also has some truth to it: if you are “in diversity”, you will likely herald it for all that is positive.

My problem with that is that once the single golden calf / silver bullet / holy grail is selected and proclaimed, it becomes very easy to emulate, greenwash, and PR for it, effectively turning it into what used to be a promising and worthy foal into a dead horse. Since diversity is said to be helpful, companies will signal trance-like how diverse they are. Like the rainbows we’ve seen for a couple of past weeks only to return when that special month returns and marketing says there will be colours.

I wonder if a generally useful and all-around positive trajectory of development as gradually increasing diversity might be overcharged and hollowed out by over-promising and overly leaning on it. However, I do tend to see the benefit rather in the process of undertaking and learning from the change than (claiming) to have implemented the change. Thus, I see the point of tech gradually becoming more and more diverse - not in tech claiming to have solved the problem yesterday (while not having moved an inch).

In my eyes, diversity is not just a fait accompli that works like a hammer, but a learning and change process. (I very much include myself in this process since I discover and question so many instances in which I don’t automatically and unreservedly embrace choices for diversity and try to learn by reviewing and revising my initial positions.)

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Even though I am certainly pointing out the obvious, but I’ve been reminded by my SO so reassuringly and frequently that I cannot pass by without saying: I suppose we’re part of a demographic that simply isn’t exposed to the blunt end of it, much.

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True, but I’ve always worked in offices with several women in the teams and never seen them being treated in the ways described in the show. They were always treated with respect and were an integral part of the team.

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I think any good company just does it, it doesn’t PR it. PRing it implies that you haven’t been doing it right until now.

We had a transsexual in our office in the 90s. One day, the boss came in and said Andy would be away for 2 weeks and when she came back, she would be called Jessica. We were to welcome her back to the team. I never heard anyone say anything negative about her, to her face or behind her back.

It was just accepted and the company didn’t make any press out of it. They respected the privacy of the employee and didn’t go around shouting about it.

If you are doing the right thing out of conviction, you don’t need to praise yourself in public.

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It’s probably somewhat unique to Silicon Valley. The entire concept likely stems from people who have unique talents and are rare (from a hiring/talent acquisition perspective) and thus they think they can be demanding and/or disrespectful and still be in demand/over paid.

When defining Bro Culture, think of College Fraternities…

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I was about to say: “bro culture” reminds me of behaviour I witnessed at our university. Insecure adolescents testing their boundaries. Some seem to remain adolescent well beyond the common time frame.

Exactly. Brü culture exists in South Africa, and, I suspect, anywhere machismo lives on.