Brogrammers

I was at SxSW this past spring. A good number of people were talking about this guy (Matt Van Horn), the company (Path), & the session (Adding Value as a Non-Technical No Talent Ass-Clown).

That guy? TOTAL ASSHOLE. I would have paid money for someone to put me on a panel against him. I'd send him home to his parents with his tail between his legs.

PS – Geeklist, I'm available to sit on your "Women in Technology" advisory board (for a fee, of course) and maybe talk to you about why trying to sell teeshirts using a stripper pole is alienating 1/2 the geeks in existence.

For the record, THIS is what I think can happen when you give people that are inexperienced in the ways of business a ton of cash and no supervision.

Embedded Link

"Gangbang Interviews" and "Bikini Shots": Silicon Valley’s Brogrammer Problem
For startups like Path, recasting geek identity with a frat house swagger is a dangerous game.

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About Lynette

Lynette Young has been a pioneer in social media since she began blogging in 1997. In 2006 she founded Purple Stripe Productions, a social technology and strategy firm. Lynette works with companies, organizations, and professionals to help them have more meaningful conversations with their customers in new and engaging ways using digital publishing platforms. She's also a makeup junkie, shoe collector, gamer geek, and fan of Doctor Who (and all things David Tennant).

Comments

  1. I see no problem with this.

  2. lmao your so funny! I love it.. you hated the guy but then you tell everyone which means he will get more traffic than ever! lol GO paths..lol though I like the fact you are advertising yourself for a fee.. :) nice. good luck.

  3. +Ar Grover I didn't link to him, where's the traffic going to? MotherJones.com? Fine by me.

  4. haha awesomeness!

  5. Ahhhh…. adult supervision in Silicon Valley!!!! We'd have to overcome the prejudice that only twenty-somethings have a clue about technology. Sexism and ageism beware!!!!

  6. I feel like I might catch something if I click. I'm already that creeped out.

  7. links can be found even when not listed- :) and his name..Matt Van Horn… um.. how tech are you.. :) love it. its all good. :) I like it when people talk about assholes and then offer to help.. :) all good k? lol

  8. Obviously no ones ever worked with a bunch of strippers. Sounds like jealousy to me.

  9. Wow. This really makes me furious.

  10. (I'm a nix sysadmin) I've been in interviews where the hiring manager says "I can't WAIT to see what the boys think about having a girl tech." yeah, declined that one.

  11. Your review was to the point. A Pets.com of technology.

  12. Well written, +Lynette Young. Thankfully, I think most professionals roll their eyes @ kids like this. I'm glad I didn't attend this session @ SXSW.

  13. Thanks, it had to be said.

  14. Not sure what tech world people come from, but the one I just left after 20 years, is laughing at this, really? Never been locked in a noc during a snow storm with a female geek? Please, nothing but pandering and jealousy, don't like the business practices don't do business, think you can do a better job then do it. But please, this gives feminists a bad image when something this trivial is used to troll.

  15. hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii sexy

  16. Well said!

  17. That was a thoughtful, well written article. Thanks for sharing it, +Lynette Young!

  18. Heh, when you realize most of these "startups" are just rich kids whose parents are still pumping money into, and whose companies will go down the drain within 2 years, then you'll also realize these are the same rich kids we hated in college because they had no worries, had dumb waste-of-time majors and didn't care if they graduated or not cuz their mommy and daddy always had their back. Sadly…they're having more fun than we are, because we actually have to work for what we have.

    As far as the sexist mentality…surprise…the internet was made for porn, and sex sells. Also…it takes women to pose for the images these "bros" are using…maybe the problem lies with the women who still agree to be objectified. Granted, any straight guy who says he's never objectified women, is lying…we are human…and when we're horny, we objectify…women do it to men just as much, but just aren't as vocal about it, or when they are, no one takes offense to it, cuz men being men, tend to enjoy being objectified by women lol.

  19. +Ramsez Stamper, I think you make some good points. I agree it is rather human nature to objectify and enjoy it. I admit I enjoy seeing sexy men in ads as much, I'm sure, as men enjoy sexy women in ads. But within the article there is a lot of food for thought. It makes very good and valid points about the effects of sexism within the industry, for example it is a bad thing to alienate half your potential future workforce, or to create potentially hostile work environments. It is one thing to enjoy a sexy lady in an ad for a product specifically targeted to a male, niche audience, but if you are not very specifically targeting that limited, niche audience then you will run the risk of turning away a lot of potential customers by pissing them off. Unless you want the talented women you piss off to go out and create their own startups (your competition now instead of your team) targeting a wide audience (and not pissing off any of them), and then being reviewed positively by the female bloggers and writers and reviewers that you also pissed off, you are making some very big mistakes that could very well come back to haunt your business.

    These are issues avoided by strategic planning in creating your brand identity, identifying your audiences and crafting well thought out messages to speak to them. These are often topics of my TGIF biz networking hangouts on Fridays at 4pm pst.

  20. Well said +Meilani MacDonald :)

  21. Even happier I have now deleted my Path account…

  22. ;p

  23. I may be misunderstanding this but this phrase to me was that he was trying to say not to do this:

    "Van Horn continued with some tips for hiring managers: He cautioned against "gangbang interviews"—screening prospective employees by committee—and made a crack about his fraternity's recruiting strategy, designed to "attract the hottest girls" on campus. He seemed taken aback when nobody laughed. "C'mon, guys, we all know how it was in college," he muttered."

    I understand this as in college that's all his fraternity tried to do, and I assume he went on to say this isn't the way it should be. There's a huge difference between someone who has no tact and a true sexist/racist/bigot or whatever you want to call it. He tried to explain this in a statement but it was too late because he has been labeled:

    "As for Path, after drawn-out negotiations with Van Horn's handlers to get an on-the-record response about reactions to his SXSW talk, Van Horn emailed a statement through a representative: "Some of my words, used for instance to describe a group interview style, were, upon reflection, a bad attempt at humor and a poor choice of words, particularly when taken out of context. It was in no way my intent to offend anyone, of any sex, and I regret any offense I may have caused. "

    Don't get me wrong, I am not sexist, I do not support that there should be discrimination in the work place. I do have a bit of a problem with people forcing that there should be an equal amount of sexes in any industry though. It's a choice. Why should a woman be given special treatment or grants and such to go into a specific field that is male dominated and men do not get the same treatment? I hear nothing about pushing for male RN's (92% female) or male Elementary & Middle School Teachers (81.9% female) [percentages taken from http://hrboutique.blogspot.com/2011/03/female-dominated-industries.html who claims to quote Forbes but to be honest I could not find the article]. This is the same favoritism that women claim men have, just in different ways.

  24. Things like this make me sad to be a programmer.

  25. +Andre DeLangis He cautioned against interviewing with large groups, the term "gangbang interviews" was a term used to describe them. What we're asking is, "why use a term associated 100% with porn to describe a simple interview?" Even worse that the term is used 90% of the time to refer to multiple men abusing a single woman (fantasy or real). Regardless of whether or not that's enough to label him as sexist, it was definitely tactless and not appropriate for a professional setting (and I presume he was sent as a representative for Path, so he should have acted as professionally as possible).

    I don't know about others, but I think "there should be an equal number of women as men in the workplace" is a terrible way to look at it. I am not a huge fan of affirmative action or quotas, rather I would like equality for women in the workplace. This means women are afforded the same opportunities to advance as men and aren't subjected to harassment because of their gender. Women-specific scholarships are typically funded by a specific person for the purpose of being awarded to women (although I believe, by law, men have equal claim to those scholarships).

    You are absolutely right that "it's a choice" for women not to enter into technology in the workplace, but you have to consider why women are making that choice. Technology is still a bit of a "boys' club" and a number of studies have found that women are discriminated against in the tech workplace (http://www.aauw.org/learn/research/whysofew.cfm for one).

    I'm sure you understand how large the programming sector is growing (case in point: this article), but women receiving Computer Science degrees are still dropping from just ten years ago. Considering the fact that women now receive more degrees, proportionally, than men, you'd think that if women were "just choosing" not to join computer science fields, the proportion of women would still be rising (if only slightly).

    I do not dispute that more men should apply to be RNs and Elementary education teachers. I would love to see more men taking on "traditionally female" jobs, just as women are trying to do. In terms of grants, I can't find a single grant "for women" sponsored with government dollars (I checked http://www.grantsforwomen.org/ among other places) so someone with money will have to sponsor a grant if they want Men-in-RN to receive financial aid parity with Women-in-Technology.

  26. +Andre DeLangis, that is why careful crafting of messages and thoughtful honing of communications styles and avenues is so important to any business. It all becomes a part of a business's brand identity. Things often do get taken out of context and passed around in the internet and social networks age, but a wise business will include corporate / small business communications professionals in their business plan. I would assume that Van Horn prepares for his presentation, and practices it, and that his presentation crosses the desk of others in his company as well for suggestions, proofing or during rehearsal of his speech. If not, this incident should be impetus for that to happen. Corporations have learned the value necessity of having pr and communications professionals on their team, both to avoid gaffes like these from happening to begin with, and to handle them effectively when they do happen despite best efforts and intentions.

    +Paden Clayton don't be sad, because your influence, and that of others in the industry who are conscious of these issues, will only serve to make the industry better!

  27. +Meilani MacDonald I can only hope others avoid these situations and other sexist issues in the geek world.

  28. Well said +Dan Nemec!

  29. It's too bad these machismo attitudes are still so threatened by intelligent women that they feel the need to burden the industry with sexist stereotypes. Truly pathetic.

  30. I think it should also be acknowledged that "female dominated" industries are as such because for a very long time these were the only careers that women were directed into outside of being a mother. Men were systematically encouraged to go be MDs, PhDs, & JDs where as women were only encouraged to encounter enough higher education to allow them to maintain the household as well. Those days are over, so make some room male camaraderie.

  31. Geeky Sprocket says:

    I think pro-geek women advertising would have a much more positive effect.

  32. i like girls with short shorts, and great qualities, and good cans.
    Gangbang?