I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon lunching and enjoying thought-provoking conversation.
One of my favorite things, of course.
Our conversation included a bit of political discourse. I can’t help it. My interest in politics goes way back to elementary school. And the current times make me very, very uneasy.
But also because one of the women had a PhD in business administration as well as having spent the better part of her career teaching, studying and conducting economic research, first in academia and later for state government. Economics–both macro and micro–is another one of my big, long-time interests. And important stuff…though to most people it seems obtuse and far removed from everyday life.
Unfortunately, she is in the process of “transitioning,” as her friend (and my friend as well as work colleague) put it, as cutbacks in the state budget meant she was now out of a job.
Things at AT&T, Comcast, and the like might be bad, but that’s not the case in Silicon Valley. On the one hand, high tech simply hasn’t created much in the way of new jobs. But it has created more than its fair share of very wealthy people. Mostly men.
During lunch, I talked about the “old days” when women networked (through lunches like the one we were having) as well as went conferences and joined associations and groups where we found allies and mentors who schooled us in the stuff they didn’t teach you in business school…like office politics and the ole boys network.
How back in the day, women were told we better “learn golf” and wangle invites to dine at old boys clubs (the literal kind like the Union League Club in Chicago) in order to get ahead.
And while Trump apologists have been making the case for golf and business still going hand-in-hand, Silicon Valley and high tech bros are turning to a different venue for doing business.
Hint: It’s not Ready Player One.
I’m no prud, so the idea of sex parties and open relationships doesn’t bother me much. Nor am I so young or naive as to not understand that the partnership between doing business and sex goes way, way back.
What blew my mind more is that these sex parties are being “positioned,” read, rationalized (well in Silicon Valley anyway) like this is just another “disruption” in business. Sex parties are “being sold” to young women looking for access to the good ol’ boys network, venture capital funding, with the promise of getting ahead.
While blackballing women who do. That’s not disruption. Or progressive thinking. It’s a con.
Chang interviewed a couple dozen or so women for her book. Not hundreds.
So to my thinking, this probably isn’t a wide spread practice for breaking into the good old boys club. Plus…on the positive flip side, maybe Chang’s book (along with stories like what happened at Uber or Vice) will have a strong enough impact that any company thinking about joining their sex-minded counterparts, will think. And stop.
#MeToo. Time’s Up (in the business world too).