The locker room that is the tech business

Anne Zelenka is a (relatively) new analyst at the Analyst 2.0 company, RedMonk. She’s covering the Rich Internet App and Rich Client platform spaces, which are near and dear to my heart because of Cosmo and Chandler. I’ve followed the RedMonk blogs for some time now, and I got a chance to spend some decent time with Cote late last year at ApacheCon, and we had several good conversations. Since the RedMonk folks are (widely) geographically distributed, they’ve taken to Twitter with a passion, which is the same reason that I’ve taken to Twitter, albeit without quite as much passion. Of course, all the Redmonk folks made my friends list.

So it was that I saw their (along with others) live Twittering of Adobe’s invite only meeting on Flex and Apollo. I’m going to save my commentary on the tech stuff for a separate post. But I was stunned to read Anne’s account of a long Victoria’s Secret demo and a few other maddening comments (which I can’t quote, because Twitter’s history is currently broken). I can relate to being stuck in an environment where people are being offensive and don’t even know it (I am sure that no one at Adobe intended to be offensive). My brother and I were the only 2 Chinese kids in our school for a number of years, so I have some idea of what it’s like to be in Anne’s situation. It’s as if you don’t exist, and people do things that offend and then genuinely have no idea why a particular action might have given offense. I’m fairly sure that’s what happened at the Adobe shindig. Still, not good.

Even worse is the general locker room atmosphere in the technology business. I didn’t care for locker rooms when I was in school, and I don’t like them any better now. I have 3 daughters. My older two can already write simple Squeak programs (sorry, they’ve forgotten their Python). If they wanted to go into technology there are lots of statements that I’ve heard that I would never want said about one of my girls, or about any other woman. Forget the arguments about leaving out half the workforce and all of that. When you make that argument, you just objectify someone in a different way, either because they have money or because of “valuable” skills. Some of what I’ve seen and heard — it’s just not right. These are people we are talking about here, and it’s just not right to treat another human being that way.

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply