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Tech's "Frat Boy" Mentality Hurts Diversity

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Vivek Wadhwa discusses tech elitism and the staggeringly bad judgment of Tom Perkins. (Published Friday, Jan. 31, 2014)

    Vivek Wadhwa wrote an editorial in the Washington Post condemning Silicon Valley's elite boys club that excludes women and minorities.

    Wadhwa, a fellow at the Arthur & Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University, also disliked venture capitalist Tom Perkins comparing the plight of the San Francisco super-rich with Jews during Kristallnacht. The comment in the Wall Street Journal received such a negative reactions, his investment firm Kleiner Perkins tweeted that it didn't agree with what he said.

    With recent stories on companies colluding to lower salaries, Twitter having no women on its board of directors or management team, Wadhwa told Press:Here people aren't tolerating its behavior. "Silicon Valley is going through blow up and blow up after blowup. It used to be, 'Oh, look at this frat boy. Look, he shows up to his IPO in a hoodie,'" he said. "But people are expecting a lot more from technology. They are expecting adult behavior."

    Ironically, it's social media that is making tech companies more accountable, he said. "The public are speaking up and it's becoming uncomfortable for people like Tom Perkins," he said. "No longer can he get away with this kind of behavior."

    Wadhwa said he's not talking about the majority of Silicon Valley, or even its managers, but a small elite group of people much like Perkins who see themselves as "gods, kings and kingmakers who believe they can get away with it."  There's also still a "frat boy" mentality where young, male, and often white, entrepreneurs fill the board of directors with their college friends rather than a diverse group of people. 

    "Diversity is needed," Wadhwa said. "It has to be representative of the company's users so they understand what their values are for the health of the company."

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