: New: Book Report: Brotopia

It's a book about various ways women in tech are made miserable by men in tech, focusing on some recent news stories.

(It's not all recent stuff. E.g., we find out that part of the reason that programmers tend towards asp-y is that a few decades back some sloppy scientists surveyed computer programmers, noticed many had no social skill… and decided that lack of social skills must therefore help computer-ing skills. And plenty of folks listened to this sloppy science and sent every jerk they knew to work in computer labs, yeesh.)

One of the stories is about how technical founder Niniane Wang reported being harassed by now-thusly-disgraced-former VC Justin Caldbeck. Niniane was brave to report, figuring that Caldbeck was likely to retaliate. I'd followed the news about this, but this book told me something I didn't know—when more of the stories of how Caldbeck had harassed other women came out, it turned out that he, yep, tried to discredit them afterwards by lying about them. (I already knew that Niniane was brave because she led of team of playtesters to solve the 2-Tone Game back when it really really needed playtesting whooo gee whiz. Thank you, Team Octopus to the People! Anyhow, some forms of bravery are more impressive than others.) Googlers and Xooglers of a certain vintage already know Niniane's super-smart; I'm glad she took this on… and I wish the world was in better shape so that she had better things to do.

That's a theme of the book: wasted potential. Women leave tech because some men are mean… and thus the field of software development limps along at half-speed. Unsurprisingly, those assholes tend to be assholes and/or crooks in other ways, too. It's a rough read because you have to keep reminding yourself not to throw your Kindle out the window. At least it's short; it only tries to cover a few cases… And they're relatively upbeat considering the subject matter. This book covers stories where the news got out, not the stories that stayed covered up in some HR department forever or fell between the cracks because open-source projects didn't have codes of conduct yet.

Tags: book business barbaric

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