“Brogrammers of Silicon Valley” Face Sexism Allegations

Sexism in Silicon Valley

So it seems some of the "Brogrammers of SiliconValley" are running into challenges in managing gender diversity. Writing over at Mashable, Rebecca Ruiz details the exploits of no less than five high profile, well funded, startup executives dealing with sexual harassment snafus.

Why are some of the executives at America's most "disruptive" companies being hit by sexual harassment lawsuits? There is almost no faster way to get the money going in the opposite direction. Most investors don't want to be reading your raunchy sex-missives and inappropriate text messages in public via court documents.

In 2013 investors pumped $24.8 billion to entrepreneurs. This represented an increase of 8% from the previous year. And while it's not the same as the dotcom levels of 2000, when dopey angel investors threw a trillion dollars at company founders some of whom had their business plan written on a napkin --  this is still very good money if you can get it.

Consider Justin Mateen, the 28-year-old co-founder and chief marketing officer of dating app Tinder. According to a complaint alleging "sexual harassment and discrimination" filed in California courts,  he stripped Whitney Wolfe of her co-founder title because it "makes the company look like a joke".  IAC  with Chairman Barry Diller is one of the financial backers of Tinder.

texts sent by Mateen to Wolfe according to the complaint

texts sent by Mateen to Wolfe according to the complaint

But wait, there's more! Some of your recall when Snapchat turned down a $3 billion cash acquisition offer from Facebook. Some even called the 23-year-old CEO, Evan Spiegel smart for rejecting the bid (the company has received a reported $133 million in funding from angel investors and venture capitalist firms). He took a PR hit in May when Valleywag published some of his emails from undergrad days at Stanford. One of which is the intellectually stimulating "Fuck Bitches Get Leid".  They described a mentality of viewing women as pretty much hood ornaments, like for your new Ferrari.

And really, when you're in a frat and exchanging e-mails with your bros it's all good. But this mentality takes a decisive turn for the worst when you're CEO of a fast growing multi-million dollar entity with an end game to go public and sell stock on Wall Street. For most companies there is a direct relationship between sexual harassment lawsuits and profits Tweet this! . As the former goes up, the latter goes down.

Evan Spiegel emailWhen I published a diversity magazine in the 1990's one of the things that was obvious was that women were key as employees, customers and influencers. For many Fortune 500 companies that was, and in most cases remains, a tough reality to fully embrace. Oh sure, you'll see the lofty statements about "valuing diversity" "respecting the  individual" and "no glass ceiling" -- but take a look at the board of directors and other key positions at the C-level and you'll see there is still a great distance to travel. Or consider the recent agreement by JPMorgan Chase to pay $1.45 million to settle sexual harassment claims Tweet this! by some of its female mortgage bankers.

Today many of the fast money getting,

. And it is increasingly coming back to bite them in a place that's not pleasant. “Immediately upon receipt of the allegations contained in Ms. Wolfe’s complaint, Mr. Mateen was suspended pending an ongoing internal investigation,” IAC said in a statement.

In today's hyper-connected digital world, very little can stay private (ask one Donald Sterling). When you're raising hundreds of millions and want to go public you have to mature fast and hold yourself to a higher standard. Some people are going to have to clean up their act to stay on the big stage Tweet this!

 

Norm Bond
NORM BOND shows people how to use digital marketing tools to find customers, grow sales and increase profits. And if you're not using digital tools he shows you how to do that too. He currently splits his time between Bangkok, Thailand and the U.S. He is available for consulting and speaking.
Norm Bond

@normbond

Digital Marketer, Growth Hacker. Solution Dealer. Crashes servers. Sells out events. Highly influential | Learn more https://t.co/3qYcsjLKUb
Norm Bond
Norm Bond
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