One of the things that riles me at the moment is the constant stream of stories about the “Gender, ethnic, culture, religion” gap in the business/Hi Tech world that keeps on cropping up in the media. It doesn’t rile me because it’s a problem that I, and millions like me, would rather sweep under the carpet and forget about, it exists and must be remedied, no, it riles me because in constantly republishing such “Sensationalist” articles the media is knowingly fanning a fire instead of doing a little research and publishing “Success” stories about those brilliant hard-working people, whatever their race, gender, creed…, and there are millions of them, who against the odds and in spite of labels they might have been stuck with, have made it to the top… ok so Marissa Mayer posing in Vogue may just not help matters but then why shouldn’t she assume her status and have some fun in doing so?
(In 1972 and with Yoko Ono’s help, John Lennon wrote a song about Woman’s role in the then modern-day society. The song sparked controversy from almost all sides except from the one sector directly concerned, who applauded it. I wonder what Lennon would sing about today if he were still around.)
I think everybody must have heard about the Newsweek article on what Silicon Valley thinks of women and I think that everyone agrees that there is a problem. The fact is though, that we, the average reader/worker, aren’t responsible for this state of affairs, unless the reader happens to be one of the following and if so is sitting there smiling at his chef d’oeuvre. Yes we are getting bit jaded by the whole “Polemic” that isn’t and although we all live in a glasshouse I have no issue pointing a finger at the decision makers, the board members, the hiring committees, the shareholders and the Siths of the business world, the hedge funders and the activist investors who are responsible for this disparity leaving us, the “average reader”, wondering why! Ah yes, for a profit that won’t always get pumped back into the enterprise.
Yes it’s a fact, there is a disparity and it’s a shame we should even be talking about it… it’s a shame the media should be wasting time and bandwidth with it and not looking for with those much-needed triumphant “Success” stories of those who, against all supposed odds, reach the top, set the examples for their teams and offer a ray of hope for the rest. That would really generate far more satisfaction and clicks than articles of no real interest about Marissa Mayer’s punctuality issues or the closing of Yahoo’s Jordanian office, simply because bad news sells better…. Ok, so stories of Mayer’s fascinating contradictions are real best sellers but would they have grabbed as much attention had it been a male counterpart?
It really is a shame that we need to put labels on and categorize everything. A professional, or an entrepreneur, is a professional first and foremost, that’s why they are where they are: They are simply extremely good at their job. I guess that’s one of the reasons why the notion of data lakes inspires me so much. There are fewer labels and reduced data categorizing allowing you to acquire the data you’re looking for that little bit quicker (the debate is open).
On the matter of data management I read a great article by the Google Exec’ Vint Cerf who discusses the risk of forever losing data stored on obsolete supports. No, the debate isn’t new. People have been talking about it ever since the CD replaced the Audio cassette that replaced the Vinyl, only to be replaced by the mp3… or the 5¼-inch floppy disk that replaced the 8-inch floppy disk only to be replaced by the 3½-inch floppy disk that was in turn replaced by the DAT cartridge and the Data CD that were replaced by the DVD, that was replaced by the NAS data storage server that finally disappeared in a Cloud!
Yes it’s about time someone as well placed as Vint Cerf finally starting talking about it… again… but this time I am curious to know what solution they will come up with and how soon it will on the market or wherever it will be obtainable from. Personally, I am a bit concerned about the future of my modest e-catalog of music, documents and photos. I remember trying, a long time ago, to get all my vinyls onto audio cassettes only to have to transfer the contents of the cassettes onto CDs, then, in the early 2000s, transfer the content of CDs onto the PC, eating up a few old HDDs of 30 or 40GB worth of volume in the process, before, albeit timidly, starting to store my e-catalog in the Cloud. That said I count my blessings I didn’t have the same problem as Bruce Willis, who had to twist a few arms at Apple in 2012 to be allowed to transfer ownership of his iTunes collection to his children!
Yes we definitely do need people like Bruce Willis… and John Lennon… and Aaron Swartz… to cut through the political correctness and get to the essentials… hum! I just realized that apart from Marissa Mayer I’ve only talked about men in this post so I’m going to finish by naming some of the women who made it to the top, starting with Meg Whitman, CEO HP; Ursula Burns, CEO Xerox and Indra Nooyi, CEO PepsiCo in the hope that we’ll be reading more about their exploits and successes in mainstream media.