Uncanny Valley

Andy Weissman told me to read Uncanny Valley and so I did. It is a memoir by Anna Weiner as she moves from publishing into the tech industry and her (I would say) inevitable disillusion with it.

Some would say why would you read this? You already know what she is writing about. That is true but it does drive home the many issues in the industry and asks the question, “how did this type of male behavior, get to this place or why is the tech community like this”?

It started when these kids were young and raised by a generation of helicopter parents. They were told they could do anything they wanted. They were told every day how amazing they are. Punishment and failure were rare. Activities were planned, everything was about structure and achievement. Their lives have continued to be a perpetual summer camp.

How do we change bad behavior? Standing up and saying no, this is not ok is one way but we need to think broader. It starts in kindergarten and continues each year with a curriculum around equality.

I remember when sex education began. It was such a gasp for many outside of liberal enclaves. We need a new sex education that starts in kindergarten where we teach our kids not to bully others. Where we teach our kids that women and men are equal and we should respect each other for our differences. That rating of women’s looks and bodies is unacceptable period. We should be putting young girls in positions of leadership at a young age in a school environment with young men where they have to work together to get anything done. Every year the curriculum changes based on age so moving into sex education at one point and understanding no means no, sex is a two-way street and to respect each other’s bodies and minds.

Reading the behavior of men way past their college years is so disturbing and saddens me that the tech industry, particularly the one in SF, operates in this manner. It should be a real wake-up for the people funding this behavior because the reality is it starts at a young age and we are only enabling that behavior by continuing to ignore the cultures inside the businesses that we fund.

Comments (Archived):

  1. johndodds

    I’m in complete agreement. Nobody is indispensible and dismissing something as locker room talk is moral cowardice.

  2. LE

    Reading the behavior of men way past their college years is so disturbing and saddens me that the tech industry, particularly the one in SF, operates in this manner.I am wondering to what extent this is driven by the particular man’s sense of payback to how he was treated (or perceived that he was treated) by women when he was in high school and let’s say ‘a nerd’. As such perhaps in their mind it’s control and payback since they are in the power position now. Sure this doesn’t account for everyone and all occurrences but my theory is it plays a part. I think you might find a similar behavior with many groups of people that end up in power positions (police, judges, government bureaucrats and so on).Also goes w/o saying that plenty of this is learned at home when growing up (separate from your point about helicopter parents which is so true can’t stress that enough especially the part about ‘grades and activities’ being the only thing that matters). If a boy sees how his father treats his mother or has interactions with his sister (and certain behavior is not objected to) then what would you expect to happen later on?

  3. DeborahJane

    The tech industry is now mainstream…it is not the .. “the new economy” or “enlightened” anymore…what happens in banking…and in venture capital….and in film…happens in technology. Its just another industry. What is the most sad is the number of Americans that uphold a person to lead this country that has done and continues to treat women in a demeaning and derogatory way. I am a woman business owner and I correct my male employees when they even refer to females over 21 as “girls” …. I am not shocked at all…I am saddened.

    1. LE

      I think it all depends on ‘whose bread is being buttered’ no? For example this NY Times Front Page from the other day (was able to pull up a pdf but I am attaching a screen grab in case it goes ‘bye bye’) regarding Bloomberg ie ‘horse faced lesbians’ (quote of Elizabeth Warren at the debate don’t shoot the messenger) and the choice liberal organizations have to make:https://static01.nyt.com/imhttps://uploads.disquscdn.c

      1. DeborahJane

        Agree…..I guess one has too look at it as the lesser of the two evils…. if he gets the nomination…well so be it…at least he will not try to become a King… or a Dictator…

  4. jason wright

    I am not Harvey Weinstein. He is.

  5. jason wright

    “helicopter parent” – what is that?

    1. Pointsandfigures

      They are everywhere, and interfere in their kids lives to the detriment of their children. When my daughter went to law school orientation, some parents went with their kids…..

  6. jason wright

    https://www.theguardian.com… McGowan added: “If we do the math … [Weinstein] could be one of the biggest serial rapists in history, because he had a full machine set up only to rape … there was a rape factory, that was [his] business behind the scenes.” Is this part of SV culture?