Tag Archives: #Uber

The Uber scandal. Women in tech


As you know, I work at NTR Lab. One of the reasons I like it so much is that we have a lot of women in leading positions. I can’t give you the percentage, but for Russia it’s really great.

The head of our mobile development department, lead data scientist, Chief Marketing Officer (Yana) and Chief of HR are all women, along with many of our developers and more than 90% of testing and research departments.

Everybody is treated equally. We don’t have any sexual harassment (yikes) or underestimating abilities. It is a true meritocracy (a word I see a lot in articles I read).

In most job interviews you will be asked about getting married and having children — why not?? you must!! — sometimes more than about your professional and personal knowledge and skills.

But not at NTR.  

Everything is just fine and our CEO is very proud of it.

Our situation is pretty outstanding.

But most Russians all have this mindset that in Europe and America everything is so much better — better living-wise, cultural-wise and, sure, women are treated sooo much better, no uncomfortable question, no insults or you’ll end up in court. 

That’s why I was shocked by recent Uber scandal. I’m sure you have read Susan Fowler’s post the manager who asked her for sex. She was (surprise!) insulted and reported it to HR.

HR did nothing about the situation, other than offering her a departmental transfer,  because “it’s the first time he got a complaint.”  However, Susan talked to women from other departments and different teams who said they were harassed by the same manager.

What a nasty thing. I am not surprised that Susan left Uber and am impressed by her courage in making the information public.

When her post went viral the CEO announced an investigation blah-blah-blah.

I must say I find it hard to believe that Uber’s senior management knew nothing about what was going on. (I’m in good company, too, even people on Uber’s board are concerned about a cover-up. And this is just one of many recent scandals for Uber.

How can companies preach important modern values like the whole equality idea (no gender, age or ethnic discrimination), humanism and similar stuff allow this kind of culture to exist?

Are these attitudes common in most tech companies? Is it only large companies or do they permeate the whole spectrum?

Is this the environment that young women like me, who are just starting our careers, have to look forward to?

What’s wrong, world?

At the end of startups-on-steroids era

In January 2016 I wrote Time to do more with less, referring to the importance of being a RABBIT (Real Actual Business Building Interesting Tech).

In it, I cited the new funding reality as predicted by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and investor Bill Gurley, among many others, who believed that 2016 would be the year that tightening investment would prevent  many unicorns from raising funds based on their last round valuation and bringing a new term into the tech lexicon — unicorpse.

As the walrus said, the time has come and the bell is tolling.Unicorn_single

Image source: here

The indulgent years of cheap capital and billions invested on the basis of a great story, sans profit or even revenue, are over as investors sink ever deeper into reality and the old ways of valuing companies are once again in vogue.

Storied investor Bill Gurley issued a warning to unicorn investors in a lengthy essay posted on his personal blog. It is a must-read for all those in the startup ecosystem, not just investors, and includes links to other articles that bring the picture into sharp focus. His summation at the end is masterful. Continue reading At the end of startups-on-steroids era