Yes, brogrammer culture is pervasive

This article from Mother Jones about the rise of “brogrammer” culture in the tech startup/Silicon Valley world is infuriatingly accurate:

“Gangbang Interviews” and “Bikini Shots”: Silicon Valley’s Brogrammer Problem

I’ve had a few people ask me if this sort of behavior is the norm or the exception. As a long-time resident of the San Francisco Bay area and fringe participant in the tech startup scene, and a veteran of over 100 tech conferences, I can confidently answer this with: Brogrammer culture is utterly pervasive in this field. The norm, especially in hot new startups with lots of VC funding and the potential to cash out big, is brogrammer culture. In Silicon Valley and similar areas, it takes significant, deliberate effort to create a culture in which women don’t feel marginalized.

My opinion is that VCs should start insisting on anti-brogrammer measures in the companies they fund. Start early and the transition to obeying anti-discrimination laws when you hit 55 employees will be less painful. And the companies you fund will be more profitable, have a higher chance of success, and use less capital if you have women involved in managing the company.

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2 Responses to Yes, brogrammer culture is pervasive

  1. From what I can tell the term is pretty recent, the culture is not.

  2. Grant says:

    I tried reading this article sometime last week. I couldn’t get through it. The behavior of some of these people really just sickened me.

    I remember in grad school one of my female friends (who was majoring in Computer Engineering) ended up dropping out because one of the postdocs in her lab was just utterly sexist. It was disgusting. We went to a seminar he did once and it was on image processing. He starts out showing his motorcycle and how he likes to drive it. And how sometimes there are curves in the road. And then he shows a picture of a girl in a bikini standing in the road. It was just sickening. The worst part is that he didn’t understand why it was offensive and inappropriate. He blamed it on being Italian.

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