Pushback on the NYTimes piece: “Stop talking, start coding”

April 19, 2010 at 7:36 pm 2 comments

Really interesting blog pushing back on yesterday’s NYTimes piece.  Be sure to read the comments, too.

We don’t need affirmative action for women in tech. We need to create experiences that nurture women and men so that more people are inspired to can create beautiful, technical things together…

I had a similar reaction to the article. That said, the article fails to consider the possibility that women are making a highly rational decision to avoid computer science.

Phil Greenspun’s article, while very glib, does phrase it well: ” Why then, does anyone think that science is a sufficiently good career that people should debate who is privileged enough to work at it?” Granted, Greenspun is talking about science researchers in general, not undergraduate CS majors (or startup founders), but I still think that the risk to reward ratio favors the professions (law, medicine, MBA programs) over grad degrees in CS, even when you factor in industry demand or startups.

via Stop talking, start coding.

Another interesting blog post pushing back on the NYTimes article, this time from the perspective of an African-American man. Two more on NYTimes article are this blog post on genderized assumptions and this call for fewer women-in-computing initiatives.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: , , .

Getting it right: Collaboration vs. cheating Women graduate in STEM more than boys: It’s video games?

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Erik Engbrecht  |  April 19, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    Maybe I just know the wrong people, but as far as I can see engineers make more money at more secure jobs with greater life freedom, and all of it requiring substantially less education that lawyers or MBAs. Medical doctors receive a lot more security and a lot more money, but medicine requires huge amounts of extremely competitive and expensive education.

    The problem is that software engineers tend to get lumped together with either the general IT population or in this case research oriented fields. Most IT folks these days are non-technical and many don’t even really count as skilled labor. Being a researcher is a labor of love, not a pursuit of financial rewards or free time.

    I think the problem is no one really understands what engineering is.

  • 2. Linda Hahner  |  April 20, 2010 at 3:45 pm


    I read the “push back” blog. These sorts of pull yourself up and kick yourself in the ass you little whinny woman (or minority) make me very sad.

    In 2000, I saw hundreds of $5 million base-line technology investments go to 20 something white boys who did nothing but party away the money. That became affectionately known as the “tech bubble”. At that time, I started an education research company that launched our hugely successful LiteracyCenter.Net. I assembled a BOD–a Chinese American man/former NASA director with a PhD in Engineering, MBA and an MD; a Mexican-American man with a JD and MBA from Harvard/ a Jewish-American guy with a PhD from Oxford in Economics/ an African-American woman with a JD also the first person of color in her state to receive a Rhodes Scholarship and former Secretary of Education from the same state. When I presented our business plan, I got comments like your BOD doesn’t have enough experience. HUH?! One VC told me that it was “people like me” who caused the World Trade Center. I kept going and kept wasting my time.

    The good news is I discovered you can build a successful company if you have a good business model. My company has done well through three downturns because we know what we do and to whom we sell it. But, you can’t build a Twitter or a Facebook or Yahoo without venture capital.

    I am currently writing an i-3 Innovation Grant. I find it really hard to write–not because we don’t have tremendous track record and a great innovation. I find it painful to write because I spent so much time trying to level a playing field that was never going to be fair or level. There is an accumulative negative impact of losing—especially when it’s no good reason.

    Best wishes,



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