April 21, 2014

NYT: "Alpha-male culture" is "endemic in software engineering"

Warning: Endemic alpha-male culture
From the NYT:
GitHub Founder Resigns After Investigation
By Claire Cain Miller 
Tom Preston-Werner, a co-founder and former chief executive of GitHub, a website for sharing and collaborating on software code, resigned on Monday after an investigation into gender-based harassment. But the company said the investigation found no evidence of illegal practices. 
The accusations surfaced last month, when Julie Ann Horvath, a software designer and developer at GitHub, publicly resigned, saying there was a culture of disrespect and intimidation of women at the company. That included mistreatment by Mr. Preston-Warner and his wife, who was not a GitHub employee.

Wait a minute -- two women have a hormonal feud and a man gets fired?

Tom Preston-Werner is married to Dr. Theresa Preston-Werner, who wrote her Cultural Anthropology dissertation on "Gender, Age, and Direct Sales in Costa Rica." The wife was "Director of Evaluations at Guatemalan-focused non-profit Women Work Together."

Here's a trend: If you are having a personal rivalry with somebody of your own sex, whoever plays the Identity Politics card first wins. Remember the Harvard Law School woman who got ratted out by her romantic rival who leaked her personal email about The Bell Curve to the Black Students Union? Or how about that middle-aged professor who was flirting with a young woman whose jealous boyfriend got him fired for sexual harassment?

Here's a wonderful sentence from the NYT:
Ms. Horvath’s resignation attracted much attention in the tech community, as an example of the sexism and alpha-male culture that are endemic in software engineering.

Really?

Claire Cain Miller is the reporter who got pranked a few weeks ago by sexting start-up Glimpse into publishing a giant thumb-sucker about sexism in the sexting business featuring the two self-promoters Elissa Shevinsky and Pax Dickinson. (At least they both have a sense of humor.)

Some people never learn.
   

57 comments:

Just Awful said...

You'll notice that the jobs that really do have some degree of alpha-male culture never get targeted by angry feminists/gays.

Like, you never see these red-faced feminist rants about how women are excluded from work as auto-mechanics, construction workers, or investment bankers.

Its overwhelmingly the soft, apologetic nerdmen of the software/IT world that are targeted.

Never apologize. It just invites more of the same.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure why you keep saying the Glimpse woman is a prankster. She may know how to pull the media's strings, but I think she also genuinely believes most of the nonsense she spouts. You give her too much credit.

Anonymous said...

Hysterical. The NYT "reporters" never leave their desks.

Anonymous said...

You'll notice that the jobs that really do have some degree of alpha-male culture never get targeted by angry feminists/gays.

Whiskey comment imminent...

Steve Sailer said...

"I'm not sure why you keep saying the Glimpse woman is a prankster."

I have reasons.

Hepp said...

Is the "woman" making these complaints a real woman or a tranny? She looks like a man, but I haven't been able to find confirmation online.

Shouting Thomas said...

I think the reporter is pissed off that software development demands hard skills. All the Diversity lectures in the world will not make the job accessible to a woman who majored in sociology.

That is, if the employer's goal is to actually create workable systems and software.

Shouting Thomas said...

Its overwhelmingly the soft, apologetic nerdmen of the software/IT world that are targeted.

I disagree with this.

As I've said before, software development is one of the places where it is possible to hide out from the HR fags and fag hags.

Your work is judged almost entirely on whether the code works. Hard skills are essential. Nobody gives a shit whether you play office politics. That's because what you actually do at work is incomprehensible to the political players. They need you, but they don't know what in the hell you're doing. So, they leave you alone.

If you are clever you can move from place to place every year as a contractor and never have to get into the ass kissing of climbing the bureaucratic ladder... and still make $100,000 a year.

I did this for 45 years. This strategy is one of the few strategies remaining for a man who doesn't want to kiss fag and fag hag ass, who simply wants to do his job, get paid and go home, and who doesn't want to salute the Diversity flag.

Harry Baldwin said...

If half the men in tech would declare themselves pre-op transexuals and the rest declare themselves gay, we could put an end to these kinds of articles.

Anonymous said...

From TechCrunch:

In her email to TechCrunch, Horvath says she felt “confused and insulted to think that a woman who was not employed by my company was pulling the strings.”

Hmm...

Founder's wife should have been more Laura Bush, less Hillary Clinton, I guess. Sexism!

Anonymous said...

"Male-dominated" not the same as "alpha male"

countenance said...

Alpha male culture was endemic in the Apollo missions.

Alpha male culture is a feature, not a bug.

David said...

He did nothing illegal or unethical, yet he resigned? Crushed by receiving a little off-the-wall bad publicity, apparently.

If that's the case, I don't call him an alpha male, and I doubt that his business has an alpha male culture. Finance is an alpha male culture.

Imagine a big Wall Street player apologizing or resigning over something as lame as this. These sleek-headed hard-shells leave only reluctantly or not at all when evidence of malfeasance is piled up in nationally televised congressional hearings.

But this tech guy folds like a lawn chair because someone claims her feelings are hurt, basically. Weak.

Anonymous said...

She worked at github, a public and free software repository. Usually the commits to public repos are tagged with the developer's handle. Maybe I'm missing something, but the commits under her handle, "nrrrdcore", looked pretty thin on the ground. As in shockingly thin. But I haven't looked very closely, and maybe there was something else she was working on.

https://github.com/nrrrdcore

are her public contributions and repos she's committed to. She was complaining about professional feedback to her code, so it might be interesting for someone more motivated than me to reconstruct what the commit logs looked like.

Dave Pinsen said...

IIRC, one of her complaints was that she didn't get attribution for all the work she did.

Dave Pinsen said...

Think I accidentally submitted a comment about Emanuel Derman and Newton anonymously. Fat finger tap on an iPhone.

ogunsiron said...

I thought that with the Adrea Richards pycon affair last year, the backlash against PC in tech had started but it looks like the revolt of the males who make tech run is still far off.

Anonymous said...

Other people, anonymously, were saying she was taking credit for things she didn't do. Most of her stuff online seems to be related to UI, public speaking, and "passion projects", ie talks at github by women in technology that she organized.

https://speakerdeck.com/nrrrdcore

Has some powerpoint from her. It doesn't look like she's doing heavy lifting in code. Some evangelism, some instruction on entry-level tech topics. Mostly css and html. She says she's a "designer" and maybe she had something to do with github's front end. OK, web graphics and front ends are important, but it's not exactly stereotypically male stuff.

I am unconvinced she's all that from a technology standpoint. I could be wrong.

Whiskey said...

Real Alphas in Investment banking, politics, sales, etc don't have shrieking feminsts and gays after them. Women never bother dominant aka sexy men.

White beta males are being purged from tech bc they are nit sexy enough. Stupid tablet keyboard splelling.

White beta makes are niw disposabe bc of H1 B . Rajneesh from Bangalore can do the job half as well for a tenth the price. Hence the purging.

Much of PC is Corporate guys harnessing the female rage at White guys for the only unforgivable male sin, lack of sexy.

JeremiahJohnbalaya said...

Theres an other side to the story out there, supposedly wtitten by her coworkers that sheds more light: https://medium.com/p/d96f431f4e8e

B said...

Remember, kids: Controlling your wife is sexist abuse, and is Always Your Fault; whereas not controlling your wife is sexist abuse, and is Always Your Fault.

Anonymous said...

Damn those alpha male software programmers!

Anonymous said...

Our workplace is currently under investigation by some Jim Rockford P.I. as a "hostile work environment." The interviews are voluntary, whatever that means.

Cail Corishev said...

I guess "alpha-male" now just means "male."

Cail Corishev said...

The interviews are voluntary, whatever that means.

It means they're involuntary.

Anonymous said...

Horvath...and Shevinsky.

Hmm...

Judging by the photos of Tom Preston-Werner and the shrieking neckbeards commenting on Twitter, Contra Shouting Thomas, the fags and their hags infest tech culture.

Anonymous said...

RAMZPAUL has good coverage of an earlier stage of this drama:

http://www.ramzpaul.com/2014/03/feminist-forks-github.html

Tim Howells

The Z Blog said...

Way back in the olden thymes i got a up close look at human resources and what it meant for the work place. In the 70's and 80's HR departments went from mostly male to mostly female. They changed names to things like "The People Department." In the 80's it was rare to see a male in HR. For most companies, it was a good dumping ground for female workers to get the numbers up.

Something unexpected happened. Instead of places to process hiring and firing, along with benefits planning, HR became a coven of busy-bodies. They involved themselves in every employee issue, often carrying gossip about management around to the staff. If you had any sense, you avoided saying anything to HR about anything.

This is also when all the diversity and sensitivity rackets got going. Maybe they are better now, but back in the olden thymes they were hilariously ham-fisted. I was sent off to bonding seminars and once even had to sit with an industrial psychologist.

Reading this story, nothing much appears to have changed in the last few decades.

Uncle Elmer said...

Have worked decades in software engineer and finally crawled out of it into mechanically-oriented work. Software engineers in general are a scurrilous, deceitful, feminine lot. Alpha my ass.

With women it is always the opposite of what they say. Case in point, my 90 year-old mother complained that the ladie's Mormon "Relief Society" was offering to come over and clean her spotless house. I said you mean, the "Busybody Society"? She said "exactly".

Anonymous said...

True "alpha males" (whatever that means) garner respect from everyone are weesential and therefore indespensible.

If you find yourself at the mercy of HR departments, feminists or whatever then you you suck.

The ladies I know who work in HR like real manly men. They don't want weak apologetic neutered males.

Fernandinande said...

Wikipedia: In March 2014 a former female lead developer, Julie Ann Horvath, suggested a discriminatory environment at GitHub. In an interview to TechCrunch she complained about the start-up's culture, leaving the firm after repeated harassment from a (at first not publicly identified) founder's non-employee wife and witnessing male co-workers "gawking" at some female co-workers who were hula-hooping.

All the software I've ever used - and there's been plenty over the years - was written by men. In the event of gov't contracts, they'll often give a woman the title of "lead-something-or-other", and she'll organize meetings and get paid a lot without actually writing any software, either at that time or in the past.

Does anyone have an example of any non-trivial software written entirely, or even mostly, by women?

Here https://github.com/nrrrdcore* is Horvath's github page: there seems to be some templates, but can anyone find actual software on it?
*"an introduction to the javascript programming language. intended audience: cats"

Dahinda said...

I work fo an IT department of over 300 people and it is almost half women. My boss is a woman.

Mr. Anon said...

"Tom Preston-Werner, a co-founder and former chief executive of GitHub, a website for sharing and collaborating on software code, resigned on Monday after an investigation into gender-based harassment."

Any guy who hypenates his name is sure-as-hell no alpha-male. Not even a beta.

SFG said...

"I did this for 45 years. This strategy is one of the few strategies remaining for a man who doesn't want to kiss fag and fag hag ass, who simply wants to do his job, get paid and go home, and who doesn't want to salute the Diversity flag."

Exactly. That's why they're going after it.

A lot of geeks think feminists are on their side because they spend so much time going after alpha date-rapist types (I used to back in the day). They are learning. Unfortunately, they're too disorganized to do anything, and another great American industry will fall.

Wir mussen die Feministen ausrotten!

pat said...

I remember a female student in a database design class I taught. She was remarkable for at least two reasons. First of course her sex. There were always a few women in the elementary classes but they were almost never seen in any of the advanced classes.

Secondly she recorded every word I said.

There were three alpha type guys who sat side by side in the front row. They talked a lot. I was glad. They really engaged with the subject matter. It was a lecture class and sometimes it's hard to get class participation.

But I didn't grade on class participation. To everyone's surprise none of the three guys in the front got the best marks. The woman with the recorder did - by a lot.

So I believe there really is an Alpha-male culture in software engineering. I'm sure all of those there guys have done just fine in private industry whereas the brilliant but quiet woman has probably been overlooked.

The real problem however is that women don't seem to really love to code. I hired many, many coders thereafter but never a woman. I did hire a female DBA once but she was a lesbian.

I think it's like the job of fighter pilot. Women because of their vascular architecture for childbirth can pull more g's than men. But women just don't want to be fighter pilots. Go to the mall and check the gender of kids surrounding the shoot-em-up games. All boys.

Albertosaurus

eah said...

Many software engineers are Indian. No kidding.

candid_observer said...

Julie Ann Horvath got her bachelor's degree from Univ of San Francisco, with the following profile:

Test Scores -- 25th / 75th Percentile

SAT Critical Reading: 510 / 620
SAT Math: 530 / 630
SAT Writing: 520 / 620

And what did she major in?

Creative Writing.

Just the sort of credentials one would expect for a mission critical coder in a major start up in Silicon Valley.

Anonymous said...

I guess "alpha-male" now just means "male."


I think "alpha-male" now means "makes an above-average salary".

BurplesonAFB said...

Whenever I see the software guys come into the bar on a Friday, I know I'm not getting any that night. I can't compete with their natural alpha attractiveness.

It's not uncommon to see them leave 20 minutes after they come in, a girl slung over each shoulder soaking through her drawers.

I've heard that at start-ups, they have to buy extra strength keyboards to prevent the bulging musclebound alphas from punching their keys right out the bottom. So athletic and lean are they.

jody said...

as stated by others, women have very little interest in actual alpha male fields. they involve hard, often dirty work, long hours, technical skills, and can be physically tiring.

about the only place the workforce was integrated was in air conditioned offices. this is why IT has been targeted.

once in a while you see a woman police officer. that's about it for real job integration. of course when you see them you wonder why. they are totally ineffective. everybody is pretending they are real police officers and it's kind of weird to see that many adults all pretending about something so obvious.

Anthony said...

Good Lord! Ms Horvath has no sense of feminine wiles. She's putting out for a friend of the boss's wife, and she's threatened by that friendship? Rather than playing on that to improve her position? "Hey honey, can you put in a word with Mrs. P-W about ..."

Unless the "friend" was an ex (or not so ex) of Mrs. P-W, and Mrs. P-W went hostile to Ms Horvath first.

Anonymous said...

The only alpha-male dominated industry is grass hut construction.

Akulkis said...

Histrionic Personality Disorder at a bare minimum, but the demand that the founder's wife and her friend stop being friends is a strong indicator of Borderline Personality Disorder.

Anonymous said...

It's all relative. A beagle is an alpha to a chihuahua.

Anonymous said...

If you go to Julie Ann Horvath's LinkdIn page she has a BA in english and creative writing from University of San Francisco. From LinkdIn, her past experience was in marketing and yet a number of stories describe her as a "prominent engineer"?!

This is just like the Adria Richards story. Some woman with soft tech skills is hired for social promotion and also brings a bunch of drama to the workplace.

Anonymous said...

"Your work is judged almost entirely on whether the code works. Hard skills are essential. Nobody gives a shit whether you play office politics. "

Usually, but not always. Horvath seems to be a case in point. As far as I can tell, she's a css/html type who draws pretty pictures on the screen. She weaseled her way into dev circles and gained commit privileges, but was really more interested in the social side of things. Talks from women in Silicon Valley! Public speaking at conferences where she talks about the Big Picture! Then she started complaining about people being mean to her in code reviews, and eventually went nuclear with the chicks-are-discriminated-against charge, and took down a company founder, probably doing serious damage to company morale along the way. Github will be bowing to the Gods of inclusiveness for the foreseeable future.

Don't trust anyone with a self-consciously cyber handle.

Anonymous said...

"Its overwhelmingly the soft, apologetic nerdmen of the software/IT world that are targeted."

When I was at Bell Labs in Naperville, IL, I was ALWAYS amazed at the shear number of gun owners amongst us "soft, apologetic nerdmen of the software/IT world." Hell, the very first person I knew that owned a S&W M29 .44Mag was a woman there. I bought my AR-15 within about a year working there, other men were thinking of how to convince the wife to buy a handgun. An MTS I knew went out and bought TWO Beretta M92s AND an 8" M29.

So I don't know where the hell all you girlymen talk down to software development people and engineer types as being BETAS.

David said...

Ninety-nine point nine percent of protest resignations don't make a ripple. By lunch that day the resigning person is the scapegoat for everything that ever went wrong in that company; by the start of business the next day he is entirely forgotten.

Mr. Preston-Warner should have responded by saying: "Julie who?"

Steve Sailer said...

"Any guy who hypenates his name is sure-as-hell no alpha-male."

I think there is a possibility that he grew up with that name. His bio mentions that his mother was widowed young and he was raised by his stepfather. Maybe the first name is his late father's and the second name is his stepfather's?

That actually seems like a pretty good compromise to a difficult psychological problem. I have four cousins: Their father died when they were young, and their mother remarried and changed their last names' to her new husband's. But when they hit 21 they all changed back to their birth name. Hyphenation sounds like it might have been a better way to go for them.

Anonymous said...

White Male Privilege Squandered on Job at Best Buy

Cail Corishev said...

Maybe they're trying to figure out what they're going to do with all the women when a worsening economy dries up many of the make-work jobs in government and the corporate world. Most can't lift much -- especially within OSHA regs -- and we don't have many factories anymore, so no Rosie the Riveter jobs to save the day. Where else are they going to go where they can sit at a keyboard in the air conditioning and get paid well enough not to need a husband?

Not that they'll ever get more than a tiny percentage of women to want to write software or be productive at it, of course. But they can't see that because they don't have any idea what the work actually involves.

Anonymous said...

"If you are clever you can move from place to place every year as a contractor..."

I was talking recently to some folks about what changed when silicon valley went from probably the world's greatest place for US "have great code chops, will travel" types to the current semi-Indian plantation and realized I'd overlooked the most obvious thing (which relates to what you say here).

It used to be easy for a contractor to get a contract to work for the large companies (the Apples, Suns, Microsofts, etc.). Then the tax law, I think it was, changed (or the way the accountants wanted to do things) and it became next to impossible to get a direct contract with these large companies. Instead you went through a temp agency and the contract was actually an agreement between the temp agency and the company. So you weren't a contractor any more, you were an employee of a temp agency. They did the paperwork, kept the tax records, paid the quarterly taxes, etc..

A lot of contractor types just wouldn't do this (they were contractors exactly so they could negotiate their own deals and didn't have to work for a large company).

I think this may have come about in some indirect way from when Microsoft's contractors sued them and won, or the government made Microsoft classify contractors differently, or some such. Maybe it was that if you worked for a temp agency it was clear that Microsoft wasn't abusing you by keeping your position a revolving contractor slot instead of making it a real employee slot with full benefits, etc.. My memory is vague, I'm sure the details are out there.

After this happened, a few smart Indians set up Indian temp agencies contracting to the US, and the rest is history.

But there was more gee-wiz sizzle in the air when the US contractors were buzzing around like bees.

David Davenport said...

When I was at Bell Labs in Naperville, IL, I was ALWAYS amazed at the shear number of gun owners amongst us "soft, apologetic nerdmen of the software/IT world." Hell, the very first person I knew that owned a S&W M29 .44Mag was a woman there. I bought my AR-15 within about a year working there, other men were thinking of how to convince the wife to buy a handgun. An MTS I knew went out and bought TWO Beretta M92s AND an 8" M29.

So I don't know where the hell all you girlymen talk down to software development people and engineer types as being BETAS.


Mr. Rip Van Winkle, Bell Labs was a long time ago. Things are different now. The entire business and sociological context of Bell Labs is long gone.

Cail Corishev commented about the All-American ( He didn't say "All-American.") folkways of old school computer men on another thread a week or so ago.

SFG said...

"So I don't know where the hell all you girlymen talk down to software development people and engineer types as being BETAS."

Beta is social. Lots of beta guys own guns to make up for their humiliation in the social arena. A gun will help if some diversity attacks you, but it won't get you laid.

Not that I'm against gun ownership, BTW. I'm a firm supporter of the Second Amendment because, well, even if Alan Moore said it, governments should be afraid of their people. Not everything is about being beta and alpha.

Svigor said...

The irony is that nerd culture is about as pussy-whipped PC as it gets.

Svigor said...

Like, you never see these red-faced feminist rants about how women are excluded from work as auto-mechanics, construction workers, or investment bankers.

First you have to pare away all non-air-conditioned jobs. Women hate Hate HATE non-air-conditioned jobs and feminists never Never NEVER agitate for more female representation in those fields. So, they don't count.

Anonymous said...

The selectivity of outrage reminds me of an old saying: The meek may inherit the earth, but someone has to drive the big trucks. Outraged folks don't want to take on such risks.