“Yes, (Dick) Costolo’s comments were inappropriate and he owes me a formal apology. But I don’t for a moment think that he is overtly sexist or that he deliberately discriminates. I think that he is reflecting a common behavior in Silicon Valley, where power brokers proudly tout their ‘pattern recognition’ capabilities. They believe they know a successful entrepreneur, engineer, or business executive when they see one. Sadly, the pattern is always a Mark Zuckerberg, Marc Andreessen, Jeff Bezos — or themselves. Nerdy white males. To me, pattern recognition is a code name for sexism and racism.”
— Vivek Wadhwa, academic and entrepreneur who’s known for being outspoken, in a piece for the Wall Street Journal. After Twitter’s IPO filing revealed it has no female board directors, Wadhwa was quoted in a New York Times article calling out the Silicon Valley “mafia” for what he says is “elite arrogance” and male chauvinism.
In response, Costolo tweeted the following, setting off a storm of criticism as he compared Costolo to an over-the-top comedian:
@rich1 Vivek Wadhwa is the Carrot Top of academic sources.
— dick costolo (@dickc) October 5, 2013
Writer and entrepreneur Anil Dash, for example, responded:
Sorely disappointed to see @dickc respond defensively to criticisms of industry sexism. Why not just lead, as Twitter does on free speech?
— Anil Dash (@anildash) October 5, 2013
The original NYT article cited anonymous sources who said Twitter had found it tough to find women to sit on its board. In a follow-up to the drama, the NYT’s Claire Cain Miller lists 25 women who could be on Twitter’s board, including those from the tech, publishing and entertainment worlds.
Photo: CEO Dick Costolo, above, and Twitter are being taken to task for the lack of women on the company’s board. (Kristopher Skinner/Bay Area News Group)