Pando.com's Sarah Lacy on Why Diversity Will Strengthen Your Company

November 13, 2017

Inclusion in Silicon Valley is actually worse than it was during the dotcom bubble, according to Pando.com’s Sarah Lacy. The long-time tech journalist suggests companies need to make sure they're diverse from inception to make sure they continue to prioritize the quality as they grow.

"There’s so much data that shows if 40 percent of your team is diverse when there’s six of you, it’ll be diverse when there’s thousands of you," Lacy told Cheddar on Monday. "Start-ups put this off, they think 'well that’s a problem we can solve later.'"

Unfortunately, Lacy argues, that is not the case. Lacy says that even if it means moving slower, venture capitalists should make this a prerequisite for the companies they invest in. She says that the culture brewed by that lack of diversity alienates women and people of color. On the other hand, she says, diversity makes teams stronger.

"A lot of women don’t want to come to 'Bro-ville,'" she said.

Lacy also discussed her new book, "A Uterus Is a Feature, Not a Bug: The Working Woman's Guide to Overthrowing the Patriarchy." In it, she breaks down the overwhelmingly male-centric culture in the technology sector.

Lacy told Cheddar she thought the book would be published at a time the United States had its first female president. What she thought would be a "very celebratory" environment for women turned out to be what she says is "quite the opposite."

Still, what encouraged Lacy to come forward and speak about this pervasive issue of discrimination in tech was her experience as a mother, which pushed her to become feminist, as well as millennial women who are outspoken in pointing out misogyny, a quality less apparent in her fellow Gen X'ers.

"Gen X women like me didn’t really become feminist until they’re about like 35," she said. "Until they started getting older and started figuring out that things we thought were just paying our dues when we were young, there was a lot of discrimination going on in there."