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tv   Bloomberg Technology  Bloomberg  December 31, 2020 11:00pm-11:30pm EST

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emily: welcome to "bloomberg technology." i'm emily chang in san francisco. we are looking back on our biggest interviews of the year this week, a year unlike any other. while a global pandemic created uncertainties for many companies, the tech sector proceeded to do what it does best -- adapt. 2020 brought not just a virus but the deaths of two
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african-americans at the hands of police bringing a , groundswell of protest. education, the legal system, the workplace some of tech's top , leaders took a stand, saying black lives matter. but the devil is in the details. facebook's latest diversity report shows the company has struggled to increase black representation. in technical roles even by a single percentage point. we spoke with maxine williams about the challenges that remain. >> what you will see is that we have been able to increase women in technical roles 15% to 24%. we have been able to increase women in non-technical roles and even black people in non-technical roles in the same period. hispanics, 11 percent, but in
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technical roles, black and hispanic people, these are where we have struggled most. so we have taken a multipronged approach where we have short, medium, and long-term strategies to drive representation, and representation is not just to say we have the numbers, right? the point is the reason we want more representation is because we want to build products that can serve this diverse world. for us, it is a top priority and one we have really invested in, and we are going to keep doing it. we had a civil rights report come up recently. they worked for us for two years, and the reason we invited them was we wanted them to help us get to excellence. you do not invite an audit to get accolades. we invited them to see where we can do better. if we look at corporate america, we don't see as much progress as we should for as long as people have been working and investing
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in diversity and inclusion. we are trying to be innovative. we are doing a number of different strategies. some of it is to be more consistent when we do find things that work. to keep at it, we enhance, and we hope that will deliver more results, better results, and if we keep being innovative, we will perhaps discover things and be able to act on them to see more progress. emily: meantime, you have civil rights leaders saying you are not doing enough to stop hate. you have advertisers boycotting. you have your own employee is loyees walking out because of how facebook has handled president trump's posts. is facebook's branding right now making it more difficult for you to recruit diverse candidates? >> we also do not want hate on our platform. most people who use our platform are doing it to connect with people they love and do things
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they are interested in. and it is all goodness. and then at this scale there is some hate. we have every incentive to reduce hate, and we have. over this time, we have greatly reduced the amount of hate people see before they see it. we see better systems. again, this is an area -- as you say, it is in our interest for people to want to work here. to see the value. what we hope is recruits will see how impactful the company is, how valuable it is in people's lives to connect with the people they care about most and will come help us build. beings are complex characters. most of our interactions are positive, and then there are times when human beings interact with each other in a way that is not at all, and we want people to help us to reduce that. emily: given all the issues that facebook is facing right
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now, do you worry that some of these reputation issues will impact your ability to make progress? we see you making progress on women, but you are not making progress in the black community at least in those technical roles. >> we hope being transparent about where we need to make progress will help us make progress. because now we will be clear about the areas we need to do better, and the people who want to help us do that will join. this is not just about bringing people in. it is about who is already in our workforce and how they are experiencing it. and how are they able to contribute. one of the things that has come out of this is we are really looking at how we structure more opportunities for people inside the company to have more voice. those are incredible opportunities. given what we do in the world and the impact we have.
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while there are challenges, i think being transparent about them will help us make more progress. emily: in the civil rights audit, these civil rights auditors say they are concerned with how facebook has handled president trump's posts. you have a president that has threatened violence on the american people. now that you are at the executive table with mark zuckerberg, reporting directly to sheryl, what is your voice saying? >> we have really robust most ofteam that does the evaluation and then escalating. being in the room means -- i come from a background where i'm a lawyer who the majority of my practice was representing trade unions. i like training. most training of people in the diversity and inclusion field is looking at marginalized people at the center. right.
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that's why they're marginalized -- they are at the margin, but for us, they are at the center. looking at things from that lens allows us to gain that perspective. me being in the room allows us to have a different perspective to consider. how are these things going to impact the most vulnerable. we have a very collaborative, robust debate culture. and me being there consistently in all the meetings helps us have that not just on an ad hoc basis, but on an ongoing basis. ,ooking from the point of view in some systems based on imbalances of power, there's usually a detriment to this group. emily: i know mark and sheryl say this is important to them, but is this important enough to them?
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are they making diversity a priority? >> absolutely. 100%. emily: where's the proof? >> they have proven it in the investment. i'm, like, 117 years old. i have worked in a lot of places , i worked in different industries, and with a lot of leadership, but i've never worked in a place where there has been leadership driving, saying we need to do more, we need to do it faster, we need to do it better. what are the resources we need to do this? we will apply those. this is not a failure of leadership, a failure of what we would call buy-in. we have buy-in from the top, absolutely. these are complex issues, and that is where you will see this. even we ourselves get frustrated at not making enough progress. they are complex. about howve a lot
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societies develop. it is hard work but work we have committed to do for the long term. emily: talk to me about that frustration. there are so many issues happening about facebook outside of facebook that you cannot necessarily control, and it has to be making your job harder, as someone who has been working on this for seven years and clearly wants to make progress and is in some areas but not in others which are very important. >> i think when you go into this line of business, you know it is going to be hard. you probably are going to annoy the government. there will be a day that you play your victory flag. emily: that was maxine williams, facebook's chief diversity officer. coming up, less than 10% of all venture capital deals are going to women, people of color, or lgbtq startup founders. when we come back, someone is trying to change those numbers. backstage capital's arlen hamilton. ♪
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emily: earlier this year, two high-profile venture firms softbank and endres and horowitz unveiled new startups to back founders of color. this unmixed the call to examine socioeconomic inequality in the united states. since 2015, backstage capital 130backed more than startups led by underrepresented founders -- women, people of color, lgbtq. we caught up with arlen hamilton for a gut check on diversity and equality in silicon valley. >> i think we have just been in a constant state of trauma and definitely have been feeling it both as a human and then, you
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know, just watching this ecosystem feel it as well. emily: there have been a lot of companies' tech members making statements. how do we hold them accountable? >> i'm not sure we can, but i have been speaking out as much as i can and just being honest. it is not so much an attack on any one person or group, it is just being honest. we are all real here. we are all human here, right? we are on this spinning rock at the same time, and when you have billions and billions of dollars under management, and when you make announcements about smaller either donations or initiatives for funds that are going to black founders during this time, it's almost like you have to make those announcements, it does ring hollow in some cases, and i also try to really uplift the voices of the black operators within those companies
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who are -- i know how difficult it is to raise even $1 million towards this as a black person in silicon valley and elsewhere, so it is a balancing act. i just think that the people who control the purse strings should hold themselves accountable and should be on the right side of history here instead of leaving it -- they are kind of closed door in the bunker, as it were. emily: softbank is launching a is backing -- strategy from the beginning has been to invest in women, people of color, lgbtq founders. you tweeted you would like to start a $13 fund first-rate, white men -- $13 fund for straight, white men. what's your point? >> it was not directed at any
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company or person. it truly is directed at all funds led by white men that have lots of means and are doing a paltry amount into this mission which softbank, in particular -- and stacy philpott i'm so grateful for the work , they are doing within that $100 million funding. i hope they have investment power and that they move the needle because i know how difficult it is to move things within those organizations. softbank is a $100 billion fund and growing. and has put hundreds of millions of -- into things that have sung. enough, but something is better than nothing. emily: there has been a push for diversity across america, but the numbers have changed -- barely.
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do you think this is an opportunity in a way, with so many people being laid off, so much talent out there, for companies to take dramatic steps to change the ratio in kind of one fell swoop? >> i think there is the opportunity, yes. i don't know if they will take it or how many of them will take its, but that is there laid bare in front of them. i also believe there will be so many people who take it upon themselves to start their own companies, to start their own mini empires that will not be looking to those companies to take them in. you're going to be losing talent. bleedingoing to be talent if you don't look at this as an opportunity to be better and to do better rather than simply an annoyance or an hr pr stunt. emily: so much of what is happening now is pouring out on social media, and it is kind of
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-- it brings the point how much technology has advanced but how much core issues like racial justice have not changed. i wonder if you think because of the opportunities technology has created it could be a way to solve some of these issues, or if it could make them worse. >> it has the potential to do both, to do either, to do a little bit of both. i think as you said this is a great opportunity not only for corporations to change the ratio, which i'm not so much interested in, but a great opportunity for those who did not have the means before but have the talent and skill and the wherewithal to create these new technologies and build upon old technologies towards more equity, to be given that power. what i mean by that is we have a lot of individuals now who are backing people up.
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there are a lot of allies who are saying, how do i get my money into an individual, into an organization that can do better? i think that is really interesting. brad feld reached out to me a couple of days ago and said, tell me where you would like to see my money doing the best that it can. that the different than saying i'm going to speak to black women and women of color and i will ask them where they want me to put my money. emily: that was arlen hamilton. coming up, a gender discrimination lawsuit rocks silicon valley. the former ceo of pinterest says she plans to take her case all the way to trial. she will tell us why next. ♪
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emily: it is perhaps the most high-profile gender discrimination story in silicon valley since susan fowler and ellen powell. the former pinterest coo sued the company in august and claimed she was fired for speaking out about discrimination, paid less than her male peers, and left out of key decisions despite being the number two executive. since then, pinterest has faced employee walkouts and calls for systemic change. brocker.with >> i was hired at pinterest as the first coo, and i was looking forward to being a force for change in a company that caters to women. many of the users were women. i realized fairly quickly that when i was given a seat at the
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table, i had no power or was not empowered to use my talent to drive pinterest forward. and i do think if it happens to someone at my level in tech, it happens to many women across the organization, and i'm hoping sharing my story starts a conversation about the role of women, and even when they reach a key level at the company, there is still gender discrimination. emily: i know you cannot speak about specific legal issues, but in a media post, you do not hold back. you described a culture that is demoralizing, secretive, toxic. i would love to hear in your own voice how did you experience that culture. >> i was not invited to meetings. i was not involved in management
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decisions. even on the roadshow. and i had experience. i was marginalized and accompanied by men who did not value my perspective. and when i tried to raise my voice, instead of being applauded for strong leadership, i was criticized for it. i made it to the table, but i was still expected to conform to gender stereotypes. emily: your description of the g --s leadership is damin .amning only men were invited to meetings where decisions were made. men were a constant in group. there was backstabbing. you say the only way you could
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get things done was by hiding things, and saying what you really thought was dangerous. what was it about his leadership that you feel was particularly problematic? >> i do think he would rely on the same group of people and not hearing different voices at the table. when different voices are coming forward not listening. it is really important that people understand that hiring women is actually not enough. making the place where they can be counted and share their perspectives is even more important than just hiring them. i want to make the point because even in 2020 it is still happening. emily: a pinterest spokesperson told us they remain committed to advancing our culture to ensure pinterest is a place where employees feel included and supported, which is why there is an ongoing independent review regarding culture, policies, and practices. we are reviewing the complaint filed. employees are incredibly
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important to us, and we take concerns brought to their attention seriously. some of the things you allege is that your schedule was less favorable than your colleagues'. you were paid less than men, and yet you drove the company's million tom $500 over $1 billion. ben fired you, you say, in a 10-minute video call saying you were not collaborative. what was going through your head and your heart at that time? >> it was shock. clearly, i did not see it coming. to remember the timing, it was mid fall. yes, it was a shock. i appreciate the statement of wanting to support women, but, really, the company culture, too
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often people are profiting on hiring women, but they should look at retention, promotions, and take a really hard look at the culture. emily: that does it for this special edition of "bloomberg technology." stay with us. because "studio 1.0" is next. i'm emily chang. this is bloomberg. ♪
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>> it is part documentary, part drama, all daunting. >> we built these things, and we have a responsibility to change it. emily: the netflix film "the social dilemma" is waking the wider world up to the alleged peril of technology. the indictment is unforgiving. it holds that social media is a drug, creating an epidemic of addiction, and generations are more dre

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