October 1, 2007
News - On Women in Tech
When I first saw the article “On Women In Tech”, I thought it was going to be a showcase of designs by women. I was a bit disappointed to find that it was a socio-political article. Actually I enjoy socio-political discussions but they’re a tough mix with technology. Tech is governed by scientific facts and rules and politics is governed by … well nothing.
I’ll start off by saying I’m a big fan of Sparkfun. I’ve been a customer since Nathan was a pup. I’ve been to a class at Sparkfun and had a tour and I really enjoyed the experience. I’ve also recommended Sparkfun products to dozens of colleagues. I’m a customer for very simple reasons. You have useful products, a thorough website, competitive prices and I usually get delivery in well under a fortnight. I go to the website, place an order and wait in anticipation for the red box or envelope to show up. I have no idea if the accountant has dreads, the height of the shipping clerk, how much the PCB designer weighs or the chromosome makeup of the marketing guru.
This discussion does something that we in the tech fields are prohibited from doing; making conclusions without evidence. You’ve decided at the beginning that there should be more women in tech and then go on to find “facts” that prove your conclusion. Since there are a finite number of people in all fields of endeavor, where should women stop seeking a career and where should men start seeking a career so that your conclusion of a gender balance may have any chance of becoming a reality? I personally think it would be great if there were more women in the tech fields but it’s their choice and not mine and for a myriad of reasons. If there are women or men for that matter who make their career choice based on some of the miniscule things mentioned here, I would suspect their ability to make some tougher engineering decisions.
Sparkfun has taken a stance to improve the numbers of women in tech positions but have found a fairly limited field. This challenge has been faced by many institutions but I contend they never really mean to solve it. If in fact Sparkfun really, really wants to create a gender balance, the solution is clear. Only hire women until the balance is reached. If the goal is real, it shouldn’t matter if you pass up some well qualified XYers. It may make hiring difficult and it may impact business but if the goal is really to improve humanity, how much is it worth? If what Jess said “Culture is every bit as important as products here” is true, Sparkfun should be willing to gamble all that was gained while only the privileged benefited to correct the mistake.
News - Your SparkFun January Cap…
about a year ago
I’m from the government and I’m here to help. If only one person is saved, it’ll be worth outlawing those power hungry incandescent bulbs.
News - October Caption Contest
about a year ago
I get it, you’ve given me everything from orange to blue. Is it too much to ask to get some “Sparkfun Red”? I’m waaaiting!
Ok Luke you’ve pondered the thing long enough now pick it up already.
No public wish lists :(
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