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Silicon Valley Reverts to 'Buddy' Culture

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SAN FRANCISCO — Last month, Mark Zuckerberg spent hours promoting his love of jiu-jitsu, wrestling and the UFC on the podcast of hyper-masculine Joe Rogan. Zuckerberg said he wasn’t active enough just watching TV. Compared to social media, TV was “beta”.

Elon Musk, who signed the deal to buy Twitter on a seeming whim and went to court for wanting to back out of the deal, said:discuss with me brotherBetween giving advice on intermittent fasting and worrying about population collapse, we make fun of Twitter’s chief executive.

Also, prominent tech investor Marc Andreessen recently announced the latest and biggest deal against plans to build an apartment complex in his Silicon Valley town. WeWork, a residential real estate startup headed by entrepreneur Adam Neumann, is infamous for burning billions of dollars in value.

Their actions appeared to be intended for maximum outrage. Does Zack like to wrestle with his buddies or does Elon think he’s above the law? How much money did Andreessen entrust to the entrepreneur?

Tech’s most powerful elite seem to be embracing a new tone these days. It’s more openly rebellious and belligerent, a shift from just a few years ago when the industry was put on the heels of exposure about its ‘bro’ culture.

Since 2017, a series of reports have uncovered a rampant culture of harassment, discrimination, and silence and reconciliation in Silicon Valley. Powerful investors and executives have been accused during #MeToo. A book titled “Brotopia” by journalist Emily Zhang provides a methodical overview of the deeply ingrained sexism in the tech industry, combining the lessons of history with reports on today’s dismal diversity.

Industry leaders at least tried to make it look like they were dismantling a system that centralized power in the hands of a few white men. Given how entrenched technology companies and their products are in people’s lives, it felt urgent to address the disparities and problems among those who created them. There they made pledges, promoted some women, and donated money.

There have been some advances, including more women writing checks at venture capital firms and major multi-billion dollar startups. On the cover of Forbes in 2018 was All Raise, an advocacy group for women in tech.

“We made some progress, but I think it was mostly a smoke screen,” said Christie Pitts, an investor at venture capital firm Backstage Capital. Now, “there’s definitely a sense of setback.”

Two parallel Silicon Valleys have emerged. There’s Twitter’s ThunderDome. There, tech opinion his leader posts edgy memes, spouts flipped political views to garner likes, and cancels his culture when criticized. They impulsively embark on his $44 billion acquisition and then back off. They facilitate a fully online presence within the so-called metaverse.

And then there are the everyday realities. Women still get only 2% of venture capital funding, and black founders get only her 1%. The largest tech companies have made little progress in diversifying their staff, and harassment and discrimination remain common.

Last month, former Atomos CEO Estelle McGechie sued the electronics company for sexism and retaliation. She said she was fired after alerting the company’s board of directors to her fraud. This month, Andreessen’s company-backed Vox report on sexual assaults and victim silence at Launchhouse, a hacker house, received little attention from some of the tech industry’s most prominent voices.

Verkada, a security startup accused of harassing female employees and lax internal controls over access to surveillance tools, has since raised $205 million from top venture firms. Also, Venture Her Capitalist Shervin Pishevar, who was accused of sexual misconduct by five of her women in 2017, has resurfaced as an executive at Kanye Her West’s company Easy.

It suffices to ask a few questions whether the industry can change.

“As far as I know, it never affects men,” Pitts said.

Launch House’s CEO posted a blog post to Vox earlier this month, apologizing for the company’s past safety issues. Verkada said it had learned from previous incidents and had “clear protocols, training and people focused on addressing issues related to sexism and harassment.” In a statement, Atomos said McGechie’s claims were baseless. Picheval did not respond to a request for comment.

Musk’s Twitter blockbuster deal highlights how the tech industry still operates like an old-age club. The billionaire was part of the “PayPal Mafia,” a group of founders and early employees of digital payment companies, many of whom have gone on to greater success in the tech field.

Their success is often interconnected. People within the group invest in or participate in each other’s companies and corporations, keeping things within the family, as the Mafia puts it. The infamous 2007 Fortune photo of a man dressed as a mob gang doesn’t position the tech industry as welcoming to outsiders.

“This is all about choosing for yourself, just like you do,” PayPal Mafia member Max Levchin told Fortune at the time. A 2007 article included one mention of him regarding a woman. Levchin said he hired her even though she wasn’t good at ping-pong, which showed her lack of competitiveness. She quit after a few months.

A spokesperson for Levchin cited examples of his advocacy for diversity, including being an industry leader in calling for anti-discrimination laws.

Musk reached out to many of his friends and their companies this year when he solicited investors to help him trade on Twitter. Sequoia Capital, led by his fellow PayPal mafia member Roelof Botha, has raised $800 million. DFJ Growth, which has invested in Musk’s companies including Tesla, SpaceX and SolarCity, added $100 million.

Larry Ellison, the Oracle founder who sat on Tesla’s board of directors and said he was a “very close friend” of Mr. Musk, also donated $1 billion. Andreessen’s company, Andreessen Horowitz, put in $400 million.

“Women have the kind of deep decades-long networks that these men had,” said Taryn Langer, founder of Moxy Communications Group, which does public relations with founders and ventures. “There are definitely boys’ clubs that still exist.”

Other members of the PayPal Mafia, including David Sachs and Joe Lonsdale, received subpoenas over text messages with Mr. Musk over his Twitter dealings, which are currently being held in court. They were quick to voice their displeasure, sharing memes on Twitter and calling the subpoenas “harassment” on TV. Musk has also prevented personal communications from being exposed through his lawyers.

At the same time, women working at Musk’s space company, SpaceX, filed multiple complaints of harassment and retaliation last year.

In May, an insider reported that Mr. Musk had paid a settlement to a flight attendant who accused him of sexual misconduct, a claim Musk denied. According to reports, Mr. Musk offered an attendant to buy him a horse in exchange for a sexual massage, but Chad, YouTube founder and PayPal member of his mafia, said Mr. Hurley on Twitter, Mr. Musk said: Stop cheating and close the shop,” he wrote. This his Twitter deal,” because “we all want a happy ending.”

Mr. Mask responded“Yeah, if you touch my wiener, you’ll get a horse.” was suggested Established a university called “Texas Tech University”epic goodsIt will probably feature the institution’s acronym.

A lawyer for Mr. Musk did not respond to a request for comment.

Andreessen’s company manages $35 billion. He tweeted about blocking people with opinions he didn’t like, and directed dismemes at his Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey and others, saying, “current,” or common cause. In addition to serving on the board of Facebook and Instagram parent company Meta, Andreessen will also join the board of Neumann’s real estate startup Flow.

When the Flow acquisition was announced last month, it drew skepticism from those who doubted Neumann’s business acumen after WeWork’s devastating collapse. But it also sparked outrage among women and people of color who saw men who had to fight for scraps to get the first chance get a fancy second chance.

A spokeswoman for Andreessen Horowitz declined to comment. Meta did not respond to requests for comment.

$350 million invested by Andreessen Horowitz (the company’s largest personal check) has valued the yet-to-launch Flow at $1 billion.

Diana Lee, co-founder of ad tech firm Constellation, has had to fight for her company’s fair valuation by showing investors 80% annual growth, hundreds of customers and consistent profits. said. Speaking about Neumann’s funding, she said: He comes out and it’s a billion dollars. “

The tech industry’s lack of results has even affected Billy McFarland, the convicted fraudster behind Fyre Festival, a lavish music festival that famously failed in 2017. . He said he is confident he will find support.

“The way I failed is completely wrong,” he said. “But in some ways, failure is OK in entrepreneurship.”