Pet Peeve: You Guys

Over the past few years, a phrase I often hear uttered in business has come to bother me a lot – “you guys”.

I hear it said in all hands meetings, I read it on blogs and other communication channels between a company and its employees, I hear it in small group conversations.

I hear both women and men say it, so it is not necessarily a sexist thing.

But to me “guys” means men. And so I think this phase is reinforcing a societal bias in the tech business against women.

This past saturday I attended a recruiting session for young women to attend The Academy For Software Engineering.

afse girls

As I stood in the back and watched these young women talk about their career aspirations, I thought that we have a good shot at making the tech sector non gender biased in the coming years. And I am excited about.

So I have consciously attempted to strike the phrase “you guys” from my vocabulary unless I am, in fact, talking to a group that is all male.


Comments (Archived):

  1. William Mougayar

    I don’t like it either as it sounds odd and misplaced.What are better alternatives-y’all . you. all of you ?

    1. CalebSimpson

      This especially works if you are from Texas, like me!

    2. whigs

      Agree, always felt awkward but couldn’t find an alternative. Not from the south so feel like an imposter using y’all, which is the best alternative I came up with.

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Then there is simply “you all”

    3. scottythebody

      I vote for the official adoption of “y’all” as the second person plural pronoun in English.

    4. bfeld

      As a Texan until the age of 17, I’ve got y’all firmly stuck in my brain for this one.

      1. fredwilson

        One of the many things I love about you Brad

      2. William Mougayar

        exactly. i thought about you immediately with that one. you say it in a very genuine / organic way.if i say it, it’s obvious i didn’t grow up saying it 🙂

        1. pointsnfigures

          My daughter went to Ole Miss, and uses Y’all. I like it. Of course, if I use it in Chicago I get funny looks and occasionally might get a punch in the face. Imagining Fred giving a talk and dropping a Y’all on some New Yorkers is pretty funny. “Youse Guys” is used interchangeably here. As in, “Can youse guys put da groceries from Jewels in the garache fridge? But put some tree cans of pop in the freezer, it’s hot.” Translated, Can you put the groceries from Jewel into the garage refrigerator? But put a 3 cans of soda in the freezer because it’s hot.

          1. Anne Libby

            The Jewel.

          2. JamesHRH

            Stayed at the Westin last year and had a bellman named Patrick who sounded like he was the person that Gerge Wendt hung out, while prepping for Da Bears on SNL.Biting inside of cheek not to smile, every time he spoke. Great guy to boot.

          3. pointsnfigures

            George Wendt didn’t have to prep. His neighborhood on the south side was good enough. Knew his brother. Dat’s de udder ting heah , evrybuddy noz sum buddy dat knows sum buddy

          4. JamesHRH

            Da Midwest rocks!

          5. LE

            “Youse Guys”In Philly, (South Philly) a variation of that is “yiz guys” or “yis guys”.We used to refer to lower class people by using “yiz”. As in “they’re a yiz” or “like a yiz”.Ah, documentation!:Many Philadelphians are known to use the expression “youse” both as second person plural and (rarely) second person singular pronoun, much like the mostly Southern / Western expression “y’all” or the Pittsburgh term, “yinz”. “Youse” (often “youse guys” when addressing multiple people) is common in many working class northeastern areas, but is often associated with Philadelphia especially. The pronunciation reflects vowel reduction more often than not, yielding /jəz/ and /jɨz/ (“yiz”) just as often as the stereotypical /juːz/. (ex: “Yiz want anything at the store?” “Yiz guys alright over there?”). Second person singular forms commonly are heard as /jə/ and /jɨ/. Although enthusiasts celebrating the accent’s distinctiveness like to point out that instances of terminal /z/ in singular use occur, it is inaccurate to say they are common.It is common for Philadelphians to use “says” in place of “said”, with “says” sounding like “sez”, in certain statements, e.g. “I sez to him”, or “I sez to the woman”.

          6. Donna Brewington White

            Exactly. As someone who moved from Southern to Northern Illinois the change in dialect was very apparent. But after being in SoCal for so long it cracks me up to hear my Midwestern family say pop instead of soda and even funnier to see it written on grocery aisles.

          7. bsoist

            I’m reading all these comments and I keep thinking – you guys? I thought it was yous guys

      3. Richard

        Then again…Texans turned the word Barbeque into a noun. And was I surprised when I ordered chicken fried steak the first time.

        1. bfeld

          There are many fascinating surprises on this planet.

        2. JLM

          .Funny, I was surprised when I ordered CFS for the 1MMth time.JLM.

          1. JamesHRH

            Awesome 1MM times in a row was the surprise?

          2. JLM

            .Well not in a row. You gotta have your other basic food groups, BBQ and TexMex.This CFS is for you, bitches (the real al-ternative to “you guys”).JLM.

          3. Donna Brewington White

            This photo reminds me that you owe me one of these from some little contest you did on your blog or Twitter. Although I did cheat. And I couldn’t eat it anyway because of the gluten.Bitches? That’s really gender neutral!

          4. Richard

            Yes, I miss texas.

        3. Donna Brewington White

          And then there is that Southern anathema “sweet tea” or rather “swait tay”

      4. Donna Brewington White

        The funny thing is that living in the pseudo-South (Southern Illinois) until age 9, I switched from y’all to you guys as part of losing my rural i.e. “country” upbringing.

        1. andyswan

          My mom has great stories about the “ya’ll vs you guys” debates upon moving from Chicago to Texas in the 70’s.

          1. Donna Brewington White

            After raising you, I bet she has some good stories to tell, period. 🙂

    5. JamesHRH

      This is great. Change a naturally occurring speech pattern into a regional colloquialism most noted for lowering the IQ of everyone in earshot.

      1. Chris Peterson

        You realize that “you guys” is a regional colloquialism for 2PP, right?

        1. JamesHRH

          No idea what that means.My parents were born in 1923 & 1925. Guys means Guys & Dolls or Guys / Gals to me.

        2. ShanaC

          what is 2pp?

          1. Chris Peterson

            Second person plural

          2. ShanaC


      2. kidmercury

        this is a diss on the south. i’m not from the south but i like the south. they’re not stupid down there, though the best of the bunch do use it to their advantage that they are often erroneously perceived that way.

        1. andyswan

          shhhhh don’t dismantle the power of the drawl

    6. leigh

      I have recently embraced y’all — probably watching too much NASHVILLE and Justified 🙂 But I like it.

      1. William Mougayar

        How y’all doing if I popped in to see you on Wedn aft?

        1. leigh

          after 2 but before 4 and we shld be good. send me a google invite bc if it isn’t in my calendar it’s like it doesn’t exist + the team will book over it 🙂

    7. Richard

      You is both singular and plural. Hense, yous guys is left in the mountains of the Adirondacks.

    8. ShanaC


    9. Matt A. Myers

      Hey everyone! Everybody! Hey all!

    10. Donna Brewington White

      You is sufficient. But “all of you” feels like clearer communication in situations where the plural is not obvious. Although I would be inclined to use the latter only verbally.

    11. GCS

      It was mentioned only once in this entire thread (at least so far), but just using “you all” fits the bill without any colloquialism.

  2. Tom Labus

    It’s more slang and a turn of phrase. I don’t see any bad intent in those using it.Language issues work themselves out over time. Lighten up, it’s Monday morning

    1. fredwilson

      Isn’t Monday Morning the time to be intense?

      1. JimHirshfield

        No, no…weekend camping is the time to be in tents.

        1. Anne Libby

          And every day is Punday.

        2. Aaron Klein

          Definitely going to have to report this one to the authorities.

          1. JimHirshfield

            Who dat? Yogi Bear?

        3. kidmercury

          lol….comment of the day… are the michael jordan of puns!

          1. JimHirshfield

            Ah geez. Thanks.

        4. LE

          Like Seinfeld, things that you say are starting to be 20% funnier just because you said them.

          1. JimHirshfield

            Thanks. I appreciate that appreciation.

      2. ShanaC

        no. time to catch up post mother’s day 🙂

    2. awaldstein

      I agree and don’t.It’s harmless but where do you draw the line and say, it’s just a phrase. I remember that first time I became conscious that yiddish words like ‘schwartza’ although not hateful within the culture were indeed a slur of bigotry that had become acculturated.

    3. LE

      Lighten up,Telling someone to lighten up will be viewed as a put down and as being parental. It also doesn’t acknowledge that people care about different things and not only is that “ok” it’s actually good.Imagine for example you are sitting on a plane next to Jack Welsh the legendary CEO of General Electric. And you tell Jack to “lighten up”. Would you? My guess is that the majority of people wouldn’t do that. They would be very choosy about their words.Look as I’ve said I don’t care about music or sports at all but I fully understand why others on this blog (including Fred) do care about that.As someone who in the past was critized for “spending time playing on the computer” or “in the basement darkroom hiding” or (when I was married later) “upstairs doing work while we are downstairs with family!” I can fully appreciate that there are people out there who feel they have a right to decide what should be important to someone else. But you know there are dozens of things all of us do that others don’t care about and that’s the way it is.

      1. Tom Labus

        Jeeze,.lighten up

    4. Emily Merkle

      So what is the optimal day and time to have a discussion such as this?Put it on Fred’s schedule.

  3. Anne Libby

    Bring it, Fred!

  4. scottythebody

    I have to fight against this all the time. A lot of people here have a habit of saying “we’re going to hire a systems guy” or some such crap and it makes me cringe.This is one of the key failings of the English language. We have a very ambiguous second person plural pronoun. In German we have a specific word that means “you all” and in the South they have a very good one with y’all 😉

  5. JimHirshfield

    Thanks for manning up…er…taking on this issue.In all seriousness, gender in language is weird. I think English is less gender specific than other languages. So, don’t we have it better?When I read the title, it reminded me of the offensive: “you people”.

    1. bsoist

      @ShanaC:disqus has mentioned using people a couple of times in the comments and I keep thinking “you people need to get your …” 🙂

  6. WA

    Maybe just Americana Hollywood movie line hangover that is indelibly, trans-generationally and now ignorantly burned into the American psyche. The phrase reminds me of Bogart movies when ever I hear it. Great catch.

  7. JimHirshfield

    How did the recruiting go? Were there lots of candidates in attendance?

  8. awaldstein

    I don’t use the term.I consciously haven’t use ‘him’ or ‘hers’ generically in my writing for years.So I agree.But I also don’t take the proactive and use ‘her’. Neutrality against age, sex, race, difference has been my view for as long as I can remember.

  9. Emily Merkle

    “Hey, team” or “you folks” or “people!” work fine. Why refer to “them” as a gender-skewed group at all – or a generic group at all?

    1. Steve_Dodd

      I tend to use “folks” and so far have had no issues. I cannot bring myself to using y’all as coming from a ‘Northerner” just doesn’t have the right ring to it.

      1. Emily Merkle

        Yeah, it is hard to pull off a y’all with no dialect, much less Southie or Jersey.

  10. JLM

    .In Texas, we don’t like folks to actually know this but I guess the secret’s out.If you eat country ham, grits with a lot of butter, BBQ, TexMex and breakfast tacos — your mouth will naturally form the contraction ya’ll (arguably the correct spelling of y’all but not going to quibble).Understand ya’ll will also start saying “bidness”, you know like the “erl bidness, ya’ll.”Have a nice damn day, ya’ll.There is an alternate approach also. Call some Southern women “you guys” and they will smack the spit right out of you curing the problem in a more direct manner.JLM.

    1. Brad Dickason

      As a fellow Texan, my mind immediately went here upon reading Fred’s post. I had to work very hard, growing up in Dallas, not to let this one slip into my vocabulary. 😛

    2. sigmaalgebra

      Yes, Texas: Read one yesterday, poor guy, the girl was 16 and with her mother’s permission they got married, but in Texas the age of consent is 17, so he just got arrested on suspicion of having sex with an underage girl! Tough state!

  11. Mark Birch

    If you are going to take issue with “you guys”, then you may want to examine the phrase “open the kimono”. It is also sexist.

    1. fredwilson

      i take that as great advice. i will stop using that now as well.

      1. Anne Libby

        @EmilyMerkle:disqus also mentions the b-word elsewhere on the thread…

        1. JamesHRH

          This is so First World.When I get bored driving long distance, I throw the Comedy channels from Sirius on. Holy Toledo. Black comics N-word bombing, female black comics B&*ch bombing, F bombs from just about everybody – surprisingly though comics of other backgrounds do not use the respective slurs (don’t know if you heard, but Crack Smoking Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was recently recorded covering off about 5 off these groups – nice).You are proposing to build a thick membrane / bubble around yourself and the real world Anne.I am not saying that people should speak like that, I am saying that an authentic person speaks authentically. People who speak in a monstrously bland, unimaginative manner, will show that they are hyper sensitive to other people’s feelings, which, at least, will be authentic for them

          1. Cam MacRae

            For a bloke who isn’t here to talk language gender politics you’re sure making a good fist of it 😉

          2. JamesHRH

            I am talking about taking a good idea too far, no?You got me though – boring morning of grunt work.

          3. Anne Libby

            Seriously, not wanting women — or for that matter, men — to be referred to as female dogs, too sensitive?I can’t even.

          4. JamesHRH

            Doesn’t ‘don’t be Google’s bitch’ refer to the position that the Alpha female has in a wolf pack?That is what I thought it meant & I think it is graphic reminder to not put yourself in a position where you cannot control your destiny.

          5. Emily Merkle

            “Being Google’s bitch” is a slam – it is the assertion that said man or woman is unable to effectively manage a business relationship with GOOG. “bitch” here refers to slave/do-boy (or do-girl)/pawn. It is not gender-specific. One of the only times “bitch” is not.

          6. Emily Merkle

            In a professional setting I always speak authentically. In every setting I speak authentically. My authenticity can sabotage me. i am brutally honest. Often a little too enthusiastic and spontaneous. But I am never, ever disrespectful, coarse, sexist, racist, moronic, lazy, or rude. I also do not consciously break my back to be uber-PC. That is obnoxious. I don’t know if I am doing it right or not, but I have found i am anathema to corporate environments and thrive in smaller, nimble startups – where the behavior and language police are typically not on payroll.

    2. ShanaC

      also gypped. I have a friend who calls me out on that (not nice to the roma)

      1. JamesHRH

        I do not know how prevalent this one is, but I realized in my early 20’s what ‘he Jewed me’ (same meaning as gypped) was referring to.I literally grew up in an environment where the phrase was used, but I had never seen it written down, so it did not trigger. I remember thinking that I could not believe I had been talking so ignorantly.

    3. Richard Carlow

      While “open the kimono” is a loaded term, how is it sexist? Men and women both wear them.

  12. Aaron Klein

    I once worked in an office where my coworkers were 18 women and I was the only man. So I have a tiny little bit of experience in what it feels like to be underrepresented. (My coworkers were largely great, so I have little experience with sexism.)I don’t think we fix sexism and exclusion in the workplace by stressing out on a phrase. When we pretend that saying “you guys” is a symbol of sexism, that takes the focus off the real issues: when people have a lack of respect for another person or their work because of their gender.It would have bothered me far more if someone had belittled my work than the many times someone said “ladies, where are we going to lunch? And oh, Aaron too.”

    1. andyswan

      Exactly. Labeling stuff like “you guys” as doubleplusbad does nothing other than make people lawyer up their day to day conversations.

      1. Emily Merkle

        Hey Dude, The expression is “cray-cray”.

        1. andyswan

          You guys be trippin

          1. Donna Brewington White

            Ha! I scrolled past this comment several times before it even occurred to me that you had used the word guys.

          2. andyswan

            “You guys are crazy” = all of you, regardless of gender are crazy”I want guys to pick up the check” = I want the male to buy the dinner It’s really not difficult to understand. I’ve never seen “you guys” be intended as gender-specific. Ever. My wife will tell a table of 6 ladies “you guys we should definitely get the cheese bread” and not think twice. Of all the non-issues, this is the most non.

          3. kidmercury

            agreed. i use the term sparingly — not because of any conscious PC reasons but simply because of how my vocabulary has evolved — but many, perhaps most, women i know use the term “you guys” in conversations with other groups of females only. this is not because they hate themselves, or view themselves as inferior, or any of that. half of them are ambitious, smart, educated, blah blah blah. simply because nobody cares. agreed this is the trump card of non issues. just glad this convo came up on a semi-vacation day for me, as i’m enjoying the pointless beefs in this thread!

          4. Donna Brewington White

            I revert to “you guys” occasionally but it’s there with “oh my gosh”Semi-vacation? You celebrating?

          5. kidmercury

            sort of — i’m between jobs now, so a bit of an unintentional vacation. although i did get engaged a couple weeks back, so i have the unintentional vacation is letting me celebrate that a bit more! 🙂

          6. Donna Brewington White

            That’s amazing news! Congratulations! (re #2, that is…#1 probably sucks but I imagine it’s short-lived)

          7. JamesHRH

            Ha! Me 2.

      2. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Don’t worry your pretty little head about it, Andy.

        1. andyswan

          wouldn’t think of it, sweetheart

    2. JamesHRH

      +1000.Let me count the number of times I was offended when an activity leader or teacher said ‘Moms’ when I was the only male parent in the room.0.

      1. ShanaC


        1. JamesHRH

          Y 🙁 ?

          1. ShanaC

            because no one is conscious of you in parent meetings at school. Just not nice.

          2. JamesHRH

            Ah, you know, put yourself in that person’s shoes. They have been teaching for 25 years, its been 100% Moms for the first 15 and 99% Moms for the last 10.No big whoop – just don’t lose my kid at the zoo.

          3. Emily Merkle

            The teachers are lucky to be conscious, period. Parent meetings are for the entire class, usually at night when parents can attend – after teaching all day.

      2. LE

        Let me count the number of times I was offended when an activity leader or teacher said ‘Moms’ when I was the only male parent in the room.That’s what I call an auto reaction similar to how you immediately blurt out “I”m sorry” when someone tells you that a relative died. Not that you were offended but that they used “moms”. It’s the first thing that came to mind given the group dynamic. It would take effort to unring that mind bell and prevent it from happening.

        1. JamesHRH

          Yo, @EmilyMerkle:disqus – that’s what I’m talking about!

          1. Emily Merkle

            I do hear you.

          2. JamesHRH


      3. Donna Brewington White

        I tried to be conscious of that when recruiting extensively for toy and children’s products companies at one time. We used the term “moms and kids” marketing and I tried to switch it to “parents and kids.” Although in the back of my mind it nagged at me because in our family, even though my husband is frequently in a similar situation as you, I’m the one marketers need to influence.

        1. JamesHRH

          Had one of the students yesterday use the phrase ‘Target Market’. Now, there is a phrase that needs to go away.They are ‘people we want to help’ or ‘our customers’ or something that is not transactional & impersonal.

          1. Donna Brewington White

            How about target audience?Yes, markets are made up of individuals on the micro level but on a macro level can’t you see targeting the “market”? I like the idea of being an individual but like it or not, people do fall into behavior categories based on certain demographics. We can’t all be mavericks like you, James. 😉

        2. CJ

          In my family though, influencing me is as important as influencing my wife. We’re both just as likely to buy the toys or discover them. I wonder if they miss out in those situations.

          1. Donna Brewington White

            Knowing you through comments, Malcolm, this does not surprise me in the least. I hate to fall into sterotypes but when it comes to athletic gear, even for my daughter, my husband is more involved with the decision or the actual purchase itself. But then he was an athlete in school — I was not. Our kids jokingly call us the Brains (me) and the Brawn (him) — because he tends to do more of the work around the house, i.e., housework. Ha, I guess we do defy many of the stereotypes, but not all of them…I once recruited a marketing exec from a promotions agency that had Burger King as a client. Their target was young dads. I laughed upon hearing this because the only one of us EVER to take our kids to Burger King was my husband! He’s the fun one.

      4. andyswan

        Michelle O obviously thinks of girls as 2nd class citizens when visiting classrooms:

        1. JamesHRH

          I noticed that Fred mentioned that it is not a gender based issue, in that women use the term. But, this usage almost gives it a gender neutral feel, which is, of course, possible while being a really dumb outcome.Huh.

      5. CJ

        That’s what happens when you’re a member of the societal majority. Men don’t get offended because we aren’t underrepresented in society at large, instead we think it’s cute that all the women pander to us in a ‘Moms group’ or consider our feelings when making obviously female inspired or directed decisions. It’s quaint. It’s not normal for our experience in other parts of society so we don’t take any special note of it.But imagine that you’re entire life was like that. Everywhere you went you were always an afterthought? Ladies…and gentleman of the board. Let’s give a round of applause to our Chairwoman…err…chairman….err….chairperson on and on and on. You might not be all that hurt by it but I would be that you’d notice it more and maybe it would irk you a bit from time to time.It’s a relic and I see no reason to hold on to something that no longer reflects to makeup of current society. That said, I don’t think it’s a particularly offensive or hurtful relic. But a relic all the same.

        1. JamesHRH

          Point is understood but not taken.More people should focus on what matters Does it affect my pay packe?t my job description? Did you lose my kid @ the zoo?I have stood out of the crowd since I was 12 – 6″ tall, albino blonde & had a famous ( US equivalent = state wide fame in Kansas ) father.It taught me to focus on the important things & to quickly decide b/t important & trivial.Derogatory slang? Important. The words ‘guys’, ‘gay marriage’ ? Not so much.

    3. Emily Merkle

      Gender-neutral is not difficult. Gender-specific parsing is overboard.

    4. ShanaC

      I wouldn’t say it is lack of respect. I would say most of the sexism I encounter is subconscious*. Consciously, they do respect me. When I do see sexism, I would say a lot of it is culturally induced.*Ironically, something about me the person makes sure that I don’t seem to run into much. Speculation as to why is that is – I strike fear into people’s hearts because I take the person I talk to very seriously when I talk to them. There is something about someone who respects you in conversations in a very non-casual way that makes it harder for people to be disrespectful

      1. Aaron Klein

        What is your definition of sexism?

        1. ShanaC

          As a general rule – not equal respect/large amounts of general awkwardness/restriction of behavior because I’m female.I’ve been in many a situation where I actually can’t do something because I’m female. A good subtle example of this would be the followingI have a friendly acquaintance who I think is raising money right now for a startup. She’s openly complained that she can’t go raise money in a t-shirt and flip flops (she’s an operations person), and that there is definitely pressure on her (and me to some extent) to dress in very expensive clothing. She gets less respect in meetings if she does (this has been tested)My cofounder (otoh) if he felt like raising money with me, could actually show up in a t-shirt, jeans and sneakers and no one would blink an eye, even if he was doing operations (he’s not…)In theory, everyone should have the same dress code for these sorts of things – in practice, this hasn’t happened.

          1. Aaron Klein

            “As a general rule – not equal respect/large amounts of general awkwardness/restriction of behavior because I’m female.”That’s exactly the lack of respect I was talking about. Sexism is a lack of respect because of difference in gender.

          2. ShanaC

            but there is no conscious reason for the above situation with dress code to happen – it is sheer unconscious lack of respect. No one would go to the woman in the example and say she is “less smart” than a guy in the same operations role. But they are less likely to give her money in fundraising if she dresses the same way.

          3. JamesHRH

            Two methods:1) eliminate all potential hurdles between you and the outcome.2) don’t.When choosing option 2, complaining not allowed.

          4. ShanaC

            she’s doing 1 -hence she has the right to complain.But it would be better to not be in the situation at all

          5. JamesHRH

            I am with Aaron. If she showed up in flip flops and asked me for help (let alone $$$), I would put her in group 2).

          6. Aaron Klein

            I wouldn’t invest in a male or female who shows up for the most important pitch of their life in flip-flops.On the other hand, I’m not that interested in disappearing photos.

          7. LE

            But the thing is you aren’t the only investor being pitched. This isn’t doing IVY league interviews or anything. Or a Rhodes scholarship. [1]And perhaps if that is the way you feel you wouldn’t be a good fit for that group going forward? (Canary in the coal mine).Look, on my first date with my wife she showed up in what I thought at the time was a pretty drab shirt. I kind of liked the fact that she was that casual as she was less critical of me (and that has been the case). I was casual as well. We hit it off.[1] The flip side of this is to always do research on your opponent. It wouldn’t be a stretch to figure out that Aaron Klein was a clean cut guy and to err on the safe side. I hate people who don’t do research and would disqualify someone based on not stalking at least a bit.

          8. ShanaC

            Also, random note to any of the posts you see here – I come from a place with much stricter/brighter lines on what is expected with gendered behavior.It still hasn’t settled in my mind that I’m not by any traditional standard of where I come from a “good girl” but by secular Us standards I am..(Or rather, I’m not aidel/eidel…and I can’t find a good definition of that word….)

          9. LE

            Tell them about where you had to sit in the synagogue.

          10. ShanaC

            forget where I sit in shul, orthodox judaism doesn’t give women the right to witness in court cases, weddings, conversions, annulling contracts, contracts, except in a few very rare exceptions.Beit Dins in NY State I believe have binding arbitration rights for many cases. The fact that I can’t witness creates fair trial issues.http://ir.lawnet.fordham.ed…Seats ain’t nothin’. Ability to be active in jurisprudence, that is worth something.

          11. LE

            Hah. I actually went through a “get” and took pictures and videos during the “ceremony”. Boy did they think that was strange.”And perhaps were you walking down the street and someone walked up and told you to get out of the marriage that is where you got the idea, right? So you don’t want to do this, do you?”(Was literally a dozen questions just like that, several prayers, and some 6 rabbis in training who drove in 60 miles to be part of the event).

          12. ShanaC

            The laws of gets (jewish divorces) is a highly contentious feminist issue. The reality is the only real way out the get issue is to change the way jewish marriages are done – but that’s impossible as long as women do not have equal rights under jewish law (if they did, the act of buying the gal in the marriage wouldn’t work.)And they are checking it is from you. And thank goodness you got a Get. If someone wanted to move to israel who was a child of your ex-wife post second message, the no-get issue would prevent that kid from getting married..(again, if you’re reading this, remember, no one blinking an eye about the issues of women’s rights in a marriage as a way out of the issue of divorces is totally normal. That sort of sexism and what it leads to is much more overt than anything we could talk about here. You’re lucky in that way.)

          13. JamesHRH

            that b cray cray 😉

          14. ShanaC

            *shrug* it does mean my views on feminism are different because I’ve had some very different cultural experiences about being a girl.

          15. LE

            She’s openly complained that she can’t go raise money in a t-shirt and flip flopsHey. You have to be that crazy driver that others look out for!I got my first big account wearing dungarees and a down vest (was the 80’s btw.) selling against Xerox professional salesmen who were definitely absolutely wearing suits.I think if anything it helped me flatten the corporate tools. Back then the only people who didn’t get dressed up were mechanics and repairmen. This wasn’t the day of hoodies or anything close to that. (Ask JLM or Arnold I’m sure they can verify the 70’s and 80’s dress code.)What I found was that it created a contrast [1] between what they thought I was (“who is this fucking guy!”) and what I actually said which got me the business.Along those lines you might want to actually pick a mode of dress that is a few steps down from what a male slacker would do.[1] Contrast principle.

          16. awaldstein

            In Brick and Mortar days of the early 90s, I wore a suite every single day.If you were selling $100M of products into distribution in tech, you wore a suit and learned to play golf.Not at all so anymore thankfully.

          17. Emily Merkle

            Sexism: I went on a first interview in the evening during the week. After an hour and good conversation, the guy came on to me – tried to kiss me.

          18. ShanaC

            I purposely schedule to not do things like that.

      2. LE

        I would say most of the sexism I encounter is subconscious*. Consciously, they do respect me.An example of what I meant by “auto reaction”. Just like when you tell someone you are sorry that their relative died you aren’t really sorry. [1] It’s just a necessary social grace that shows that you care enough to say the right thing (which goes a long way I must say as someone who was recently on the receiving end of “sorry for your loss”).[1] I’m not saying that nobody is sorry, really, but that the majority of people who say “I’m sorry” feel nothing at all.

        1. ShanaC

          shifting the auto-reaction behavior is harder.

          1. JamesHRH

            Actually, shifting out of auto-reaction more is what people need to do.Perversely, offensive language is usually part of forming those engaged bonds and real relationships. I am pretty sure I have seen studies showing that swearing is a signal of close relationship status.

          2. LE

            Problem with that, imo, is that it causes mind stuttering.One of the theories that I’ve heard on why people stutter is that they were criticized as a child. Consequently having to interrupt the natural flow of thought will greatly impact creative flow of ideas. Because you will be worrying about saying the right thing. One of the reasons people probably have a fear of speaking in front of crowds but can easily speak in front of two people. (You are on higher alert and more aware of what you are saying simplistically).

    5. sigmaalgebra

      Hmm, let me see, now: It was one guy in a seraglio of 18 women, listening to Mozart all day, getting drenched in sympathy and TLC, “Oh, Aaron, let me get you some fresh coffee!”, and you would have been “bothered? I don’t think so!

      1. JamesHRH

        Actually, a good friend once worked as the sole male lawyer in the legal department of a major energy company.HIs conclusion: ‘Uh, a single office group made up almost entirely of one gender is a toxic situation waiting to happen.’

        1. sigmaalgebra

          I can believe that there can be problems. In one office, there was a woman who took it upon herself to welcome each new man to the office; she ‘welcomed’ him ‘personally’, just the two of them, in a closet, with the door shut.In my grade school, at recess, the girls were all on the south side of the grounds and the boys, all on the north side with NO crossing over. Someone thought that it was better to keep the boys and girls apart.I’m not big on hiring ‘ninja, rock star’ programmers except maybe as consultants; I’d rather just take some people with good qualifications and train them. E.g., it’s easy to teach and learn computing at the level of if-then-else, do-while, call-return, allocate-free, try-catch, class definition, database schema, etc. The bottlenecks are mostly due to the general really low quality documentation and most easily overcome with consulting back to, say, the vendors — since it’s their product and crude documentation, let them iron out the kinks.I was very successful teaching my wife about computing, and she did quite well right away. So, if I can find some people, including women, who want to work and who look good in every way except they don’t know if-then-else, fine with me; I’ll hire them as ‘trainees’ and in six months promote, reassign, or fire them.But I hope I don’t get office romances, cliques, ‘girl talk’ gossip, talking about others behind their backs, battles of the sexes, etc.Some men believe that raising a skirt is both their right and obligation, and some women don’t object. I’ll try to keep it ‘all business’. But you might be right.

          1. Emily Merkle

            Office romances are inevitable. And as far as i am concerned, as long as they are consensual, not an abuse of power, and professional while OTJ – why the hell not.

          2. sigmaalgebra

            I hope they don’t happen. But they will happen. If they do, then I hope they won’t cause problems. If they do cause problems, then I’m torqued.For me? No thanks, no way. Why:Girls (i.e., any human female with the intention of flattery)? As my comments here at AVC clearly show, I like girls, I really like girls. I like to see girls happy and smiling. One girl I discussed here on AVC, I liked her smiles so much I suspected I could give up food and water and just live on her smiles. My first emotions are caretaking, protection, and affection. For some of the aspirations for girls, I’m afraid the girls are on the way to getting hurt, and I don’t like that.Recently, say, while doing a computer incremental backup, I’ve watched a DVD of the original ‘King Kong’. The first scenes are really nice, show that back in 1933 what the some of the attitudes were on situations between the sexes, of course, between the Fay Wray character Ann Darrow and the rest of the project. So, Ann says, “Don’t you think the captain is a sweet old lamb?”. Well, to her, maybe. And, the first mate, quickly he gets protective of Ann. And the leader of the project, the Robert Armstrong character Carl Denham, warns about the dangers of romance in the project. Such attitudes made sense all the way back to 1933 and likely still do.If too many of the women an office regard the CEO as a “sweet old lamb”, then some of the men in the audience can suspect favoritism, and problems can grow from there. I’m vulnerable to some pretty, PBK English major programming trainee from Vassar regarding me as “sweet” and a “lamb”, and I may have to put on my Patton ‘face’, Marine DI attitude, “kick ass and take names”, and give an in-house applied math course were even the best students can get only 1/3rd of the exercises to correct the situation.Occasionally here I am so supportive of some of the aspirations, talents, and potential of girls that I tease Fred by suggesting that maybe, really, GG is the key to USV! :-)! And, maybe I’m not wrong!But, for me, personally, for myself, in an office, romance is a total no-no: Why? Because, no matter what, e.g., what you said about how to have everything okay, office romances can be, in a word, DANGEROUS. Darned dangerous. Risky. And not just ‘romances’ but just anything involving S.E.X. Dangerous stuff.It can boil down to “he said; she said” with massive negative consequences and the truth never out. What was it, Hurd at HP, “GitHub CEO Tom Preston-Werner is cleared but still resigns”, Bill (‘the WH interns’ friend’) Clinton, Eliot Spitzer and prostitution, the US Secret Service and R&R to Central America, a midnight walk on the beach in Aruba with Natalee Holloway, and on and on. It’s DANGEROUS. Are some men guilty? Sure. All the men? Likely not. Will we ever know for sure? Nope.To me, anything having to do with S.E.X. outside of a long term, committed, monogamous, romantic relationship, better yet such a relationship with marriage, risks problems — legal, financial, business, medical, and emotional. No thanks. The candle is not worth the match.

      2. Aaron Klein

        Uh yeah, not that kind of office.My boss was an amazing executive who kicked butt and took names. It was a rough culture and she brilliantly fought for me and my team, blocked and tackled and we managed to get a lot done in spite of the challenges.If I needed a job, I’d go back to work for her any day of the week.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          Fred, Aaron’s got a candidate guest post here! Have him describe his manager who “brilliantly fought for me and my team, blocked and tackled and we managed to get a lot down in spite of the challenges”!

    6. CJ

      I think as a member of the group that ‘guys’ refers to, we naturally don’t take offense to the term’s use. However, I wonder if women were the dominant sex in the workplace or this country and men were commonly referred to as ‘ladies’ or ‘you girls’ or ‘chairwoman’ instead of ‘chairman’ if these phrases/old societal norms would stick or if we would be so quick to dismiss them as irrelevant.

  13. Anthony Serina

    “folks” is an alternative. Pretty corporate term but it works.

    1. fredwilson

      i’ve been using that a lot lately

    2. JamesHRH

      ugh.Its like calling someone ‘friend’. Fake + ingratiating = widely adopted as US LargeCo Execspeak.

  14. Michael John Carley

    One of many to say this, I’m sure…But due to having the same issue with that phrase, I’ve been using “y’all” for decades.And I have never lived in the south, btw, but somehow I get away with it 🙂

  15. Emily Merkle

    “You guys” is just rather dismissive / diminishing, whether or not the amorphous group being addressed contains females or not.

    1. Evan


    2. JamesHRH

      That says more about you than anything else.

      1. Emily Merkle

        And what exactly does it say about me?

        1. JamesHRH

          It says you are someone who sees yourself as dismissible.

          1. Emily Merkle

            Interesting interpretation. But off the mark. Just because I can identify linguistic impression does not de facto mean I too am impacted. One might argue that if you can identify the macro issue, you are immune to the effects.

  16. JamesHRH

    Please. Enough.Self editing = censorship.If you cannot deal with me using male pronouns for 3P, you are not tough enough to make it in the real world.Social media + political correctness = the biggest bully pulpit in history.

    1. Emily Merkle

      No. The “real world” of successful business ventures is populated by professional, skilled men and women who need not complete a sexist obstacle course to advance to full-salary status.Be mature and respectful. Just as in treating anyone.”Yo, my homeboys” is not okay either.

      1. JamesHRH

        Let’s see…….Jay Z doing pretty good. Dr Dre just had a nice exit too.More progress has been halted or stalled by people playing politics that any other easily labelled human activity.At a certain point, you Lean In and get things done.I just spent yesterday talking to a diverse group of top notch students – . I actually caught myself, once, saying ‘those guys’ when referring to a 3P, abstract group and added ‘hey, or gals’, as I was in an informal conversation with a man & a woman.But, if you are going to stop listening to me because I say ‘those guys’, you are too worried about being PC and not worried enough (not even close to enough) about getting things done.

        1. Emily Merkle

          …and if you, as senior management / board / VC don’t feel invested enough in your enterprise and your team to be more conscientious about simple but significant personal company communication tones and overtures, you deliberately reject a expense-neutral opportunity to raise the bar in the workplace.

          1. JamesHRH

            I disagree on expense neutral. And who said I am deliberately rejecting the idea. I have just had enough of Fred peeving on this topic.

          2. Emily Merkle

            It costs not a red cent to address your employees as “team”; “crew”; “people” when the need for mass-addressing arises.

          3. JamesHRH

            It is I have spend time training myself. And, I would use ‘us’ or ‘we’ anyways.

          4. Emily Merkle

            Perhaps you should consider a career change.

          5. JamesHRH

            Thank you for proving my point.You would not want to benefit from my 20 years of experience because I fail a minor element of your language policing policy.One of us is focused on results; the other is focused on poltics.

          6. Emily Merkle

            That is a tad below the belt, and I am feeling that this is getting personal – unnecessarily.

          7. JamesHRH

            FWIW – it was not personal from my end.Its not that I think that words are not worth talking about, its just that this particular topic is not derogatory, dismissive or deliberate. Surely, I could make a list of words that are not appropriate to use because they carry that intent.Guys would not be on it.Its over the line, language police-wise.

          8. Emily Merkle

            You are entitled to your opinion, as we all are. Labeling those who disagree with you the “language police”, complaining about this day’s content, and in general overstating your position to the point of degrading your logic is just overkill. Log off if it’s that incendiary.

          9. JamesHRH

            Now that’s personal!As I tell my kids, when discussing our interactions (theirs’ with children mostly, but I have similar interactions with adults) – just b/c people say something, it does not make it true.I enjoy AVC. I am an active participant. I have merely stated my opinion and debated some of your statements.Look closely – I have not called anyone a name and I explicitly tell people they are free to do whatever they feel is right.People tell me to go away……do the emotional math there.FWIW – my logic cannot be degraded, but it can be upgraded!

          10. Emily Merkle

            okay, detente….I know you enjoy AVC. I enjoy debating. i will express one opinion – I don’t think your critique of Fred’s topic choice for today was very respectful.I do not know anything about your background, but the reality is, the tech workplace – to date mainly male – is changing in terms of gender makeup. And we do need to rethink some communication practices we may have previously just considered the status quo. Rethinking tehe status quo & debating is not a deployment of language police who will impede a purely results-driven organization. It’s just a recognition of an undeniable sea-change, and the consideration that with it may be a requirement for some adaptations. that’s it.

          11. JamesHRH

            Wow. Respect.

          12. Emily Merkle

            I can get caught up in something I feel strongly about and get a little rowdy, but I am usually able to step back and reframe. I apologize for being inappropriately harsh.

          13. JamesHRH

            No apology required. Loved your last comment. Still don’t agree mind you, but hey!I am sure this will shock you – I am not known for my empathy.Did you know that Drew Carey replaced Bob Barker on The Price is Right based on that trait alone? They loved his resume but said they would not have given him the gig without his world class level of empathy (putting people at ease when they are on stage is really important).It really matters, as do words. For me, its all about perspective and limits.

          14. Emily Merkle

            I am a gooey empathy center wrapped in a crunchy candy coating.I may be closer to this topic because of things I have experienced even in pivotal roles at mostly-male startups. That is why i work for myself now.

    2. pointsnfigures


    3. fredwilson

      clearly i am not tough enough to make it in the real world, but i cannot deal with that anymore.

      1. JamesHRH

        You can and should do whatever it is that you feel you should do.I don’t come to AVC to talk language gender politics.On the list of things that are worth thinking about in this world, its in the 1000s.My guess is that you have posted on this 4 times in the last 2 months.Next topic please.

        1. fredwilson

          then don’t come. i am serious. i write about stuff that matters to me. this matters to me.

          1. Emily Merkle

            I could not agree more. Home field advantage is in play.

          2. JamesHRH

            Do what you feel you should do is what I typed.Politics – micro & macro – seems to be the most preeminent topic on your mind lately.Startups is why most of your audience comes.Like most media talent, you are at the crossroads – satisfy your audience or satisfy yourself.

          3. Emily Merkle

            I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I come for Fred’s finger-on-the-pulse content and personal itches – and for intelligent, rational community discussion.

          4. kidmercury

            personally i come for the education and the beefs. primarily tech ones, though ones like these can also be great fun.

          5. Kirsten Lambertsen

            I came to get to know Fred. It’s his place. Getting to know all of you was an awesome benefit.

          6. Emily Merkle

            I am happy to say i have come to know Fred and his humility, perspective, and commitment are a draw for me.

          7. LE

            To me these are the best types of posts.I’m waiting for the one on Donald Sterling and the Clippers.

        2. fredwilson

          to be clear, i am all for debating this topic. that’s what is going on right now.but to suggest that i should not bring it up, when this is my blog, is not acceptable to me

          1. falicon

            Cranky this morning! ;-)I didn’t read it as telling you what to write about, I read it as saying he wasn’t personally interested and was personally ready for the next topic.

          2. JamesHRH

            That is what I was going to reply………

          3. Emily Merkle

            No, in saying “satisfy your audience or satisfy yourself” you drew a content directive line in the sand.

          4. kidmercury

            have to agree with your assessment of the beef….well done!

          5. LE

            I read it as saying he wasn’t personally interested and was personally ready for the next topic.But the way it was said was:a) Parental andb) in tone, a clear put down. Like saying “This isn’t important to me and you therefore clearly aren’t as worthy..”Hence disrespectful and clearly not observing the pecking order.I was at a board meeting with an older silver haired crotchitee guy (looks like Steny Hoyer) and he said something similar in tone about some initiative that was of importance to me. And as he started to ramble on in a disrespectful way I cut him off and flattened him (verbally) and literally started to yell (I never do that as I think it’s the lazy way out but this guy so annoyed me I did in this case).Next thing I know he wasn’t being cc’d on any emails. Found out he quit the board. Bark was bigger than his bite I’m guessing.

          6. bsoist

            maybe you should read it again

    4. Kirsten Lambertsen

      So, you won’t mind if I call a group of 3, “ladies” then.

      1. JamesHRH

        Fill your boots.

  17. LIAD

    the meaning of communication is the response you feeling uncomfortable by saying ‘you guys’ is less important than how they felt by you saying it.can one be offensive if no offence is taken?#gender-neutral-language-quagmire.

    1. Emily Merkle

      Just because someone is “okay” with being addressed a certain way does not make the comfort of the addresser less or not important. May I refer to the N-word.

      1. LIAD

        let’s not talk about specific you think people can be offensive if no offence is taken?

        1. Emily Merkle

          Yes. Communicating with different generations, for example, may allow for nomenclature the younger generation is comfortable with, but the older, not so much. Or vice-versa. Offensiveness is nit solely in the mind of the target.

      2. pointsnfigures

        N word is a really bad example. Do you use that in business speech? Only a street slang word. Used to hear it all the time when I played hoops, but never ever used it.

        1. Emily Merkle

          I was using it as an example without context.

  18. BillMcNeely

    I agree with the premise Fred but being from Jersey , even spending half my life down South, I can’t shake “you guys” from my vocabulary.

    1. Emily Merkle

      Youse guys.

      1. Tom Labus

        while smoking a cigar

  19. Maureen Scott

    Someone ask Ben Evans if he think Y’all will go down in Britain!

    1. Emily Merkle

      “Old chap”

      1. Maureen Scott


        1. Emily Merkle

          It kind of seems like “gentlemen” is quite appropriate, while the converse “ladies” is diminishing.

          1. Maureen Scott

            Have you ever been referred to as “you gals?” Ummmm what year is it? 1950?

          2. Maureen Scott

            Although of course the word “lady” has an entirely different connotation in the UK as in “Lord & Lady!”

          3. Emily Merkle

            I can’t bring to mind a modern, milquetoast way to address a group of professional women.

          4. Maureen Scott

            I am an ex-pat American based in London. I was the only female on the board of the UK’s Mobile Marketing Association and most of the companies/teams I have worked with have been male dominated. I’m convinced SmartPhones will change it all and make girls aware of how fun technology has become…especially SmartPhones…! I was once called a glamourous geek in a meeting. funny ha and funny odd.

          5. Emily Merkle

            I have been on the receiving end of “bitch”. Business is not for the faint of heart – or sensibility.

          6. Anne Libby

            I’d be willing to bet on the number of female AVC readers who have been subject to that lovely comparison (and everything it implies.)

          7. ShanaC

            I don’t think I have.

          8. Anne Libby

            I’m glad!

          9. pointsnfigures

            We could go to the “your grace” from Game of Thrones

          10. Emily Merkle

            I have worked in digital media primarily in Biz Dev, typically a testosterone-riddled department.

          11. JamesHRH

            I like Frank Sinatra too.

          12. Donna Brewington White

            Hate it.In my 20s, I interviewed with someone who told me to stop by his girl’s desk to get his business card. Instead, I just walked by her desk without stopping.

          13. JamesHRH


          14. Cam MacRae

            Quite inappropriate if one works for a living.

          15. Donna Brewington White

            Ha! I love how you think.

          16. Cam MacRae

            Right back at ya.

          17. Donna Brewington White

            I’ve found myself addressing women as just that. Women. I love the way it sounds. And as my mother says, not all women are “ladies.” ;)If someone is referring to me as a lady due to an assessment of my deportment, then I love it. Plus…well…my name actually means Lady. Gotta love that!

  20. pointsnfigures

    Understand your sentiment. But, I find actions speak louder than words. Treating people as you want to be treated means a lot more than what you say. Bearing that in mind, how we say things can matter. Same words mean different things to different people.

    1. fredwilson

      i am a fan of both at the same time

    2. LE

      But, I find actions speak louder than words.Agree with that but there is always a rush to snap judgement based on words. Actions and reality are why an actual trial takes quite a bit of time.I think Sterling was in line for an NAACP award prior to the revelation about the tape.

  21. Chris Peterson

    Thanks for this. When I was a waiter in high school, I was (rightly) called out by a woman at a mixed table for asking “what can I get you guys.” I went to a southern school for one year and the only thing I kept was “y’all” for 2PP. I say it the way I would say anything else (don’t drawl at all) and (somewhat surprisingly) never get weird looks, and if anyone ever asks, I give them this explanation.Good luck!

    1. Emily Merkle

      “You guys” is sometimes used and accepted as a colloquial, casual address by a stranger, perhaps as in your example at the restaurant.

      1. Chris Peterson

        Well, in this case it was used, but not accepted; ever since, I have made every effort to be gender neutral in 2PP by default.

        1. Emily Merkle

          I imagine the experience hard-wired the messaging.

  22. Christopher Herbert

    Y’all is where it’s at. Move to Atlanta, problem solved.

  23. Emily Merkle

    What about “yo”? That us a direct call for attention, needing no target add-on…

  24. Mark Gavagan

    I hadn’t thought much about it until now.I can see the point of how it could be sexist, in the sense that it’s men being addressed within a mixed crowd, but I also see the phrase “you guys” as a genderless expression in the vernacular.I doubt most users of the phrase intend to be offensive, but as my friend Willa Edgerton-Chisler taught me, the way I intend something is not necessarily the way it will impact people who receive it. I’d like to know how most people, especially women, feel about it.

    1. Emily Merkle

      It’s diminishing, whether you are male or female. Condescending. Patronizing.

      1. Mark Gavagan

        Thank you @EmilyMerkle:disqusI hope lots of people follow your lead and share their opinions on this.

  25. Evan

    So what you’re saying is that Northerners are more sexist than Southerners?

  26. Barry Graubart

    Agreed, but not sure of the replacement. It took me three years living in Atlanta to realize that y’all could be singular and that to ensure it connoted plural, I had to use “all y’all”

  27. andyswan

    You guys need to chill with the language policing.The last thing the world needs is a bunch of carpetbaggers awkwardly saying ya’ll with no drawl

    1. fredwilson

      i am just getting started Andy

      1. pointsnfigures

        developing a drawl?

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Y’all ain’t got nothin’ to worry about!

    2. JLM

      .It’s a lot easier to get started with grits in your mouth.JLM.

  28. Paul Sanwald

    since I’m from the south, and this is also a pet peeve of mine, I consistently say “y’all”.

    1. Emily Merkle

      You’re from the south – do you work in the south? Would using “y’all” in Flatiron be appropriate?

      1. Paul Sanwald

        I’ve been a NYer for 14 years and used it consistently throughout my career, as a technologist in startups and finance. I can’t recall one instance of anyone being surprised by my usage of it.

        1. Emily Merkle

          I agree. It’s pretty benign.

    2. kidmercury

      i’m not from the south, but have been around enough southern people to adopt y’all myself. it works.

  29. Guest

    I find it distracting how some go through contortions with gender related speech. Switching back and forth from “she” to “he”, or just using “she” is awkward. Using “they” instead of “he” is awkward too as it is incorrect. It is proper english to use “he” in a gender neutral form (as everyone seems to still do in England). “Guys” is gender neutral these days.but whatever all y’all!

  30. brgardner

    I have asked the woman I work with about this. Some say they think the whole vernacular changing is a bunch of way too sensitve woman and they hate the whole movement. Others don’t care either way. only a very few think it is good. I would be interested in a more formal poll.My personal opinion is we should all be respectful, but lets not go overboard…

  31. stilton_a_cheese

    “You primates”?

    1. kidmercury

      what if there’s a ghost in the room? now you just want to diss ghosts??!?!? wtf, you some type of ghost hater!!!??!??!

  32. Sheryl Koenigsberg

    As a woman, I’ve never minded it – what I do recoil at is “gentlemen”.I have disliked “you guys” as a professional – it is really informal, I feel like I’m at a TGIFriday’s.I find that instead of “you guys” you can say “you” in most situations without a problem. If you need a noun, “folks” works fine.

  33. Kirsten Lambertsen

    People get upset when they’re asked to actually think before they speak. It’s so much work! Yet, language is the way we communicate with each other. What could be more important?If you knew that the words you were using (quite innocently) were basically brainwashing your daughter into believing she was a second class citizen, wouldn’t it be worth it to modify your language?People put more thought into which smart phone they’re going to buy than into how their words impact their fellow human beings. We have the most powerful brains of the animal kingdom. Let’s use them.

    1. Emily Merkle

      Very, very well-said.

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Thanks 🙂

    2. Anne Libby


    3. andyswan

      I thought about it. It took me about 0.2 seconds, based on extensive experience, to conclude that “you guys” has no gender connotation whatsoever and that by using it, I am impacting my daughter’s sense of self-worth by exactly 0.00 in either direction.

      1. Emily Merkle

        Why don’t you let your daughter make that determination.

        1. andyswan

          She’s 8. She uses “you guys” more than I do. Much to my chagrin, she has not yet adopted the Texas drawl required to pull off ya’ll with charisma

      2. Kirsten Lambertsen

        In the words of the great Tony M:

      1. Emily Merkle

        Second-class citizens? That is ridiculous. The topic at hand is verbiage in a professional environment in a historically male-dominated field. It is not a gender issue; it is a colloquial expression that may very well be construed as frat-like; immature; simply not appropriate. Kindergartners? It’s a casual reference, less formal than ” I want you boys and girls to work hard”. The message focus is choosing to embrace education, not parse gender identifiers. Much, much different than the work climate known to be largely a boy’s club.Be real.

        1. andyswan

          I was referring to Kristen below who equated such language with brainwashing our daughters to believe they are 2nd class citizens…

      2. Kirsten Lambertsen

        I’ll bet she’s working on it 🙂

    4. bsoist

      Exactly! Words have meaning!

  34. Scott Sanders

    @fredwilson:disqus : You didn’t mention what word or phrase you used in place of “you guys”. Do tell?

  35. Twain Twain

    In Chinese when referring to more than one person, we use a term that sounds like “you earth” or “you door”.Women solve code problems differently and in complement to the way men do.Men have largely solved the FUNCTIONAL requirements for Machine Intelligence. It’s this and upcoming generation of female developers who will solve the FEELING relationals for consumer and machine intelligence.The machines, exactly like humans, cannot be intelligent until they benefit and are trained by male and female code.This is what I believe and why I left the corporate track to build.@fredwilson yesterday talked about being difficult as a child. My experience is different. I was a typical goody two shoes girl who did not go around challenging status quo and breaking existing systems.However, in my 30s I had an epiphany. If I don’t take on the difficult challenge of making code imbued with female and male constructs then AI will continue to be what Dr Ferrucci of IBM Watson called his own creation: “like a human autistic savant”.It’s widely accepted that AI is not really intelligent and particularly struggles with natural language and meaning.Who contributes 50% of training our brains to grasp language, meaning, arithmetics and logic? Think of the gender of our parents, our earliest teachers etc.Yes, women.They’re 50% of the basis of our intelligence and the conditioning of that intelligence

    1. Twain Twain

      A major missing piece in how we model and value intelligence (human and machine) has been the inability to metrify our subjective biases and perceptions.This includes in language wrt gender.So…I developed a patent-pending system to do exactly that (metrify our biases) and apply it to real-life applications: e.g., eCommerce and content.SF is where people go because when they want to change the world.So here I am.

  36. andrewparker

    When I learned grammar (at an all-boys school), I was taught that using the male form of a plural pronoun to refer to a mixed sex group is grammatically correct. So, “you guys” is technically correct. Is that (A) true? and (B) time to change?I sometimes say “you guys” but more commonly say either “you” (which can be singular or plural) or “you all” (which is clearly plural, but makes it sound like maybe I was raised south of the mason-dixon line).

    1. ShanaC

      b) time to change, since apparently language affects cognition (in the sense that everyone seems to have platonic ideals associated with words). So even though the male plural is technically correct, there are already shifts in literature (third person singular they for example) in order not create images in the minds eye

  37. Twain Twain

    It’s not just “you guys”, it’s terms like “bossy” which Sheryl Sandberg is campaigning to ban:*

      1. Twain Twain

        “What about male-specific terms of insult such as “jerk”?” from Guardian interview with Sheryl Sandberg:*…There’s also been articles and comments online about people feeling bossed by Sandberg in this “Ban Bossy” campaign.I have never been called either B-words (the one rhyming with “witch” nor the word “bossy”) — not in childhood or in my career to-date.Sheryl Sandberg says that a junior high schoolteacher told her best friend, “Nobody likes a bossy girl. You should find a new friend who will be a better influence on you” when she was running for class Vice President.My teachers never used such words about me and I was Head Girl and Captain of sports teams

        1. sigmaalgebra

          Just my view, and opinions can vary, but to me Sandberg’s ‘a piece of work’.

          1. Twain Twain

            I don’t know her and “Ban Bossy” isn’t the way I’d approach fostering female leadership, especially in technology, but I respect that she is obviously intelligent, super-organized and wants to make a difference in the world.

      2. sigmaalgebra

        From yourhttp://thelastpsychiatrist….> Today in the United States and the developed world, women are better off than ever before. But the blunt truth is that men still run the world…> It is time for us to face the fact that our revolution has stalled. A truly equal world would be one where women ran half of our countries and companies and men ran half of our homes. The laws of economics and many studies of diversity tell us that if we tapped the entire pool of human resources and talent, our performance would improve.She omitted “men have half of the babies”!Maybe she made good grades in school and has been successful in business, but at some really big things she totally fails to ‘get it’. E.g,, she swallowed the nonsense that what men do at work is somehow superior to what wives and mothers do at home. Nonsense. The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.For a woman, at home, with babies, with “security and caretaking” (C. Nadelson) from her working husband, ‘equality’ would be a really big step down, no matter what Communist saboteur, of millions of US families, B. Friedan wrote.Also, for babies for their first several years, and likely also later, especially for daughters, men just are not qualified to do good parenting. Sorry ’bout that.”Men and women deserve equal respect as persons but are not the same.” (E. Fromm). From the French Revolution (from crop failures from three years in a row from The Little Ice Age), Western Civilization got the idea that any difference is a threat of tyranny and, thus, to be opposed. (E. Fromm). The French went too far — easy to do after three years of crop failures.Send all complaints to Mother Nature.Some women are eager to be good mothers, and some are not. There are still many weak, sick, or dead limbs on the tree. Darwin’s a really busy guy, but he will solve this problem eventually.

        1. Twain Twain

          Darwin has been superseded by:* Neuroscience in which our brains and being is about more than procreation;* a Quantum Theory that now postulates for us to be more than mere atoms of logic, rationale and probability if Max Tegmark of MIT’s theories on “Perceptronium, the most general substance that feels subjectivity self-aware” is to be found in our matter — just as Quarks and even Higgs-Boson have been discovered;* Maslow and other’s hierarchies of need; and more.Men and women have equal opportunities to be great parents and also to contribute something meaningful to the world beyond their kids and genetic code.I think in the way I can because BOTH my parents, although busy with their careers, made time to parent me. My father gifted me knowhow and skills like chess, how to make catapults, circuit boards and how car engines work as well as his cultural interests (travel, photography, etymology). My mother gifted me the discipline of focus, cards, “practice makes perfect” and her cultural interests (foreign languages, craftwork and current affairs).I especially thought about how brilliant my father was in my childhood when he was in hospital and then subsequently died.So I disagree that men cannot do good parenting in our most important formative years. He was imperfect and fallible like us all as humans but he did his bit in being present and active in shaping the baby that became the adult who is me.

          1. sigmaalgebra

            > car engines?That’s going too darned far! Someone should report your father to the Secret Male Society for the Protection of Naive Females! Look, all men, all REAL men, know just where the little spray units are that draw oil from the cam shaft oil gallery and spray the oil on the insides of the bottoms of the cylinders to keep them and the pistons cool in Eaton supercharged Corettes, and us REAL men just finally will NOT let women know about such secrets of the male temple! Women are welcome to know about sewing. About how anti-lock brakes work? A lot of women understood carburetors, so we had to go to continuous fuel injection. They were too close to carburetors, so we had to go to sequential port fuel injection. The women caught up again, and we have had to go to direct fuel injection. Let women know how all these things work? Not a chance!We men have got to keep some small parts of the good old ways. Else, when a car of a girl breaks down on the side of the road, she can fix it herself. No fun in that!On the other hand, some man comes along, sees the right rear flat tire, gets out the spare, from under the car (he has to crawl in the mud), changes the tire, while standing in a ditch with ice and snow, ruins his clothes, is covered in mud, sweat, car dirt, grease, and maybe some blood, and now he expects at least a smile from the girl. From the right girl, a smile will be enough! Her name? Better still? Phone number? Now we’re talking! Offer to let him shower off while she runs his clothes through a washer and dryer? Dreams!Be careful what you wish for; you might get it!

          2. Twain Twain

            LOL, yes you guys keep all your Secret Male Society stuff and we’ll keep our Gaia knowhow from you.Remember, the first programmer in the world was female (Ada Lovelace) working in synch with a man (Charles Babbage).The invention that led to wi-fi was a male-female collaboration: Hedy Lamarr and George Antheil.The discovery of DNA needed male and female intelligence: Crick-Watson and Rosalind Franklin.The programming language, Smalltalk, that led to Objective-C which powers all App Store apps and Apple devices was also a male-female joint effort: Adele Goldberg and Alan Kay.So…I stand by my belief: consumer, business and machine intelligence benefits from male and female code.My wish is for our systems to reflect BOTH sides of our brain and intelligence — not for it to be biased towards men or women.

          3. sigmaalgebra

            I’d have to check the history, but as I recall some of it, you don’t have it right:> The discovery of DNA needed male and female intelligence: Crick-Watson and Rosalind Franklin.The story I saw on ‘the double helix’ or some such made things fairly clear: Franklin really had the goods. She’d done the work in X-ray diffraction (crystallography) and had the photographic slides in her desk. From her slides, the structure of DNA was next to obvious. Franklin was doing fine, great work ‘in progress’. I don’t know how much she guessed about the structure of DNA before her X-ray work, but her slides plus a week or two for some thinking and a paper should have been enough for the Nobel.But, W & C went to her lab; she was not there; and her lab director showed Franklin’s slides to W & C. Bummer. Outrageous. The suggestion was that Franklin’s lab director didn’t respect Franklin’s work or her rights as a research scientist. Basically Franklin’s lab director helped W & C to steal, that is, as in robbery, Franklin’s work. It was theft of intellectual property and outrageous academic misconduct.Franklin’s lab director and W & C should have been strung up by their toes and otherwise demoted to test tube washing for the rest of their lives. When I was in chemistry, sometimes what I used as a cleaning solution was, as I recall (do NOT try this, at home or otherwise) concentrated sulphuric acid and potassium permanganate. Maybe the thieves might take a drink of it.So W & C rushed ahead, published, and got the Nobel. Theft.It was Franklin’s work: I fail to see a significant role for W & C other than theft.> The programming language, Smalltalk, that led to Objective-C which powers all App Store apps and Apple devices was also a male-female joint effort: Adele Goldberg and Alan Kay.From the documentation I have/read on Smalltalk and the times I played with Smalltalk, the name I remember is Adele Goldberg. I know that the group at PARC was small and that Kay led it at least at times, but I don’t recall his deserving any more credit for Smalltalk than one of the stuffed suits in Stamford who turned down all the PARC work, some of which could have put Xerox high enough to have beaten Microsoft, Apple, etc.Sorry: You are being ‘sexist’ here and giving too much credit to W & C and Kay! Now, get with the program here: This is Fred’s be nice to the girls day; so enough of this old stuff of giving credit to men that they don’t deserve! Just because men aren’t worth a darn at taking care of babies, working in groups, work that needs fine manual dexterity, or having good talents with languages doesn’t mean that they are always better at research! I’m surprised at you! So, sexist! :-)!

          4. Twain Twain

            Haha, yes there I was trying to be typically Libran and balancing male-female efforts with equanimity and…………..It is the case Franklin and Goldberg warrant more credit.Franklin did not get the Nobel because she had passed away in 1958 so was ineligible when it was awarded in 1962 to Crick & Watson. The university where DNA was discovered, where James Clark Maxwell discovered electromagnetism and where Peter Higgs of Higgs-Boson particle fame is my alma mater.So I’ve had an awareness of how women have not gotten the credit they deserve for their contribution to the sciences since I was a teenager.Maybe that’s why I made sure my name is on the patent application for my system!Of course, women steal work from other women without crediting them too; it’s not just men stealing work from women and being “Mean Boy” to them as well as men stealing work from other men.Jonathan Ive has some interviews in which he talks about how Steve Jobs regularly presented ideas as his when it was actually Ive’s.If the idea is mine, I make sure it’s presented as mine and get credit for it since the story of Franklin is an enlightening one.

        2. Emily Merkle

          I could not agree more.

  38. jseliger

    I noticed the same phenomenon a couple years ago and wrote “Hey guys, read this” in response:The problem is that the phrase “you guys” is useful: what non-gendered term could replace it? “Ladies and gentlemen” is old-fashioned, verging on archaic, and “guys and girls” could be demeaning, and I can’t think of a good replacement. “People” or “hey people” is coarse. “You people” has historical/racial baggage of its own—almost enough to have a Coleman Silk problem. Thoughts?Notice the comments discussion too.

    1. Emily Merkle


  39. jimmystone

    i’m from the south so we don’t have this problem. we say “y’all”.

  40. thebigmix

    #Firstworldproblems ?In my hometown of Nairobi, women can now have their husbands marry another woman without any consultation due to a lovely new law. I suppose relative importance is…..important.Fred, I prefer it when you write about what you excel at.

  41. Gary Chou

    As Brad and Anthony have already mentioned, I’m a fan of “y’all” and “folks”.I think the thing that’s been the most helpful for me has been the practice from being in front of predominantly female audiences. The SVA IxD class skews female, and it’s a nice contrast to my many years of working in predominantly male offices.

  42. ShanaC

    Laugh all you want- but this is the reason why I sometimes self-refer to myself and female friends my age as “ladygals” we’re not guys, and some days I feel too young to be a woman.So ladygals – lets all use it!

  43. Salar Salahshoor

    I read through the comments, and I’m surprised nobody mentioned “everyone” as an alternative to “you guys”. Using “you guys” to address a mixed gender group has also been weighing on my conscience lately. “Ya’ll” simply doesn’t work unless it’s natural to your dialect.Instead you can simply use “all” to address a group. “Good morning all”. Takes a bit of practice to make it sound right. Always nice to be more personal if possible and use “team” or “folks”, but not always appropriate. I think “everyone” is fairly clean and natural.

    1. ShanaC

      we also can refer to people as, people.

      1. Emily Merkle


  44. sigmaalgebra

    Another way to look at it is like when I did laundry last night: My Maytag needs a new tub boot seal, and I have the seal and the special tool and know how to install it, but still it’s not so easy so is on my To Do list.So, last night I did the laundry, five big loads, ‘double or triple’, at a coin laundry.A woman walked by, so to tease I said, “My dad always told me that women did the laundry. Gee, where’d I go wrong?”.Right away she said, “It changed.”I said, “Gads, I didn’t get the memo.”.Later she was surprised that I knew how to do laundry, e.g., sort all the items into collections of like items — yup, back to college where I and my high school girl friend went to do my laundry. It felt a little like we were married; while she was big on ‘passionate’ love, alas she was not much on compassionate, committed, affectionate, romantic, intimate (between the ears), and faithful love, so it would not have made a good marriage.Then last night the woman said,”I left out part of the change: She also has a job.”.Well, it’s changed. Now maybe she has a job.So, the jobs used to be nearly all men, that is, ‘guys’. And, going to lunch, it was all ‘guys’. In an office memo, it was to ‘guys’. In a team meeting to discuss, say, the file system ‘shares’, the new code commits, etc., it was ‘guys’. So, ‘guys’ was inclusive of everyone, at least all the ‘exempt’ employees.Now we welcome women to such jobs. Terrific! They tend to be MUCH nicer to work with. So, as part of welcoming them to the work, it can be inclusive and an honor to the women to continue to refer to everyone as a ‘guy’. So, each woman is just ‘one of the guys’, that is, has been welcomed and included.Doesn’t seem so bad.

  45. Matt A. Myers

    Yay! Progress! The first step is catching yourself saying it, and then you can start to alter the pattern.Re: “But to me “guys” means men. And so I think this phase is reinforcing a societal bias in the tech business against women.Based on your other decisions to replace men with women, him with her, etc. in your writing – shouldn’t you be saying that we should be saying “you girls!” instead to balance it out?Well, no, of course not – we should limit the use of guys/girls generally being used – like you’re saying here – right? Or wait, that’s not the deal you made … 🙂

  46. angoodkind

    As a linguist, I feel compelled to point out that this problem has arisen because English lacks a 2nd-person plural pronoun. “Y’all” is our closest variant.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      Are there any generally suggested forms of this?

      1. angoodkind

        I’m not sure what you mean by “generally suggested.” Do you mean “generally accepted?” It’s well accepted in Southern US English. The word “you” is, technically, English’s 2nd-person plural pronoun. But it’s obviously not distinct from the singular. Here’s a really good answer from quora:

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Suggest, recommended by academia is what I was trying to ask. 🙂 Thanks for the link, will check it out.

  47. Donna Brewington White

    This makes me think. As someone particularly sensitive to inclusivity, my first thought is that this makes an issue out of something that is not an issue. But I wonder if I’ve been co-opted in some way.At times, when using that phrase, I have made the clarification that I was referring to “guys” in the generic sense. I wonder if the fact that I felt the clarification was needed proves your point?I think I’d rather fight for being able to use guys as a generic term. Feels like I’m losing something, otherwise.

  48. Matt Zagaja

    I have no idea if it’ll make a difference but I doubt it’ll hurt. I’ve always felt strange saying “you guys” when there are women in the group I’m referring to, but tend not to catch myself until after the fact.

  49. Ed Freyfogle

    This was solved long ago. Use y’all.

  50. Kevin OKeefe

    Guilty as charged. I think about “you guys” regularly. As recently as yesterday I paused as used the phrase in my blog — but went ahead. I use folks all the time but when addressing a group tend to use “you guys,” as opposed to “you folks.”

  51. oscar

    Y’all seems more global although it doesn’t translate north of the mason dixon line

  52. steveplace

    Sounds like y’all need a dose of southern charm.

  53. Alex Wolf

    @fredwilson:disqus what about buddy? Not part of your gender rant here but “buddy” makes my skin crawl. Especially parents talking to little boys. It always sounds either to familiar or aggressive.I went to all girls school where we were addressed as “ladies”, and that has grown on me. #oldschoolcharm

    1. brian carroll

      Buddy is too friendly and not second-person plural.Socialists made their gender initiatives easy by introducing “comrades”. I vote for that.

  54. Donna Brewington White

    So I have consciously attempted to strike the phrase “you guys” from my vocabulary unless I am, in fact, talking to a group that is all male.”I think true equality comes in not having to stop and think about whether you are talking to a group that is all male or all female unless it is relevant to the situation at hand.

  55. jason wright

    you have a general point about the need to open up the coding scene. i went to a gathering of coders this evening and of the seventy or so there i think i spotted three women. one was the main speaker, a coder, and the other two *may* have been coders, but that wasn’t clear.last week i went to a hacker space and that was rather similar in composition. i found it to be a little bit greepy (creepy geeky), and not that inviting for women. there’s still a lot of action required to tear down these gender silos.

  56. Christina Warren

    As a woman, I get the complaint — I do — but I would argue that depending on context, “you guys” is gender-neutral, the same way “dude” almost always is (at least people my age and younger).For me, I say “you guys” rather than the awkward-sounding “you all,” but I do try to say “everybody” or refer to people individually.I started saying “you guys” as an alternative to “y’all” (a phrase I personally find much more offensive, at least to my ears) when I was in the fourth grade. I grew up in Atlanta and at age 10, decided I didn’t want to have a southern accent or vocabulary. Losing “y’all” was the first step to losing my accent (something I accomplished in less than a year). The last time I said “y’all” unintentionally was probably 1993 or 1994.I only offer that context because I do think that for many of us, the usage is the same and truly is gender-free.But I agree with the broader point that it’s important to think of words and their meanings. You still won’t catch me using “y’all” though. Ever 🙂

    1. JamesHRH

      You have to love the English language.

  57. LizScott

    Somewhat similarly, when a man tells me his wife is pregnant, I’ve started asking if he is planning to return to work after the baby is born. This usually results in silence and blinking before they stammer “yes… of course.”The language we use matters. I didn’t mind being asked if I was coming back to work after I had a baby, but I did mind that my male counterparts weren’t. It suggests that my working is optional at best, a vanity project at worst, and further suggests that a man working is expected. Too many choices for women, but just as bad, no choices at all for men. No wonder we read so many books and articles about working moms trying to have it all, and exactly none about working men trying to have the same.Anyway. The language we use matters. It frames our cultural norms.

    1. brian carroll

      love this!

  58. Jay Janney

    I agree with Fred. I recommend “Y’all”, which is short for “you-all”, and should not be mistaken for U-haul. Y’all is clearly gender free, plural, and easy to say.

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  60. Deirdre

    I agree, but have a difficult time finding a suitable, all-encompassing term that fits the bill. “You people” “You all”? I had a long discussion with someone who is making a film and he said to me (I am a woman well into her 40s) “I don’t understand, I keep inviting girls to get profiled in my film, but they won’t do it.” I had to clarify what age group he was targeting. Then I suggested he think about calling them women as a start. Someone else (a woman) chimed in and said “Or just say ‘you guys'”. I wish there was some sort of broad, gender-neutral alternative when addressing men and women together.

  61. Trevor McKendrick

    Late to the game, but this level of language policing simply isn’t possible in languages like, say, Spanish.Small example: the words “they”, “you all”, and “us” change precisely *because* of the male/female makeup of the group.You’d literally have to change the language to accomplish what Fred is talking about here, and that’s just in Spanish.

  62. sigmaalgebra

    Fred may be right here: All the explanation that ‘guys’ can, maybe should, include both genders takes a bit of explaining, too much for a lot of public conversation where being more explicitly gender neutral, and meaning the same thing, will be much easier for audiences to take.What person wants to make their main contribution in public discourse to just pushing up the hill the position that it would be nice if ‘guys’ were gender neutral? I mean, spend the political capital in public on something else.

  63. jason wright

    “rant”? this is not a rant. new index category required.

  64. laude05

    Good on you Fred! That one has bugged me since I first heard it in the late 60s. I think it’s time to put a little more civility back into our daily lives and “you guys” is just way to informal for me.

  65. Guy Lepage

    “guys” means group sometimes as well. Evolution of language. It’s quite simple. Not rocket science.

  66. MikeSchinkel

    Hey @Fred, As I’m sure a few others have already said, just start using “Ya’ll” like all my neighbors do down here in Georgia.Of course all the other New Yorker’s will look at you funny for talking like a southerner so as not to call women “Yoose Guys” — unless you tell each person why — but that’ll be your cross to bear (or star, or albatross, or whatever is appropriate), not mine. 🙂

  67. Janine Darling

    I don’t find ‘you guys’ offensive in a sexist way. I find it offensive in a casual ‘hey man, this is cool, like you and I are pals/buddies/on-a -first-name-basis-even-though-we’ve-never- met kind of way. This may be because I’ve worked in male dominated environments and have always been treated in an all for one/one for all kind of way. Though I can see why re: this particular post that it might cause ire. I’ve found that the best tool for disarming something squirrely is to consider the source and then forget about it. Not everyone has the same sensibilities or natural tact. As long as one behaves in a way that honours their own personal credo, it makes good on the world.

  68. Will Luttrell

    I use “you guys” frequently in mixed-gender situations. I could even see myself using it to an entirely female audience. I find it to be genderless.In fact, I agree with earlier posters. Focusing on this takes away energy from very real workplace issues for women.

  69. CODE documentary

    “…I thought that we have a good shot at making the tech sector non gender biased in the coming years.” Yes, CODE documentary film agrees! CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap.

  70. Brian Lund

    Of course the phrase IS acceptable in certain types of meetings with certain types of East Coast gentlemen who resemble the cast of Goodfellas. However in those situations it’s pronounced “youz guyz”

  71. Twain Twain

    fredwilson — Have you seen these Secret posts in this Business Insider article about sexism in tech:* http://www.businessinsider….It’s not the language that’s loaded for both genders. It’s also how we’re VISUALIZED / perceived.Personally, “you guys” to me is an expression of camaraderie rather than a gender specific to men.I say things like, “Oh c’mon, you guys, let’s go for dim sum!” to my friends regardless of gender and no one is bothered by the term. I could see, though, that the tone, emphasis and context of it would matter.If, for example, there’s a room full of 50 guys and 1 of me (which happened last night at Mozilla where we were in a “Build your own Virtual Machine” seminar) and the speaker is saying it in a testosterone-pumping way like, “Who’s going to take out the competition? Right, only you GUYS.” That might be interpreted as a bit gender specific. This didn’t happen at the tech talk; the guy developers didn’t look at me any different to the other people interested in the topic who were there.At another event, I overheard two guy developers about their colleague saying that the female dev in their startup “was completely clueless and did the build wrong”. The two guy developers then said that their colleague then realized that it wasn’t because the female dev was clueless, but that HE had obviously not done his job right by communicating the solution to her properly.These young women at the Academy For Software Engineering will gain the advantages of coding and also the lingo.At some point, both genders will retain their own differences but share a common lingo for tech problem-solving.

  72. Twain Twain

    fredwilson — whilst in SF for a few months I’m going to organize this hackathon: ‘eCommerce & AI: systems built by women — not robots’I’ve posted about it on G+ here:*…There are lots of links there to the business and technological imperatives (e.g., $7 trillion of consumer spending by women in the US) to get more female engineers involved in building intelligent systems for global society.The lexicon of “you guys” and raising awareness of gender considerations is important but I’m an action-oriented person.Women can be organized to BUILD THE CHANGE we want to see in the world and its systems so that the future of pair programming involves male-female intelligence rather than male-male or female-female which contributes to decision biases we should all be avoiding:*

  73. Clint

    Not specific enough. English is too ambiguous. Someone might think you are singling them out. We need a word for plural you…

  74. Emily Merkle

    How about eliminating the verbalization altogether, and making a horizontal sweeping gesture with one arm, encompassing / enveloping most of the target group?

  75. ShanaC

    i think there was one in english for a while, but we dropped one.We also need a not gender specific third person singular word that isn’t for objects. People are not its

  76. Clint

    ha ha! I’m sure that could work.

  77. Clint

    I agree. I use “they” incorrectly for third person singular neutral. It is better than saying he/she all the time.

  78. Alex Wolf

    not sure I can pinpoint it. I was raised by a british mother and jewish father and it sounds very “american”. buddy has always has a “too familiar” ring to it. a bit patronizing? a false closeness. like insinuating one’s self into uncomfortable intimacy with the subject.

  79. Donna Brewington White

    Well, actually, doll, in some circles, it is.

  80. Alex Wolf

    For sure, and my response is conditioned by the un-“buddy” crowd. I mainly hear an edge in it I don’t like.

  81. Clint

    You walk into a room with 5 people all looking at their computer screens. You say “you want to go get lunch?” Who am I talking to? one guy? all of them? Context is everything, and there are certain situations where it isn’t enough. “You guys want to go get lunch” is very clear and everyone would respond. There are other options like “Y’all want to get lunch?” or “You folks want to get lunch?” But I would prefer a new word for “you all”, like “yous”, plural for you. ha ha