Last night CBS 60 Minutes aired a piece about the gender gap in tech and left out a number of important efforts to close the gap.
My friend Rob Underwood tweeted this out about that piece:
I admire work of my friend @hadip & the org he started, @codeorg. But the incredible, brave (!) @reshmasaujani is absolutely right. Having had a chance to work a bit w/ #CSForAll movement, @60Minutes leaving out contribs of @GirlsWhoCode, @NCWIT, @BlackGirlsCode is unconscionable https://t.co/hKwXLSkVXN— Rob Underwood (@brooklynrob) March 4, 2019
And while I completely agree with Rob that Reshma has built something amazing at Girls Who Code, I also feel that the results she and her organization are getting are what matters the most and so I responded with this:
What I have learned from watching my wife (@thegothamgal) work on gender equity in startups and my own work on equity in CS education is that you cannot worry about who gets the credit, you have to worry about the results. It makes it easier to stay focused and stay happy— Fred Wilson (@fredwilson) March 4, 2019
Later today, a friend and fantastic entrepreneur sent me a private email arguing that credit is very important and that it is how organizations gain credibility, legitimacy, and support to keep going.
Of course she is right. Credit is important.
I also got an email from the folks I work with at the NYC public school system pointing out that the NYC public school profiled in the 60 Minutes piece was the beneficiary of the CS4All effort which I have been championing for almost a decade now and that was left entirely out of the story.
All of this is unfortunate. There is a very broad coalition of organizations doing incredible work making sure that we have gender and racial equity in STEM education. And we are starting to see the results of all of the work of these groups. It would have been nice to credit a much broader group of organizations and companies.
But this happens all the time. USV has been the seed and largest investor and a highly engaged board member in companies that are referred to in the press as an “Andreessen Horowitz backed company” or a “Sequoia backed company” or a some other such characterization. When I see that I flinch a bit but tell myself that it is the company, the founders, and the results that matters and not who invested in it.
Success has a thousand mothers and some will get more credit than others. That is the unfortunate truth of success. But if we focus on the success versus the credit then I think we will all be better off.