Dueling Google Memos Reveal a Company Struggling With Culture Change

It started as an anti-diversity memo on Google’s inner mailing list. Then it tumbled—first in pieces and pieces, afterwards in a entirety—into open view.


“Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” is a 10-page declaration published by an unknown Google program operative that argues several points, customarily among them that a hunt giant’s left-leaning biases are shutting down conversations about their injured farrago agenda. “[W]hen it comes to farrago and inclusion, Google’s left disposition has combined a politically scold monoculture that maintains a reason by degrading dissenters into silence.”

After a bit of throat-clearing, he creates his case. “At Google, we’re frequently told that substantial (unconscious) and pithy biases are holding women behind in tech and leadership,” he says. “I’m simply saying that a placement of preferences and abilities of group and women differ in partial due to biological causes,” and further, “and that these differences might explain since we don’t see equal illustration of women in tech and leadership.”

The memo’s existence was first reported by Motherboard, afterwards after published in a entirety by Gizmodo.

The online response was quick and angry. (Fortune’s David Z. Morris has an glorious recap here.) It also pulled behind a screen quickly on a hunt giant’s efforts to do what to some seems impossible: Transform a enlightenment of tech machismo into one of agreeable inclusion.

Danielle Brown, Google’s code new clamp boss of diversity, integrity, and governance rushed to deliver herself to a company, afterwards import in on a memo. “[L]ike many of you, we found that it modernized improper assumptions about gender. I’m not going to couple to it here as it’s not a outlook that we or this association endorses, promotes or encourages,” she wrote in an inner note obtained by Motherboard.

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An executive response was essential, quite as a association now faces an review by a U.S. Department of Labor for profitable women less than men. But a association also has some decisions to make about what to do with a male that no womanlike operative is going to wish to work with anytime soon.

It’s not usually Google. That an operative during a blue chip organisation felt it required to explain in agonizing fact how a woman’s biological tendencies (agreeability, neuroticism, empathy, etc.) make them reduction versed than group for certain jobs felt to many like a sign of since tech continues to be in vast partial a walled bro-garden. There are fewer women (or people of color) in tech since they know how awful it can be to work there. No bullet-pointed chit entertaining for “viewpoint diversity” can put lipstick on that sold pig.

Much of a online discuss understandably focuses on either a memo was explanation that Google’s attempts to change a enlightenment of tech has failed, or worse, was some-more performative than prescriptive. (For what it’s worth, we consider that it’s too shortly to call time of genocide on an thorough Google usually yet. Here’s why.)

But on Saturday, operative Yonatan Zunger posted an equal and conflicting manifesto that reveals a bit some-more about how Google’s famously sly enlightenment is reacting to a memo. Zunger was many recently a Distinguished Engineer during Google, operative on a remoteness team. (He usually left a association to work on a nonetheless unannounced project.) “I am no longer even at a association and I’ve had to spend half of a past day articulate to people and cleaning adult a disaster you’ve made,” he says in an open minute to a Googler. ” we can’t even suppose how most time and romantic appetite has been sunk into this, not to discuss reputational mistreat some-more broadly.” Bottom line he says, a “meritocracy” as described in a chit does not paint a radically regressive trail to business success; it is merely a uninformed invulnerability of a socially-acceptable chronicle of a antagonistic workplace. For what it’s worth, Zunger would have dismissed a operative a day a memo posted.

From his post: “Essentially, engineering is all about cooperation, collaboration, and consolation for both your colleagues and your customers. If someone told we that engineering was a margin where we could get divided with not traffic with people or feelings, afterwards I’m really contemptible to tell we that we have been lied to…All of these traits that a declaration described as ‘female’ are a core traits that make someone successful during engineering.”

Getting a whole judgment of engineering wrong is one thing, despite an critical one. But by perfectionist to see a profits of women who work during Google, a print crossed a line. “You usually put out a declaration inside a association arguing that some vast fragment of your colleagues are during base not good adequate to do their jobs, and that they’re usually being kept in their jobs since of some domestic ideas.” This opinion doesn’t make him partial of an oppressed minority, it creates him partial of a problem. “These views are essentially erosive to any classification they uncover adult in,” he says. “I’m fearful that’s expected to sojourn a critical problem for we for a prolonged time to come.”

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