John Greathouse’s Paleo Career Advice: Twitter Reacts


John Greathouse posted in the Wall Street Journal that women should hide their gender to advance in tech, akin to putting women in a virtual burka.

John Greathouse posted on the Wall Street Journal that women should mask their gender to advance in tech. By using initials, removing photos and references to gender, his advice encourages nothing less than shrouding women in a virtual burka.

How were the insights of Greathouse, a tenured professor at the University of California Santa Barbara and a venture capital partner, received? He tweeted an apology “for the dreadful article” after being schooled on the errors of his premise by women and men across the internet. There hasn’t been apology in the WSJ. Another question is how did the editors let the fraught post slip through. No doubt the inevitable rebuttals that generate traffic were part of the decision.

In response, techies Jessica Rose and Holly Brockwell gave Greathouse some advice on Gadgette:

"This isn’t a new idea for us"

"There’s value in professional visibility"

"Disconnecting our personas from ourselves has temporary effects"

"Shifting responsibility for managing sexism to women is bullshit"

"Once you recognise that these biases exist within the industry, it becomes your responsibility to work to minimise and combat them. As a VC, you have an incredible amount of power and influence in the way our industry hires, rewards and values talent. You could use it to promote processes that combat biases in our industry. You could focus on investing in projects that appropriately recruit and reward underrepresented talent. You could have written an article for the Wall Street Journal on the value of blind hiring processes, placing the responsibility on those who hold the power in technology. But you didn’t do any of that. You put the responsibility for managing gendered biases on the women that you recognise as undervalued in our industry.We don’t have time for that, John. We’re already doing twice as much work, for half the recognition."

Related Story: Alt-Feminist Gems From the Wall Street Journal: Did John Greathouse Really Say That?

The Twitterati’s reaction to Greathouse’s theories:

What remains to be seen is whether or not Greathouse has the chops to weigh in on how to accept and advance women in technology. Here’s hoping.