Skip to main content

Ellen Pao shifted hiring practices at Reddit to improve diversity

Ellen Pao shifted hiring practices at Reddit to improve diversity


Just because Pao's trial is over, doesn't mean gender discrimination is

Share this story

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Ellen Pao's recent trial in Silicon Valley may have brought gender discrimination to the forefront of public consciousness (at least for a few months, and in certain circles), but its conclusion didn't mean the end of Silicon Valley's subtly ingrained sexism. Now, about a week after a judge found Pao's former employer Kleiner Perkins not liable for her claims of gender bias, she has begun to speak publicly about what else can be done to fight discrimination.

Potential employees are asked what they think of diversity

In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Pao disclosed how, as the current interim CEO of Reddit, she has made changes to the company's hiring process to account for gender and racial disparities. Pao says she has removed salary negotiations from the hiring process on the grounds that women are statistically less likely to fare well during such negotiations. Pao also recently asked diversity consultant Freada Kapor Klein to give a talk at Reddit, and she makes a point to ask potential hires their opinion on diversity in the workplace.

"We ask people what they think about diversity, and we did weed people out because of that," she told WSJ.

Pao became the interim CEO of Reddit last year on the heels of a massive executive upheaval. Former CEO Yishan Wong resigned over a disagreement about office space and formerly departed co-founder Alexis Ohanian returned as executive chairman. Pao told WSJ she hopes to stay on as Reddit CEO after the one-year interim period ends this November.

In a recent interview with Katie Couric, Pao said of Reddit, "We've got a lot of diversity in our team — we could have more — but we're very excited to make sure we have different perspectives to represent people who actually look at the site."

During Pao's reign, the company has taken several steps, both internally and on the site itself, to create a safer, more open environment. This past February, Reddit imposed new restrictions on explicit content, saying users could no longer post nude photos or images of sex acts without the subjects' consent.

"We've got a lot of diversity in our team — we could have more."

The Kleiner Perkins trial last month, during which Pao was described as both too timid and too aggressive, raised issues of the implicit ways in which sexism affects women's opportunities at work, especially in male-dominated fields like tech and finance. The trial highlighted the difficulty of proving that subtle sexism exists, and, after the decision in Kleiner Perkins' favor, jurors admitted there was no talk of the broader significance of the trial in Silicon Valley.

"You need to work through these issues," Pao told WSJ. "Because they are here and they’re not going to go away."

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed Sep 24 Striking out

External Link
Emma RothSep 24
California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.

Andrew WebsterSep 24
Look at this Thing.

At its Tudum event today, Netflix showed off a new clip from the Tim Burton series Wednesday, which focused on a very important character: the sentient hand known as Thing. The full series starts streaming on November 23rd.

The Verge
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.

Andrew WebsterSep 24
Looking for something to do this weekend?

Why not hang out on the couch playing video games and watching TV. It’s a good time for it, with intriguing recent releases like Return to Monkey Island, Session: Skate Sim, and the Star Wars spinoff Andor. Or you could check out some of the new anime on Netflix, including Thermae Romae Novae (pictured below), which is my personal favorite time-traveling story about bathing.

A screenshot from the Netflix anime Thermae Romae Novae.
Thermae Romae Novae.
Image: Netflix
Jay PetersSep 23
Twitch’s creators SVP is leaving the company.

Constance Knight, Twitch’s senior vice president of global creators, is leaving for a new opportunity, according to Bloomberg’s Cecilia D’Anastasio. Knight shared her departure with staff on the same day Twitch announced impending cuts to how much its biggest streamers will earn from subscriptions.

Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.

External Link
If you’re using crash detection on the iPhone 14, invest in a really good phone mount.

Motorcycle owner Douglas Sonders has a cautionary tale in Jalopnik today about the iPhone 14’s new crash detection feature. He was riding his LiveWire One motorcycle down the West Side Highway at about 60 mph when he hit a bump, causing his iPhone 14 Pro Max to fly off its handlebar mount. Soon after, his girlfriend and parents received text messages that he had been in a horrible accident, causing several hours of panic. The phone even called the police, all because it fell off the handlebars. All thanks to crash detection.

Riding a motorcycle is very dangerous, and the last thing anyone needs is to think their loved one was in a horrible crash when they weren’t. This is obviously an edge case, but it makes me wonder what other sort of false positives we see as more phones adopt this technology.

External Link
Ford is running out of its own Blue Oval badges.

Running out of semiconductors is one thing, but running out of your own iconic nameplates is just downright brutal. The Wall Street Journal reports badge and nameplate shortages are impacting the automaker's popular F-series pickup lineup, delaying deliveries and causing general chaos.

Some executives are even proposing a 3D printing workaround, but they didn’t feel like the substitutes would clear the bar. All in all, it's been a dreadful summer of supply chain setbacks for Ford, leading the company to reorganize its org chart to bring some sort of relief.