Lena Reinhard – “A Talk About Nothing”

Great talk on privilege in the tech industry and how we - the privileged - can do better by first shutting up to listen and then doing something to help.

There is so much potential for software to make a difference in being inclusive if we applied this on ourselves.

As people working on software empathy is our responsibility, and it’s a skill that we can practice every day.

Click the title and listen to the entire talk, it’s worth it.

Story time:

When I built fictionesque, one of the “features” of the user’s profile was a tiny flag of their country. The intention was to allow users to find people close to them and be able to come together and become a community inside the community.

Soon after adding the feature, a person asked me to remove her account from the site because she had come from a different community fleeing the harassment of a guy that lived in her same country. She had switched communities and identities, but my feature had made her visible again.

I immediately apologized and made it so the information could be hidden.

One way to shield yourself from these errors is by surrounding yourself with people from different backgrounds and giving a voice to those not represented. Not doing so would be a mistake:

Being in tech and not caring about tech culture is a luxury, only affordable to those with enough privilege to ignore it & too little empathy to care.

This attitude will prevent software that calls women “you’re the guy” , but more importantly will give us a society where everyone feels welcome.