A thread better left un-woven

This Scoble thread is baffling to me – mostly because I think most of these people are smarter than me, yet they are all playing by playground rules.

I hate witnessing really smart people bringing themselves down to the gutter because of emotional and not intellectual responses.  This complete thread is a lose-lose proposition.

NONE of these people look good over this.  Not Robert, who I like.  Not Shelley, who I don’t know.

If I were putting on a conference I would simply invite the best available people to that conference.  Period.  If it ends up that only 10% of them (or 1% of them) are WHITE, or WOMEN, or DWARFS, it wouldn’t even be a consideration of mine.  I want the best PEOPLE.

I would like to think that I wouldn’t be swayed by politicking from women, men, Tall People, etc.

There is a simple fact that people haven’t addressed in this thread though – there are FAR fewer women in tech than men.  So why would ANYONE be surprised that more men that women are invited to speak at a Geek conference?

Any why would ANYONE assume that everyone else in the conversation is “evil”, or doesn’t have the best interests of the industry in mind?  Why the assumed animosity?

This is a petty “Web 1.0” flame thread, and it’s making everyone involved look petty, and they just need to stop.  Some of them need to grow up, and some need to set their egos aside.  *ALL* of them need to remember that they are a role model, for good or bad, to someone – and they are failing that someone.

None of them are “right” though, because ALL of them are hurting our profession, and actually – they are getting to the point they are embarrassing me.

Rob

Comments

  1. I actually posted a comment on Shelley’s blog and sent her an email on this topic…no response. Maybe she is only interested in talking to other A-lister blog writers?

  2. Ivan – not a problem – I didn’t take it as an attack. I guess my original post actually backs up what you are saying – I was basically scolding everyone involved with the conference because they seemed to be more wrapped up in the argument than they were in the solution – and I think the solution is to reach out and ask others who they want to hear from on various topics. THEN you invite those who your attendees recommend, and you do it based on quality, availability and demand, not on an other factors like sex, race, or whether they are “In the Bay Area Elite” or not.

    I don’t think you and I disagree here.

    Thanks for your comments and involvement!

    Rob

  3. First, I’m not attacking anyone.
    Seconly, Rob isn’t ‘just’ saying that he would get the best people he could. He is responding to a conversation about a conference that failed to notice that it had only invited men.
    In that context, Rob’s point surely is that he wouldn’t be swayed by issues around gender balance. Fair enough, but only valid once you have truly considered the whole field – not just whoever first comes to your attention.
    I have no idea how Rob would handle this, I’m sure he would be great at it. Bu tthe truth is the organisers referenced above just didn’t notice what they were doing, it never crossed their mind. My point is, until you have truly considered everyone, the term ‘best’ doesn’t really mean anything.

  4. Ivan – Paul is right – all I was saying is that sex, race, wealth, etc would not be my primary concern – I would get the “best people I knew of that were available and willing to come”. Does that make it more clear?

    Rob

  5. @Ivan Pope .. I’m sorry .. but that’s about the silliest argument I’ve seen in a long time.
    I’m not even sure it classifies as an argument.
    The way I read it: ALL Rob is saying is that he would get the BEST people he can get. Being “the best” in the context of the discussion, disregarding other factors like race, sex, religion, nationality .. you name it.
    It’s a STATEMENT about intentions. Sure he may invite a guy, even though, somewhere far away in the Amazone, there may live a guy who’s even better, but has never been outside of his village and never has seen a working TV. SO WHAT? What’s your point?
    Or more practically: If you attack Rob for intending to invite only the BEST people, to a certain event, disregarding non-relevant factors … HOW ON EARTH would YOU do that better?

  6. ‘If I were putting on a conference I would simply invite the best available people to that conference. Period. If it ends up that only 10% of them (or 1% of them) are WHITE, or WOMEN, or DWARFS, it wouldn’t even be a consideration of mine. I want the best PEOPLE.
    I would like to think that I wouldn’t be swayed by politicking from women, men, Tall People, etc.’
    Yeah, sounds good. But there’s a problem with this. You want the best PEOPLE. But how do you know if you are getting the best people if you don’t stop and think about how you know who the best PEOPLE are. It’s very easy to think you would just go for the best people you know. But what if good people are excluded from your circle for whatever reason. Do you do yourself any favours by not looking outside those circles? What if the only people who put themselves forward for your event are white middle class men? Does that mean that all the best people are white middle class men – or that maybe you need to work a little harder? The problem with this conference is that the organisers never even thought about this. If you think that’s ok, then you just won’t get the best PEOPLE, though you will get the best people you know. Which is not the same thing.