I’m old, white, and male.
This has affected my life in a number of ways. I’ve experienced the birth of the personal computer and watched a few bulletin boards turn into this world-changing phenomenon called the Internet. And I can’t dance and refuse to ask for directions when I’m lost.
But I’ve been very, very privileged to be born as such at a time when to be born otherwise would have made a real difference to my career options: not just in tech, but in any field.
I’ll admit, it took decades for me to notice and appreciate how lucky I’ve been.
I never really thought about the lack of women and minorities in tech - I just assumed that those people had no interest in working in this field. I was never responsible for hiring, so I didn’t see who applied to whatever company I was working for at the time, just who ended up being on the team.
And, nine times out of ten, that was someone like me.
Fast forward a few years, and I find myself surrounded by a wonderful group of people of diverse genders and backgrounds, and I’ve never enjoyed my work as much as I do today. Every day, I’m inspired by something a woman on my team builds, says, or does.
Yet it’s only recently that I’ve thought “Where were these amazing, talented people ten years ago?” And I can only conclude that either they were put off the idea of working in the tech sector by the prevalence of people like me, or applied and were rejected for not fitting the stereotype.
Well, more fool us. How much more could we have achieved by being more open to ideas and less close-minded about where those ideas came from? What problems could we have solved or prevented with insights from a much broader perspective than we were open to back then?
The world is changing. Not all those changes are good. But I honestly believe that we’re starting to respect our commonalities more than our differences, especially in the tech sector. This gives me hope that we can make the world a better place for all of us.
But we still need a much broader mix of people than we have now. So if you are a woman or non-binary person who has been put off joining us in the past, I plead you to reconsider now.
You’re not the heroes we deserve, but you are the heroes we need.