dennisgorelik: (2009)
Alex St. John (see Gamedev Trolling) is back with his Graduation Speech at Victoria University
He definitely toned down his troll-mode, but the speech is still rough at the edges.
dennisgorelik: (2009)
I tried to leave a comment in Alex St. John blog, but his blog CAPTCHA malfunctions, so I post it here.


You clearly want to see more female engineers in your organization: "There is NOTHING technology companies, employers, managers and the industry wants more than to be able tho hire and promote (auction off) female engineers."

But then instead of "being challenged until you become confident that you can always handle it successfully", you "blame others when you face hardship" [of hiring female engineers].

If, unlike "aspergers", females do not like 80-hours work weeks, then why would not "You control what YOU do" and change your work environment in such a way that it would be more attractive for females?

Part 1

I just figured out how to post comment there (have to remove URL).
dennisgorelik: (2009)
Commentators on Hacker News discuss controversial presentation Recruiting, Training and Retaining
by Alex St. John.

I think the author was the most eloquent in his third iteration explaining his position:
1. You are NOT a victim and you should spend your energy fixing the things you control instead of blaming things you don’t. You control what YOU do and you can choose to have some control over your attitudes. You are banned from having excuses for anything!
2. Being emotionally fragile is something you train to overcome, not embrace. Instead of listening for opportunities to be outraged, try just listening.
3. Doing something of “Value” is not the same as doing something “Strenuous”. Modern tech jobs are not “Strenuous” if you experience them as such you need to develop some emotional fortitude.

The “Asperger’s” Engineer
For example kids and especially engineers conforming to the Asperger nerd stereotype are ripe for exploitation… they can give TERRIBLE interviews. They often have simply abysmal social skills, they can’t focus, they can’t make eye contact, they can’t relate socially. The tech world and interestingly the game industry is dominated by a lot of these kinds of folks. The “Asperger’s” nerd that can’t clear an interview screening or write their own resume can often be the most valuable kind of engineer you can hire (kidnap). All they WANT to do is code all day and be left alone to focus. When you can identify and engage them, they can be extremely valuable hires. Many mature technology companies don’t know how to identify and recruit (exploit) these folks even though they are often very valuable.

Women in high-tech
In the US, female engineers who are not imported from other countries are as rare as hens teeth.
There is NOTHING technology companies, employers, managers and the industry wants more than to be able tho hire and promote (auction off) female engineers. Lacking any local supply in the US, they can’t get H1B1 Visas issued by the State Department to import them fast enough. Any woman entering the tech industry has it made!
Sadly the women we do get in high-tech who are raised in the US are often fatally compromised with victimology psychosis before they ever reach the work place (salt mine). The ones we get often fall short of their potential because they are so focused and concerned about their gender (shackles) that they often can’t conceive that there could be any other reason that they struggle at their jobs. Technology is extremely hard to master, it takes years to become proficient, communicating with teams about technology is an enormously complex undertaking made more challenging by the prevalence of a lot of male “Asperger’s” engineers with poor social skills.
If you were raised to have a handy acceptable excuse for failing, such as “it’s because I’m a girl” and you accept it, then it becomes impossible for you to ever become great, because it’s always easier to blame others when you face hardship in your career.
Even if it’s TRUE, even if discrimination is a factor in your environment, it’s a disastrous cycle to ALLOW yourself to embrace it. People who give themselves permission to fail or permission to give up for any reason (valid or imaginary), find making excuses habit forming. They never achieve their potential. It doesn’t matter if your victimology world-view is comforting, is constantly validated, or is justified, if you accept it as a reason for failure, you’ll never look beyond it to ask; “What can I do to improve myself”… or “What if the reason this person is telling me that I need to improve at my job is because… I ACTUALLY just need to improve at my job?”

Generally I tell women that successful female engineers will often be promoted to management roles (plantation manager) very quickly for a variety of good reasons. Female engineers exhibiting the hallmark “Asperger’s” nerd personality traits are less common, technical women are often more social and better communicators, they don’t JUST want to sit at a desk and code all day. There are many high coordination, high organization jobs that are very difficult to fill, for example: Customer Support Manager, Build Manager, QA Manager, Technical Documentation Manager, etc. These jobs have an odd combination of requirements that involve strong technology acumen, strong social and communication skills, high attention to detail and high organization. The person you want to fill those jobs with is that girl who always used to sit at the front of the class, had all the answers, did all the homework, got straight A’s…. and learned to code.

The short of it is that women in high-tech have it made (fetch a premium on the block), the only real obstacle many face to rapid promotion and total career freedom is letting go of the constant gender introspection and victimology to allow themselves to be challenged, to face and overcome failures and to hear feedback without a gender-victim filter in place to deflect negative feedback or criticism.

Author's comments:
- “Those of you who are lazy whiners please throw fruit at me” and half the audience erupted with rotten fruit.

- There is nothing more time sucking and tedious for a manager than having to replace somebody valuable. Even jerk managers are also usually lazy and the path of least effort as a manager is to avoid having to replace anybody, especially in high-tech where losing a key player can set you back months or years. It’s just NOT a thing I believe ANY manager really pursues.

- I neglected to mention that the girls in my recruiting women slide are my daughters. They’re both computer science majors. Why take the fun out of people indulging in raging at me for being a misogynist when the slide was about raising my daughters to be successful technologists.
- When I need quiet to get things done, I just work all night. I get that I’m unusual in today’s world for being this way but it never feels like work to me. I’ve known a lot of others like me, they all ended up the evil boss, 100% of the time.

- You make a product that has no practical purpose designed to addict children and waste time.

Next: Teachers trolling


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