Randy Komisar, KPCB spoke on ‘The Trial’ & Diversity of all types in Silicon Valley when speaking @TheStartupConference 2015. Randy said how sad & disturbed he felt through this litigation. He had a lot of respect for the jury – they did something really important that all of us need to do & that is separate the facts of this case from the really important issue of Diversity in the Valley. It was conflated in this case – it was a bad case! Clearly the jury was decisive in this case, they had no trouble finding us to be completely guilt free. That being said the press had a biggger narrative about the valley that they tried to pull us into & resisted the real facts in this case. If you just read the press & weren’t in the courtroom, it was easy to convict Kleiner Perkins. If you were in the courtroom with the jury, very liberal jury 6 men & 6 women, they had no trouble finding that they were not guilty. The problem is its a powerful narrative, its an important narrative. The case is not part of that narrative. The narrative is we need more diversity in this valley, not just gender diversity. He means people of color, ethnicity, people who have physical challenges, older people who are being left out of what is happening in the valley. The reason its really important isn’t simply an issue of Fairness. It isn’t simply an issue of what is good for business because diversity is good for business. It’s also an issue of how important the valley is to inventing the future of social dynamics. If you take a look at what is being created here in the valley & what leaks out to the world, there’s so much influence around how we interact, how we communicate, how we relate to each other. If we do not have representation in that dialogue, in that discussion that is being innovated here every day in Silicon Valley, we are missing out on a bigger opportunity. Diversity is an important issue. Kleiner Perkins has always been part of that discussion. Five years before the trial theres a piece you can see that he did online where he talks about this issue. The facts of the case are that Kleiner Perkins turned out to have the most diverse group of partners in the entire industry. But its not enough! They continue to work every day to improve that diversity. They continue to lead their industry in setting the standards & best practices for diversity. As a group in Silicon Valley we cannot rest until we are more inclusive of people & points of view that help form the future. Diversity is the important issue & that’s where we need to put our attention!
This is the interview that I did with Randy in 2010 about female entrepreneurs & women vcs, which he refers to in the talk above.
- Kleiner partner Komisar: We won Pao trial on facts but Valley culture must change (bizjournals.com)
- Gender Discrimination In Silicon Valley Is Bad. Gender Discrimination In Trucking Is Way Worse (fastcompany.com)
- #Internet Trends 2015 by Mary Meeker (bluesyemre.com)