44 comments

  • Ben Patterson, over 2 years ago

    Mike Monteiro really rubs me the wrong way for some reason. Maybe it's his abrasive, smug, always-right attitude in everything he says or writes.

    17 points
    • Matt WalkerMatt Walker, over 2 years ago

      The way he communicates these real problems and important issues is off. it's the tone he carries.

      If you take anything he says about 'white males' and replace it with another gender or ethnicity, does it sound racist?

      10 points
      • Jake Lazaroff, over 2 years ago

        The way he communicates these real problems and important issues is off. it's the tone he carries.

        The tech industry is hurting millions of people, and people are angry about that. Tone policing won't make anything better.

        If you take anything he says about 'white males' and replace it with another gender or ethnicity, does it sound racist?

        White males are the group that benefits from structural oppression, so that's moot.

        5 points
        • Matt WalkerMatt Walker, over 2 years ago

          I think it's harmful to generalize no matter who it is. We need to be specific about what we mean when we say 'tech industry'. Who specifically in the tech industry (by name, not by ethnicity or gender) is causing the harm and how are they undermining others and taking advantage.

          While tone policing is a valid point in some cases, I believe delivery still matters if you want to be heard.

          I think we're in different camps when it comes to the definition of racism. I don't subscribe to the notion that you can't be racist to certain people because of their perceived privilege, ethnicity, or gender.

          10 points
        • Mitchell Knight, over 2 years ago

          ‍ ‍

          11 points
          • Todd SielingTodd Sieling, over 2 years ago

            Nobody is going to listen to someone that behaves like an asshole.

            Well, Trump proved otherwise, but to be more honest with your point, I think the way Mike talks gets some people energized. The Fuck You Pay Me talk is a great example; I find the style tasteless but it's the style he uses and it works for some people. While it's not for me, the message behind it was much needed. Some people just want to hear it from the jerk persona because it gets them fired up. I don't, but I get it when people do, because I was once a teenager :)

            0 points
          • Jake Lazaroff, over 2 years ago

            Nobody is going to listen to someone that behaves like an asshole.

            I agree! Tone policing is behaving like an asshole. It's saying that "people would listen to you more if you would just be more polite", except A) power has never been shifted away from the powerful by being polite, and B) it's a disingenuous argument because 99% of the time the person making it disagrees with the point being made, they just don't want to say it.

            Nobody should be made to feel like they don't matter, or their opinion doesn't matter, just because of the color of their skin or some other made up social construct.

            I agree as well! Unfortunately, the situation right now is that white men's opinions matter way more than anyone else's. People are dismissed all the time solely because of groups they belong to. So let's start trying to be inclusive of people who are often marginalized, and we can worry about the people at the top if and when things get better.

            I'd encourage you to learn to be inclusive if you ever want to change anything.

            Being inclusive doesn't mean tolerating discriminatory or toxic viewpoints. Discrimination (and its apologists) need to either change or get out of tech. We need zero tolerance for that.

            0 points
            • Sean LesterSean Lester, over 2 years ago

              How did the fight for the rights and acceptance of the gay community make so much progress over a relatively short time span? Was it by being a bunch of hostile assholes who are constantly shaming straight people for the actions of their worst representatives?

              2 points
              • Jake Lazaroff, over 2 years ago

                I would say yes. Coincident with increased acceptance of the gay community was homophobia becoming taboo. In mainstream US culture, people don't see opposition to gay rights as a valid point of view — going so far as to ostracize those who oppose it. Justifiably!

                0 points
        • Sean LesterSean Lester, over 2 years ago

          How can you be a designer and believe tone policing is a valid thing. When in design do you say "the content is so important, why does it matter how it's presented?" Believe it or not, if you believe in something you're responsible for being its best advocate at risk of hurting your own cause. No one else is responsible for convincing themselves of your beliefs, and in an industry that does nothing but persuade people - you should understand the importance of being compelling and persuasive. If not you, your opponents.

          2 points
          • Jake Lazaroff, over 2 years ago

            How can you be a designer and believe tone policing is a valid thing.

            Because not once in history has power ever been redistributed by being polite.

            2 points
            • Sean LesterSean Lester, over 2 years ago

              Well at least you're honest, this entire ideologically driven movement is about the seizing of power - not the pursuit of equality. Don't be surprised when people recognize that as a threat and resist it.

              3 points
              • Jake Lazaroff, over 2 years ago

                It is about equality. To paraphrase a popular quote: "When you're accustomed to power, equality feels like oppression."

                4 points
  • Mitchell Knight, over 2 years ago

    ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍

    15 points
    • Christian BehrensChristian Behrens, over 2 years ago

      He might be a bit in-your-face sometimes, but he's doing a great job pissing off people who deserve to be pissed off.

      8 points
      • Sean LesterSean Lester, over 2 years ago

        Yeah, those fucking males and worse.... the whites.

        11 points
        • Miles ReiterMiles Reiter, over 2 years ago

          As a white man, I'm not sure why someone like me should get pissed off because of somebody pointing out real problems with diversity in tech. It's nothing against the men in the business, it's just about bringing in a more diverse set of people. That's a good thing for everyone.

          11 points
          • Bradley TauntBradley Taunt, over 2 years ago

            I think a lack of diversity is definitely a problem in our line of work. I just hope we don't start sacrificing quality in order to achieve that diversity. That's a concern a lot of companies/individuals worry about in any industry - you should get talented people who meet the demands of the job, not the demands of diversifying your team.

            4 points
            • Miles ReiterMiles Reiter, over 2 years ago

              Absolutely, I just think it's a situation where we can (eventually) have both quality and diversity. The point in the article regarding making sure that we're reaching out to a diverse range of people when it comes to education and getting them into design or tech programs to begin with will be really important to encouraging a diverse workforce.

              It's just something that we need to strive for, because it won't happen on its own.

              3 points
          • Sean LesterSean Lester, over 2 years ago

            If races and genders are equal, if there is NO difference then why does it matter what an employee's race or gender is? If there is a real systemic problem causing an advantage or disadvantage for an identity group, of course it should be addressed. The mere presence of a non-diverse distribution is not itself evidence of a problem. The problem isn't that people are concerned about making things fair or increasing diverse perspectives, it's that there is a culture of it being acceptable to be derogatory toward whites and males and to persecute them. To create a narrative of the original sin of the white man as an oppressor whose only redemption is complete submission. If you want an ally in a fight for equality, I'm there. If you want to be adversarial and expect me to tolerate bigotry that you've somehow convinced yourself is righteous, sorry, I'm not your ally.

            My team is mostly women of various races, and every day I work under and for coworkers of various races and genders, in a top tech company with female leadership at the highest levels. In hiring, I've put my vote in for and even personally selected candidates of various races and genders. Yet still I go to a design conference with my team, a team I'm a minority in, and I listen to speakers shouting about how we're ruining people's lives with design because we're all white men.

            Here's an anecdote. I had a female coworker who was a very good designer. We were put in an awkward situation when two designs teams serving different properties were merged. Our team leader knew me, had worked with me and knew how I worked and that I did good work, and he knew we needed to put our best foot forward and get some big wins, so he gave me one of the first big projects that came along. From then on there was this tension, this resentment from the female coworker in question — which she then tried to spread to other coworkers who didn't know me at all. I did my best to ease the tension, to reach out and be friendly, to keep her in the loop, the get her on good projects, to advocate for her work and to even pass on things I wanted to do to her because I knew she was a good designer and just needed the opportunity to show it. Maybe this was seen as patronizing, I don't know — but you know it never got better. She poisoned her relationships with project managers with her hostility. She never tried to make opportunities for herself, she never took initiative or ownership of anything. All she did was talk about her victimhood and try to turn other employees against me. I know it's just an anecdote, but I think it's illustrative of the way in which narratives of victimhood become self-destructive, and people who don't deserve it become persecuted merely for succeeding in the way we should all hope to do proportional to our efforts and the value we add to an organization. That's what we should aspire to. People being rewarded MERITOCRATICALLY for their efforts and contributions. Not rewarded for their identity and punished for having the wrong identity.

            12 points
            • Elliott PayneElliott Payne, over 2 years ago

              Why are you so defensive on this issue?

              7 points
              • Sean LesterSean Lester, over 2 years ago

                Because I think this ideology is dangerous and spreading like wildfire. I don't like bigotry. Do I need to explain why bigotry upsets me? Why, because of the target?

                8 points
            • John FlynnJohn Flynn, over 2 years ago

              Do you have any other anecdotes about how you've been systematically oppressed just for being a white man in tech?

              11 points
              • Sean LesterSean Lester, over 2 years ago

                That's obviously not what I was doing, this is such a pathetic and dishonest response. I've done very well and don't claim to feel oppressed. What I have felt is the discomfort of misplaced resentment and pity for a coworker who could have been excellent but did herself no favors, poisoned her relationships and blamed sexism for it.

                9 points
            • Jake Lazaroff, over 2 years ago

              If races and genders are equal, if there is NO difference then why does it matter what an employee's race or gender is?

              Because different races and genders experience the world differently. There are plenty of concrete examples of how an overwhelmingly white male technology industry affects products:

              • before different skin tones were introduced, flesh-colored emoji were all white
              • Apple's Health app initially lacked any sort of menstruation tracking
              • a classic example is the pistol phone case, which almost certainly wasn't designed by anyone at risk of police violence pistol phone case

              People imprint their identities and perspectives onto products they create. It's fine to have white male perspectives, but given that white men are grossly overrepresented in the tech industry, we should be actively trying to bring in other perspectives as well!

              3 points
              • Sean LesterSean Lester, over 2 years ago

                That is a fair point, and I struggle at work against some scenarios I won't go into publically in which lack of diversity is a huge problem — we have issues solving the problems of and speaking to demographics from outside of them, I'll say. Thankfully we have people, including myself, trying our best to counteract those problems. Believe it or not I AM for progress and ultimately for making the best products we can, for everyone.

                3 points
  • Tom WoodTom Wood, over 2 years ago

    He's a tough man to stomach.

    He has raised awareness of the value of design thinking, and crucially the financial value of the designer to the process.

    Despite all that, he remains a marmite figure. Add to that that the design work by his agency is (for my taste) underwhelming, and he can very quickly seem self righteous.

    I dislike his tone, but he's a great communicator, and is discussing topics which are important to the industry. His two books from the Book Apart series are well worth a read.

    So even if he isn't the first to bring up a topic, it doesn't make it less valuable.

    15 points
  • David HaririDavid Hariri, over 2 years ago

    Most tweets and articles read as snarky, self-righteous, all-knowing etc... This one does too and fails to surprise me in that regard. So much of writing on the internet is opinion. That being said, this is an essay. He doesn't claim to be a world economist with a solution. He even says it's fiction. Why attack his personality, but ignore his message?

    Overall, his message of being more conscious of the world impacts we have as we build software, is a message that resonates with me. I did find this article to be a bit unfocussed, though. He talks about how we need to adopt socialism because our democracy is broken (which I personally sympathize with), but then ends with a very granular solution to fixing design culture in the workplace by eliminating bro culture.

    I think that this article started off by highlighting some very big issues and then perhaps got intimidated and pivoted to some smaller ones. The responsibility of craft is important, but I doubt educating Uber designers in how to design better user experiences will solve their workplace culture or their lack of regard to the wealth inequalities they're encouraging.

    Still, I think our society should always encourage this kind of writing. It makes me pop my head up a bit and think about the bigger picture as I work.

    10 points
    • Joshua Kaufman, over 2 years ago

      Such a thoughtful and balanced comment. Thank you, David!

      2 points
    • Tim SilvaTim Silva, over 2 years ago

      I agree! As annoying at these rants can be, it helps invite others to come along and point out all there areas where he is wrong or right. I think he has good intentions, but the path loaded with mistakes because of emotional reactiveness.

      1 point
  • John PJohn P, over 2 years ago

    The irony of the king of designer "bro culture" telling people to destroy "bro culture".

    10 points
  • Theresa MershonTheresa Mershon, over 2 years ago

    When we added to our job descriptions that our design culture values diversity we started to receive a more diverse (and talented, articulate) pool of applicants.

    It seems that a good way to break down walls is to invite people in.

    9 points
  • Andrew C, over 2 years ago

    As someone who hires UX designers and leads a high-growth design team in the tech industry I don't find this article is very useful. Diversity in hiring is on people's mind when looking to bring on new designers to the team.

    The SJW sabre rattling has gotten traction. This article is virtue signalling at its worst — all sizzle with no help for those of us trying to figure out how to build diverse culture without being racist to whitey. You also aren't actually allowed to dismiss a candidate because they're white. It's discrimination. Like... go ahead and say that when you're hiring. Say "Sorry you're white. We're not hiring whites." Soon or later you're going to get fined.

    Here are a few tactics we've been using to great success:

    • Change the way you source talent. Hiring from exclusively SF tech-friendly hubs gets you predominantly white and asian guys. Without changing this you will never achieve close to parity without paying an arm and a leg. Apple and Google have diversity targets, too, which means talented women/coloured candidates tend to get snatched up. It's just free market demand/economics. It's literally illegal for me to not consider a candidate because they're white, male or even ask their sexual orientation. Not only that but it doesn't matter — if you change the way you source and bring more diverse candidates to the door the rest will sort itself out. Minority candidates are just as competitive as anyone.

    • Don't focus on stuff like Beer O'Clock and after work social events. We're here to work, anyway, so that should be good enough. If you want a fun work culture be willing to invest 9-5 time on it. The counter measure is to be metric-focused as a business... so everyone is churning out effective work-meeting balance. Not hitting those targets or coming close is not acceptable.

    • Focus on teaching and pairing. The biggest change for us was a willingness to hire junior-level designers and pair them with senior-level designers. This way if our pipeline was looking a bit light we could widen the net a bit. If a candidate doesn't work out and wants to grab a coffee try and mentor them... spend some time helping them figure out how to improve.

    • Start with UI... teach UX. UX is a team sport, while UI is largely individualistic (at the divergent stage anyway). Finding people with good style and a consistent eye for detail tends to be harder. Everyone and their dog wants to be a UX Researcher these days. In my experience it can potentially mean they don't like to role up their sleeves and get in to the divs and pixels. They want to dump a bunch of boxes and arrows on a graphic designer and dictate what's best for the persona they've detailed.

    Our design team is now only around 30% white guys, and nobody dismissed any potential white-boy candidates because of their ethnicity. The playing field was just evened, and that was all minority candidates needed to excel.

    8 points
    • Mattan IngramMattan Ingram, over 2 years ago

      Everyone and their dog wants to be a UX Researcher these days. In my experience it can potentially mean they don't like to role up their sleeves and get in to the divs and pixels. They want to dump a bunch of boxes and arrows on a graphic designer and dictate what's best for the persona they've detailed.

      I never want to hear the term persona again.

      3 points
  • Jim SilvermanJim Silverman, over 2 years ago

    these are good points that shouldn't be constrained to the design world.

    5 points
  • Tim SilvaTim Silva, over 2 years ago

    So cringy!

    Lumping a group of individual people into "bros" isn't an argument. You are being more ignorant than the idea you have of the people you are attacking. There are multiple contributing factors to why there are less women than men in tech. Picking on a such an arguably small factor and using that as a weapon against random people is immature.

    Mike, you are a white-male! Therefore you aren't qualified to have an opinion on these matters. :p (I hope my point isn't lost here.) Look, I used to work with an angsty SJW. At first, I was on her side 99% of the time, but she hated me no matter what I said or did because I am a "cysgen heteronormative straight white educated toxically masculine male" or something along those lines. I'm just a typical, friendly person. Even if I agreed with her on an issue, she would still add a reminder to me that she is more oppressed so I shouldn't add my thoughts to the conversation. It was a strange control issue. To reduce anyone's experiences and complex history to a list of their privileges shuts down communication.

    I think Mike is someone who is so terrified of being attacked or criticized for being a white male, that he goes above and beyond to pander to the angriest of individuals in the PC/SJW community by saying "Hey look at me, I'm not like those other bad ones. I will help you marginalized people who need my help and if you ever revolt against the man, please spare me since I tried!" I get the intentions here, but I've walked down that path and I'd argue that it causes exponentially more harm than good. All it does is invite low-vibration energy people into your life. It's not good for your wellbeing to be a martyr for a cause that aims to change the definition of communication to one-way yelling at "the others."

    4 points
  • Account deleted over 2 years ago

    Those that can't do, write medium articles.

    4 points
    • Joshua Kaufman, over 2 years ago

      He wrote two design books, tirelessly worked against groups illegally selling guns on Facebook, and is a constant advocate for designers doing their best work. I would hardly say he "can't do."

      16 points
      • Account deleted over 2 years ago

        Look at his website. A picture says more than a thousand words. I couldn't care less about everything else he does. If he is giving design advice and his design isn't godlike, why would I listen to him?

        0 points