James Governor's Monkchips

beginning to think this was the most important signal at AWS re:Invent 2017

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Amazon is not exactly a social activist kind of company. It mostly just get on with stuff. That said, it hires excellent, thoughtful people, and excellent, thoughtful people are generally aware of the need to support and engender diversity. Diversity leads to better decision making, which is the kind of thing Amazon does care about. It has diversity programs in place, but has plenty of work to do (this for example was unfortunate). But Werner’s keynote was excellent in the spirit of You Can’t Be What You Can’t See. I know a lot of women were inspired.

Here is another one that is just fab.

And while I try to be a good ally just because it’s the right thing to do, “as the father of a daughter” this one put a speck of dust in my eye.

We all have a long way to go. It’s tremendously disappointing that Tara Walker, an excellent technologist and communicator, the very same day had to put up with crap like

It would be cool to have Tara in the keynote next year, so everybody at the event knows she’s an engineer and doesn’t make bullshit assumptions. Her product AppSync is definitely worth highlighting.

I am heartened that major tech companies are getting better at this kind of signalling. Microsoft is. Salesforce is. We need to do a better job of supporting and highlighting the achievements of women because we’re still losing women from the tech industry, which makes all us all poorer and less effective. We need more women in senior management positions. On that score, well played Google for hiring Diane Bryant.

Of course Amazon isn’t perfect on support for diversity, but that doesn’t lessen the impact Werner made with his choices yesterday. It felt like a good couple of hours for women in tech. So once again thanks Werner. More of this please, AWS.


Full disclosure: Amazon is a client, and paid my T&E to the event.

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