Friday, March 22, 2013
SendGrid At Heart Of Controversy Over Women, Technology Industry
In a position where it can only lose, SendGrid--the email SDK and services firm which has significant operations in Orange County--has become the center of a controversy which has thrown the high tech industry's acceptance of women into stark contrast. SendGrid has fired a developer evangelist, Adria Richards, after a huge controversy over how the technology world treats women. The whole flap started earlier this week when Richards tweeted out a photo and complaints about a couple of developers sitting behind her at a technology conference, who she said had been making sexual jokes. Her public complaints resulted in those developers being ejected from the conference, and resulted in one of those developers being fired by their employer, PlayHaven.
However, the issue did not end there; in retaliation, hacker group Anonymous began a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on SendGrid for supporting Richards, and SendGrid ultimately fired Richards, saying that by publicly shaming those developers she had "strongly divided the same community she was supposed to unite" and can "can no longer be effective in her role at SendGrid."
Until the incident, SendGrid has mostly been known for its dependable, reliable service in delivering transactional emails for developers.
Although the high technology world has been known for being a meritocracy, where technical skills and abilities are judged independent of gender, and there's a growing number of women in power positions in Southern California's startup scene--the industry also has a reputation for male domination and (particularly in Silicon Valley) "frat house" atmosphere, particularly in workplaces dominated by men. In the end, it looks like just about everyone involved in this episode--except, perhaps, hacking group Anonymous--loses.