The Official Klout Blog

Moving Past Brogramming

January 25th, 2013 by Joe Fernandez
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It’s true. In spring 2010, a couple of guys from Klout went to Stanford and posted a sign inviting recruits to “Bro Down and Crush Code“. Almost three years later, this poster continues to show up as an example for articles about the sexist undertones of some startup engineering culture.

That was then
At the time, Klout was small and hungry. We were 12 men and 3 women: my co-founder, some engineers, a salesperson, a marketing manager, and myself. The idea that everyone has influence was (and is) our passion. And we were desperate for more people, so we all recruited.

Our intention was never to dismiss or alienate female engineers. The poster was meant to be seen in the context of meeting a Klout team member who clearly wasn’t a “Bro” at that recruiting event. “Bro Down and Crush Code” was a misguided attempt to show everyone that we were down-to-earth, funny and relatable people.

Looking back, it’s clear how uninviting and offensive that language is to many people, not just women. It’s not something we’re proud of. We are sorry about the message that was conveyed then. We don’t support or condone sexism at Klout, and our culture today has matured from what it was then.

This is now
We’ve come a long way since that spring. Today, we are over 65 Kloutlaws, nearly 30% percent of whom are women, all of whom are enthusiastic contributors to the culture we are building together. We reach out to the community by regularly hosting tech meetups, including women-focused groups like Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners, PyLadies and Women Who Code.

Our values are inclusive of everyone on our team:

  • Be Bold.
  • Punch Mediocrity in the Face.
  • Deliver Value with Integrity.
  • Get There Faster.
  • Kloutlaws Ride Together.

These values are our code, not a “bro’s” code. They are what we cultivate here at Klout and embody what we look for in new team members. We have made some mistakes on the way to now, but we’ve learned from them. And we will continue to work hard to provide an environment that is welcoming to everyone.

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This entry was posted on Friday, January 25th, 2013 at 5:10 pm and is filed under other. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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  • http://twitter.com/msmir Miriam Slozberg

    And you guys are gonna do great, I have total faith in you!

  • http://twitter.com/davidqhogan David Q Hogan

    Good job.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tribebuilder Gina Carr

    As a former female techie (Ga Tech engineering undergrad), I understand well how it is easy for organizations to “accidentally” alienate women. Glad to see that Klout has recognized that being actively inclusive produces better results. Love the Kloutlaw values.

  • http://twitter.com/bbinkovitz bbinkovitz

    This is wonderful. A heartfelt apology that doesn’t make excuses, acknowledges the harm done, and demonstrates commitment to learning from the mistake. It’s hard to be a member of any privileged class without making a gaffe now and then, no matter what your intentions. Fortunately, being called out on mistakes and issuing a good apology like this advances the whole community.

    The companies and individuals I respect the most understand that being called out == a bug report, and an apology should include a patch to fix the error.

  • http://shirleymaya.blogspot.com/ Shirley Maya Tan

    Change from realization is much more effective. I am glad organizations like Klout recognises their mistakes and went on to do something to rectify them. Bravo.

  • http://otherthanthat.com cathybrooks

    No one is perfect and well make mistakes … not everyone takes responsibility and takes action to rectify them, though. Appreciate the accountability, Joe.

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  • http://corp.klout.com Klout

    Hi Tarah, for a number of reasons, we don’t provide specific employee numbers by group, but currently 20% of our engineers are women. It’s also important to note that while LinkedIn is a great resource, it does not always provide the most accurate employee data – a number of our employees are missing, including women, and there is at least one employee on your chart who is not a Klout employee. That said, we’re always looking for talented engineers, so if Ladycoders wants to break away from Seattle and have a meetup at Klout sometime, get in touch! We’d love you all to meet our amazing team.

  • http://corp.klout.com Klout

    Hi Tarah, for a number of reasons, we don’t provide specific employee numbers by group, but currently 20% of our engineers are women. It’s also important to note that while LinkedIn is a great resource, it does not always provide the most accurate employee data – a number of our employees are missing, including women, and there is at least one employee on your chart who is not a Klout employee. That said, we’re always looking for talented engineers, so if Ladycoders wants to break away from Seattle and have a meetup at Klout sometime, get in touch! We’d love you all to meet our amazing team.

  • http://thesocialjoint.com/ Lucretia M Pruitt

    Well said Joe. While the poster was one moment in time, a company is measured anew every day by the quality of its actions and people. It’s a growing, changing organism that hopefully acknowledges and learns from its missteps, and improves over time and trials. Clearly? You are doing that. Kudos.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/kjersti.joy Kjersti Joy

    We all make mistakes. All that is important is that we continually improve ourselves. Thank you so much! this means a lot to me.

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  • http://about.me/meganhunt Megan Hunt

    I appreciate this post. Thanks, Klout.

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