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.