Twitter head speaks in Hub on diversity, faces public scrutiny

Twitter head speaks in Hub on diversity, faces public scrutiny

The high-profile head of Twitter and Square emphasized the need for diversity in tech companies at a conference for black engineers, but missed an opportunity to make a bigger statement, attendees said.

“The only way we’re 
going to be creative is if we have perspective from all over,” said Jack Dorsey, chief executive of both Twitter and Square. “We’re not going to be relevant 
unless we are inclusive, 
unless we have a diverse point of view of who is 
using the service.”

Dorsey spoke yesterday at the annual National 
Society of Black Engineers convention, which draws some 10,000 people, at the Boston Convention & 
Exhibition Center.

Dorsey’s acknowledgement of his companies’ diversity problems comes after Twitter has been sharply criticized for its lack of diversity and its 
attempts to change that. In August, the company said just 2 percent of its employees were black, and 1 
percent of its tech employees were black. The company said its leadership positions were entirely filled by white and Asian workers.

“There’s saying it, but there’s actual, tangible 
investment,” Dorsey said. “We certainly have a whole lot more work to do.”

The company was also mocked for hiring a white man as its new head of 
diversity in December.

“It’s kind of hard to convince somebody that you care about diversity when the head of your diversity is a white man,” said Luseni Kromah, a student at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University who attended Dorsey’s talk.

“I wish he had talked more concretely about how to increase the diversity at Twitter and in Silicon Valley,” said Georgia Tech student Kyle Woumn.

Still, Woumn said the fact that Dorsey spoke at a black engineers convention is a big step.

“Sometimes companies aren’t looking in the right places, but I definitely feel like showing up to the conference, being here, it definitely is the right step, it’s a good step in the right 
direction,” Woumn said.

Twitter had recruiters at the conference, Dorsey said.

“I met with some people that work with Twitter last night, and they look like me,” Kromah said. “They say Twitter is a very welcoming place, despite what we hear.”

Dorsey said the company has started “unconscious bias” training, but did not detail other steps Twitter or Square are taking. Dorsey declined to answer questions on his way out of the event.


No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.