Google is replacing Uber, but not quite the way that I predicted

More confusing to me than quantum chromodynamics has been why Google, which knows where most of us are and already has most of us registered as customers, doesn’t replace Uber in the matching-of-riders-and-drivers business.

Year after year I have been waiting for this to happen and have been proven wrong. Maybe this is my year?

“More than 60 women consider suing Google, claiming sexism and a pay gap” (Guardian) suggests that the Google is, in fact, replacing Uber:

The manager said that dealing with frequent sexism in the workplace and helping other women navigate the discrimination they were facing took a toll on her and contributed to her decision to quit. “After a while, it just became exhausting,” she said. “It takes emotional energy that builds up over time.”

“I felt like I wasn’t playing the game in the ‘boys club’ environment,” said another woman who worked for two years as a user experience designer and recently left Google. She said she regularly dealt with sexist remarks, such as comments about her looks, and that she felt it was discriminatory when she was denied a promotion despite her achievements and large workload.

The women’s stories bolster the claims of labor department officials, who have said that a preliminary analysis found that women face “extreme” pay discrimination across the company …

Separately, do people working at Google need to engage in some exciting mental gymnastics? Consider the following:

  • Correct thinkers at Google say that a diverse workforce in every functional category is critical to success because white, black, Latino, male, and female brains operate differently and therefore have different strengths to bring. (I left out Asians because apparently nobody in the diversity industry cares about them)
  • Correct thinkers at Google say that their heretic is scientifically wrong to have asserted that male and female brains exhibit different distributions for level of interest in programming.

Naively these appear to be contradictory beliefs. (Note that the beliefs above are independent of whether you think the brains got to be the way that they are via genetics or environmental influences.)

Another apparent logical contradiction:

  • The heretic is a pinhead for interpreting the research literature to suggest that women, on average, are more delicate emotionally than men
  • Our female employees are delicate snowflakes who won’t be able to get any work done if they become aware of a leaf-node coder with heretical thoughts about men and women tending to be biologically different. (This is illustrated by the CEOs response: “The memo has clearly impacted our co-workers, some of whom are hurting and feel judged based on their gender. Our [female] co-workers shouldn’t have to worry …”)

A final one, from a New York Times reader:

If Google is so gung-ho about defending women in their workplace, how come there are not more of them working at Google in the capacity of leadership and engineering?



  1. Roger

    August 10, 2017 @ 1:41 pm


    Perhaps this explains why Google was willing to accept the bad publicity and legal liability from firing the diversity memo employee. The bad publicity and legal liability from its sex discrimination practices was going to be much worse, and hence a much bigger concern.

  2. Dingus

    August 10, 2017 @ 3:05 pm


    Personally, I think google should follow the model they’ve been doing recently in splitting off into sub companies, such as verily, deepmind, and waymo. Allowing it to both embrace the SJW narrative and go full blast into social engineering of the the culture of their correct thinking employees, while at the same time, on a different campus, going compartmentalizing a Trumpian who-gives-a-shit attitude to hiring.

    Then everyone can be happy, presumably more black women will work in tech due to the wild success of their 70 cents on the dollar competitive advantage, all the while allowing google to explore the full market of the cultural landscape. With the added satisfaction of showing how terrible the monoculture of white cishets would certainly be for a company.

  3. Johnny Caustic

    August 10, 2017 @ 3:26 pm


    Those contradictions are interesting, but there’s another contradiction that interests me more. One one hand, Google is being sued for sexism and not doing enough to create a comfortable environment for women; on the other hand, Google is receiving a firestorm of criticism (and maybe a future lawsuit) for being too extreme in their progressive diversity/inclusion policies that try to protect women from sexism. The width of the strait between Scylla and Charybdis appears to be negative now.

    The only low-risk way I can see for a tech company to navigate these hazards is to (quietly) hire both as few progressives and as few women as possible (especially the former). No matter how well-intentioned Google was in hiring diversityphiles and women, I think that hiring too many of them (in an industry where the most talented people often lack social skills and sexual attractiveness) guarantees volatility and degradation of their primary purpose. It will never be possible for Google (or any other tech company) to excel in both postmodern virtue and technical accomplishment; they will have to choose (at most) one.

  4. Alex

    August 10, 2017 @ 9:09 pm


    The guardian omitted

    Finberg said, “The culture at Google is hostile to women. Women tend to be channeled into channeled are perceived to be softer positions. User interface positions, design positions. Men get the code positions. Code positions are more highly paid and more highly valued at Google.”

    Google just need import thousand H1B women from China,India,East Europe and Russia

  5. Matt

    August 11, 2017 @ 2:24 am


    The apparent contradiction is resolved by rejecting the claim of biological differences between mens’ and womens’ cognition in favor of the claim that men and women come to have cognitive differences because they are socialized differently from birth. As a result they come to work with different minds that increase production through synergy.

    However, the accepted view is that the socialization patterns that result in cognitive differences between men and women are bad, and women and men should be socialized the same.

    In this view, a problem for the future perfectly egalitarian society to grapple with will be that diversity will be perfectly balanced, but will no longer deliver any economic benefits.

  6. philg

    August 11, 2017 @ 9:59 am


    Matt: Maybe if Google hired newborn babies the question of genetics v. socialization would matter. But Google is hiring 22-year-old brains (certainly not any 50-year-old ones I hope!). So at that point they’re saying that brains are different depending on sex and ethnicity and that’s why sex/ethnic diversity yields higher performance. And they’re also saying that the Heretic is wrong because he cites research on already-socialized brains showing that male/female brains are different.

    Perhaps you’re on to something, though. The Heretic’s heresy could be assuming that there is any genetic/natural component to the differences that researchers found. Even differences found among babies cannot be attributed to Nature because these experiments were not done in the minute after birth, but after at least some days of Nurture.

  7. Sam

    August 11, 2017 @ 11:54 am


    philg post 6-

    Nurture starts before birth. Wagner for the boy pre-babies and Debussey for the girls make the boys aggressive and the girls compliant.

    We should ban prenatal ultrasounds so the pre-babies can choose whether they like pink or blue on their own.

    Who’s with me?

  8. Ivan

    August 11, 2017 @ 1:09 pm


    “experiments were not done in the minute after birth, but after at least some days of Nurture.”

    Social conditioning must start right after the conception, or it’s too late:

    Chinese and Caucasian babies indeed behaved like two different breeds. Caucasian babies cried more easily, and once started, they were harder to console. Chinese babies adapted to almost any position in which they were placed; for example, when placed face down in their cribs, they tended to keep their faces buried in the sheets rather than immediately turning to one side, as did the Caucasians. In a similar maneuver (called the “defense reaction” by neurologists), we briefly pressed the baby’s nose with a cloth. Most Caucasian and black babies fight this maneuver by immediately turning away or swiping at the cloth with their hands, and this is reported in most western pediatric textbooks as the normal, expected response. The average Chinese baby in our study, however, simply lay on his back and breathed through his mouth, “accepting” the cloth without a fight. This finding is most impressive on film.

    Freedman, D.G. 2003. Ethnic Differences in Babies. In: Dundes, L. (ed) The Manner Born: Birth Rites in Cross-Cultural Perspective.

    The movie is quite interesting and can be found on youtube.

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