The Secret Shame of an Unacquired Tech Worker

New York Magazine › Kevin Roose

Last week, amid the overwrought start-up angst and sexual escapades that clutter the anonymous messaging app Secret, a hint of genuine drama emerged: a post that said, “Google was interested in buying my 5 person company for our team. They hired everyone but me.”

In subsequent comments, the shafted start-up striver added more details: She was the only female at her company, a designer who had been with the start-up from the beginning and had overseen its design and marketing, yet had gotten left out when the company was sold to Google for its workers, in what’s known as an acqui-hire. “I feel like my world just ended,” she wrote.

The thread quickly became the talk of Silicon Valley. It was seeming proof that even within the happy-go-lucky world of tech start-ups, there are winners and losers, and more often than not, the losers in situations like these are the designers, who are more likely to be female than their engineer counterparts, and whose “soft” skills are seen as less valuable than coding chops.




  1. Anonymous says:

    As much as I sympathize with this person, there is a practical side to this that has nothing to do with fairness or social justice. Google simply doesn’t need another designer. Clearly this sucks for her, but Google acquired the company for it’s back end and not for it’s design. We can’t be expecting that Google would hire her simply based on decorum. While it’s clear that sexism runs rampant in Silicon Valley where shut-in nerds are literally uncomfortable with women, I don’t think this instance is indicative of that problem.