In 2014 the US "tech" industry discovered a truth that I'd always known: it was staggeringly homogenous, basically a bunch of white dudes, a couple of South East Asians (also mostly dudes), and a sprinkling of women and ethnic minorities. The largest tech companies published their diversity reports, with white males comprising 70 to 80 percent of their engineering workforces.
These proportions (which, FYI, are often worse, not better, at smaller companies) are reflected in the community and commentariat that surround the industry: the blogs, the podcasts, the Twitter-famous personalities… white dudes all the way down.
Not that there's anything wrong with white dudes. Some of my best friends are white dudes!
When I started blogging (again), one of my choices was NOT to blog about "tech," even though it's what I do for a living, I'm pretty fucking good at it, and I have a lot of opinions on it. I chose not to because I felt that most of the blogs I came across constituted a sort of echo chamber, and that I had little to add that was fresh or unique.
I was wrong. I have both symbolic and substantive contributions that I can make. Symbolic because I am not a white dude, and perhaps seeing a non-white-dude with expertise and opinions and a willingness to share them will inspire or encourage some other non-white-dude to pursue this passion. Substantive because it has become clear to me that culture, perspective and identity inform design, and software is reshaping our world. For better or worse, I see things differently from my white dude peers—and a person falling into another demographic category from me will see things differently from both me and les dudes blanc—and that variety of perspectives and the ways in which they can inform everything from terminology to architecture to UX is a real benefit to diversity.
So, starting in a few weeks, I will begin to blog on "tech" subjects—perhaps starting with why I insist on using scare quotes around the word. I will be wrong, obnoxious, frequently unfamiliar and occasionally uncomfortable. It'll be great!