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More women in engineering: Something that ACTUALLY WORKED.

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some slides from a recent talk at the First Round CTO summit

Video is now up at: http://bit.ly/TL4h9G

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  • 1. More women in engineering Something that ACTUALLY WORKED. Kellan Elliott-McCrea @kellan Etsy, CTOMonday, October 8, 12
  • 2. ?Monday, October 8, 12
  • 3. A quick historyMonday, October 8, 12
  • 4. Jan 2011 47 engineers: 44 men, 3 women.Monday, October 8, 12
  • 5. Dec 2011 85 engineers: 81 men, 4 women. a 35% decline in gender diversityMonday, October 8, 12
  • 6. Something wasn’t working. a 35% decline in gender diversityMonday, October 8, 12
  • 7. ?Monday, October 8, 12
  • 8. Why?Monday, October 8, 12
  • 9. https://www.etsy.com/listing/90013032/vintage-doll-arms-bag-hook-jewelryMonday, October 8, 12
  • 10. Why? 80% of our customers are women.Monday, October 8, 12
  • 11. Why? 50% of our staff are women.Monday, October 8, 12
  • 12. Why? I love being an engineer.Monday, October 8, 12
  • 13. Why? Cognitive diversity * Nosh at Kellogg. * Malone at Sloane. http://www.flickr.com/photos/liquidmoonlightcom/6611619613/Monday, October 8, 12
  • 14. Why? Better recruiting opportunities. 41% of Harvard’s CompSci class of 2013 are women.Monday, October 8, 12
  • 15. ?Monday, October 8, 12
  • 16. Just saying internally wasn’t enough. There was no reason for an outside observer to believe us.Monday, October 8, 12
  • 17. Switching costs are high. Great engineers aren’t looking for a job. Great women engineers aren’t looking for a job, and there is a decent chance your company sucks.Monday, October 8, 12
  • 18. Lowering standards is counter-productive. Leads to a long term downward spiral. http://www.flickr.com/photos/33909700@N02/3159698458Monday, October 8, 12
  • 19. Most technical interviews suck. Biased against a diverse range of folks including: introverts, and left handed people.Monday, October 8, 12
  • 20. “Quick, prove to me how smart you are.”Monday, October 8, 12
  • 21. “Quick, prove to me how smart you are.”Monday, October 8, 12
  • 22. What we learned. * just saying it internally isn’t credible * switching cost make hiring great women engineers especially hard * lowering your standards is actively harmful * most technical interviews suck, and undermine your diversity goalsMonday, October 8, 12
  • 23. The thing that ACTUALLY WORKED.Monday, October 8, 12
  • 24. Monday, October 8, 12
  • 25. Monday, October 8, 12
  • 26. Monday, October 8, 12
  • 27. Monday, October 8, 12
  • 28. Etsy Hacker Grants What we offered • Etsy sponsored the summer session of Hacker School • Expected 40 students, aimed for 20+ women • Offered 10, $5,000 needs-based scholarships for women to attend • Class is free, but NYC isn’t • Classes take place at Etsy officesMonday, October 8, 12
  • 29. “We’re asking everyone in the Etsy community, and everyone who reads this post, to help us spread the word to women they know who love hacking. If you know a woman who has made an awesome personal website, a great iPhone app, or anything of the sort, please encourage her to apply.” - Marc Hedlund, Etsy VP of EngineeringMonday, October 8, 12
  • 30. Monday, October 8, 12
  • 31. Hacker School Applicants Before and after the Hacker Grants program 661 women 7 women 140 men 182 men Spring 2012 (before grants) Summer 2012 (with grants)Monday, October 8, 12
  • 32. The batch Who showed up? • Spring (before grants) • 7 women applied, 3 accepted, only 1 attended • Summer (with grants) • 661 women applied, 24 accepted, 23 attendedMonday, October 8, 12
  • 33. Monday, October 8, 12
  • 34. Monday, October 8, 12
  • 35. Monday, October 8, 12
  • 36. Monday, October 8, 12
  • 37. "The people here are phenomenal. I never realized the impact of being the only female in the room until I wasn’t. Every person here is smart, interesting, funny, supportive, capable, and very different from one another. The skill sets vary from designer, web developer, pastry chef, functional programmer, physics postdoc, astrophysicist, financial analyst, CS student, hardware engineer, etc, etc. I’m inspired by all of them." - Martha Kelly , Etsy Engineer. Start date Oct 3, 2012 bit.ly/in-the-roomMonday, October 8, 12
  • 38. “This is how it should be. batch[3]‘s balanced gender ratio didn’t seem like a huge deal at the time. It just felt normal, really.” - David Peter CompSci major @ RIT http://davidpeter.me/stories/ hacker-schoolMonday, October 8, 12
  • 39. After the Summer * we hired 8 hacker school candidates. 5 women, and 3 men. * weve renewed the grant for the Fall * we have 20 women on our 110 person engineering teamMonday, October 8, 12
  • 40. Very senior candidates. “I saw Etsys work on Hacker School, I saw what youre doing with the B-Corp certification, and I want to be a part of that.”Monday, October 8, 12
  • 41. So that worked.Monday, October 8, 12
  • 42. The grants felt like a "real invitation".Monday, October 8, 12
  • 43. We’re seen to be actually working at it.Monday, October 8, 12
  • 44. More data, better hiring.Monday, October 8, 12
  • 45. More data, better risks. The one thing we changed about our hiring standard.Monday, October 8, 12
  • 46. What we learned. * just saying it internally isn’t credible * switching cost make hiring great women engineers especially hard * lowering your standards is actively harmful * most technical interviews suck, and undermine your diversity goalsMonday, October 8, 12
  • 47. Design parameters for a solution * serious, but inviting * balanced * optimize for “let’s build together” * optimize for data gathering * normalized within your own organization * very public. * teams with 0 or 2+ women.Monday, October 8, 12
  • 48. Thank you!Monday, October 8, 12

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