Editor’s Note: We are reposting this article by Brian Hall with his permission after he got the copyright to it from Forbes. It had previously been up on their website for about 24 hours and then got pulled for mysterious reasons with “violating terms” cited but no more description. While there are a lot of theories on why it was pulled, we don’t know, but given the backlash surrounding it on the Internet, we believe that we must advocate against censorship in any way we can, so we are hosting it here. The backlash it received is amazing considering it is a pretty light editorial. You can see more about it on Brian’s website.
Needless to say, these are Brian’s own words and views on the topic.
Repeat after me: there is no “diversity crisis” in Silicon Valley. None. In fact, there is no crisis at all in Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley is doing absolutely gangbusters. Apple has $200 billion in cash reserves and equivalents — and a market valuation of about $630 billion. Amazing. Facebook now garners a billion daily users. This is a nearly unfathomable number. Google is worth nearly $450 billion and has $70 billion in cash on hand.
This is not a crisis. Silicon Valley is swimming in money and in success. Uber is valued at around $50 billion. Companies like Airbnb are remaking travel and lodging. Intel is moving forward into the global Internet of Things market. South Korea’s Samsung just opened a giant R&D facility in the heart of Silicon Valley. Google and Facebook are working to connect the entire world. Netflix is re-making how we consume entertainment.
Silicon Valley is home to the next phase of the global auto industry. Fintech and biotech are transforming banking and medicine. The success of Silicon Valley is not due to diversity — or to any bias. Rather, to brilliance, hard work, risk taking, big ideas and money.
Want to be part of this? Great! Follow the example of the millions who came before you. Their parents made school a priority. They took math and science classes, and did their homework every night. They practiced ACT tests over and over. They enrolled in good schools and focused on English, Political Science and Humanities.
Okay, that last bit is not true. They took computer programming, engineering, chemistry — hard subjects that demand hard work. They then left their home, their family, their community, and moved to Silicon Valley. They worked hard, staying late night after night. They didn’t blog, they didn’t let their skills go stale, they didn’t blame others when not everything worked out exactly as hoped.
Are you doing all of these? Are you doing any of these? Do them!
From all over the world, from Brazil and Canada, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Norway, Egypt, fellow humans come to Silicon Valley to work, create, succeed. And they do. Silicon Valley is extremely diverse.
Of course, the iPhone wasn’t created because of diversity. Nor was Google. Nor Facebook, nor the computer chip, nor the touchscreen. They were created because a small band of super-smart people who worked very hard to create something better than existed before.
Wait. It gets better.
Silicon Valley doesn’t just create greatness, it’s probably the most open, welcoming, meritocratic-based region on the planet. Anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that disproportionately more Chinese, Indians, and LGBQT succeed in Silicon Valley than just about any place in America. Guess what? Everyone earned their job because of their big brains and ability to contribute.
Is that you?
Then come here! It’s an amazingly inclusive place.
But be sure to bring your computer science degree, your engineering degree, your proven set of accomplishments. Be sure you are prepared to sacrifice “fun” for long hours and hard work. Offer proof of how well you did in school, in math, in physics. These matter dearly as they are fundamental to what makes Silicon Valley succeed.
Silicon Valley is not perfect. It’s certainly no utopia. But if you aren’t able to make it here, it’s almost certainly not because of any bias. Rather, on your refusal to put in the hard work in the hard classes, and to accept all the failures that happen before you achieve any amazing success.
Stop demanding Silicon Valley adhere to your desires, or your limitations. Remember, there’s a reason you’re not using a flip phone. There’s a reason you’re not cursing that taxi that never showed up. Silicon Valley is about moving forward. It’s not biased but it is demanding. That’s what makes it so great.