Tech needs Emotional Intelligence

I was recording a podcast with Matthew Panzarino, editor of TechCrunch yesterday and the conversation turned to current state of Silicon Valley, and the point I made was that as an industry we have been focused on a limited set of metrics – growth and intelligence, for example.

Sure, like any intellectually intensive industry needs high level of IQ, but as we become more embedded and enmeshed in mainstream socio-economic and cultural fabric, technology industry needs to have an equal and perhaps more focus on values and emotional impact of what we create. Technology is a lot more pervasive and embedded into our lives. It is not something that just impacts that operations of a company, an industry or a small subset of population. The digitization’s influence is far-reaching. I have written about need for empathy and understanding.

But in reality we need to start within our own industry — our own ecosystem of investors, startups and finding ways to be more inclusive. It is time to let go of dogmas that have corrupted how our system itself works. My partner at True Ventures Jon Callaghan have very eloquently written about this topic and if you get a chance, give it a read.

Facebook’s Affordable Housing Efforts: Not Enough

First of all, kudos to Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg and team for recognizing the issues around affordable housing in the area of the technology boom. For more context, here is a statement that Mark published on his Facebook page. Affordable housing is an important problem across the world. Our goal is to connect people everywhere, and that starts with … Continue reading Facebook’s Affordable Housing Efforts: Not Enough

Empathy isn’t a corporate slogan

Inadvertent Algorithmic Cruelty” is an emotional piece by Eric Meyer who lost his daughter earlier in the year and was reminded of his painful loss by what is seemingly a thoughtless Facebook product feature. It was an attempt by Facebook to be more human instead of being a utility, but in the end it inadvertently ended up upsetting Eric and others.

It was a rude and very real reminder that, no matter how well-intentioned, our software-enabled society is far from being empathetic and understanding of human reality. Facebook, which as a company serves 1.25 billion people, wants to be empathetic. And so do others like them. The question is how, and how fast, can we make software take on empathetic qualities, especially as we continue to pray at the altar of “growth at any cost.” Continue reading “Empathy isn’t a corporate slogan”