Well, it’s not like she could be a professional venture capitalist anymore. Or a Reddit CEO.
Ellen Pao has turned to the one thing she has proven effective at — talking loudly about diversity. This week, the former Reddit CEO, famous for a failed gender discrimination lawsuit against VC firm Kleiner Perkins, launched Project Include, a new Silicon Valley advocacy group to make life miserable for meritocrats.
According to their website, Project Include will urge companies to “improve opportunities for all employees, including all underrepresented groups (gender, race, class, age, religion, disability, education, sexual orientation, and others).” They call for “multiple, sustained efforts, a comprehensive approach, and a long-term commitment. An effective solution covers all aspects of a company — its culture, its operations, and its teams.”
Many Silicon Valley companies, known for the hyper-progressiveness of their CEOs, already take such a “comprehensive approach.” Intel, for example, has been running so-called “MicroInequities” training for its employees for years.
Still, Pao is likely to enjoy success in her new initiative. Despite her track record of failure, which included a disastrous lawsuit against her former employer Kleiner Perkins, and her resignation as CEO of social news site Reddit after the worst series of user rebellions in the site’s history, she remains a darling of the progressive media.
They’re even content to ignore some of the disturbing facts that emerged in the course of her trial, including her bullying of colleagues at Kleiner Perkins and her husband’s history of vexatious discrimination lawsuits. Commentators were also content to ignore that Kleiner Perkins, who Pao said discriminated against her, had one of the best track records of hiring women in Silicon Valley.
Tech journalists are still content to ignore this, with WIRED calling her “one of the most prominent faces of Silicon Valley’s diversity movement.”
It seems Pao’s quest to profit from the tech industry’s paranoia about diversity is only just beginning.