Why Is Silicon Valley So Awful to Women? is a new Atlantic Monthly cover story that everyone in tech seems to be talking about today, probably because everyone in tech knows the Valley is awful to women (except, you know, everyone in tech being awful to women), and as it happens, starts right off with a story about Linden Lab -- but in a good way:
Bethanye Blount came into work early to interview a job applicant. A veteran software engineer then in her 30s, Blount held a senior position at the company that runs Second Life, the online virtual world... So she was taken aback when the job applicant barely gave her the time of day. He knew her job title. He knew she would play a key role in deciding whether he got hired. Yet every time Blount asked him a question about his skills or tried to steer the conversation to the scope of the job, he blew her off with a flippant comment. Afterward, Blount spoke to another top woman—a vice president—who said he’d treated her the same way.
Obviously Second Life wasn’t going to hire this bozo. But what the heck: He was here, and they had a new employee, a man, who needed practice giving interviews, so they sent him in. When the employee emerged, he had an odd look on his face. “I don’t know what just happened,” he said. “I went in there and told him I was new, and all he said was he was so glad I was there: ‘Finally, somebody who knows what’s going on!’”
As Bethanye notes, it's a relatively minor example of sexism in the tech industry -- one among a vast ocean of douchebaggery which inspired her to co-found Project Include, whose other co-founder is my friend Susan Wu, a Valley legend who happens to have an awesome SL avatar.
After Bethanye left Linden Lab, by the way, she was briefly chief engineer at Reddit, an experience she discussed here a couple years back.