Google’s Diversity Memo: A Translation

Printed from:

Editor’s Note:

A software engineer at Google recently wrote a 10-page memo arguing in favor of diversity in the workplace but suggesting that innate differences between men and women might explain why there are more men than women working in technology jobs.  He got fired for it.  A Google executive sent out a memo in the wake of the firing.  The original text of the memo follows, with subtitles:


Affirming our commitment to diversity and inclusion — and healthy debate

Watch your step



I’m Danielle, Google’s brand new VP of Diversity, Integrity & Governance.

If you like cop shows, think Internal Affairs.

I started just a couple of weeks ago, and I had hoped to take another week or so to get the lay of the land before introducing myself to you all.

I’m really lazy.

But given the heated debate we’ve seen over the past few days, I feel compelled to say a few words.

Some people in the organization are wondering why I’ve been here a whole two weeks and have done nothing.

Many of you have read an internal document shared by someone in our engineering organization, expressing views on the natural abilities and characteristics of different genders,

I have no idea how many genders there are, so I just want to cover myself here and emphasize that they’re different, if they want to be.

 as well as whether one can speak freely of these things at Google.

Of course one can’t.  Didn’t you know that?

 And like many of you,

I feel safe in herdes

I found that it advanced incorrect assumptions about gender.

I really didn’t understand the argument, so I’m just going to call it incorrect.

 I’m not going to link to it here as it’s not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages.

I don’t have any facts or arguments to rebut the guy’s memo, so I’m going to pretend I’m responding to it even though I’m not.

Diversity and inclusion are a fundamental part of our values and the culture we continue to cultivate.

Or at least, they’re fundamental to the existence of my job.

 We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company, 

[no actual meaning]

and we’ll continue to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul.

Or at least until my stock options vest, I’m hoping.

 As Ari Balogh said in his internal G+ post, “Building an open, inclusive environment is core to who we are, and the right thing to do. ‘Nuff said.”

Hope I copied and pasted this guy’s name right, because he could get me fired.

Google has taken a strong stand on this issue, by releasing its demographic data and creating a company wide OKR on diversity and inclusion.

Google has done the safest, most Politically Correct thing it could do.

Strong stands elicit strong reactions.

Like firing.

Changing a culture is hard, and it’s often uncomfortable.

But firing anyone who says anything interesting helps.

 But I firmly believe Google is doing the right thing,

Nobody ever got fired for being too PC

and that’s why I took this job.

It had nothing to do with the salary, the stock options, or the lack of actual work involved.

Part of building an open, inclusive environment

for the people who think correctly

 means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions.

As long as they’re the right views.  If not, they’re outta here.

But that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws.

These don’t really apply to that guy, but I just need to cite something here.

I’ve been in the industry for a long time,

But not that long.  You’re not thinking of ageism-ing me, are you?

 and I can tell you that I’ve never worked at a company that has so many platforms for employees to express themselves — TGIF, Memegen, internal G+, thousands of discussion groups.

Make sure you express safe opinions on them, people, or this memo guy could be you.

 I know this conversation doesn’t end with my email today.

Better safe than sorry.

 I look forward to continuing to hear your thoughts as I settle in and meet with Googlers across the company.

I’d like to go back to doing nothing now.



I’m too hip to use my last name.