A Kitchen Sync Conversation with Twitter's Vijaya Gadde
I think this was the best post you've had since I subscribed, this was an interesting conversation. I appreciated how you handled this interview in asking probing questions to try to get her to explain the company in their own words while closing off the easy exits -- like when you said something along the lines of "Assuming Twitter would disagree, why do you think this is such a broad bipartisan perception?".
I think she was sincere, but coming into this with a specific worldview that colors how she and the company operates. At one point she said something like "They say we are a San Francisco company, but it's a global workforce, people around the world, and it's us and the algorithms, and to have that kind of an impact just isn't possible."
The problem isn't 'people from San Francisco', the problem is people who come from the same pool of high status institutions. A workforce comprised of people from San Francisco, Berlin, Tokyo, and Chennai whose social circles and spent 18-28 in prestigious universities of their country is perceived, by myself and others, as carrying a collective elite group think that manages to be very broadminded on some issues and closed on others. Last year had a lot of discussion about implicit biases and systemic outcomes that are not the product of any one person's biases, but their collective weight. If we are to follow that to its logical conclusion, this doesn't stop at race or the patriarchy.
I'd like to have asked her "Tell me about a colleague you have who thinks abortion should be illegal." The "That's a human right, it's not political" line to me is giving away the game, and I appreciated how you pushed back on that -- would this pro-life colleague of hers be perceived as being opposed to women's rights by their calculus? Am I opposed to rights of the 'unhomed' if I want zero tolerance on panhandling? There are dogmas being used as clubs on her community that reflect the worldview of her organization as a 'revealed preference.
Maybe I'm being uncharitable, and am just wrong -- she works there and knows the guts of how it works, I don't. All the same, thanks to her for meeting with you and thanks for the thoughtful discussion you two shared.
Not only does this gal (am I allowed to describe her as such?) constantly talk in circles, she also uses the work "like" a lot, in the typical juvenile teenager sense.