All-White-Bro Venture Capital Firm Is Totally Diverse, With So Many Types Of White Dudes
After dealing with the rage-inducing faux-diversity of Ezra Klein’s anti-gay gay dude hire, we should have known better to wander into another money for nothing area like the nonsenseville that is venture capital. Just like Klein, these guys have absurd amounts of money, which largely seems to go towards being massive tools. Today’s exhibit: Benchmark.
What is Benchmark, you might ask? They’re your run-of-the-mill all white guy venture capital firm that has had a lucky streak backing some heavy tech hitters. Good on them. But they want to be different, you guys! They want to be special little snowflakes.
Recently, I made my way down to the relatively new offices of Benchmark in the still-sketchy Tenderloin area of San Francisco for a visit with the foursome that now runs the famous venture firm. That would be Peter Fenton, Matt Cohler, Mitch Lasky and Bill Gurley, who feel a little like a band on a run.
Indeed so. With investments in such hits as Instagram, Uber, Snapchat, Twitter and New Relic, the group is trying to style itself as an artisanal VC rather than a corporate one.
No, really, they actually think that. It isn’t just the reporter’s framing of the company.
“[Fenton:] Benchmark, I think, has a very explicit strategy, which we’ve been open about: Our belief that this is more of a guild than a corporation. So, we try to think of it as artisans practicing a craft.”
Th’ fuck does that even mean? Henceforth, the staff of Happy shall be known as artisanal bloggers, because we say so, and because of our craft.
Besides not really having any idea what the word “artisanal” might mean, these guys are also super deeply confused about the concept of diversity.
[Cohler:] “I do think we have a lot of diversity, for four white guys. Believe it or not, we’re pretty different people, with a lot of common ground between us. Diversity with a shared core we think is the most powerful thing that exists, and we would love to add to that on multiple dimensions and would love nothing more than that. I think the group of people we have, we are always looking for a new Benchmark partner all the time, every day. The group of people we have to look at that are the people who have demonstrated leadership in the industry, and it is what it is.”
They’re super different from each other, you guys! Like although they all wear button-down shirts, one of them LEAVES IT UNTUCKED! It must have been a hard road for them to accept something so very different as untucked shirt white guy, but they have powered through! Also, one of them maybe wears corduroys instead of jeans, which is a bold lifestyle choice.
Seriously, dudes, just say “we’re all white guys, and we need to work on increasing diversity in our company.” Or even say “fuck you yeah we’re all white dudes and we’re gonna pick more white dudes for life” because that is at least a coherent stance. But the whole “yeah, we’re white dudes, but we’re really different sorts of white dudes” is the most grasping copout ever. Just embrace your sameness. Also, stop with the artisanal stuff. That distinguishes you from other people, but only because it is the most stupid thing ever. Probably not what you’re going for with the whole diversity thing.