Chivalric venture capitalist and literal knight Sir Michael Moritz sat down for an interview just called out by Vanity Fair with Bloomberg's Emily Chang, who pointed out the simple fact that Sequoia Capital, where Moritz is chairman, has not one woman partner. One of the "old guards of venture capital in Silicon Valley" in Bloomberg's estimation, Moritz comes off as just that: old and guarded.
"I like to think and genuinely believe," Moritz says "that we are blind to somebody's sex, to somebody's religion, to their background, we probably have more different nationalities than pretty much — it's a pretty cosmopolitan setting." Yeah, Moritz is pretty blind if he can't see entire systems of gender, race, and religion.
"We look very hard," says Sir Moritz, who is blind, of his would-be hiring practices, "in fact we just hired a young women from Stanford who's every bit as good as her peers and if there are more like [her], we'll hire them. What we’re not prepared to do is to lower our standards."
In particular, the "every bit as good as her peers" and the "lower our standards" lines standout as assumptive and toxic. What's being asked of Moritz and his "old guard" is a change in standards — one of which appears to be dudeness — not a lowering of them.
"The issue," he says, "begins in the high schools, women tend to elect not to study the sciences," ignoring the myriad ways he's enforcing and perpetuating this just by saying it, and certainly by his hiring practices, which reverberate through the technology sector in the form of investments.
Not to get to white-knighty here — after all it's Moritz who bears that actual honorific in 2015 — but those industry-shaping and thus, if he's doing it right, world-shaping investments are going to be made just by men, and then made mostly just to men. Why assume that? Because gender and bias are real whether we would choose to see them or not.
"Our job is to field the very best field at Sequoia," says Moritz, “If there are fabulously bright, driven women who are really interested in technology, very hungry to succeed, and can meet our performance standards, we’d hire them all day and night."
Why would you hire them at night, Sir Moritz? That's creepy. Hiring them during the day will be fine.