Here’s how Silicon Valley really thinks about diversity in hiring

DiversityLast week at the Milken Institute conference, Ben Horowitz, co-founder and general partner of Andreessen Horowitz, sat down with Re/Code’s Kara Swisher.

Swisher asked Horowitz about the Kleiner Perkins gender discrimination trial. Much of what Horowitz had to say was brutally honest. Basically, Silicon Valley won’t be hiring a more diverse workforce until they see hard evidence that it will improve their bottom line.

“When you’re building a startup, you’re fighting for your life. You aren’t going to do anything for corporate responsibility,” he said.

Horowitz differentiated between two different kinds of decisions: the public ones, which get touted in press releases, and the private ones, which are much more important in dictating what actually goes on in the day-to-day operations of a company.

Those private decisions, he said, aren’t going to be influenced by outsider complaints that there isn’t enough diversity in tech.

The decisions that get made in the dark, who gets hired, how they’re treated, those do not change from social pressure. I think in some ways there’s backlash [against public pressure]. You’ve got to have a mechanism that works in the dark. That mechanism has got to be really specifically, “How does it help your self interest?”, or it just doesn’t work…