/// Carrot Flop: Twitter CEO Costolo Finds Lack of Woman on Board Is No Joking Matter

October 7, 2013  |  All Things Digital


Two weeks ago, I wrote a piece about the lack of women on the board of Twitter , just as the San Francisco microblogging company prepared to unveil its IPO documents. In the post, I noted that “the lack of a female director on its board even caused one board member to make a naughty joke that has been widely repeated inside the company — and forgive me in advance for this — that Twitter’s governing body has to expand beyond ‘three Peters and a Dick.’” That quip referred to four of the members of the all-white, all-male board: Former Netscape CFO and well-known investor Peter Currie; former News Corp COO and successful Hollywood mogul Peter Chernin; under-the-radar Silicon Valley power VC Peter Fenton of Benchmark Capital; and Twitter CEO Dick Costolo. Yesterday, Costolo tried to make another funny on the subject that only ended up casting light on the glaring issue even more so. Responding to a critic of the board makeup — Stanford University’s voluble Vivek Wadhwa — the longtime tech exec tweeted the “Carrot Top of academic sources.” That would be the not-so-funny comic — and a very low blow! @rich1 Vivek Wadhwa is the Carrot Top of academic sources. — dick costolo (@dickc) October 5, 2013 Wadhwa — a fellow at Stanford’s Rock Center for Corporate Governance, who is currently writing a book on women in tech — was quoted in a New York Times piece about the lack of a female board member at Twitter, as well as only one women among the top executives (who was appointed only weeks ago): “This is the elite arrogance of the Silicon Valley mafia, the Twitter mafia. It’s the same male chauvinistic thinking. The fact that they went to the I.P.O. without a single woman on the board, how dare they?” As you might imagine, the snarky tweet by Costolo — who has been a stand-up comic himself — was not well received by many on Twitter, although he and Wadhwa had several exchanges that were more civil. Slightly. @wadhwa you're not seeing my point. you give people an easy out by just checking a box. The issues are much bigger than checking any 1 box. — dick costolo (@dickc) October 5, 2013 It was an interesting back-and-forth, for sure, which is likely to serve to put more pressure on the Twitter board to add a woman sooner than later. Among the many reasons that it might be a good idea? Numerous studies show that more women use Twitter than men. To be clear, correcting the massive gender imbalance in corporate governance is something more companies in tech — Twitter is hardly an outlier here — certainly need to consider too. As I wrote more than two years ago , many private Web 2.0 companies have few women board members, unlike a number of public tech companies. While slow in adding them, the boards of Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Zynga, LinkedIn and eBay now include at least one woman

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Carrot Flop: Twitter CEO Costolo Finds Lack of Woman on Board Is No Joking Matter



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