Every year, my company selects an entity to recognize for their outstanding contribution to creative wealth destruction. Last year’s Lehman Brothers Award went to The DAO, a dumb smart contract that led to an even dumber bailout. We’ve since seen a whole bunch of copycat token offerings, each one bigger and stupider than the last. Pathbreaking pioneers, those DAO creators were.
This year, we chose to honor Google. Since 2014, Google has spent over $265 million on corporate diversity initiatives. After three years of unprecedented effort, Google’s gender gap and racial-demography gap are bigger than ever.
What an exemplary waste of resources!
But wait, there’s more! Google has unlocked many additional achievements deserving of recognition. In the past year alone, the company has received the following honors:
- A class action lawsuit over age discrimination
- A U.S. Department of Labor investigation, which found that Google’s female employees were systemically paid less than their male colleagues
- Separate from the investigation, another class action lawsuit for assigning women to crappier jobs and promoting them less frequently than men
- And yet another class action suit, this time for discriminating against employees based on their political views
Well done, Google. In your futile quest to discriminate against nobody, you have instead managed to discriminate against *everybody*.
[sustained, thunderous standing ovation]
Our most heartfelt congratulations to Sundar Pichai, Eric Schmidt, and all the other executives who worked so hard to make this happen. In closing, I leave you with some inspirational passages to empower and motivate your workforce in the path forward.
A Colossal Failure of Common Sense: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Lehman Brothers by Lawrence McDonald and Patrick Robinson
Joe Gregory was a regular, run-of-the-mill, ho-hum financial sycophant, devoted to his master, Richard Fuld, but with few of the necessary tools and instincts to serve as president of Lehman Brothers. He suited the boss fine, however, since he posed not even the semblance of a threat and would do anything in the world for the chief.
Joe’s fixation was a subject called diversity. He was consumed with it. His aim was the mission of inclusion. He had an entire department devoted to it, headed up by a managing director. Great rallies were staged in New York’s auditoriums, with free cocktails and hors d’oeuvres served for up to six hundred people, all listening to Joe or one of his henchmen pontificating. “Inclusion! That must be our aim!” he would yell, as if we were running a friggin’ prayer meeting.
In Joe’s view, it was the culture of the corporation that mattered. Joe believed that inclusiveness would carry us to victory. If the culture was right, then all would be right. Which was all very well, but down in the trenches, where a trader might sweat blood to make a couple of million dollars, most of us were a bit tetchy about Joe Gregory going off and spending it on a cocktail party for six hundred people.
That might not have been fair to him, but that’s the way it seemed to us. Especially when it emerged that the top dog in diversity was earning well over $2 million a year and that the diversity division had a bigger budget and more people than risk management!
Gregory’s diversity program was derided in part because it was as big and expensive to run as some of the revenue-producing divisions. It was more expensive and had more employees than all of risk management. Behind his back, senior executives called the program “Joe’s social science project.” Someone nicknamed him “the Oprah Winfrey of Wall Street.”
Gregory wasn’t dissuaded by such grumblings; he knew the attention and money that Lehman spent on diversity made for good public relations. Indeed, Harvard Business School would even publish a paper on Gregory’s diversity program and its accomplishments.