(Silicon Valley, CA) In today’s digital world, things are not always as they seem. As we have seen with recent Deepfake videos of public figures like Mark Zuckerberg and Nancy Pelosi, the line between fact and fiction is more blurred than ever before. Nowhere is this more obvious than well-funded startups, their websites, and the stock photos they use to represent their companies. Today, we are going to take a look at a few major players in the digital field and compare the image that they present to investors and the general public vs. the reality of the staffing choices they actually make. Ultimately, our goal is to prove that website stock photos never tell the full story, especially when it comes to a diversified workforce.
Squeegee TV. The first startup we looked into is a new streaming service known as Squeegee TV that recently raised 400 million dollars to bring their quirky original series’ to a wider audience. According to their website stock photos, the Squeegee offices are full of multicultural explorations and a diverse yet effective staff. However, when we visited the offices of said startup, we found eighteen white dudes in their 30s and one woman wearing glasses. Although this isn’t a crime, per se, it is incredibly misleading and we are disappointed to say the least.
Boomslam. The next company we tested our formula on goes by the hip and trendy named Boomslam. No one is exactly sure what they do, but they were recently evaluated at 1 billion dollars and industry experts expect them to go public by years end. From their website, you might expect their office to be a diverse color swatch, representing nations from across the globe. Instead, we found two dudes in their twenties sharing a single LoveSac. Come on guys, you have the money, just buy another chair.
Shoqwav. I don’t even know where to start with Shoqwav. Let’s just say this: I’ve seen more diversity in a case of saltine crackers than was found at their Silicon Valley offices, OK? Do better, Shoqwav. Do better.
Crystallis. By this point, we were expecting the worst with each new startup we heard about, so when we got to Crystallis, a cassette tape manufacturer backed by Mark Cuban, we didn’t have high hopes. But then, when we went to their website and found nothing but pictures of white dudes, we thought maybe this was a change in the pattern. Perhaps this company was presenting a Eurocentric face on the outside, while actually making space for a diverse group of employ-Nope. Just checked their site and the stock photos are actually accurate. Well, at least they are more honest about it.
Jalapeño Inc. Finally, the last startup we explored, Jalapeño Inc., trading under the stock symbol JALA, blew our minds. Per usual, their website stock photos were full of people of color and although we had come to expect this, we were somewhat relieved to see that their CEO was a woman. Unfortunately, ‘CEO’ is apparently just an honorary term at the Peño business, as we found 14 people with that same title. The one thing we will give them is that they at least included the tilde over the ñ, but that was immediately cancelled out when we realized they are hoping to “disrupt the private prison industry.” Talk about Yikes.
Our conclusion? Capitalism was a mistake.
This was written by Nathan Ellwood, who is a white man himself, and for that he is sorry. Follow him @NPEllwood.