Meeting of the Minds
10:30PM Mar 3, 2021
Bo. Hey Wade, how are you? I'm doing good.
Yeah, in Southern California. So that was nice to wake up to.
Yeah, that is a nice. Well, thank you so much to the both of you for being here today really excited to, to speak with you. So I wanted to kind of start with, you know, just kind of like looking back in the last roughly roughly 12 months or so. And, you know, last last summer, following the murder of George Floyd and Breanna Taylor, I mean, many in the tech industry, kind of, and media and just really everywhere kind of started speaking out a lot about Black Lives Matter and speaking more about diversity and inclusion in their respective industries. And yeah, I guess this will also go to you wait, but I'm curious, what was that like? For you kind of finally seeing a kind of seeing like, oh, like, now all of a sudden, that kind of feels like all these people are on board? Like, what was that like for you? Just as like, in your role?
Yeah, I would say, you know, I was in one space, I was happy, right? That, that the cameras are bringing more people in. But I was also somewhat frustrated that it, it takes something like that for folks to get truly engaged. And inside of Netflix, one of the things that I was really intentional about is to tell our employees who are not black, right, to not ask our employees how they feel, right, but for them to be much more introspective of what it felt like for them, right, as a white person, or however they identify for them to do the introspection, right. Because like, that's what it means to be an an allies to not put the labor on the group that that is already feeling, the impact and the oppression. And, and what we found was that many of our employees, for the first time had to wrestle with like, what it means to be white. What it means to be in a situation where you are seeing someone who looks like you take the life of someone who looks like me. So we really tried to switch the actual narrative and the conversation to not add more labor and trauma on our, on our black employees.
Mm hmm. For sure. Yeah. And Bo, I'm curious what that was, was like for you and your role, just you know, as someone who's been speaking about diversity and inclusion in, in tech, and just in society for so long.
I'm sorry, Megan, you were slightly muted on mine. Can you just repeat that to?
Oh, yeah. Yeah, no worries. Yeah, I was just kind of curious what just kind of the offensive last summer were like, for you, as someone who's, you know, been in this role in these types of roles for for many years to kind of suddenly have this global attention on these issues? Absolutely. So,
you know, I think my first thought was, I have to admit, I was a little bit skeptical about these, the rush of everybody coming on board, and suddenly wanting to make really profound statements, because it's not as though we haven't seen this before. We haven't, you know, there have been so many other instances of people being horrified and shocked, you know, shocked by the, you know, violent murder of African American person by somebody within the criminal justice system. And then within a few weeks, you see that interest in that focus again, wane once more. So I was skeptical that the enthusiasm would continue. And I mean, zeusie Azim in a way like to like try to solve all of like, our racism problems in a short period of time, I was surprised that it did continue. But one of the things that particularly I was really wants to make sure is in the effort to truly show support. I didn't want certainly Uber, I didn't, but I didn't want any, any company or any person to make such a wide commitment that ultimately those commitments became nothing more than virtue signaling at the end of the day, that that was something that, you know, in much the same way that you know, we talked about his experience where he was messaging, don't look to all the black people to like, pour out their hearts and souls and like, share and educate. You know, my approach was we did very similar messaging, but also, you know, I said to my leadership, if you really want to come out and make some bold statements about being anti racist, I'm going to create almost a litmus test to make sure that you really understand what that means because I don't want to go up as a company to say we're going to be anti racist and then do nothing about it because that's just that that just relives and rehashes the in justices that we've seen in the past. So if my leadership if adara and the ELT wants to say, we're gonna be anti racist, I said, This is what anti racism literally looks like. Is this what you're signing up on? And they said, Yes. And so for me, it was it. I went from I was Probably the most conservative, if I'm being completely honest of my leadership, I was the most conservative in terms of what I thought you should be doing. Only because I've lived through this cycle so many times before, it actually took my leadership to say, Bo, we're really on board with this, now support us as we go for. And then of course, we have the company came out a little bit later in the summer with our, with our commitments that we've made. And I'm really proud of how we have lived those, I think, in part because we took a bit more time to make sure that we understood what it meant for us to become an antiracist. Company.
Yeah, and, and we kind of talked about this, when when Uber came out with its most recent diversity report, but just, you know, how, how the optics weren't great of, you know, coming out and saying, like, okay, like, we're, we're an anti racist company, but then, you know, next diversity report showing a decline and black representation. And I know that you said that you were definitely not not happy about how that all played out. And so I'm kind of curious, like, how do you, how do you kind of like, come back from that? And like, what do you what is Uber doing now to try to get back to where it was in terms of black representation? And then even, like, surpass that?
Right. And I think part of like, the commitments we made around being really anti racist is transparency at all costs, even when we know that that transparency could potentially make us look, not reflect as positively on us. So the question did go back, as you know, when we were putting together our diversity report is, wow, these numbers are not where we want them to be. None of us are happy about it. But in our commitment of being accountable, you know, we want the public to hold us accountable. We want people to hold accountable, we want to be accountable to our workforce, we're going to be as transparent about why that decline in black employees happened and underrepresented people happened, what would cause was and what we are doing. And so one of the things that came out of our anti racism commitments is we now have a racial equity Leadership Committee. It includes some of our senior most leaders, including Nelson, Tai Nikki, head of talent acquisition, there's about 20 plus leaders across the organization, every single one of our commitments now have an executive sponsor who's driving it, we have metrics that were KPIs that we're holding ourselves to, and specifically around representation, we've done in 2019, we rolled out our we expanded our accountability, and linking, you know, performance for our executive leadership team to set goals that we've publicly announced. We're actually expanding that this year. So we now have our 50, top leaders who all have an operational targets around representation in our org, and we're working with them right now. So that they understand that how do we make these changes possible, it is a matter of hiring. But it actually in many ways, Uber, it is more about a matter of increasing retention, development, promotion, as well. So we we've expanded our accountability even further. So that's just one way that we want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to get that representation and get that inclusion into the company.
Got it? Yeah, and wait, I mean, so Netflix is really at this intersection of, of meat of the of the media industry and the technology industry. And you know, like both industries have, you know, kind of have their separate but also like very similar diversity and inclusion issues. So, I'm curious about how how you kind of navigate that in your role at Netflix.
Yeah, so we truly see ourselves as an entertainment company who has its roots in technology, right. And I think that that, in some ways can give us a competitive advantage, right to be thinking through, like, helping everyone on our content side understand the value of representation in front of the camera behind the camera, in the writers room, right. And then on the tech side, like the importance of having folks who sit at different intersections in our who do our algorithms who are doing who our data scientists are, like, like, the fact that if we are doing our job, then we can have the type of content and the engagement with our products and services that meet the needs of everyone, which increases a customer joy. Right? So if we can get really good at that from a representation standpoint, and to both point, I'm sorry, to both point be as transparent and as consistent. Right, as as possible. And, you know, one of the other big things is like, are we making the right investment, so that we're not just signaling that Netflix cares, you know, so far our black bank initiative of $100 million that didn't come from from our executives that came from from our black and employees, specifically Aaron Mitchell, who's who said, Hey, like if we want to really in the wealth gap or a ton of heavy coats call that the injury gap, we actually have to trust and believe that, that when you put the hands in black and brown, folks Right, like that gives them agency and they will make the smartest decisions. So we're just really trying to be super thoughtful and sit at that intersection. But to both point, the representation that's at the senior level, and even at the high sea level is truly how you make that. That culture change happened for external folks and for internal folks.
Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, I'm curious, in general, you're in general, with your Yeah, just with your role at Netflix, like how do you see the company's role and are like the corporate responsibility aspect in terms of advancing DNI, whether that's like, representation on screen or representation within the company?
I think all of it is our responsibility, right? Because if we're trying to entertain to entertain the world, we've got to have folks internally, who can actually make sure that that becomes true, right. So we can have a you can perspective who is building out all of our products and services and content for for our APAC folks, or for our Amir folks, so how are we truly becoming global, but to make sure that that, that the folks who are guiding our missions and our services and the innovation are truly global in nature as well. Otherwise, we're just really promoting Western ideas and Western values? And that is not how you ensure that the entire world is entertained?
Um, yeah, so I, I want to talk, I want to talk goals for for a little bit. And so. So I know, I know, Uber has made some some public commitments, and you kind of touched on those in the antiracism commitments. But what are what are the current goals that Uber has around representation and inclusion?
Yeah, so as we talked about, in our 2019, diversity and inclusion report, the commitment that we made was a three year goal to get our representation of women at the manager, level and above, to 35%, and to get our representation of our underrepresented people of color. So primarily a black and Latin x two, from the, what we call l four, but it's really like a junior manager role kind of assistant manager role. We want to get up to 14% of those specific goals that we've made public. And then from there, we look at how do we how do we actually what does that actually look like? Like? How do we have to build the pipeline to get there? How do we have what is the retention has to look like what is the promotion rates have to look like for us to get there, and then that dives down to further in the organization. So those are there are two goals, but it really, we are trying to do a very data informed approach to diversity inclusion, because within the tech sector, and Wade knows this, and, you know, people need the data people need to know, like, have that specificity of what it is that I'm trying to achieve. But of course, it's not just about the data we do as much cultural work and process work as and systems change work in order to support it, because you can't simply rely on representation. The representation is a byproduct of that the fact that you've got the culture and the processes, right, it's not the end goal in and of itself.
Yeah, yeah. And, and also, I know that I know that previously, you've kind of talked about providing, providing opportunities for were essentially creating a pipeline for for drivers and delivery workers at Uber to to get jobs at at the company. I was wondering if you can kind of like update me as to where things are with that initiative.
Absolutely. So we continue, you know, like, for the last several years, we have always looked to find ways that we can bring people from within our larger ecosystem to the organ into the organization, because who else has a better understanding of the business itself, then our couriers our driver partners, so every year we actually monitor and track how many people from that courier and, and driver partner world we have in the past, we've hired 1000s. And we continue to have that focus. A lot of them go into our customer service organizations, because they understand that customer service organization very well. We have actually though we have examples of driver partners who have become moved into our marketing our people, our operations organization, as well. And one of the programs that I'm really proud of it's right now just a tiny little trickle but two years ago, we started working with a boot camp that focuses on under a surf communities called pursuit, a boot camp that actually trains people to become computer, you know, software engineers, coders themselves. And we we launched a Class A couple of years ago, we actually now have three full time engineers in our each organization who were previously either couriers or drivers. And we've now launched the second class was pursued this year. It's our pilot of saying, you know, we know that ability and capability is everywhere, but opportunity is what is It's very inequitably distributed. And so it's our way of saying, if we can find within these communities and give them those opportunities, can they be successful. And I think we have a small set of success that we're hoping that. And eventually, over time, we can take these programs and expand them. We also launched recently, a program called CST and modes motion and CST motion looks at actually our hourly wage full time employees who work in customer service and trying to accelerate them to move into other parts of our organization, like our operations, like our marketing, like our sales orders, as well. So that's something that we've strategically created. And that's a byproduct of our racial equity. commitments.
Mm hmm. Yeah. And actually just saw a question come in from the audience. That's, that's relevant to what you were just talking about. And this is from someone named Lucic. So you have questions. Question for you, Bo. Is your is your board responsible for for any of those metrics? And in what way? And then if the company's not meaning, it's antiracist commitment. What is the board's responsibility?
Yeah, so the board is, is holding us accountable. So we have, I'm really proud of actually the board that we have, we have an incredibly diverse board, we have, you know, out of 10 board members, we have for women, we have several people of color as well, it's actually one of the most diverse boards that I've ever had to serve to, I report data to the board and progress on a quarterly basis with our board, I've met with them a couple of times now to really walk them through what we do. And if we if we miss our goals, like there will be an accountability, like the board will hold our executive leadership team accountable. You know, they make decisions, you know, the board makes direct decisions on, you know, our compensation for our leadership team. And if they don't meet those goals that we've set forth, like there will be consequences. And so the board is very actively involved. As everyone knows, Ursula Burns is one of our members. And she certainly is one at one, but not the only member of our board who pushes us every single day to move forward. So I'm really proud of the board I get to work with and you know, every single quarter DNI is one of the top things that they care about the work, they really want us to make the progress and, you know, fulfill the commitments we made.
That's, yeah, and wait. So over over at Netflix, like what are what are the goals that the company has in place around diversity and inclusion?
Yeah, so you know, unlike, you know, Uber, we're very nascent in our inclusion journey, right. So myself, Rene Myers, and the rest of our team have only been, you know, in place for three years now. So we're still at the awareness building phase, like from from a foundational standpoint, and, and we're really trying to double down so that folks know why ind matters, like, what it actually is, and, and how it impacts all of us, right? Because oftentimes, folks think of all of these isms and phobias as something that happens to other people. But if we can really make folks understand that there's a cost to all these isms, and phobias to all of us individually, interpersonally. Culturally, and and institutionally, then it makes it easier down the road when folks start to feel somewhat fatigued, right? Because there is always that fatigue factor. So we're really trying to get ahead of that. And to have folks to think through like, what is in it for me, and what is in it for my colleagues, right. And I would say our other largest goal is to make sure that all of our leaders can speak to the importance of AI and be more than just a talking point. Right? So how do we build a model that that's a train the trainer model, where each of our leaders has, has a one to one inclusion coach, right, which requires them to have monthly sit downs with their inclusion partner, where they go on a real intensive journey, so that they can understand how does their leadership style need to evolve and adapt and expand and flex to meet the needs of a larger set of individuals and not the historical ones? Who, who, who folks have engaged with, and we found that, that to put our leaders on the spot, so that when someone calls me to give a talk, I can actually say, No, our CEO, Greg Peters is just as competent and capable to sit on this panel about inclusion as I am. And we feel like that, that we're now modeling and signaling to our entire organization, that this is not just a nice to have, but it's part and parcel to your success as an employee, as a leader and to our success as an organization.
Yeah, I mean, I think I think something that is something that is off that oftentimes happens and like DNI is that, you know, like you have like a company has a DNI department, but then all that work just like solely falls on those individuals and like, sometimes it's two people, sometimes It's like a group of three people and like, and I mean even at even at TCM and like we actually this August of last year started actually, okay. And other than just having this like small group of people kind of being responsible for inclusion, like, we're gonna have this be an all hands meeting every time we're talking about our own initiatives and, and and yeah, and I just think that's, that's important so it's cool that it's cool that Netflix is is doing that and
connect your and just comment on some way to kind of describe the journey that Netflix is on is that it's more in the nascent early stages. But you know, I'll tell you a, you know, the decision that Netflix made to make this commitment into black banks and like, you know, redirect some of your investments that had a material impact in the industry, like so many companies like followed suit. And I think this is the thing that is really different about the field of diversity and inclusion. And the work that we're all doing is that, though, you know, tech companies may think of themselves as competitors, for talent, and so forth. DNA in the DNI space, like we're all kind of in this together, because when one company, even if the company believes itself to be kind of on the early side of the journey, they can have a material impact on what everybody else does like that investment into black banks, change the way everybody thought about investments, you know, just the same way as when Hooper made its changes around forced arbitration for gender based, you know, claims of harassment on a platform internally, I think we were the first company to do that. And then every other company followed suit. So you know, this, this is why it's so important for all of us to push each other forward. Because if there's something that we're doing at Uber, from a systemic perspective, I want to share that with everybody else, cuz I want everybody else to be able to make the same progress, because we're all in the same ecosystem. So just like praise to Netflix for some of the work you've done, because even though you're early on, it had an impact.
Thank you. And both knows that she has been a mentor of mine for many months. And as we were rolling out our remote work, the first person who I reached out to was you both so. So you have just been a stalwart, and an innovator in this in this industry, and in this sector for so long. So I'm just appreciative to, to stand back and watch and learn and to ask questions that you have taught us all and, you know, transparently, your ability to take risk in this space, right, specifically a space that has been so heavily male and white, like, so I'm just grateful. So, so thank you all. So
yeah, and then a quick, quick thing. So So Lucic, from the lizard from the audience actually wanted to clarify the question, saying that they're wanting to know how this reboot, but they're wanting to know how Uber's board itself is held accountable for for like antiracism commitments, I believe, is the question.
So I mean, I think the board itself, our board, I mean, I can't speak to any other board that's out there. But certainly, given the amount of attention that Uber gets on this topic. on a day to day, week to week basis. I don't think that there's a company out there where every move we make from a DNI perspective is scrutinized. I think the board the accountability, really, for the board is, you know, if we're not making progress, people will ask these types of questions, these exact kinds of questions, right. So it's not as though our board it's, you know, unlike our ELT, like our board isn't like compensated like an employee or anything like that. There's no performance bonus like that would really like interfere with like fiduciary responsibility to shareholders, if they had some kind of real significant gain from from it, I think a lot of it is, you know, are they being a responsible board by ensuring that Uber never loses focus? I mean, they know that they were going to get questions like this all the time. So I'm not concerned about them hold the holding themselves accountable. Because goodness knows that if you are flying the wall, and the conversations I have with them, you know that they take this very seriously. and that in turn results in the bold moves that we have taken as a company, as I said, like, when we were making our racial equity commitments back in July, I was the most conservative in the room, I was the one going on, I don't know, if I'm comfortable making that commitment. And the company was like, No, we will hold ourselves accountable. Because to Wade's point, and to the point you were making Megan, you know, I was like, oh, my goodness, you know, am I comfortable making this these commitments? Because who will it fall on? But the company was like, no, it falls on us both. That's why we're we're willing to make them because I'm not looking to you and your team, your small team to do it. Like I'm looking for all of us. Now, your role is to just ensure that we make progress and that you're the role. Don't you know, don't this isn't virtue signaling. This is real, what is the real change going to look like?
Yeah, for sure. Yeah. And so we have we have another question from the audience from Chris Misner. This is for you, Bo. He's wondering, how does Uber reconcile its commitment to anti racism with its prop 22 work, which disproportionately hurts people of color.
So actually I would challenge some of those that that believes that prop 22 actually disproportionately hurts people of color. If you actually look at the way the civil rights organizations that came out in support of Prop 22, the NAACP of Northern California and Hawaii, came out in support of Prop 22, most of the Hispanic civil rights organizations as well. And that was a, that support that we got from the civil rights organizations really came from the fact that when you look at, you know, 85, which is, you know, properly it was in response to 85. And you looked at the way exceptions were being made to 85, you saw that the exceptions were disproportionately being made for those icy independent, you know, a contractor roles that were predominantly represented by white workers. And they were all getting exceptions from from 85. And then you look at the roles that were predominantly represented by people of color, especially underrepresented people of color. And those roles were not getting exceptions in 85. I always, for me, what is how I define racism isn't based on intent, but it based on impact. And when I see that kind of level of disparate, disproportionate impact, that's when I when I think about, you know, what is racist or not. So I would say, I would challenge this notion that 85 was actually disproportionately hurt people of color, especially given that we had civil rights organizations that said, we support prop 22. So that's kind of you know, I don't think there's any thing that really needs to be reconciled. From my, my perspective and from the organization's perspective.
Yeah, yes. Just one quick, quick add, like turbos point, there have been other propositions, specifically the LGB. T, one that that happened in California, that folks framed as something that that was, let's say, black sponsored, right, but we found out when all of the data came out that that it actually wasn't something that was sponsored by black folks that it was actually those progressives and those liberals who, who actually, who voted for us, I think, to Paul's point, that we have to dig much, much deeper, and listen to the individual communities that are impacted by and not just to make assumptions.
Yeah, and we're Yeah, we're definitely out of time. But guess just one less thing. Yeah, I guess I will just point to, yes. Whoever came out with it with a survey. I think it was either earlier this week or late last week, just asking drivers about their experiences working on the platform. And, you know, I think it was, yeah, about 27% of workers said that they're dissatisfied with their experience on Uber, which, you know, is, you know, it's it's 20% it's not it's not everyone, it's not it's not a majority, but I guess, I guess the question is, like, how will Uber go about helping to ensure that even more people are having a positive experience on the platform?
Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, and you're right, like, the majority of our driver partners wanted to stay as independent contractors, right, but what they're looking for and the conversation we've always had with them is how do we maintain the flexibility that they're looking for that's what the majority of our driver partners love about working on our platforms is and and being on our on the platforms? Is that flexibility and that independence they get but can we offer some safeguards to and you've seen dhara he's written op eds about this is like we want to be and that was the whole purpose of Prop 22 is to be able to redefine what it means to be an independent contractor. We're working in the 21st century using laws that were like created, you know, 100 years ago about what it meant to be a contractor things are changing, and we want to be able to change it up in some in some instances, we can't in certain jurisdictions based on how they how they define what independent contractors so that's why we are trying to change things so maintain the flexibility maintain that independence that you know, our partners love and then offer some additional security that is there as well that we where we can
Got it. Got it. Well, yeah, we are out of time, unfortunately. But, Wade, both thank you so much for taking the time. Really appreciate getting to hear both of your insights.
Have a great day. It's good to see you again.
Yeah, came here.