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Samuel-Zacharie FAURE
Samuel-Zacharie FAURE

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๐Ÿ’ต Why diversity is important, no, really, actually for real

Also available on my blog

No one really cares about diversity, and that's a huge mistake.

Behind all the corporate crap that gets published on LinkedIn, we all know a company is an amoral entity whose only goal is to make as much money as possible.

This is why no one actually cares about diversity. Because diversity is seen as a Good Thingยฎ that the company should strive for. But since "doing the right thing" doesn't bring money to the table, well, no one actually cares.

But good news! Sometimes, doing the moral thing also makes you money. Diversity is one of those.

Also, bad news: no one seems to actually realise this. Hence this article. I want to explain why diversity actually is a profitable endeavor, while avoiding any dishonest coping.

While you're reading this, I will kindly ask that you to throw away all ethics, and think purely like a cold, calculating capitalist machine. Let's go:

Skills means money

Let's think in terms of what a company needs. A company needs knowledge and skills to thrive.

In tech, we care about hard skills. A great knowledge of languages and frameworks. I would argue those are the skills that are both the easiest to develop, to learn, and to find on the job market.

We also talk about soft skills such as communication and teamwork. Those are the skills that are the hardest to develop, to learn, and to find on the job market. Seasoned developers will also argue that those are the most importants skills. You can have a React genius in your team, it will only get you so far if you're unable to communicate with them or if they can't work with the team.

I would argue that there are skills that are even harder to measure, to develop, and to acquire. Let's call them softer skills.

The softest of the soft skills

When you think "Tech worker" you will usually think: 30-something middle-class white man with glasses, with a computer science degree. Let's call this archetype the techbro.

Well, there are only so much knowledge and skills that one single group of individuals can have.

When you hire people from different backgrounds, you're hiring people with different experiences, different ways of thinking, different ways of solving problems. You're hiring people with different softer skills.

Let's explore a few scenarios to understand how this can drive profit.

Knowing your clients

When you're building a product, you're building it for someone. You're building it for a client, a user, a human being. And human beings are diverse. They have different needs, different ways of thinking, different ways of using your product.

When you have a diverse team, you have a team that can understand those different needs, those different ways of thinking, those different ways of using your product. You have a team that can build a product that is better suited for a diverse audience.

Us tech wizards have all the power from the internet revolution right at our fingertips. We can build anything and solve almost any issue in the world. Yet, the amazing ideas the tech world came to were "How can I get food delivered efficiently at my doorstep" and "How can I get a taxi to come to me". Yes, those are the most pressing issues for a middle-class techbro. What about the rest of the world?

But whatever, you've already built your food-delivery empire, now you need great engineers to make it work. Your goal is to make the best possible app both for your delivery workers, and for your clients.

Turns out delivery workers are mostly people who don't have a computer science degree. They're not of the same socioeconomic background as your average techbro. In fact, their lives are so drastically different that you probably cannot design something that works for them without having someone of that same background in your team.

You will also want to deliver food to people who are not middle-class techbros. You will want to deliver food to people who are not able to use a computer as easily as you do, use a smartphone as easily as you do, or even are not able to read as well as you do.

Sidenote: sometimes, I really wonder if the executives at UberEats realise that a lot of their clients are quite high on weed when they order food, and if they take this into account while designing their user experience. My guess is they don't.

This is why you need diversity: to build a product that works for everyone, and get all the money from all the people.

Sidenote: Remember when Google launched their Stadia console with an incredibly terrible pricing plan, and everyone was wondering just what they were thinking? To the surprise of absolutely no one, the Stadia crashed and burned completely. A more diverse team could have prevented such a horrible decisions and saved millions.

Solving problems

We talked about the skills a diverse team can bring regarding your clients. What about the skills a diverse team can bring to the company itself?

Bootcamps are not evil

The average techbro usually got a solid computer science degree from a solid university. They have a solid career in tech, and mostly evolved in that world. I would argue they often do not have a lot of experience in rest of the vast real world.

This is why you should heavily consider hiring some bootcamp graduates. They often are very interesting people, with a lot of experience from the real world, from other fields, and from different ways of life.

In terms of hard skills, it is absolutely clear that 5 years of computer science from a reputable university absolutely obliterates 6 months of React bootcamp. You just can't get solid fundamentals in such a short period of time. But in term of softer skills, bootcamp graduates often have a lot to bring to the table.

I interviewed a bunch of applicants, CS graduates and bootcampers. Contrary to popular belief, I would argue it is often less risky to hire a bootcamper. Usually, if they're in the top of their classes, they're a sure bet. I would hire the top 3 graduates in a class of 20 bootcampers in a heartbeat. The CS graduates on the other hand, well, while they usually have solid fundamentals, you can't always be so sure they'll bring much more to the table, especially if your team is already 90% CS graduates.

Experience is found in the weirdest places

One of my articles recently got trendy on HackerNews. Comments were mostly supportive, but a few were quite vitriolic, dismissing my work as the uneducated opinion from someone who graduated with "A fake degree from a fake school".
This is because I studied at 42 coding school in Paris, a fact I do not hide. However, I absolutely disagree with the statement that I graduated with a fake degree from a fake school. And this is because I never even graduated from 42. I dropped out as soon as I got a good job.

I have been wise enough to not engage with the vitriol - and this wisdom comes from my past experiences. Because in another life, long before finding my way in tech, I had already established myself as a microcelebrity content creator in a completely different domain. I got the experience of do and don't. Also, you're still reading, so my guess is that I manage to stay interesting enough, and where do you think I got that skill from?

Amongst other things I did in my life, I got an actual-not-fake engineering degree in food science. I designed energy drinks. I spent a year in the jungle meeting amazonian tribes to study how they made juices from palm trees fruits. I spent three months just walking from France to Portugal. I taught physics and chemistry in high school. I'm not sure how it all relates to a job in tech, but I know the sum of my experiences matters to what I bring to the table.

During my fake studies at my fake school, I met incredible people. A professional poker player, now working in legaltech. A genius that wrote his first C program at the age of 12, because he was bored of Javascript which he learnt at the age of 10. An entrepreneur from marketing school that launched his startup right after. He's now a multi-millionaire. Too bad he also dropped out, he could have been a billionaire.

A company hires people. Experienced, skilled people. Always hiring the same kind of people would be like furnishing your toolshed with only hammers. Hammers are important, they're also not all you need to build a house.

Hiring processes need to account for this

In the AI-driven, process-fueled recruiting world, this sadly all goes through the window. Hiring processes are now mostly automated. Human Resources do not account for the richness of the human experience. Heck, they are still looking for "Engineers with X years of experience in Y", not even accounting for the fact that X years of experience for some people in some situations absolutely doesn't mean the same for some other people in some other situations. Numbers really can only get you so far.

Should I even mention technical interviews, especially the ones including leetcode? A lot has been said about it, so I probably don't need to.

I will however rant about how inhumane the process is for neurodivergent people. It's not even about direct discrimination, albeit this does happen (and it did happen to me). But the whole process of recruiting just doesn't account for neurodivergent profiles. As an autistic person, I already can't wrap my head around the fact that you are expected, and even supposed to lie during job interviews.

This is such a sad state of affairs, because neurodivergence really is a rich source of skills and experiences that can be extremely beneficial to a company. It's literally different ways to see the world, to think, to solve problems.


Diversity is not (only) a moral choice. It is a profitable one. I sincerely hope companies, executives and recruiters starts to realize this and account for it.

In the meantime, if you agree with this article, enjoyed it or found it interesting, please get the word out. The way we think about diversity is wrong, and we need to correct it.

Top comments (2)

samuelfaure profile image
Samuel-Zacharie FAURE • Edited

Note to my followers: I had announced the creation of a Substack, but after some thoughtful people (@marissab and @jmfayard) pointed out the moderation issues on this platform, I deleted everything. As the grandson of Holocaust survivors, I refuse to write on a platform that allows Nazi content.

I will find a better solution soon, in the meantime you can follow me on

jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel ๐Ÿ•ต๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ Fayard

Personally I plan to migrate from Substack to Ghost
Also because it's based on markdown.