Workplace

Pinterest has more women in its workforce now

“By no means do we think we've got it figured out.”

 Nichole Barnes Marshall, Pinterest’s global head of Diversity and Inclusion.

"It really is about making sure we have progress over perfection,” said Nichole Barnes Marshall, Pinterest’s new global head of Diversity and Inclusion.

Photo: Courtesy Pinterest

Pinterest just released its latest Inclusion and Diversity Report, revealing a slight increase in the number of women in leadership and an increase in the number of women employees worldwide. The news comes on the heels of a rocky year with the departure of several senior-level executives. Pinterest’s new global head of Diversity and Inclusion, Nichole Barnes Marshall, still seemed optimistic following the release of the company’s modest progress in representation.

Last year, Pinterest announced its goal to increase women in leadership roles to 36% and increase representation of Black, Latinx and Indigenous employees to 20% by 2025. In 2021, 33% of leadership roles were filled by women, up from 30% the year prior. And the representation of employees who self-identify as Black, Latinx or Hispanic, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander rose to 16%, from 12%.

“What surprised me the most is just how much progress we made from 2020 to 2021, particularly in the representation of women. We're halfway to our goal,” said Barnes Marshall.

Barnes Marshall, who is now on the cusp of her first 90 days in the position, was named the head of Diversity and Inclusion in January. Her predecessor Tyi McCray departed from Pinterest last July after just a year in the role, following a year wrapped in controversy related to alleged discrimination and retaliation against two Black female employees.

Despite the controversy, Pinterest has continued to see overall gains as it relates to total representation of women. Women now make up 51% of Pinterest’s global workforce, up from 49% in 2020. However, the company’s engineering team has seen slower growth in representation. In 2021, 30% of Pinterest’s global engineering team identified as women, up from 29% the year prior.

And like most companies in the tech industry, Pinterest is still primarily white. Black employees account for 7% of its U.S. workforce, and 4% of both its leadership and its engineering team respectively. Of all U.S. employees, 6% identify as Latinx or Hispanic, and even fewer are in engineering or leadership.

“By no means do we think we've got it figured out,” said Barnes Marshall in conversation with Protocol. “But I think with the progress that we're making it just creates even more opportunity for us to put our foot on the gas, if you will, especially since we have some momentum.”

She points to the company's apprenticeship program as one of its largest efforts underway to recruit and cultivate more diverse talent. Its Engineering and Products apprenticeship programs have a specific focus on attracting talent from underrepresented backgrounds with non-traditional tech experience like those who are self-taught or attended a boot camp. In general, the company has removed degree requirements from 90% of its job postings to widen the amount of talent it attracts, according to the report.

Barnes Marshall also said continuing to call out each individual group in the Inclusion and Diversity Report, rather than lumping them all in one category as “underrepresented,” is an intentional way of expressing Pinterest’s values to employees and future hires alike. Despite how it may look to others or the risk that the numbers reflect poorly on the company, “calling out each of the individual groups is another subtle, but intentional effort saying, ‘We see you,’” she said. “It is about that opportunity of being seen and, really for us, inviting accountability. It really is about making sure we have progress over perfection.”

Policy

Musk’s texts reveal what tech’s most powerful people really want

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Photo illustration: Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images; Protocol

Elon Musk’s text inbox is a rarefied space. It’s a place where tech’s wealthiest casually commit to spending billions of dollars with little more than a thumbs-up emoji and trade tips on how to rewrite the rules for how hundreds of millions of people around the world communicate.

Now, Musk’s ongoing legal battle with Twitter is giving the rest of us a fleeting glimpse into that world. The collection of Musk’s private texts that was made public this week is chock-full of tech power brokers. While the messages are meant to reveal something about Musk’s motivations — and they do — they also say a lot about how things get done and deals get made among some of the most powerful people in the world.

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Issie Lapowsky

Issie Lapowsky ( @issielapowsky) is Protocol's chief correspondent, covering the intersection of technology, politics, and national affairs. She also oversees Protocol's fellowship program. Previously, she was a senior writer at Wired, where she covered the 2016 election and the Facebook beat in its aftermath. Prior to that, Issie worked as a staff writer for Inc. magazine, writing about small business and entrepreneurship. She has also worked as an on-air contributor for CBS News and taught a graduate-level course at New York University's Center for Publishing on how tech giants have affected publishing.

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Great products are built on strong patents

Experts say robust intellectual property protection is essential to ensure the long-term R&D required to innovate and maintain America's technology leadership.

Every great tech product that you rely on each day, from the smartphone in your pocket to your music streaming service and navigational system in the car, shares one important thing: part of its innovative design is protected by intellectual property (IP) laws.

From 5G to artificial intelligence, IP protection offers a powerful incentive for researchers to create ground-breaking products, and governmental leaders say its protection is an essential part of maintaining US technology leadership. To quote Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo: "intellectual property protection is vital for American innovation and entrepreneurship.”

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James Daly
James Daly has a deep knowledge of creating brand voice identity, including understanding various audiences and targeting messaging accordingly. He enjoys commissioning, editing, writing, and business development, particularly in launching new ventures and building passionate audiences. Daly has led teams large and small to multiple awards and quantifiable success through a strategy built on teamwork, passion, fact-checking, intelligence, analytics, and audience growth while meeting budget goals and production deadlines in fast-paced environments. Daly is the Editorial Director of 2030 Media and a contributor at Wired.
Fintech

Circle’s CEO: This is not the time to ‘go crazy’

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Sitting solo on a San Francisco stage, Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire asked tennis superstar Serena Williams what it’s like to face “unrelenting skepticism.”

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Benjamin Pimentel ( @benpimentel) covers crypto and fintech from San Francisco. He has reported on many of the biggest tech stories over the past 20 years for the San Francisco Chronicle, Dow Jones MarketWatch and Business Insider, from the dot-com crash, the rise of cloud computing, social networking and AI to the impact of the Great Recession and the COVID crisis on Silicon Valley and beyond. He can be reached at bpimentel@protocol.com or via Google Voice at (925) 307-9342.

Enterprise

Is Salesforce still a growth company? Investors are skeptical

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Photo: Marlena Sloss/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Salesforce has long been enterprise tech’s golden child. The company said everything customers wanted to hear and did everything investors wanted to see: It produced robust, consistent growth from groundbreaking products combined with an aggressive M&A strategy and a cherished culture, all operating under the helm of a bombastic, but respected, CEO and team of well-coiffed executives.

Dreamforce is the embodiment of that success. Every year, alongside frustrating San Francisco residents, the over-the-top celebration serves as a battle cry to the enterprise software industry, reminding everyone that Marc Benioff’s mighty fiefdom is poised to expand even deeper into your corporate IT stack.

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Joe Williams

Joe Williams is a writer-at-large at Protocol. He previously covered enterprise software for Protocol, Bloomberg and Business Insider. Joe can be reached at JoeWilliams@Protocol.com. To share information confidentially, he can also be contacted on a non-work device via Signal (+1-309-265-6120) or JPW53189@protonmail.com.

Policy

The US and EU are splitting on tech policy. That’s putting the web at risk.

A conversation with Cédric O, the former French minister of state for digital.

“With the difficulty of the U.S. in finding political agreement or political basis to legislate more, we are facing a risk of decoupling in the long term between the EU and the U.S.”

Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Cédric O, France’s former minister of state for digital, has been an advocate of Europe’s approach to tech and at the forefront of the continent’s relations with U.S. giants. Protocol caught up with O last week at a conference in New York focusing on social media’s negative effects on society and the possibilities of blockchain-based protocols for alternative networks.

O said watching the U.S. lag in tech policy — even as some states pass their own measures and federal bills gain momentum — has made him worry about the EU and U.S. decoupling. While not as drastic as a disentangling of economic fortunes between the West and China, such a divergence, as O describes it, could still make it functionally impossible for companies to serve users on both sides of the Atlantic with the same product.

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Ben Brody

Ben Brody (@ BenBrodyDC) is a senior reporter at Protocol focusing on how Congress, courts and agencies affect the online world we live in. He formerly covered tech policy and lobbying (including antitrust, Section 230 and privacy) at Bloomberg News, where he previously reported on the influence industry, government ethics and the 2016 presidential election. Before that, Ben covered business news at CNNMoney and AdAge, and all manner of stories in and around New York. He still loves appearing on the New York news radio he grew up with.

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