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When registering a new domain and setting up a hosting account, the first step is often changing the domain’s name servers. The Domain Name System, referred to as “DNS” for short, is what instructs a visitor’s Web browser on h...

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The goal of an accountant's website should be to bring in new customers.When you're starting a new website, or redesigning an old one, there's more to it than a snappy layout and social media integration. You need a website that keeps users on the page and eventually brings them into your accounting firm. You do this by...

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This post appears courtesy of the Ferenstein Wire, a syndicated news service. Publishing partners may edit posts. For inquiries, please email author and publisher Gregory Ferenstein.

 Silicon Valley often gets knocked for a lack of diversity, but historically excluded groups are making an impressive showing at the top spot of the most valuable companies. 

Just looking at the top 10 publicly traded companies based in Silicon V

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alley by market capitalization, half are run by someone who is a woman, an immigrant, LGBT, or nonwhite. By individual demographics, 20% are women and 30% are foreign-born.

Here's a full list, with historically underrepresented groups bolded:

  1. Apple: Tim Cook
  2. Google: Sundar Pichai
  3. Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg
  4. Oracle: Safra Catz*
  5. Cisco: Chuck Robbins
  6. Intel: Brian Krzanich
  7. HP: Meg Whitman
  8. Salesforce: Marc Benioff
  9. VMware: Pat Gelsinger
  10. Adobe: Shantanu Narayen

The power of minorities, especially immigrants, became front-page news as Google promoted Indian-born Sundar Pichai to CEO. Counting Pichai here is arguable, since Pichai is in charge of Google Inc., while cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are CEO and president of Google's new, publicly traded parent company, Alphabet. But Pichai is in charge of the business that matters—the business investors are buying into and the platforms, like Android and Chrome, that developers are creating products on top of.

Pichai joins leaders such as Oracle CEO Safra Catz (an Israeli-born women) and HP CEO Meg Whitman as the changing face of business leadership. And up top, of course, there's Tim Cook, who sent a message that the many gay and lesbian employees of tech companies can aspire to the top spot when he publicly discussed his sexual orientation in an essay in Bloomberg Businessweek last year.

Researcher and writer Vivek Wadhwa has shown that 43% of Silicon Valley companies founded in the last seven years had at least one immigrant founder. But, diversity reports from tech companies show that their tech and leadership ranks are overwhelmingly white and male (usually around 60%-80%). Interestingly enough, the CEO position seems uniquely welcoming to minorities in Silicon Valley.

Redefining Tech

Careful readers could critique the statistics presented. "Tech" is an ambiguous term. The East Coast has many old-school technology companies, like AT&T and Verizon, both run by white men. But outside the Bay Area, there's also Satya Nadella, CEO of Washington-based Microsoft, another Indian-born American, and Ginni Rometty, a woman who runs New York-based IBM.

Whitman's place on this list is tentative. Hewlett-Packard will split into two companies in November, HP Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, and depending on how the market reacts, she may fall out of the top 10. No matter. Waiting in the wings is Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. Her company currently ranks just outside the top 10.

To be sure, there is a lack of diversity within the range of minority groups. There is a conspicuous absence of black or Latino CEOs, even though both groups make up a substantial part of the US. That reflects a similar lack of diversity within Silicon Valley's most valuable companies. Pinterest recently revealed that only 3 percent of its employees were African-American, Hispanic, or Latino.

There is no purely objective way to measure diversity in the tech industry, because both are fuzzy concepts. Whatever the definition of of "Silicon Valley" includes, it's clear that groups historically excluded from leadership are making strides in the tech industry and immigrants, especially, have made valuable contributions to the US economy.

There's much more to go until the ranks of CEOs are a true reflection of the American population. But that shouldn't blind us to the progress that is being made.

For more stories like this, subscribe to the Ferenstein Wire newsletter here.



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Guest author Tony Stubblebine is the CEO and founder of Coach.me, an online productivity community and app.

I love the job title "growth hacker." It’s an indictment of the entire field of marketing.

How many marketers had to forget to do their job before we had to create a new title to remind them about the growth part?

“Now remember, we want these ads to be funny AND ALSO, this is the part we skipped last month, get people to try our product.”

A growth hacker is a marketer who also has responsibility fo

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r the results of their work.

The theme that’s driving new job titles is this: responsibility.People are starting to use the phrase "full-stack engineer."

Usually they think of the stack as being multiple technical layers, i.e. the engineer knows how to write code and install it on the server!

What I hope is that "full-stack engineer" comes to imply some nontechnical layers. What if you built code and then verified that people used it?

We actually do have a word for that type of engineer: hacker. A hacker writes just enough code to get the impact they are looking for.

Work With Impact

Hacker is the only job title that consistently implies having responsibility for impact.

I haven’t yet heard of a new job title for designers, although I think they need one. If you design products that are meant to be used, are you then a design hacker?

That’s crazy. But what do you call designing for Dribbble and designing for products sold by the Fortune 500? Those are two very different modes of design.

You always put something polished and pretty on Dribbble, but for the real products you’re in rapid iteration mode because each exposure to reality is teaching you that you don’t know shit. That’s design hacking.

Probably my least favorite characteristic to hear within a job description is "craftsmanship." Almost definitely the person is saying that the quality of the work is defined by the aesthetic values of peers, rather than by the happiness of the end user.

Hacking and craftsmanship are presented as being at odds. It’s Google culture vs. Facebook culture.

But sometimes, craftsmanship and hacking comes together into something that is both well made and well liked. Unfortunately, we don’t have a word that means that unambiguously.

I would want to say professional. A professional programmer needs to take responsibility for code that is well crafted and matters. But if I said that I was looking to hire for professionalism, I’d hear from a bunch of programmers who were really rigorous about writing unit tests.

Another word for this combination of skills is "unicorn," as if this is an impossibly rare and difficult standard. (Before it was used to describe highly valued startups, "unicorn" was frequently used in recruiting circles to describe hard-to-find candidates.)

One of my coworkers—an engineer, designer, founder, seamstress, public speaker, i.e. supposed unicorn—calls engineers with product design sense “the secret weapon of startups.”

Horning In On A New Career Path

But I hate the word "unicorn" because it implies that being able to take a project from idea through execution through launch is some sort of magical feat.

Yo, we’ve been talking for years about how making startups got a lot easier and cheaper. What are the career development implications of that?

If you can turn yourself into a software developer from one summer of cut-and-paste from Stack Overflow, then you can turn yourself into a unicorn in two summers.

In other words, unicorn could be a normal career path.

Now, I have a friend who is working on self-driving cars. I think that there is some hard computer science involved. This friend could be a software engineer specialist. That seems fine to me.

But everyone else? Especially in startupland, why don’t you just demand that every single person in your company become triple-threat unicorns? Design-> Construct-> Market.

You’ll get weird pushback from people who built their identities around being a specialist.

“Yo, I’m a 24-year old expert on this technology that was just released 4 months ago.”  — Junior Developer

But actually, working all three areas—design, construction and marketing—makes the core competency stronger.

“Yes, maybe a map would be a good way for people to browse our products. I’ll put a simple version on the site this afternoon.” — Senior Developer

I’m thinking about a different coworker, a first-time marketer. This person is responsible for about half of our revenue — so very strong job performance. They also edit source code directly in GitHub (mostly copy), pull performance reports directly from the database (via Rails console connected to a Replica database), and design-hack marketing iterations based on A/B data.

That’s what a newly-minted unicorn looks like. All of that was learned on the job. In other words, you can train triple-threat employees. More importantly the rarity implied by the word "unicorn" results from our expectations of what’s possible, not any natural limit of human potential.

For the record, I am a rusty mid-level programer with an oddball specialty in regular expressions, a low-empathy, medium-utility, poorly aligned, strangely colored product designer, one-trick social-media growth hacker, a strong sales-closer with weak dollar sense, a PR hack, a small-team engineering manager, and an occasional CFO. In other words, I’m a startup CEO.

This article was originally published on Medium. It is published here by permission of the author.

Photo by Faruk Ates



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There's a new wireless technology in town, courtesy of the Wi-Fi Alliance. The group just announced a new Wi-Fi Aware certification program, which lets wireless devices discover each other, communicate and share basic information directly—no external network or additional hardware necessary. 

Users might get an alert that Fac

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ebook friends are in the same coffee shop, or a warning about how long the queue is at the airport gate. Developers can also offer more nitty gritty privacy and availability settings on an app-by-app basis. 

See also: How Google's Latest Boosts Bluetooth Beacons

Think of it like proximity technology, but one that doesn't rely on GPS or your actual physical location—only where your phone is in relation to another Wi-Fi Aware device. And, the organization claims, the new approach offers a few distinct advantages compared to other location-based approaches. 

Raising Awareness 

Developed over the past three years by the Wi-Fi Alliance, a nonprofit organization backed by Microsoft, Apple, Intel and hundreds of other tech companies, Wi-Fi Aware shares a few similarities with Bluetooth settings, like those offered by beacons

Both offer proximity-based functionality, and the ability to communicate without being on the same network. However, Wi-Fi Aware doesn't rely on pre-installed transmitters and, since it's based on Wi-Fi standards, the new technology has a longer range than Bluetooth. It also lets applications offer or seek services on nearby devices and exchange basic information, without having to first making a full connection to those gadgets. 

"Devices form clusters and exchange small messages about services available nearby, enabling immediate discovery," the organization wrote in a press release. "Once an interesting service has been discovered, an app can easily initiate a Wi-Fi connection for follow-up activity such as sharing photos or playing a multiplayer game." 

Kevin Robinson, Wi-Fi Alliance director of product marketing, told ReadWrite via email that "Wi-Fi Aware improves on existing proximity offerings by delivering a here-and-now contextual awareness solution that works well indoors and in dense environments." 

He wouldn't discuss Bluetooth specifically, but noted that "a disadvantage of many existing proximity technologies is they only offer one-way conversations," he said. "So you can discover proximity to a uniquely identified service or device, but the benefits stop there." Wi-Fi Aware, however, allows for two-way conversation with no need for Internet or GPS connectivity. 

That makes it seem like a successor to Wi-Fi Direct—which lets a device create its own Wi-Fi network for other gadgets to join. It's not. The group considers Aware a complement to Direct, not a replacement. Think of it as the technology that makes the introductions and exchanges bits of basic information, but lets Wi-Fi Direct establish a fuller connection when more information (or a connection to peripherals, like printers) is involved. 

Forget Long Lines, And Short Battery Life

Plenty of proximity technologies can let users know they're near an airport security checkpoint. Apps that support Wi-Fi Aware, however, can let people know the current wait time at the checkpoint, or find other checkpoints with shorter wait times. 

The organization makes special mention of the benefits that proximity-based or "personalized" experiences can bring to social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, Tinder, Snapchat and others. People can find friends easily, share photos at a concert or initiate a mobile gaming session at a crowded clubhouse. Interference should be no issue; in fact, the Wi-Fi Alliance promises that Wi-Fi Aware shines in crowded settings. 

All that communication might sound like a power drain, but the group promises minimal cost to battery life. Once two or more devices are connected, it says, they adopt a common "heartbeat" where pings are synchronized to save energy. 

The certification program has only just launched, but several chipmakers have already pledged support, including Intel, Marvell, Broadcom and RealTek. Meanwhile, app updates from the likes of Facebook and LinkedIn are also expected, possibly arriving by the end of the year—which could make for an extra social, contextually aware holiday season. If it can help beat back long checkout lines, then maybe it will be a merry season indeed. 

Image courtesy of the Wi-Fi Alliance



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Oculus CTO John Carmack at Oculus Connect in 2014.

In mere months, Oculus will show off its latest cool tools for virtual reality game and app makers. The Facebook-owned company announced Thursday that its second annual developer conference, Connect 2, will get underway September 23 to 25 in Hollywood, Calif.

Developer conferences have become much more than geeky industry

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events in recent years. They’ve become hype machines for tech companies, who do their best to tempt developers into making apps—the lifeblood of any budding platform—in addition to whetting appetites among tech enthusiasts. 

See also: Oculus Will Bring Virtual Reality To Real Reality On June 11

According to Oculus, the first Connect conference last year drew a thousand attendees. This time around, those numbers could balloon, now that the VR company plans to open up consumer-ready headsets for pre-orders later this year. (The product will ship some time in early 2016.)

The developer tools also cover more than just one device: According to the company's blog post, the event will go over “everything developers need to know to launch on the Rift and Gear VR.” Samsung’s Oculus-powered Gear VR headset is also on the verge of a commercial launch for later this year. 

Expect keynote addresses from Oculus honchos Michael Abrash, John Carmack and Brendan Iribe, along with plenty of demos, likely with the very latest version of the Rift. The company plans to hold a June 11 press event in San Francisco, where it’s expected to show off the model heading to people's faces. 

In other words, VR’s about to get real. Brace those eyeballs. 

Oculus Rift invitation for June 11 press event

Images courtesy of Oculus



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Maybe big things really can come in small, ridiculous cardboard face-boxes. Google just made several announcements Thursday that aim to advance its popular Cardboard virtual reality viewer for manufacturers, app developers and end users. 

Cardboard, the curious corrugated VR "unit" Google launched at its I/O developer conference last year, seemed like a practical joke at first. (It's basically a box you fold up into

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a kind of headset with an Android phone in it to serve as the display.) A year later, though, we’re all still waiting for the punch line.

Meanwhile, Google has gotten serious, encouraging development for VR apps and interest by “hardware” partners to make their own versions of Cardboard. 

See also: Google Cardboard Gets Software Development Kit For VR Apps

It's now offering a new certification program, changes to its developer tools and new app categories for end users looking for compatible VR apps. Let’s take a closer look.

Just "Works With Google Cardboard"

Google really, really wants virtual reality to take off—especially the sort enabled by its Cardboard project. The company has been doing its best to raise an army of Cardboard users and partners, and the latest announcements play directly into that.

The hardware, if you can describe a cardboard box that way, now comes in a variety of configurations from an array of partners. Google wants to help them, so it now offers a new certification program that lets manufacturers—like DodoCase, Knox Labs and others—prove that they based their versions on Google’s original design and that the alternatives will work with any Cardboard app.

As part of the program, Google offers a "new tool that configures any viewer for every Cardboard app, automatically.” Manufacturers list their major parameters—including focal length, input type and inter-lens distance—and the system churns out a QR code they can post on their products. Customers scan the code with the Cardboard app, and all supporting VR apps get optimized for that viewer.

Compliance lets them slap a “Works with Google Cardboard” badge on their products, which sell for anywhere from $9 to $40, depending on the options. 

On the software side, app developers get new design guidelines for creating immersive experiences without disorienting users or confusing them with nonsensical menus and interfaces. Speaking of disorientation, Google also revised its Cardboard software development kits for Android and Unity, so head tracking and drift features work better. Update your apps with the new SDKs, and you too can earn a "Works with Google Cardboard” badge.

Not to leave end users out, Google also improved search and discovery for the “hundreds” of Cardboard apps and games available in Google Play. The company rejiggered the categories, which now list new ones such as Music and Video, Games and Experiences.

Just The Beginning

Google Cardboard

Cardboard may look like an elaborate prank, but the real joke in virtual reality is how long it's taken the technology to slog its way to the market.

Laughable—and let’s not forget nausea-inducing—early attempts stymied this niche for decades. Then Oculus’ 2012 Kickstarter for its Rift headset put VR in the spotlight again. Now owned by Facebook, the former indie startup has since worked on several developer versions, including its latest "Crescent Bay” unit, and its technology shows up in Samsung’s smartphone-powered Gear VR headset. Meanwhile, others—like Sony and HTC—have hopped on the bandwagon. But they’re taking their time. A few have promised consumer-ready releases this year, including Oculus (finally).

Amid the frenzy, Google swooped in last year to give the public the cheapest, fold-it-yourself VR viewers imaginable—even offering instructions on how people can make their own. It also promoted other companies that make their own knock-offs, urged app makers to develop supporting VR apps, and jazzed up its own Google Maps application with Cardboard-friendly VR Street View.

See also: Street View Comes To Google Cardboard

"We think that Google Cardboard offers everyone a simple, fun, and affordable VR experience,” said Andrew Nartker, product manager for Google Cardboard. "It's exciting to show everyone that their current smartphone can already run great VR apps.”

That sentiment steps on Samsung’s territory more than most. While underpowered compared to full, computer or gaming console VR set-ups, Gear VR eradicates cables by seating a smartphone inside the unit. But Gear VR is limited to Samsung devices only. The low-tech Cardboard won’t work with every single smartphone on the market either, but at least it works with more—including some Nexus, Samsung, Motorola phones and others.

Plus, Samsung’s headset costs $200, while you can pick up Cardboard for less than the price of lunch.

Soon, that meager investment could look even better. Google also scooped up some new talent—namely the audio maestros from Thrive Audio team, from Trinity College Dublin’s School of Engineering, and experts in 3D painting from Tilt Brush, which won a Proto Award for “Best Graphical User Interface” last year.

The move suggests that, when it comes to the humble Cardboard, Google hopes to have more to brag about before long. 

Lead photo by Adriana Lee; others courtesy of Google



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Few communities have shaken the Internet the way anything-goes imageboard 4chan has. Now, founder Christopher “moot” Poole has announced his departure from the site.

“I founded 4chan eleven and a half years ago at the age of 15, and after more than a decade of service, I've decided it's time for me to move on,” Poole wrote on Wednesday.

See also: 4chan's Christop

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her Poole: I Was A Teenage Coder—And Then I Stopped

An English-language forum open to a variety of topics, 4chan’s subject matter spans the legal and illegal and everything from cartoons to shock porn. 4chan is credited as the birthplace of anarchic hacker coalition Anonymous and the origin of LOL cats and bronies, among countless other Internet memes and phenomena. It’s a place for cyber bullies such as the attackers who released stolen nude celebrity photos, but also the place where internet vigilantes tracked down an animal abuser and had her brought to justice. For better or for worse, the website Poole created as a teenager is a major influence on and hub for Internet culture.

In a news post on 4chan, Poole said he's leaving in order to remove the site's largest "point of failure"—an all powerful administrator. Poole said he's giving up his influence in order to make 4chan more democratic. It can easily be hinted that a secondary reason for his retirement is relief from the pressure that comes with being the public face of such a volatile group of anonymous users. 

"The journey has been marked by highs and lows, surprises and disappointments, but ultimately immense satisfaction. I'm humbled to have had the privilege of both founding and presiding over what is easily one of the greatest communities to ever grace the Web," said Poole. 

See also: 4chan Will Now Remove Awful Images—If They're Copyrighted

Poole said the site will remain stable and active and the only difference will be that he no longer will administer it. 

“From a user's perspective, nothing should change. A few senior volunteers—including 4chan's lead developer, managing moderator, and server administrator—have stepped up to ensure a smooth transition over the coming weeks,” he said.

Photo via shareconference



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In the cold war between Apple and PayPal, a possible thaw may have started on Friday. The iPhone company now permits PayPal as a payment option on its website for U.S. and U.K. shoppers, Recode reports.

That new level of cooperation is notable mostly because of the way Apple snubbed PayPal earlier this year when it failed to recommend its payment-processing services to developers working w

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ith Apple Pay. That's the phone payment scheme Apple launched alongside the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. 

See also: Apple Is Less Than Inviting To PayPal In Apple Pay

Neither company commented openly on that breach, although one popular theory had Apple casting PayPal out of its plans due to the latter's payments partnership with Samsung and its Galaxy fingerprint reader.

Seemingly An Odd About-Face For Apple

On the surface, PayPal showing up on Apple.com looks like an about-face for the tech giant. Apple is known to hold grudges against partners who have disappointed it—sometimes excommunicating them or even launching holy wars against them. For its part, PayPal expressed its frustration publicly in a full-page newspaper ad and went on to another partner

PayPal ad in the New York Times

Now the two companies appear to have patched things up: The iPhone maker has not only granted PayPal access to its online store, it is also promoting PayPal's credit payments, which lets shoppers pay for goods in installments with no interest. 

The Cold War May Still Be Pretty Chilly

It’s worth noting, however, that this isn't PayPal’s first foray into Apple's e-commerce business. PayPal has been a mainstay in Apple’s App Store and iTunes for years, and its arrival now on the company's website is not the same as entering the Apple Pay system. 

Ultimately, the arrangement looks more like a marriage of convenience, designed to give shoppers a more consistent experience across Apple’s digital and physical retail offerings.

Even so, it’s still a win for PayPal. As Recode pointed out, Internet Retailer deemed Apple the second largest online retailer in the U.S., which should bring plenty of juice to PayPal. Ironically enough, that could wind up making it a partner someday that Apple Pay simply can no longer refuse. 

Lead image courtesy of PayPal



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Amid the hoopla over the defenestration of Reddit CEO Yishan Wong, few noticed that the social news site did something else really interesting: It named a woman as its interim CEO, one who seems to have a good chance of holding the job permanently.

That would be Ellen Pao, whose last news moment came when she

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essinsider/article/ELLEN-PAO-S-LAWYER-Kleiner-Perkins-Just-Fired-3916859.php">sued venerable venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins in 2012 for sexual discrimination. The lawsuit, which is still pending, put a spotlight on gender bias in the male-dominated tech industry.

See also: Building The Front Page Of The Internet: Reddit's Alexis Ohanian

Pao joined Reddit, which is currently owned by Conde Nast parent company Advance Publications, as a brand strategist in 2013. During her brief tenure, Pao helmed Reddit's long-awaited move into mobile. Reddit first attempted building a potentially lucrative platform for ad sales in 2011 with an  app so glitchy it was eventually pulled. Under Pao, Reddit's mobile team launched two successful apps for iOS and Android.

Pao's ascent is remarkable in Silicon Valley, where most women have better odds of getting their employer to freeze their eggs than of being named CEO. As interim leader, Pao now runs of one of the most popular properties on the Internet, home to 174 million audience and recent recipient of $50 million in Silicon Valley funding. And it's a striking statement at Reddit, home of The Fappening—a now-shuttered "subreddit" focused on the sharing of celebrity nudes in the wake of Apple's iCloud leak—and a host of "jailbait" forums dedicated to sexual photos of females who appear to be underage. 

See also: For Once, The Entire Internet Isn't Blaming The Victims Of This Nude Celebrity Photo Leak

Pao's diplomas are as impressive as her career. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she is also a Harvard Business School MBA and holds a degree in electrical engineering from Princeton. She worked at a number of Silicon Valley businesses prior to her seven-year career at Kleiner Perkins.

Helming Reddit's mobile team, Pao oversaw Reddit's canny push into mainstream by simplifying its most popular forum via the official Reddit Ask Me Anything app. The AMA forum, a crowd-sourced Q&A which has featured luminaries such as President Barack Obama, Bill Gates and a host of celebrities.

See also: How To Host A Reddit AMA

Pao also oversaw the acquisition and rebranding of Alien Blue, the most popular third-party Reddit app for iOS, now available for iOS and Android.

Bolstering Silicon Valley's Female Elite

As Reddit's interim CEO, Pao joins—temporarily or not—the minority of female CEOs in Silicon Valley. Despite the visibility of Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, women executives remain rare.

See also: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to Women: Don't Ask For A Raise, Trust Karma

More than 45% of Silicon Valley companies have no women among its top employees, according to a study by law firm Fenwick & West. Other exceptions include Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman; the CEO of Google-owned YouTube, Susan Wojcicki; and Ramona Pierson, CEO and co-founder of social learning startup Declara. 

Installing Pao as interim CEO with a strong possibility of becoming permanent sends a strong message not just to investors and advertisers, but also to the Reddit community. Pao's successful mobile push indicates business acumen and organization the for-profit company previously appeared to lack. Her role in making gender inequity and sexual harassment a talking point in Silicon Valley—whether desired or not—may signal a future Reddit less friendly to creepshots and other investor-repelling content.

Lead image courtesy of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers



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