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The Unapologetic Misogynist On Stage

February 1, 2019

The auditorium could easily hold 1000 people and every seat was taken in anticipation. David Bateman, the CEO of Entrata Software was on stage getting the crowd ready for his interview with Alex Rodriguez, A-Rod, whose introduction simply said, Baseball Legend. A-Rod was one of the featured speakers at the Silicon Slopes technology conference in Salt Lake City.

Could all the ladies in room please stand up? Yeah, I know the real reason you’re here. Sorry ladies, he’s taken. Some woman named J-Lo.

Wait, what?

I was so shocked I did a double-take. Bateman seemed oblivious and went on with his introduction. The women in the room awkwardly took their seats in confusion. I was still stunned at the misogyny I’d just heard from a tech company CEO to a tech conference crowd.

Women in tech are rare. When I worked for Microsoft, during a boring meeting one of the games I’d play was imagining who would play each of us in the movie about our project meeting. I’d also compare the number of women to men. It was typically about 1:3.

During my career I can count on one hand the number of women who worked on my technical teams. They were typically very, very good. They had to be.

If a woman or girl ever shows up to play pickup basketball, make sure she’s on your team. She wouldn’t be there if she wasn’t really good. That’s what women in tech are often like. The odds are often stacked against them. The number of girls who give up on math and science between junior high and high school is staggering.

Most computer science classes in college have only a couple of women. My daughters were great at math and took other paths (veterinarian and psychology.) My lovely wife was a computer consultant for many years.

It’s difficult to get women interested in tech and it’s tough to keep them in technical fields. And here was one of the leaders of the tech industry saying, “You women are only here to see the good looking famous athlete.”

What do you do in that situation? I needed to do something. I installed Twitter on my phone and logged into my seldom used Twitter account.

@EntrataSoftware and @AROD
Why did Dave Bateman ask the women to stand, then say “I know why YOU’RE here. Sorry ladies, he’s taken.” Are you kidding? 2019 and your CEO thinks that’s appropriate behavior at a tech conference? (Or ANY conf?)

As a lifelong Mariners fan, Alex Rodriguez is not my favorite athlete. In fact, he ranks pretty low on my list of favorite players. However, his presentation was surprising. I don’t know if he heard all of Bateman’s introduction or not, but ARod talked a lot about women in business. He emphasized that women need more opportunities, more equal pay, more positions of leadership.

The best paid people on my team are women.

I discovered I like Alex Rodriguez, the businessman much more than ARod the baseball legend.

At lunch I asked a woman sitting next to me if she was offended by his comments?

Not really. It was mostly just confusing. I didn’t understand why he wanted us to stand up.

Several people on Twitter retweeted it. A few LIKED it, and a couple disagreed with it. David Bateman (@davidbateman) was eventually tagged and his only contribution to the conversation was to LIKE the tweets disagreeing with me.

You can find the thread on my Twitter feed (@rodneymbliss.) If you think this kind of behavior is inappropriate in 2019, or if you think it is perfectly fine, feel free to let Entrata (@EntrataSoftware) or Mr Bateman (@davidbateman) know your feelings.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2018 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

  1. Jim Vadmeer permalink

    David Bateman asked the women in the room to stand so as to acknowledge and congratulate their participation in the tech community. Following that up with his lame attempt at a joke connecting their attendance at that particular session of the summit with only being interested in seeing A-Rod (which was why I was there) was an unfortunate mistake. What disturbed me more, however, was when organizers of the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit interrupted a presenter in a later breakout session to announce Mr. Bateman’s apology followed by their statement, “Don’t worry, he’s no longer here – I’ve killed him.” Wait, what? Oh, I forgot that this is what we do to those who might support a different political party or ideology and have a legitimate need to apologize for unintentionally offending someone – we label them as “unapologetic” and “misogynist” and advocate violence upon them. I’m sorry, but joking about someone’s murder is about as bad as it gets. Is it any wonder that our country and political discourse is in its current state? Our industry leaders can do better.

    • That actually makes more sense. This is the first I’ve heard he apologized.

      Also, neither I nor the women I talked to understood that he was trying honor women in tech during his “please stand up,” request. They found it confusing, I found it sexist.

      I would have expected to see some reference to his apology on Twitter. If for no other reason than to shut me up or show me I was wrong.

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