Tech Bros: Why Cage Matches Won’t Help

It’s hard to ignore the recent public feud between billionaires Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg…try though I might! From petty Twitter spats to wagers on cage matches, their behavior is ridiculous and childish. But what’s really behind it? Is it just narcissism, or is there something deeper at play?

As it turns out, many psychologists believe that narcissism is actually a defense mechanism for deep self-doubt and fear of being discovered to be totally inadequate. These fears make dudes like Elon and Zuck overcompensate by projecting a larger-than-life persona and seeking validation from others. This theory certainly holds up with these two. Musk has a history of making grandiose claims and engaging in public feuds with anyone who questions him, while Zuckerberg has been criticized for his lack of empathy and willingness to put profits over privacy.

Sadly this behavior shows up in so much our our tech culture. Between the Bros running the startups and the Bros running the investment firms (hell…let’s throw in the Bros that are investment bankers), it’s hard to get away from the privilege, entitlement, manipulation, and control that manifests daily in the C-Suite.

Rather than betting on a cage match between Musk and Zuckerberg (as I was tempted to do with a friend)…

  • Let’s talk about why women-led startups have only gotten 1.9% of ALL venture capital funding?
  • Or about the data that says that half of all technical women are leaving the industry by 35?
  • How about…why do women of color makeup less than 5% of the C-Level positions in our companies?
  • Or the shameful fact that the percentage of women on boards is decreasing steadily in recent years (from 40% to 36% in 2 years)?

Let’s let the Billionaire Tech Bros beat each other senseless. Maybe at least one of them will soothe his deep dissatisfaction with himself for a minute. While the other can go on being Elon Musk.

While they do that…let’s raise some money for the future of this industry that so many of us have loved and given our sweat and creativity to.

Girls Who Code

Girls Who Code is a nonprofit organization that aims to close the gender gap in technology and engineering fields by equipping young girls with the skills, resources, and support they need to succeed. Girls Who Code offers a range of programs and initiatives for girls in grades 3-12, including coding clubs, summer camps, and after-school programs. These programs are designed to provide girls with hands-on experience in coding and computer science, as well as exposure to role models and mentors in the tech industry.


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