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Thread: Silicon Valley Goes Racing

  1. #1
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    Default Silicon Valley Goes Racing

    Interesting NY Times article on how some of the Silicon Valley executive crowd is into auto racing and how it's becoming kind of a "good old boys club" for that crowd. Sounds like they rent a track and cars and treat it like a day at the golf course.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/29/te...king.html?_r=0
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    Interesting story. Worth the read.

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    The author goes off on a very odd, but interesting, tangent for 5% of the article.
    It is an activity dominated by men in a culture that is legendarily inaccessible to women. And though on Friday, the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers prevailed in a gender discrimination case brought against it by Ellen Pao, the unsavory details that emerged in the case underscored gender disparities in the tech business.

    The maleness of the sport may be of particular concern as it becomes a more popular pastime that, like golf, has the convenient auxiliary benefit of lubricating the gears of business. Enthusiasts say that taking a potential employee, customer, investor or founder of a hot start-up out to a day at the track makes for a connection that exerts a hold even when you’re off the track. It’s a connection that, for now, not many women are making.
    ...
    At some point during every conversation I had with a tech guy who is interested in racing, there would come an awkward moment in which he would ask me not to paint him as an extravagant, sexist cretin. Mr. Schachter told me, “Try to tone down the rich guy hobby thing.”

    Mr. Bonforte said that many of his friends preferred to stay silent about racing because “the things that make us smell like the 1 percent, we’re very nervous about.” He added that while he has invited several women to come to the track, none had accepted his offer. The rise of a new boys’ club in Silicon Valley — one that was apparently leading to new deals and other business prizes — was “a totally valid concern,” he said, though he did not have any obvious ideas for addressing it. Mr. Buckler, meanwhile, believes that there’s nothing about racing that should put women off. He has hired a woman, Christina Nielsen, for his professional team, and he argued that as the sport grew in popularity, more women would become interested.
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    at last Chuckawalla SV event, we saw some Silicon Valley guys. they have a semi (run by a shop) full of nice cars (McLaren, GT3, etc....), ~5 drivers (from blue to red group). just having fun.

    cool people.
    Last edited by bellwilliam; 04-21-2015 at 09:26 AM.
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    great article.

    I have an idea. All those big companies should have a few racing drivers on staff. So when they do these kind of events, their drivers can give proper 9/10ths ride alongs for a few laps. Makes good business sense. Then when they get out and talk with the VPs and CEOs outside the car, the clients/potential investors/partners etc will be so stocked to be part of company. BAM business deal done. Closed the sale/deal. Then if there is another business deal with another company. They will say, why don't we race for it. My driver versus your driver. Whoever wins gets their terms. Hahahaha. Should be pretty epic. You can now tell the story that the merger happened because we won a bet/race.
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    We had about 10 people from Apple show up at one of our driving schools. The group was organized by a long time AROSC member who works for Apple. Talking to his wife I found out they all worked for him, and he pretty much told them they had to attend. THey all made very good money and bought expensive, fast cars. He told them that he had spent a lot of time and effort in building his team and he didn't want to lose any of them. If they were going to own fast cars, then they needed to learn how to drive them properly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SDSUsnowboards View Post
    The author goes off on a very odd, but interesting, tangent for 5% of the article.
    Do I read that right? There's a perception that driving race cars is inherently sexist?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slaysman View Post
    We had about 10 people from Apple show up at one of our driving schools. The group was organized by a long time AROSC member who works for Apple. Talking to his wife I found out they all worked for him, and he pretty much told them they had to attend. THey all made very good money and bought expensive, fast cars. He told them that he had spent a lot of time and effort in building his team and he didn't want to lose any of them. If they were going to own fast cars, then they needed to learn how to drive them properly.
    That is what I'd expect from Apple or more progressively minded companies in general. "We don't trust your judgment, do things our way so we can protect you from yourself." I'd be having a talk with that boss if I were on staff.

    Quote Originally Posted by robburgoon View Post
    Do I read that right? There's a perception that driving race cars is inherently sexist?
    That would be my guess. The author presents it as a problem that needs solving. That's fine, journalism should uncover those hidden ideas people do not think about. In any case, any aspiring business person should know their networking audience and take up hobbies and interests accordingly. No one is forcing anyone to be in business.
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    "Mr. Schachter pointed out that the most popular car for racing enthusiasts is a Mazda Miata, older models of which sell for less than $5,000. Renting a car for a day on the track costs a few hundred."
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    Damn techies.
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    Kids don't care about cars. That's true.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SDSUsnowboards View Post
    That is what I'd expect from Apple or more progressively minded companies in general. "We don't trust your judgment, do things our way so we can protect you from yourself." I'd be having a talk with that boss if I were on staff.
    "That boss" is a really sharp guy, family man, well liked car enthusiast. Treats his team like family. He pays his team very well, and wants to make sure they don't do stupid things with powerful cars. His team really enjoyed the weekend, and all wrote us thanks. WOuld not be surprised to find out that he paid for them. Seems to me it beat the hell out of corporate team building sessions out in the woods doing contrived exercises.
    Last edited by Slaysman; 04-21-2015 at 01:15 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by robburgoon View Post
    Do I read that right? There's a perception that driving race cars is inherently sexist?
    Then so are pie baking and quilting contests, and Barbie Doll conventions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slaysman View Post
    Then so are pie baking and quilting contests, and Barbie Doll conventions.
    I used to bake pies, then I bought a Miata.
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    pretty soon, they won't even show up. sending their self autonomous car and kick our butt around the track.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slaysman View Post
    "That boss" is a really sharp guy, family man, well liked car enthusiast. Treats his team like family. He pays his team very well, and wants to make sure they don't do stupid things with powerful cars. His team really enjoyed the weekend, and all wrote us thanks. WOuld not be surprised to find out that he paid for them. Seems to me it beat the hell out of corporate team building sessions out in the woods doing contrived exercises.
    I'm sure he's a great guy. But, he still thinks poorly of the judgment of those he hired. You either trust someone to act with wisdom, or you do not.

    My opinion would be different if said experience was not mandatory.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellwilliam View Post
    pretty soon, they won't even show up. sending their self autonomous car and kick our butt around the track.
    You have no idea!
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    Team building exercise. Lesson 3. 3 wide at 120mph in T8 at WSIR.
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    120 MPH? Not if they are in Miatas.
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    Sounds about right, us Silicon Valley guys can't actually afford homes here so we buy fancy cars and do track days instead ; )
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