GamesBeat: It sounds like determination is a word that comes out of this.
Wu: Yeah, that’s very accurate. There’s a quote I saw today that I loved. Courage is not an absence of fear. Throughout the last year there have been days where I’ve been so scared that my hands are shaking. I couldn’t stop it. But courage is when you believe something is so important that it’s more important than your fear. You’re willing to stand up to that and push past it.
When you look at the women who have put it on the line to stand up to Gamergate and draw a line in the sand and say, “I deserve to be here too. I love technology. I’m not going anywhere. Bring it on,” you’re seeing women who realize that this has to change. For me, I don’t speak up on the things I do because I want to. I do it because I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t.
GamesBeat: When you have conversations with younger women, how does that go? Do you usually see a positive result?
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Wu: Sometimes. Something we do a lot at our company is—We desperately need more women doing exactly what I do, which is being the CEO, making hires, acquiring capital, and giving people jobs. Something we spend a lot of time doing at our company is giving young girls internships, so they can get their foot in the door and learn these critical game skills in a supportive environment that’s free of a lot of these politics.
You sometimes want to talk to them. Sometimes it’s just listening to them being afraid. Sometimes it’s giving them a word of advice about what they can specialize in to have a better career. More than anything it’s just being real with them. It’s as simple, sometimes, as looking them in the eye and telling them it’s okay to be afraid.
GamesBeat: There are people in this room who are — I think it’s good for them to hear this message from you. Some of them have the ability to create a lot more jobs than you do right now. They should probably go about it.
Wu: This is so critical. As a tech feminist there’s sometimes a tendency to criticize the system. There’s so much to criticize. You have to look at the major game companies. I know so many women who have had kids and have left because it’s just not supportive. I know so many women who have dealt with sexual harassment and just left because their workplaces aren’t supportive.
It’s easy to critique that. But at the same time, we desperately need women out there working on the venture capital side, creating jobs, building institutions with our values. Think about this. What makes more sense? To go out there embedded with these giant companies to change their culture, or to build a new future ourselves?
We’re in tech. New giants are born all the time. What I want to know is, when is there going to be a woman in tech who’s the next Steve Jobs, a woman who rises up and creates that kind of vision. That’s what we need to be empowered going forward.
GamesBeat: Some men have to try to hire that woman, too.
Wu: I agree with that, or at least support them. So much of the work I do is on unconscious bias. Sometimes I think we don’t see it, but we tend to hang around people who are like ourselves. I’m guilty of this at my own company. It’s mostly a bunch of white women who work at my company. Like tends to hang out with like. But we have to actively be aware of those biases and work against them.
My suggestion out there for you is to just find one thing to consciously decide to do better. You choose to network with women, with people of color, with LGBT people. Just choose that one thing, and that’s how we get forward from here.
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