Adam Neumann, Kimberly Bryant and the importance of nuance

It’s been a week of people trying to make sense of what’s happening in tech. If you’ve been compartmentalizing: Cheers! Now let me walk you through what’s been going on.

On Monday, WeWork founder Adam Neumann raised a seed round from Andreessen Horowitz for a new real estate company, reportedly at an over $1 billion valuation. Neumann’s return, flush with the biggest check that one of the best-known firms has ever written, was met with a range of reactions given his tumultuous leadership at WeWork.

A few days earlier, Kimberly Bryant was fired from Black Girls Code, the nonprofit she founded, by the board she appointed.

You’re caught up: We had a return and an ousting happening within a few days.

One common response was that women and people of color would never be owed the same “second chance” as Neumann because first chances are hard enough for the historically overlooked cohort. Allison Byers, the founder of Scroobious, a platform that aims to diversify startups and make founders more venture-backable, described feeling “a muted rage.”

The return came from the white male who misled investors and employees. The ousted was a Black woman who founded a nonprofit to get more diversity into the coding world.

If that’s where the analysis stops, it’s a disservice. As my colleague Dominic-Madori Davis put it, “people talk about these things without the nuance of two things at once, but that’s also with most arguments online. They turn things and people into one-dimensional objects as if that’s easy to parse.” If you’re not careful, you could scroll yourself into an opinion that misses the multifaceted nature of controversies.


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