I see three things that are properly called "press releases" in the headlines of Slashdot this morning. It's a typical beginner mistake. Please stop.
Next year we find out that everyone who took the course has since dropped out of college...and no one bats an eye at the irony.
The solution is not higher taxes, it's closing these gaps that companies exploit.
Doesn't this just end up boiling down to higher effective taxes?
You total up your revenue or profits and divide by what you actually paid in taxes and that's your effective tax rate? I don't think at the scale and complexity of a corporation the size of Apple the notion of a nominal tax rate makes much sense.
So if you close loopholes to increase the absolute amount of tax paid, you're raising the effective tax rate even if the nominal one stays the same. In fact I'd be surprised that its not a rhetorical argument used in lobbying and negotiation -- don't raise our tax rate, close loophole X and we'll pay a higher effective rate (meanwhile, their tax wonks have figured out how to use loophole Y instead).
My general sense is that the larger problem isn't paying or not paying taxes, its the cash hoarding these semi-monopoly companies do. A lot of the money just ends up in short-term treasuries or other semi-liquid investment vehicles and doesn't circulate in the economy. In some ways, taxes can be seen as the economic investment of last resort -- a way to bring hoarded capital into the market.
A better policy would seem to be incentives to spend and not hoard capital so it gets put into motion in the economy.
Ms Fowler's description of her experience at Uber sounds terrible, but I don't think Uber is typical of tech companies or representative of "nerd culture".
If you read her article, it's clear that things got worse during her time there. Reading between the lines, it sounds an awful lot like the story of the missing stair.
In one sense, it's not Uber, it's just that one guy. But when people discuss what is "typical" or "representative", many miss the problem that it only takes that one guy. That guy may not be typical or representative, but if the organisation decides (whether deliberately or not) to ignore or enable that one guy, that one guy becomes the typical or representative experience for anyone that one guy targets.
My assumption is that a repeated, long-term pattern of harassing behavior wouldn't be tolerated unless the guy really was the goose that laid the golden egg.
On the other hand, what kind of claim does she have, really? Monetary damages are probably limited to 2x her salary because of how short her tenure was. Let's say that's $300k and it costs Uber another $50k to hire and train her replacement.
I don't know what this guy's job is, but replacing *him* may be something that has a direct cost of $100k (recruiting, signing bonus, etc) and indirect costs due to workflow disruption while he's being replaced. It's not impossible those could add up to another $200k or more -- business disruption is expensive.
I think the engineering improvement curve for stuff like this is really steep. What's practically impossible today, is practical but outrageously expensive in 9 months and commodity priced in 18 months.
IMHO, all of the VR stuff is so bleeding edge that it's going to make the smartphone cycle look slow and methodical in 5 years. Meanwhile, do you rush out products that are expensive, quickly obsolete and don't grab many buyers in the name of "getting to market first"? Or do you iterate it internally and among select developers until your actual concept is practical and at prices that will gain a high volume of sales?
I don't think they're out of line here, the technology in this stuff is advancing faster than they can integrate it into a coherent product and get it to manufacturing.
Uber is a rapidly growing company capable of making many employees extremely wealthy.
The rational choice for Uber may be to be forgiving of a high performing employee with a demonstrated track record when his accuser is a new and unproven hire who has made no contributions.
It may even be that management's cost-benefit analysis is that it's even worth paying off a few people if they get to retain highly productive employees whose short-run value exceeds their long-term liability.
This seems like a case where there's special math involved due to Uber's growth status. At an established, nominal growth company, you're less concerned with high performers and their shorter-term harassment costs exceed their long-term value and they can probably be more easily replaced.
Don't create sexism and harassment cases where they do not belong.
Being propositioned by your boss, even the first time, absolutely is harassment.
Considering it happened several times before, this time absolutely.
To iterate is human, to recurse, divine. -- Robert Heller