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Interview with a Young Woman in Tech

Via a minority female recent graduate in tech - compliments are a dime a dozen, but unsolicited, specific, and tangible positive feedback is

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My friend lives and breathes startups: her resume spans in-embryo, two-person operations to companies like Salesforce which boast thousands of employees and millions in venture funding. Now that she works at the Capital Factory, Austin’s premier incubator, she has a unique perspective on how gratitude is shared in the world of tech startups.

At Capital Factory, as with Salesforce and smaller startups, she observed that several features of gratitude held true:

  • The most significant feedback often comes from upper management. When the founder and CEO of Capital Factory specifically complimented her work on a project, she felt “much more motivated” moving forward than she might have if the complement were from a coworker.
  • At smaller companies, feedback is not nearly as structured. Larger companies have frameworks for goal and objective setting, measurement, and feedback, so smaller companies must make an extra effort at the personal level to make all employees (especially those from underrepresented backgrounds) feel appreciated. Very direct conversations must occur within these teams.
  • Most importantly, my friend detailed the difference between unsolicited compliments which can be categorized as gratitude and actionable feedback. While humans are automatically inclined to feel good for a little while after receiving a compliment, she said, “specific, constructive comments corresponding to the work [employees] are doing make clear that the work has value to the organization… and are really crucial to an organization.”

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

A compliment is very different from feedback. Feedback affirms the value recently demonstrated on a particular project, and in so doing has long-lasting effects on morale, an employee’s well-being, and the self-worth that is essential to productivity. Feedback serves to inspire workers. Compliments, on the other hand, are easy to give but generate significantly less enduring benefits. An extra effort should be made to affirm the value of team members who are underrepresented within their companies, such as women in tech.

Tell us about yourself

Aspiring entrepreneur. Proud longhorn. Lifelong klutz. I’m happy to share my own perspective from I’ve gained from interning in the tech industry with startups and Facebook, studying at the University of Texas at Austin, and surviving as a millennial who doesn’t enjoy Snapchat.


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Hi Daniel Miyares ,

Great to see you sharing your provocations around this topic and bringing your voice to the Gratitude Challenge Community!

From the insights shared in your post, we think it may be particularly interesting to for you to attend our Gratitude in the Workplace Webinar with University of Washington positive organizational leadership expert, Ryan Fehr tomorrow, Oct 13 @ 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time. He’ll be discussing recommendations for designing Ideas for this topic.

You can register for the webinar here

We hope to see you there!

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