Men are occasionally idiots.
And, despite there being many smart men in the technology industry, men in the technology industry are also occasionally idiots.
For instance, they have sent texts to women asking for sex at technology conferences. They have dated women then attempted to push them out of startups. And in the latest sometimes-men-are-stupid saga, a man allegedly sent a female technology reporter a basket full of sex toys — as schwag for a startup that has nothing to do with sex.
San Francisco Chronicle’s Kristen Brown says she was startled to find a startup founder in her office lobby, handing her a vibrator. His “gift” also included K-Y jelly, raw oysters and tequila. As she stood there, mouth agape, he pitched her his Q&A startup.
When Brown asked him what was up with his gift, she says the founder, Blake Francis, almost seemed wounded.
“At first he was defensive,” Brown writes. “He said he was sorry I felt uncomfortable with his choice of swag, but also appeared genuinely surprised at my discomfort. He didn’t want to offend me, but also didn’t understand why I would be offended in the first place. Francis didn’t seem to grasp that sex — or a woman’s sexuality — isn’t a topic appropriate for a professional setting.”
Francis explained that each sexual gift had been an answer to some sort of question asked on his startup’s website. But as Brown pointed out, his startup answers a lot of questions that have nothing to do with sex at all. Francis also told Brown that he’s given the same gift to other men and women, although it’s hard to imagine men received vibrators.
“In retrospect, we did not use good judgement,” Francis later told Brown.