Mark Zuckerberg had the best response to a woman who, in an attempt to thank him for Facebook helping her to reconnect with old friends and family, announced she’d told her granddaughters to “date the nerd at school” in case he turned out to be the next Zuckerberg.
The Facebook founder and CEO, and the new father of a baby girl, responded by gently suggesting a more positive message, that the granddaughters “be the nerd” at school, rather than just aspire to date one.
His reply attracted a huge amount of attention. Facebook
After Zuckerberg shared his personal goal to challenge himself in 2016 by inventing an artificial intelligence butler for his home, grandmother Darlene Hackemer Loretto commented on his post with her innocently meant but old-fashioned comment – having little idea so many people would read it, let alone Zuckerberg himself would respond. “Even better would be to encourage them to *be* the nerd in their school so they can be the next successful inventor!” Zuckerberg wrote.
The post and comment went viral, receiving over 25,000 likes in a day and with #BetheNerd trending on Twitter.
Even though it is welcome to have someone so high profile encourage young women to pursue careers in technology, only 32 percent of Facebook’s employees are female, with just a 1 percent rise in female employees between 2014 and 2015. However, it does look as though Zuckerberg is trying to address this imbalance, with Facebook targeting ads for computer science at young women, sponsoring Lean in Circles, a group that connects women in computer science to other women in their field, and actively recruiting members of underrepresented minority groups.
“We have the same talent bar for everyone,” he said speaking at a town hall conference in May last year, according to USA Today. “But we want to find a disproportionate number of candidates who are women and minorities.”
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