Apr 2, 2015 · 2 minutes

Brogrammers. Nobody knows where these code-crushing, ass-slapping, beer bonging idiots come from: I once hypothesized that they “spawn fully-formed once a year in August from a pit in Golden Gate Park filled with toxic sludge, used condoms, and Swordfish DVDs.” What we do know is where at least some of them now live: Finland. 

Last December, Finnish sports startup Sportacam came under fire for a job ad offering benefits like "Making it rain on them hoes" and for recruiting workers who, in addition to having back-end development experience, must be "totally gay for code." Today, Sportacam's ad got a second lease on life via Twitter when Kleiner VC Megan Quinn tweeted it to her 22k followers....

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 2.45.08 PM

The fact that Sportacam's ad, originally posted in December, remains online tells us two things 1) the company doesn't believe all the outrage has done them any real harm and 2) they really don't  care what you think, anyway.

In fact, what's really interesting -- and missing from a lot of today's renewed Twitter outrage -- is what the company did next. Rather than apologizing after the initial backlash, the company went on to troll its critics with a painfully politically correct job listing ridiculing the people it offended.

The new listing, posted just last month, mocked the outrage around the original ad, describing Sportacam as a "non-offensive and politically correct company" that offers "a multicultural, unisexual, LGBT-friendly non-offensive, non-oppressive and totally gender, race, age, sex, height, weight, political affiliation, religion, national origin, pregnancy, physical or mental disability -neutral work environment."

As the Mary Sue points out:

When teachers get mad at kids for, say, poking someone, children often respond in the most over-reactionary way possible, yelling things like, “FINE then I’ll NEVER touch ANYONE AGAIN EVER.” Here, we see an extension of that type of reaction, but for adults. Sportacam is making it quite clear that they believe the criticism of their first ad was unnecessary and worthy of mocking.
Sportacam's ads are interesting because they bring together the worst cliches of brogrammer culture in a way you rarely see outside of parody. Certainly in Silicon Valley the supposed scourge of brogramming is more myth than reality. As Kate Losse notes in her seminal post, "The Speculum of the Other Brogrammer," you needn't wear Ed Hardy or first-pump to Skrillex at frat houses to exhibit gender biases, and in assuming that bros have a monopoly on sexism it obscures more insidious forms of sexism that are subtle and systemic within the tech ecosystem. And just as not all sexists are bros, not all bros are sexist, as illustrated by this Venn Diagram I made a couple years ago:


Unfortunately caricature travels a lot better than subtlety. It's possible that Sportacam's Finnish founders have somehow convinced themselves that the best way to make themselves look like a Silicon Valley tech company is to become a parody of the worst imaginable version of one -- a version that even Mike Judge might think a tad overdone.

Perhaps this time around they'll understand why, especially when it comes to discrimination in tech, not all publicity is good publicity.

[illustration by Hallie Bateman]