What looked like a storm in a teacup on Twitter for Sqoot, ‘the daily deal API that helps developers add incremental value’, turned out to be a bad decision that cost them a sponsor for their API Jam event in Boston later this month.
Unwisely Sqoot listed “women” as one of the perks of attending their event. Steve Strezza, lead platform developer at Read It Later spotted the original listing and shared it on Twitter. Here’s a snap of Steve’s picture:
“We're hunting for awesome startups”
Run an early-stage company? We're inviting 250 to exhibit at TNW Conference and pitch on stage!
Gosh, that’s not very nice is it? Not even women coders getting those beers…
For the record, many people on Twitter complained, sending messages to @Sqoot to which they got replies. Like this:
just a little humor @BoazSender
— Sqoot (@sqoot) March 20, 2012
Probably not the right answer…
I’m not sure “Boom!” is what we’re looking for either…
At least the description has changed to cut out their light-hearted misogynistic banter:
But this is not something that people who believe in equality are willing to put up with and unfortunately for Sqoot, it meant losing sponsors. Observe. Apigee, providor of API products and tech, pulled out.
We’ve pulled our sponsorship from the boston api jam, the marketing isn’t consistent with our company values.
— Apigee (@Apigee) March 20, 2012
Heroku, cloud platform as a service, followed suit:
Heroku will be pulling our sponsorship from the Boston API Jam.
— heroku (@heroku) March 20, 2012
I dropped a line to Sqoot asking them what was going on and received this statement in reply from Mo Yehia, listed on the Sqoot site as ‘Suit turned hustler’,
Sqoot is hosting an API Jam in Boston at the end of March. One of the perks we (not our sponsors) listed on the event page was:
“Women: Need another beer? Let one of our friendly (female) event staff get that for you.”
While we thought this was a fun, harmless comment poking fun at the fact that hack-a-thons are typically male-dominated, others were offended. That was not our intention and thus we changed it.
We’re really sorry,
Avand & Mo
It’s hard a hard lesson when being dragged into enlightenment to lose sponsorship along the way, but I suspect this is unlikely to be repeated by the same firm.
—LevelUp (@TheLevelUp) March 20, 2012