2017-06-26 3 min read


A few months ago I spent a Sunday going through The Prepared's subscriber list, and was struck by just how *male* it is. I've been thinking about how I can address inclusivity since then, and have talked about it with a number of you. A few thoughts.

First, I'm going to be making a more direct effort to highlight inclusivity in the things I link to. Hold me to this, please - and if you see something, send it!

Second, I'm actively looking for minority (basically, anyone other than the white men who make up the majority of mechanical engineers) voices to feature here. If you're working on cool stuff and want a platform to share it, let me know.

Third, I want to provide support in other, more personal ways. The Prepared has become a strong network, and I'm happy to use it for good. If you're looking for a new phase of your career, or are looking to expand your team, send me a note - I'll see what I can do.

Priming & sociology.

  • A recent study showed that by age 6, girls and boys have distinctly different ideas about intelligence and gender. Worse, girls in the study declined to participate in games that were described as being for children "who are really, really smart."
  • A long, complicated piece on being middle class and choosing a primary school for your kid. If you've got young kids like I do, I recommend reading this.

Building a culture.

  • Last year, Dartmouth College graduated more female engineering students than male. They attribute a big part of their success to tearing down barriers between STEM and liberal arts, and acknowledging that familiarity in one results in a better experience in the other. As someone who works in engineering, majored in linguistics, and dabbled in accounting, welding, and contemporary Chinese film in college, I *think* I can relate to this.
  • On the value of mentorship: "In a year-long study—one of the strongest yet to look at the value of mentorship—Dasgupta showed that female engineering undergraduates who are paired with a female mentor felt more motivated, more self-assured, and less anxious than those who had either no mentor or a male one."
  • On the way that "hiring for culture fit" explicitly favors homogeneity. "I don’t want to work in tech to fool around, I want to create amazing things and learn from other smart people. That is the culture fit you should be looking for."

People doing stuff.



  • I'm in Korea, Taiwan, and Shenzhen/Hong Kong over the next week. Expect updates - and holler at me on WeChat @pencerw if you're around there!
  • The Public Radio is at above $40k on Kickstarter - almost triple our goal. Get aboard!
  • A reminder that The Prepared now has a podcast! Subscribe.

Thanks as always to our recurring donors for supporting The Prepared. Credit also to Patricia, Kathy, Shah, Brian, and Ada for sending links.
A profile of Moushira Elamrawy, the founder of Risha, on being a female maker in Egypt and building a really low cost laser cutter.

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