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How do you think about inclusion and social impact?

Some context first, but you can skip and I'll be glad to hear your answer in any case. Some abbreviated version at the end.

Last year I read Don't Be Evil, the author, Rana Foroohar, writes at page 41, and it is relevant enough to be listed in the index under engineering mind-set that:

The problem is the engineering mind-set, which focus solely on "how do we get more efficiently from point A to point C, without much thought about the collateral effects of bypassing point B, which might represent everything from the free press to citizen privacy

Here I think it is not true, but if you don't fit this idea it is harder to get a job. I mean a meaningful and challenging job.

Then last week I read a post that said that good engineers where more on the VC backed startups instead of the bootstrapped ones, see the Bootstrapping cons section. In this case I think, again, it is not totally true, but after some tries you learn that you better go after the money because with some savings you can, if you still want, change things for your startup, and in trying to change someone else's company you can easily end empty-handed.

Finally, I was reading this conversation about success on Twitter here and I think sometimes a lot depends on the context and criteria, I have a conflict of interests, I do want to grow my audience, but every time I read "users don't care about you but about how you can help them", I know it is true, to some extent, but I feel bad about this being a vicious cycle of re-enforcing the lack of interest and rewarding "focused" users instead of mindful ones.

I know all of these seems unrelated but I think I constantly think about this and it has an impact on my day to day activities. I really care about the journey, not just the end destination. I think this is a good example of the survivorship bias (Abraham Wald bullet holes in planes), in which we only look at some part of the population and ignore the rest, which might offer some interesting insights under a different metric/criteria.

I often think there are alternatives but those never gain enough traction. You need a critical mass to keep going so what has already been successful has a huge advantage over new ways of thinking, you already have some documented successful stories so you can afford to fail without affecting thesis credibility.

TL;DR: Questions

  • Do you consider this an inclusion problem?
  • Is inclusion about well-defined, socially accepted minorities?
  • How much do you care about social impact when you craft a new idea?
  • How do you deal with considering social impact when you know you have to be pragmatic or you will freeze by trying to solve unsolvable problems?
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