A Note from People & Company

Bailey on Black Lives Matter Commitments & "The Social Dilemma"

Hi there friends of P&C,

As we near November, we thought it was time to send you a more personal note from our team.

This year has been a strange one for all of us. For our squad, 2020 has meant far less traveling for clients, far less in-person time together, as well as many personal life changes and developments:

  • This summer Kai moved continents and Kevin moved apartments.

  • COVID postponed Kevin’s wedding celebration, but Bailey fell in love.

  • We all got into dance jump-roping. (See video below.)

And we expanded our team! Bringing on many remarkable collaborators. Katie helps out behind the scenes of the podcast with writing, promotion, the correspondent program, and the Listeners Club. Krystie, Briene, and Ashley help us bring our labs and sprints to life. Our podcast correspondents Maggie, Mia, Marjorie, and Whitney expand the stories we tell, while Rosana ensures we sound great by engineering our audio. Mika and Greg make us look good, creating assets for each podcast episode and helping celebrate big moments with rad designs.

Today, we wanted to share two more updates with you.

Where we stand with our Anti-Racism Commitments

In the beginning of June, Kevin shared the actions we are taking against racism on our podcast and right here on Substack.

We wanted to update you on our progress on these four commitments:

1. Refocus our office hours.

Since June, we’ve prioritized pro bono office hours with Black leaders to talk through community projects (of any type) as well as non-Black leaders starting new communities to combat racism or rallying existing communities around antiracism. If this is you, this offer still stands! Please reach out.

2. Shift who we interview on our podcast.

Before June, ~13% of interviewees had been Black leaders. By the end of the year, we told you a minimum of 30% of who we feature will be Black leaders.

We’re happy to share that we are on track to reach this goal. Of the 20 episodes we released since we made our public commitments, exactly 30% have spotlight the story of Black community leaders. We hope to end this year over that goal.

3. Dedicate a Get Together podcast correspondent to signal boost Black leaders.

We quickly realized that dedicating just one person to signal boost Black leaders’ stories was the wrong approach. Instead, we are all committing to signal boost those stories. We onboarded our new correspondents with the expectation that all of us are responsible for finding and sharing the stories of Black community leaders.

4. Up the diversity among our collaborators

Our final promise was to work actively to increase the diversity in our pipeline of contractors who form the small nucleus we started building with this year. We’ve done so as we’ve increased the number of our collaborators this year, but hope to continue to do this even more as we grow. Please say hi to us if you’d like to be one of these folks!

This won’t be the last time we update you on our commitments. Stay tuned in early next year for a 6 month update.

A note on “The Social Dilemma”

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I’ll close this note with something I’ve yet to address: my participation in The Social Dilemma.

In the spring of last year, I was flown out to San Francisco for an interview. The director had been recommended by my college advisor, but I didn’t know exactly what to expect.

When I arrived, I was greeted by three of the most advanced cameras I’d ever seen and a set designed for me—an “Instagrammy” warehouse apartment.

For the next two hours, I answered thoughtful questions about how I felt about social media and my experience working at Instagram in the early days of the app.

The resulting film is on Netflix, and I just found out it that it is the second most watched documentary to date on the streaming site. More than 38 Million households viewed it the first 28 days. You’ll hear a bit of my voice amidst a cadre of former tech folks and experts in the field.

There’s much to be said about the film, including the casting choices. I won’t cover everything here.

What I will share with you is what I’m in a unique position to offer: my why.

Why did I do this interview?

As you can likely tell, community work isn’t just professional for me. It’s personal.

Growing up, I witnessed first-hand the pain caused by being excluded or chastised. My brother was left out and teased for his learning disabilities. My mother, one of the first female luggage loaders (that’s her below) and pilots for United Airlines, was never welcome at work. Most male pilots didn’t want her in the cockpit with them. When she returned home from long trips I witnessed the toll that took on her.

Because of my mother and brother’s experiences, I care deeply about how we connect with each other. At P&C, I love researching thriving modern communities in hope of decoding what we can do to build more benevolent connections in our society. What can we learn from the people who are successfully doing this today?

I used to feel proud of the space that Instagram created. I believed that we were a wellspring of benevolent connections. Many of the community leaders in the early days of the platform (“Instagrammers”) who set that tone were generous, creative, optimistic spirits who I still call friends.

As the platform has aged, I feel Instagram has let us down with their business and design choices. No one has felt it more than those early community leaders who gave the young app so much. Without these folks, Instagram would’ve never become what it is today.

By 2018, it was clear to me that the app was taking more from my soul than it was giving. For me personally, Instagram has gone from a place of discovery about other people’s lives—something like a live museum—to a mall, where we’re selling ourselves to each other constantly.

I quit Instagram two years ago this month. I don’t regret it. To quote Man Repeller on Instagram: “we're addicted to a drug that can no longer get us high.” I was on that drug, and I had the choice to get off of it. So I did.

I shared my story in the interview for this film in hopes of helping other folks remember that they too have a choice. If being on social media causes you pain, anxiety, or just leaves you with a bitter or empty taste, you don’t have to use it anymore.

That message didn’t make it to the final cut, but I’m sharing it here.

I have faith that if we can create room in our lives for better spaces to connect they will appear. I believe it’s my responsibility to keep speaking up until they do.

Onwards ✌️


More on all things People & Company and Get Together here.

We published a book, host a podcast, and coach organizations on how to make smarter bets with their community-building investments.