Nov 9, 2019

Why Diversity in Thought Matters


emember how in Legally Blonde, practically no one at Harvard (except for that creepy af professor, ew) believed in Elle's capabilities? They saw her as a pink sorority princess (which honestly, doesn't even sound like a bad thing to me) and didn't find her Harvard material. Well, Elle went on to secure a legal internship with Callahan (again, ew) and it was BECAUSE OF ELLE that the firm won the case. So how did this fashion merchandising sorority girl secure a win for the team?

Elle was different.

Elle came from a very different lifestyle and life experiences compared to her classmates and internship-mates (that's not a word). She was the stereotypical sorority girl - perky, ultra-feminine and full of practical Instagram influencer-esque advice. Basically, me but like, not Black. Elle knew things that her counterparts in Harvard didn't know. That knowledge is what led her to uncovering that Brooke's stepdaughter Chutney killed her own father.

Haven't seen Legally Blonde? I'll just recall what happened in the courtroom. However, you should totally go watch the movie. Ok so, in the movie, Brooke (a super famous fitness instructor) is on trial for murdering her husband. Unfortunately, Brooke refuses to give an alibi to attest to where she was the day he was murdered all because she was having liposuction. No point in tarnishing her brand, right?

Well, the entire situation didn't sit right with Elle. For starters, Brooke and Elle were both in the same sorority (years apart). So, there's already that sisterhood bond. But that's not what made Elle believe that Brooke was innocent. Elle knew and recognized that working out produces endorphins - and therefore happy women don't kill their husbands! So, that was what initially seemed fishy to Elle. Logically, it didn't make sense. Brooke, a fitness instructor who worked out often, must have been full of endorphins.

Once Elle came to this realization, she tried to put the pieces of the story together. Chutney, Brook's step daughter, claimed that she was in the shower when her father was shot by gun and therefore she didn't hear the gunshot. But you see, Chutney messed up when she gave her alibi. Chutney stated that earlier that morning, she had gotten a perm (a chemical process that you'll often find white women get to make their hair curly). She returned home after her salon appointment and GOT IN THE SHOWER AND WASHED HER HAIR.

Thanks to Elle's practical life knowledge, she knew that washing permed hair within the first 24 hours would deactivate the ammonium thioglycolate. However, in court, Chutney's curls were still intact! Long story short, Elle said all of that to the court room, Chutney confessed to accidentally killing her father and admitted that the bullet was actually for Brooke. Yanno, rich people problems.

So - how does this relate to tech?

Elle was able to think differently than her counterparts. She was able to see things from a different perspective. Her own personal life experiences helped her make her case in court for defending Brooke. The rest of her legal team hadn't even considered the whole endorphins and perm bit and was ready to just throw in the towel for Brooke.


Coming from a non-tech background (similar to Elle's actually. I did styling and merchandising), there were things I had experienced in my professional and personal life that many of the people I work with have absolutely zero clue about. And that's ok! We should all bring something different to the table. If you're on a team where everyone thinks the same and have the same background and blah blah, there's ZERO opportunity for someone to introduce a counter-idea to the group! Someone needs to think differently. Your non-tech background is unique and therefore valuable in a world where we're advancing society and enhancing the user experience with technology. You more than likely know how non-technical people operate.You can think like a non-technical person. And even once you become technical, that life experience you have doesn't go away!

Don't be ashamed of the life you've lived before coming into the tech world. Own it. Sure, not everyone is going to accept that you're different. However, those who value your difference are the type of people who understand that diversity in thought matters.

Also, go watch Legally Blonde if you haven't seen it.