Diversity in Business Isn't Just Social Justice: It's the Lifeblood of the Company

Warby Parker has found that diversity makes it a better company in unpredictable ways. 


"... we recognize that it’s inherent human bias to surround yourself by people that remind you of yourself. And so you have to be really deliberate in terms of casting a wide net to ensuring that you are bringing in people that have different perspectives that could challenge you and the existing team." — Dave Gilboa, Warby Parker

The disruptive eyewear company Warby Parker started out with a great idea: Control every step of the design, manufacturing, and distribution of their product so fashion-forward prescription specs don't have to cost $500. But as it scaled from four partners working out of their apartments to a team of several hundred people, says co-founder Dave Gilboa, Warby Parker needed to clarify its values, and FAST. 

One of the company's eight core values is diversity. This isn't just lip service to social equality: Gilboa says that diversity in hiring benefits any business enormously not only by making it a fair employer, but also by multiplying the number of perspectives in the room at any time. A diverse business is a creative business: Whatever problem it's trying to solve at the moment, it can count on a wide range of possible solutions. 


Eric Paley, a managing partner of Founder Collective, a seed-stage venture capital fund, spends his professional life evaluating promising entrepreneurs and their companies. Founder Collective has an impressive track record of picking winners.

Here are his thoughts on what makes Gilboa and his company extraordinary: 


The Visionaries series is brought to you by Big Think in collaboration with Founder Collective. In it, we profile remarkable entrepreneurs and the ideas and practices that make them great. 

 

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