David Gilboa on Diversity at Warby Parker

Diversity is key to building a successful organization. Teaching yourself to shed your subconscious inhibitions to it is the first real step.

David Gilboa: Our team at Warby Parker is now several hundred people and I think we have really learned a lesson in that diversity is key to building a successful organization. And diversity and multiple levels whether it’s gender, experience, age, geography. People bring different perspectives that could be really powerful.

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When we launched Warby Parker we were four males, but more than half our customers are females. And I think we recognized early on that while we might think we know what women want, but if our customer base is going to be more than 50 percent female, we need that perspective on our team and every element of the business. Once we hired our initial team we quickly appreciated that having different perspectives can be — is not only important to us, but is necessary.

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When we hire for a role, we try to find the best
 person in the world for that role and we don’t have a specific goal in mind for what that person looks like or talks like. But 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. And so now we very deliberate efforts whether it's where we’re recruiting from, where we’re posting job descriptions, really ensuring that at the top of the funnel we’re bringing in a lot of diversity and allowing ourselves to be surprised by candidates that we might not naturally gravitate towards.

When you run a business like Warby Parker, as David Gilboa does, it's important to bring in an array of perspectives that mirror your potential customer base (it's also just the right thing to do!). But in order to foster a diverse workplace, it's important to shed one's subconscious apprehensions. You have to recognize that inherent human bias pushes you to want to hire people more like yourself than different. You have to re-teach yourself how you analyze talent. Most important, you have to push yourself to be at your most deliberate when interviewing and choosing new employees.

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