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Building a Company that's as Diverse as the Customers it Serves

A Message from Dan Shapiro, CEO of GlowForge

Published for the 1000 Cuts Campaign

We started Glowforge to bring a truly magical technology – 3D laser printing – to everyone. We should all be able to create beautiful and useful things for ourselves and our communities. We founded our company to  bring about a world where anyone can print anything. And we realized from the very start that if we didn’t build a company that looked like our customers, we’d fail. 

Here are two big reasons why:

  • We aspire to serve everyone, but we can’t unless we represent everyone. Our CEO, a white cis man, said, “if we build our product for people who look like me, we’ll build the wrong product.” He made it a priority from the company’s founding to build a team diverse enough to serve everyone well.

  • Talent is evenly distributed, but tech recruiting is broken. If we recruit the usual tech company way, we would miss out on most of the great talent the world has to offer. Traditional hiring processes are full of bias, and we need to invest to fix it to get the best talent the world has to offer. 

That’s why – since Glowforge started – we pioneered a more equitable way to do job offers, published our health insurance plan in full, and paid for referrals of under-represented folks. “Business as usual” hasn’t worked for most people for a long, long time. That’s why we’ve gone to unusual lengths to create transparent, fair systems for our team.

And it’s made a real difference for the company we’re building together. When we look at the way Glowforge has grown since founding, we can point to a thousand key moments that were only possible because of the diverse team we’d built. (You can see us all here).  Without their contributions, without this team, Glowforge would have failed already.

We operate within systems of oppression. We believe that by creating a company that struggles against them, one that strives to do better, we can create a role model for others in our field. That means not just financial successes that rewards its employees, but a place where amazing people can do wonderful things while taking care of each other. 

When it comes right down to it, a company is just some paperwork and a bunch of people working together. And together, we’ve all decided that this is part of our work.


Bonus: Check out a June 1, 2020 note on injustice from the Glowforge Blog.


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