NEWS · June 12th 2020

Black Lives Matter

Our first steps to hold ourselves accountable in preventing systemic racism.

Magnus Hillestad

Magnus is CEO and co-founder of Sanity.io

At Sanity.io, we care deeply about the society that surrounds us. Both collectively and also as individuals, Black Lives Matter to us.

Even though we have long been aware of racism in tech, the events of the past few weeks have made it abundantly clear to us that we also need to be an active part of a solution. These are just our first few steps. We expect to learn of more ways in which we can make a difference.

We hold ourselves to our values. We write that we “Value Difference”. Every week, this phrase sits on the first slide of our all-staff meeting. And we know that we need to educate ourselves on what it should imply, and perhaps even demand, from an organization like ours.

So we need to step up how we act inclusively towards the Black community, and generally act against racism. We want this to be part of our company culture.

The below is what we are doing right now, but this will be a longer process of engagement and learning.

There are three areas where we can work:

  1. In our community
  2. Inside our company
  3. How we act in the broader ecosystem

We believe we can hold ourselves accountable to this work and actually see how we measure up to the standards we are setting.

Our community

We have reach. Sanity counts more than 35 thousand developers and editors amongst our users. We’re growing rapidly.

We have long had in place a Code of Conduct that promotes responsible and inclusive behaviour. We monitor our community and hold people responsible for breaches of our standards. But more importantly, we own the responsibility of modeling respectful and inclusive behavior.

We don’t believe this is enough though to ensure representativity in our community. We will be hiring someone to lead the inclusion efforts in our developer relations team. This person will:

  • Steer our efforts and support the entire team in making Sanity visible and available to underrepresented groups
  • Help us to develop a diverse user base, including from the Black community
  • Make sure that we engage with them and solicit their feedback, and further improve our community and our product

We have made the final decision on hiring this role and it will be posted on sanity.io/careers and on Twitter as soon as possible.

Our company

Right now our team is not as diverse as we would like it to be. Specifically, we are a company without any Black employees. This is something we plan to change. Sanity is expecting to hire many employees going forward, both in the US and in Norway.

Since we opened our US office last August we have included diversity targets in our hiring process. This as we felt we needed to make sure our hiring materials, processes, and decision would not exclude underrepresented groups.

A diversity strategy is also a requirement for all new hiring processes. Specific diversity targets are set for the various steps (% diversity in screening, 1 round, final round etc). The targets are actively enforced by management. We will take the step of expanding that process to specifically also include Black applicants, and other underrepresented groups.

We also need to make sure that people we hire have a just and safe work environment that they can thrive in. Our ability to succeed in those efforts will be measurable by our sucess in hiring and retaining diverse talent. We will make that a KPI in further developing of our organization.

Lack of diversity is not a pipeline problem, but probably more a lack of efforts when companies recruit. There is a lot of talent out there!

The ecosystem

Sanity is a small company, but we believe we have impact.

Firstly we believe that we should make sure to listen, and to help amplify the voices of the Black Tech community, and be a partner to initiatives that drive diversity and especially Black inclusion into our ecosystem and broader community.

We will promote Black Tech by directing an allocated part of our brand and marketing budget towards Black people in our community, or services and events that specifically or in specially good ways promote their interests.

First steps

We believe it’s important to continue having the conversation. As individuals, as a company, within our ecosystem and with people in our local communities. We have decided to dedicate the upcoming Juneteenth to inclusion, and make it a day where we learn, discuss and find new initiatives to improve the way we act, in our community, in our company and in our broader ecosystem.

These are only the first steps. We have lots to learn in the weeks, months, and years ahead. Judge us by our actions, not by these words.