Yahoo Hack Day: Let there be Lap Dances!

October 20, 2009

Hack days are de rigueur among Web companies — a standard way to foster innovation and to burnish a company’s street cred among techies. So videos of Yahoo’s recent hack day in Taiwan that surfaced on the Internet should have been good PR.

The problem: The coders at the Yahoo event appeared less interested in creating the next killer app than in enjoying the lap dances being generously doled out by the scantily-clad dancers in attendance.

Yahoo apologized for the event in a blog post Monday evening, calling the incident “regrettable” and promising that it would not happen again.

“Our hack events are designed to give developers an opportunity to learn about our APIs and technologies. As many folks have rightly pointed out, the “Hack Girls” aspect of our Taiwan Hack Day is not reflective of that spirit or purpose,” wrote Chris Yeh, head of Yahoo Developer Network in the post.

A Yahoo spokeswoman emailed a statement that repeated some of the comments on the blog apology and said that Yahoo would implement controls to eliminate inappropriate elements at future Hack Day and Yahoo sponsored events.

Some blogs noted that the presence of go-go dancers is actually quite commonplace in Taiwan.

But the online fury was already in motion, with many posters lambasting the Internet company for promoting such a practice in an industry still struggling to diversify its ranks with more women.

And Boomtown’s Kara Swisher noted that Yahoo’s recent event was not the first of its kind, with links to videos (since rendered inaccessible to the public) that appeared to show similar gyrating dancers at an event in Taiwan last year.

The blow-up comes as Yahoo is due to report third-quarter earnings after Tuesday’s market close. Wall Street isn’t expecting much – Yahoo’s revenue is expected to decline – but the company is probably more than happy for the world to re-focus its attention on its financial performance.


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hahaha I bet all these online fury came from nerdy guys upset that it wasn’t them.

Posted by Steve | Report as abusive

Very funny. Maybe some of the online fury came from women, and possibly gay men, who were just shown in a very graphic fashion that they’re not really welcome as techies at Yahoo. Because to fit in as a techie at Yahoo, you have to be the kind of person who would get a charge out of a scantily-clad woman giving you a lap dance. Message received.

What is this? The 21st century, or a rerun of “Mad Men”?

Posted by Karla | Report as abusive