Software Engineer Moses Harris Tried Bowing to Power and Got Fired Anyway

Software Engineer Moses Harris Tried Bowing to Power and Got Fired Anyway


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My guest for Episode #110 of the My Favorite Mistake podcast is Moses Harris, a software engineer and technical leader at IBM, and the co-founder and Head of Outreach for Tech Can [Do] Better, an organization that helps technology companies create equitable outcomes for underserved populations, starting with the Black community.

Moses graduated from the University of Illinois Chicago with a degree in architecture. Born, raised and schooled in Chicago, he now lives and works in Austin, Texas.

In today's episode, Moses shares his “favorite mistake” stories about being fired two different times as a young professional.

We talk about that and other topics including:

  • His mistake: He tried to bow to power instead of having conversation and keeping pride more intact
  • Q: Was it a racial component to interactions with the VP?
  • “The lessons you learn are the fuel…”
  • Is being told “you're not a good fit” a code for other things?
  • Should we look for “culture fit” or “culture add”?
  • Tell us about Tech Can [Do] Better — why was it founded?
  • Controversy about Black people fired by Google
  • Mistakes companies make when trying to close gaps in racial equity?
  • “ERGs [Employee Resource Groups] aren't a mistake, but there's a risk they become social clubs”

Find Moses on Social Media:

Scroll down to find:

  • Watch the video
  • How to subscribe
  • Full transcript



"In life, the lessons you learn are the kind of the fuel you take forward."
"You don't go very far making enemies or treating people badly."
"That's why things are moving more towards hiring for culture add [instead of "culture fit"], and where, what are we missing?  What could this person bring to our organization and what could they add as a result of  having a different background?"

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Automated Transcript (Likely Contains Mistakes)

Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus. He is also a Senior Advisor and Director of Strategic Marketing with the healthcare advisory firm, Value Capture.