Yesterday, NYT published a story announcing the news that I’d been nominated to take over a company that many in our space knew already: Rumman Chowdhury’s Parity. It should’ve been a moment of celebration for our company. But it wasn’t, because the reporter got it entirely wrong, erasing my friend and business partner (a celebrated woman of color) from the narrative of the very company that she had created. What follows is the real story of how Parity came to be, published here in the hope that any future coverage of our work will get it right.
Rumman Chowdhury founded Parity in 2020. She had been working on the company for a full year prior to our big announcement in the Times. She built a product, raised money, got customers, and invented an entirely new way to evaluate AI beyond “just the data”. When she first explained her invention to me, I’d never seen anything like it before. I knew it was going to revolutionize this work. I was honored to even be considered for the role of CEO of Parity 2.0, when her founding team was acqui-hired into Twitter. Reforming Parity 2.0 was her idea, and when it became more than just an idea, she invested in us through her new fund: Parity Innovation Fund. She will be a major force on our board.
The article, which was extraordinarily flattering to me, (it should go without saying, a white woman) failed to mention any of this. The reporter, Cade Metz, called my friend and business partner “a researcher” who “designed a tool” that we used in our product. It erased the mountain of work she’d done to create this market at Accenture, where she was one of the first pioneers to incentivize corporations to do better by minorities and under-served populations with their AI. He deleted the year of work and genius it took for her to invent something new, something that could go beyond data signals and address real algorithmic harms holistically. We asked him to update the article to mention her prior work as CEO of the first Parity, but he refused. Without Rumman’s work, Parity 2.0 would not exist. Plain and simple, I did not found Parity. Rumman did.
That’s why I’m calling on the NYT, again, today to issue a correction to their profile of our company. Without Rumman’s work, Parity 2.0 would be nowhere. And to other tech journalists in the space, it’s vital to get these details correct. Now there exists a permanent record that claims I did things I did not, and that Rumman didn’t do the things she did. As the inventor and leader that paved our path, she deserved just as much (if not more) space for her story to be told. I hope that this post serves as a warning for future tech reporters who cover this space: erasure will not be tolerated.