#YesWeCode chat #25: Why The Tech Diversity Conversation Needs A New Narrative
Two recent events influenced this Yes We Code chat topic. Last weekend was James Baldwin’s birthday and I celebrated by writing about the lessons I learned from him, and his take on how to go after what you want and actually get it. In his historic “Rap on Race” conversation with Margaret Mead, he talks about how he needed to “change the narrative” of what was expected for his life in order to change his life.
During #YesWeCode chat #24, we discussed the assumption/expectation of minority startup founders to create businesses focused on social good. While that wasn’t every founders experience and we didn’t come up with an answer, we did conclude that maybe we need to rethink how we view the following conversations within the tech diversity:
- Social good can also be profitable.
- Minority entrepreneurs can create companies that are profitable.
- The solution towards more tech diversity isn’t about one solution, but addressing the whole pipeline.
What if the way to really achieve tech diversity is to change the internal and external narratives we tell ourselves about what that means and what it will take? What if in order to engage this topic we need to know and understand the real underlying issues and concerns?What if we refuse to accept that lack of minority CS majors is at the heart of the lack of diversity in tech? What if we choose to rethink the expectations and assumptions we put on ourselves? What if, in the end, we need to “change the narrative” we’ve either created or accepted about what’s possible in the greater tech diversity conversation.
This Sunday, we’ll talk about this and more.
Questions to think about:
1. Is there a consistent tech diversity narrative?
2. What does it say?
3. What assumptions about tech diversity impact how you see yourself and your work?
4. If there are many tech diversity narratives, which ones do you think we need to change? Why?
5. How can we create a new narrative that includes the needs of youth, entrepreneurs and tech startup entrepreneurs?
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Yes We Code chat 24: Do Minority Led Startups Always Have To Save The World?
Sunday July 26th 2015
Connect with me on Twitter @uchechi_writes
More and more companies are creating products and services for social good. From well known shoe companies like TOMS to local businesses promoting giving back to the community, the idea is a good one that can only continue to better the world we live in.
But what happens when creating a social good business is assumed, especially for minority entrepreneurs? I recently attended a dinner for minority entrepreneurs where got to talking about the assumption that minority founders are supposed to create startups focused on “social good.” During the conversation, we agreed that this expectation is not only a problem, but creates mixed messages for minority led startups. On the one hand, we’re supposed to be focused on making money and have an investment worthy business model. On the other hand, we’re supposed to do “social good” and create something that gives back to the community.
I have no problem with creating businesses for social good. I’d love to see more companies working to improve the world. The challenge I find with this notion is that this seems to be the companies that not only get funded, but this message is encouraged over and over again.
Funding sites like Kapor Capital focus on social good and that’s a positive, necessary thing, but how can we create companies that are profitable and may – or may not be – focused on social good? We’ll discuss this and more during the next yes we code chat.
Some questions to think about:
- What does “social good” startups mean to you?
- Do you feel a responsibility to “give back” via your company?
- Have you run up against funding obstacles because you’re not a “social good” startup?
- What do you think of startups like Tom’s shoes, who position themselves as social good?
- Do minority led startups always have to save the world?
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#YesWeCode chat 20: Developing Your Tech Craft
Sunday May 17th, 2015
Historically, the idea of developing and honing ones craft has been left to artists. Painters, writers and sculptors spend their whole lives practicing, evolving and changing how they do things to make their technique better and to serve their artistic creativity.
As a poet and UX Designer, I believe technologists are no different. We’re the modern creatives, and instead of using brushes we’ve got wireframes, Google Fonts and CSS. But, are we improving our technique and changing how we do things to serve our work in tech? Or, are we just focused on getting a few skills down so we can find the next coding, design or blogging gig.
Acknowledging that our creativity in technology is our craft is important because it allows us to see what we do as a life long journey and not just our next destination.
During the next #yeswecode chat, we’ll talk about how to develop your craft into lifelong skills that you can use at any job.
Questions to think about:
- How does your “work” influence industries outside technology?
- When you think about “developing your craft”, what does that mean to you?
- What practices do you have in place to make sure your craft evolves over time?
- What can we learn from how artists develop their craft? How can we apply it to tech?
- Given that the tools, the practices, even the materials of our craft change daily, how can we maintain a center?
- Artists have clear identities, styles. Do we? Should we? If so, in what ways? If not, why not?
- How does your personal identity inform your craft?
See you on Twitter!
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YesWeCode chat 19: How to step up your #tech/#startup game
Sunday, May 3rd, 2015
While it’s encouraging to see more conversations about tech inclusion and the emergence of more diverse startups, coding classes and hiring of a diverse tech employees at major companies like Google and Facebook, there’s also seems to be a missing piece: a focus on how to step up your tech game and present yourself as an expert in your field both on and offline.
Does tech need to diversify? Yes! Do we (each and every one of us) also need to be on top of our game so we can make the most of the opportunities when they come our way. Absolutely!
So the question is, what are you doing to step up your game? Is your LinkedIn profile on point? Do you have spelling mistakes riddling your blog posts and making them unbearable to read? Are you a designer whose portfolio doesn’t speak great design? Are you offering “high quality professional services” with a site that says “free website builder” in the footer?
The web is powerful because it’s our face to the world. Millions of users around the world can find you because of your url, your domain expertise, your blog. How you present yourself matters.
Join the #yeswecode chat this Sun 5/3 at 8pmCT.
Here are some questions to think about:
- If you were being considered for a job in #tech right now, would your online presence help or hurt you? How?
- If there was one area you could most improve, what would it be? Social? Resume?
- What are some ways one can avoid looking “amateur hour”?
- How do you judge if your public presentation meets certain standards?
- How do you find out what those standards even are?
Hope to see you there!
#YesWeCode chat #17: Catching up, updates and connecting
Sunday April 5th, 2015
It’s been a few weeks since the last #yeswecode chat, and I can imagine you’ve all been busy. I’ve missed you all, and I can’t wait to find out what you’ve been up to. My husband and I just finished attending and participating in NOEW (New Orleans Entrepreneur Week), and we’re excited for all the newly engaged couples who are signing up for wedOcracy. How have all of you been? What’s new in your startup business or tech work? This week we’ll focus on catching up, getting updates and seeing how we can all support each other.
Questions to think about:
1. What are you working on right now?
2. What’s the biggest challenge you’re facing in the coming week?
3. What’s the biggest milestone you’ve accomplished recently?
4. If there was one thing you could do to turn things around, what would it be?
5. If there was one thing we could all do to support you, what would that be?
See you on Twitter!
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