Saturday, February 14, 2015

Race, Gender And Tech Entrepreneurship

When you are in the political mindset, you are trying to add your little energy to the larger collective energy which, you hope, is trying to move towards a more perfect union. You look at the large arcs of history.

But in the tech entrepreneurship mindset, you don't have the luxury of time, you have to execute, you have to move, you have to play the hands you are dealt with. I think for the most part it is about innovation and hard work, mostly just innovation. If you can take yourself to the cutting edges of innovation, you will, for the most part, win. If you have the stomach to take the risks, to make the jumps. But you don't really have the privilege of theory, or at least not as much. You don't have the privilege of the monk option, where you choose to live on little to give a larger push to the historic arc towards a more perfect union. You have investors, you have team members, you have customers to please. Money is as good a metric as any. You have to make the moves that make the money. Maybe there is not time to watch a change of heart unravel.

You have to move. For the most part you rely on innovation and hard work and charisma. But there are times when you just have to hit back. You might not be black, or Indian, or female, but maybe you are dumb, and fat, and lazy, and ignorant. And being dumb, you need to be called on it. Or maybe you just have a funny face. How about ugly?

You hit back hard and fast. You sting a quick sting. You take a quick bite. Everybody but everybody is at the receiving end of something or the other. You do that to clear up the deck a little so you can quickly go back to innovation and hard work. Innovation is its own sexy. A relentless push to the cutting edges of innovation allows you to wallow in the high clouds of the post-ISMs individuals. Because, we are relentlessly trying to move towards a meritocracy.

The best ideas could come from anywhere. The talent pool is global. If you don't cast your net wide, you lose.

Even without race and gender issues, tech entrepreneurship is plenty of fights. You have to take down an old building to build a new one in its place. That takedown process can feel like violence to some people. Feelings are going to get hurt. But that is how progress is made. The old has to make way for the new. And the new has colorful faces.

Be bold. Take the risk. Sting.

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