Rich, Educated, and Connected?

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cheeky

The recent number of news stories about San Francisco is food for thought. Tensions between the tech elite and San Francisco residents have started to spiral. You only have to look at the glass attack and the recent targeting of Kevin Rose.

One of the more troubling technology stories to come out of the past week is the assault on Sarah Slocum, a San Francisco-based tech enthusiast and writer, who was apparently targeted because she was wearing Google Glass in a bar.

The rapid growth of the local tech sector has sparked a series of protests in recent months, as concerns grow over economic inequality, evictions and neighborhood gentrification.

Gentrification is always thorny and having lived in two places which went through it, I can tell you it’s sometimes very painful.Where I currently live in Manchester, England used to be the Italian quarter and is officially named Ancoats. However, enterprising building contractors (mainly Urban Splash) have carved out a large area, threw up some apartments, and had the cheek to rename it New Islington. Asking a taxi driver to take you to New Islington used to get puzzled looks before they built a tram stop called New Islington.

Gentrification happens everywhere — even in England. However I feel this isn’t about gentrification only…

There is a new class forming and they are rich, educated, and connected.

They are also feared, with their weird geeky glasses, electric cars, and new data ethic. They use cafes as workplaces, bars to conduct meetings, and workplaces to “chillax“. They don’t believe in business hierarchies and believe you can quantify everything from relationships to sex. They may even be right. But more troubling is they’re most likely white or asian men. There is a lot which can be said about the lack of women in the tech field but it’s becoming recognized thanks to many initiatives. However this is a issue of diversity and I ask where are the Blacks Males?

Think I’m chatting out my backside? Sure you will take to the comments and twitter to tell me I’m wrong. But lets take a look at a few of the shows about this new upper class…. CBS’s Big Bang Theory, Amazon’s Betas and HBO’s very recent shown Silicon Valley. None have black characters and thats just the tip of the iceberg. Heck try and find one in the internship from last year, Anti-trust, the net, jobs, the social network, august, etc, etc. The list goes on…

Maybe there is a whole sea of black senior management just waiting for the current crop of CEOs to step down. Maybe they deserve a mention?

Thomashawk’s photo used under creative commons

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  • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

    The game is changing, we thought the blueprint was go to school, get a degree and climb the corporate ladder only to look and see there’s an elevator. We need to create, not just clothing lines and studios but apps, software, the next big social media machine.

    • Ian Forrester

      Absolutely! Its a bit of a call to arms, we need to strive for a place in the technological revolution otherwise we will be left in the dirt…

    • Damn He Got A Point

      If only we had knowledge of the swindle beforehand. But that’s what life’s about, learning and adapting. It’s going to be interesting to see the role higher education plays once we’re the ones with college age children.

  • Animate

    While there does seem to be more talk about women as far as diversity goes in the tech industry, minorities as a whole are being discussed. It is fairly widely known that the tech industry faces are primarily and overwhelmingly White males.

    • Ian Forrester

      I agree, but generally the debate is about sexuality. Maybe because its harder to debate because there are a ton of Asian men and women deeply involved. Look at the head of Microsoft.

      I partly blame the media, as I work for a media organisation. But I’m also aware of the big affect of media. Its sadly ironic that in the 3rd episode of Silicon Valley (HBO’s new show) that there were 2 black characters and they were a striper and a bouncer! Alarm bells should be ringing people!

      At least in England the ITCrowd had a black character and he’s a main character not a side character.

  • Smilez_920

    Connection / Network determine the environment in most corporate
    settings or industries.

    Most people get jobs through who they know. If the networking groups are mostly white males, who
    network with mostly white males, breaking into the network isn’t going to be an
    easy task.

    There was a documentary that came on 1 or 2 years ago about
    minorities in Silicon Valley. It was on MSNBC or CNBC.
    It was very interested to see that the most talented minorities in the field
    have such a hard time breaking in. (it included black men, women, I think even
    a Middle Eastern man).

    • Ian Forrester

      Really must find that documentary… And your right. Its exactly what I hear from women, networking events are mainly white males and its difficult (not impossible) to be taken seriously for what you know.

  • http://www.greaterunderstanding.net/ Anthony Brian Logan

    You don’t see black males in tech because black males don’t get into tech as much as white males and asian males. Simple as that. Same thing for women. In college, women tend to go towards liberal arts more than math/science.

    Tech field is wide open for anyone who wants to get in. One of the men responsible for the invention of the personal computer is black (Mark Dean). I’ve been self-employed as a graphic designer/web developer since age 22. Friend of mine works in IT for the military. Another friend of mine did tech support for Verizon.

    As far as going upper class and getting rich, alot of that does have to do with your network. Our goal as black men should be – get more interested in math/science rather than vague things like business management or liberal arts if we go to college.

    • http://www.cubicgarden.com/blojsom/blog/cubicgarden/ Ian Forrester

      There are lots of black men in IT but why is it they don’t reach a certain level? On the flip side, where’s the Black startup owners? I’m sure there are some but all you see is white and asian startups.

      I don’t believe its we don’t get tech, in the same way women don’t get tech. I disagree with your thoughts about business management and liberal arts. If you listen to Eric Schmitt’s talk from the Edinburgh TV festival in 2012 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrAzjYKd8hE), you will hear him talk about the need for science, art and maths (polymaths) to come together.

      Thinking about the future and what I would suggest to my young cousins. It would be a mix of science, maths and design.

      • http://www.greaterunderstanding.net/ Anthony Brian Logan

        Define “lots” ?? There are many of us in IT but not more than whites and asians. That’s why you see more of them than us. The reason why you think we dont reach a certain level is because its hard to spot us out from all the whites and asians and because there isn’t a big network of us to pull one another up in the tech field.

        I didn’t say we don’t get tech. I said that we don’t get into tech as much as whites and asians. Women don’t get into tech that much in general because they are more interested in things like education & arts.

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