Andy Ayim is the Managing Director of Backstage London. This is the first in a series of stories introducing the Backstage Accelerator team in London. Amplifying Voices Last year, through some chance, frustration, and a stroke of genius, I had arrived at an inflection point in my writing. I began to share stories about what I was learning in tech with a tone of voice that came from the streets I was raised in. It was sometimes assertive, always authentic, and very unapologetic. I wanted aspiring founders to have access
You are not your thoughts… One of my most important realizations is that banal statement above. So often we let a small voice in the back of our head guide our actions like it’s edicts are gospel. But it’s not. By choosing to ignore it’s neurotic, insecure ramblings, you will significantly improve your well being as a founder. What if I told you this website and the Techish podcast shouldn’t exist. Follow me for a second. August 2015, POCIT was nothing but a twitter account. We hadn’t officially launched the
On May 8th, 2017, at precisely 11:41 am, I walked on stage at the San Francisco CTO Summit to give a talk. At $995 for the session, and with over 200 attendees, the event is billed as senior engineering leaders from startups (75%+ are CTO/VP’s/Dir Eng) with previous presenters being the CTOs/VP’s of Stripe, Coinbase, MongoDB, Zenefits, Warby Parker, Squarespace, Shopify, Birchbox, Tumblr, CustomInk. As I took my place on the stage, I looked out at the crowd and posed the question, who identifies as an African American. No
Today marks my one year anniversary working at Product Hunt. These are five things I’ve learned that I hope will help you grow in your career. Going from full-time founder to side hustler doesn’t mean you’ve failed —in fact, it could help your business When Emily and Ryan first started talking to me about joining the community team they both agreed that Hustle Crew could remain a priority in my life. Ryan explicitly said he wanted to increase the number of women makers in the Product Hunt community and that Hustle Crew
“You can’t be what you can’t see,” Marie Wilson aptly put it. I started Hustle Crew to advance the careers of women and other underrepresented groups in tech. I wanted to build a community of talented, ambitious individuals where we could share vital information with one another to accelerate our progress in tech. The first Hustle Crew workshop consisted of six women in a room while my friend Natalie and I shared tactics from the draft of my book — a manual for any woman in tech who wants to
This year I have been fortunate enough to be invited into numerous communities of startup founders. Equally, it is a breath of fresh air when I am in more diverse circles discussing things like parenting, wildlife, and spirituality. It is in these moments when I get away from tech when I remember the first principles that still hold true when executing on ideas. Overwhelmingly much of the content shared in the startup communities are opinions on articles from top tech publications and VCs. From Hackernews to TechCrunch or YC’s latest
I was recently invited to Oxford University’s Internet Institute to speak to masters, MBA and MPA students about my book Dream Big. Hustle Hard., sharing advice on how to succeed in tech’s competitive landscape in spite of the well-publicised obstacles around inclusion. Unlike the students in the room — a diverse group of men and women spanning many ages, ethnicities, and disciplines — when I graduated from university the invisible barriers that hinder career progression was not known to me. Nor were they being discussed in public forums like newspapers
If you told me at the start of 2018 that by September I’d find myself sitting in the London Mayor’s office at City Hall recommending policy changes for greater tech inclusion I would have said, “I wish!” And yet last Wednesday, alongside 25 other black women founders in London tech’s scene, I sat at a roundtable discussion with Deputy Mayor of London Rajesh Agrawal, Leapand London & Partners. Our objective? To outline actions to ensure black women entrepreneurs are not excluded from initiatives that support startups and scale-ups in London.
I like to talk to youth the because they give an unfiltered and honest perspective on society. I had the privilege of talking to rising seniors of a top-notch academy in upper Harlem. Part of our convo went like this: Me: “Do you know who Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Reid Hoffman are?” Them: “Yes, Steve Jobs is Apple! Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook!” Me: “Great! Do you know any famous Black or Latinx business men or women?” Them: pause………”Yes! Dr. Dre, Puff Daddy, Jay-Z!” Me: “Ok nice. Final question.
Every year, for the past 4 years, Silicon Valley goes on their penance tour of carefully selected media outlets to tell their diversity and inclusion stories. The reports are carefully crafted to avoid apples to apple comparison with EE-01s and other tech companies. And when pressed on this, their well-oiled PR departments manage the messaging in such a way that it’s all but impossible to get the ground truth. One potential reason why ratios have remained static is that inequality is in plain sight at many tech companies. A short