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My Experience Working With A Startup in Silicon Valley It was a beautiful, sunny day, and I decided to join my team for lunch. Most of us worked remotely, and I didn’t go to the office that often. We waited outside for another team member, so we could all walk to a local restaurant. The marketing manager, whom we’ll call Sally, was rapping a Cardi B song and said the word “nigga” three times without flinching. The co-founder stood right next to her and didn’t say a word! It was

I am often asked during interviews to share my experience as a Black business owner in the Startup world. You know, how I got started, how I’ve gotten this far. My go-to response is to explain that I have had many positive experiences, some negative, and I consider myself to be a business owner who happens to be Black — rather than a Black business owner.Yet, I have had to admit to myself that I am somewhat offended by the question. And perhaps more offensive than the question being asked

“Should I have a career in tech?” Up until about a year and a half ago, this thought had never crossed my mind. This all changed when I became the marketing manager of 23 Code Street, a women’s coding school. I read and learned a lot about tech, completed our web development course and became fascinated by the industry. When I heard about YSYS’s and Color in Tech’s Immersion program- I applied straight away and fortunately got awarded one of their scholarships! I spent one week in Los Angeles in

Sitting in my African American Psychology class, I was introduced to Design Experience and Thinking in a guest lecture Skype session by Shayna Atkins, product consultant and founder of Atkco Inc and The Queens Brunch. Probably 5 seconds after the terms rolled off her tongue, I was on her website and searching for anything I could find on this topic. Naturally, I came upon user design experience and instantly fell in love with the idea of solving problems by meticulously crafting experiences in a collaborative and dynamic process. I saw

There is only one Dave. In the process of meeting new people and becoming familiar with my new work environment here at Techstars, I met Dave. Dave told me, “Remember I am the only Dave. There are two or more Davids, but I am the only Dave.” At Techstars, everyone seems to know there are several Davids but one Dave. Why is this important? It isn’t unless your name is Dave (or David). This seems complicated when I write it out, but I have found that everyone knows the Davids

AI ethics: Diverse teams are a great start but we need a wider cultural change in tech AI ethics is a hot topic in the tech industry. As a result of work by pioneering researchers like Joy Buolamwini we’re learning more about how algorithms can discriminate against underrepresented groups, most alarmingly ethnic and gender minorities. While AI and machine learning hold great promise, many are concerned about the impact new technology will have on society. Giants of the tech industry like Google and Facebook, government and academia are all trying

One of my favorite aspects of social media is coming across amazing work by activists, creatives, and academics. I get especially excited to see work by fellow women of color, whose perspectives are often left out of mainstream media and activism. So naturally, when I discover that posts by women of color are being filtered out of my feed, I am skeptical and upset but not surprised. This recently happened as I was using Gobo, a social media aggregator and filtering platform created by my colleagues at the MIT Center

It was summer 2009 and I was a fresh economics graduate from the London School of Economics working at the Financial Times as an editorial intern. My final degree score averaged 69, one mark shy of a distinction. But after all the trials and tribulations of a challenging undergraduate course I was ecstatic to have come out of it alive, let alone with a merit. As I stood in the offices of one of the most famous and respected newspapers in the world, all around me the foundations of capitalism

I finally made it to Blavity’s AfroTech conference in Silicon Valley last month thanks to Product Hunt & AngelList sponsoring me. Here’s what I learned while I was there: 1. Feeling included leads to high levels of self-belief and inspiration. Feeling like an outsider in the industry has been a common theme in my career. It’s what has led me to obsess over making the industry more representative of wider society and of course feel more inclusive. AfroTech represents something like a pilgrimage for me as a techie. It was the

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

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