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Jul 18, 2019 12:29:20

USA Kinda Problem

by @seunoyebode PATRON | 568 words | 41🔥 | 303💌

Seun Oyebode

Current day streak: 41🔥
Total posts: 303💌
Total words: 87286 (349 pages 📄)

Attitude.

I follow a number of African Americans on Twitter. They in are in tech and they have inspiring stories. One could go like," here's a picture of me at McDonalds working as xyz, now I'm earning 5x my salary as a software engineer in less than six months"
Amazing stories.
Yet.
Virtually every single day we find most folks play the victim.
With due respect, I may not fully understand the gravity of minority issues or inclusion issues in America. But I think I have an idea.
The way some folks attack every CEO who doesn't have a female / black member on his small board or staff is something worth discussing.
Are there issues meant be addressed?
Certainly yes.
Should you make yourself thinking like a victim always?
The choice is yours.
Today I read about @TopeAwotona the Nigerian-born CEO of Calendly, a business approaching $30M ARR. Tope who grew up in Lagos, said something you'd find interesting...
In Lagos, there's huge wealth disparity. You see people who are incredibly wealthy--who ship their cars to Paris to get them serviced. You see people who maybe get one meal every two days. And for the most part, they live side by side... ...When I was 12, I watched my dad die in a carjacking. These guys followed him home and demanded the keys to his car. He threw the keys at them. And they shot him. If that had happened in the United States, I would have gone through a lot of therapy. In Nigeria, it happened on Friday and I went to school on Monday. For six months, I couldn't eat. I couldn't sleep. That insomnia has carried on to my adult life. I'll probably have it forever.... ... In 1996, my family moved to Atlanta. It's a big city like Lagos, and it also has crazy traffic. That's where the similarities end. Lagos has an absolute absence of law, order, and structure. Lagosians don't think any rules apply to them: If they see a line, they go around it, and rules are suggestions, more or less. Nigerians love that: "If I'm assertive and aggressive enough, I can get away with whatever I want." I raided my bank account and 401(k) to launch Calendly in 2013. Eventually, I ran out of money and started to seek VC funding. I had a working product, and customers using it, and everyone said no. Meanwhile, I watched other people who fit a different "profile" get money thrown at them for shitty ideas. Those VCs were ignorant and shortsighted. The only thing I could attribute it to was that I was black. Many people would get upset about that, but I wanted to prove them wrong. I grew up in a country in which all the people in power looked a lot like me. A city in which you can will anything to happen. Being a foreigner really helped. I grew up in a country where 99 percent of the people looked like me, so race wasn't something I consciously thought about. It's good to have that mentality. You can dwell on all the reasons you shouldn't do something or why it's harder for you. Or you can just go out and do it.

The title was clickbait. My actual title is the first word of this post.

  • 1

    @seunoyebode - Wow. Who is this Tope fellow? His writing is intense. I would like to know more about him.

    The issue of race and gender is a serious one. I think Adiche does a very good job of addressing both in her TED talks and in her book Ammericanna. My attitude about these topics has evolved as I stay longer in America and understand the depth of some of the things that happen here.
    I too have had the privilege to have grown up in a place where everyone looks like you and have a chance to develop a good self-esteem and confidence. It is very difficult to look at the police shootings, some of the legal and court systems that are so flawed and of course our current president who reminds us of the blatant privilege of race and class.
    Difficult topic Seun but I am very happy you told us about Tope.

    Keni avatar Keni | Jul 18, 2019 10:49:20
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    @seunoyebode

    I liked that excerpt. But you just don't udnerstand. Clearly it's all trump's fault. and also frank underwood who happened to be THE WORST president ever in the fucking world fucking tech startups venture capitalists are fucking ruining our fucking livjes you fucking bastard can't you fucking see that? you obviously arent fucking educated cause you're a fucking stupid ass fucking male! fuck naval. he is out of touch with reality because his reality doesn't match mine fuck him! fuck you.

    haha jk. God bless these united states of 'murica.

    Abe avatar Abe | Jul 18, 2019 14:37:16
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      @abrahamKim sarcasm right, if you say this on Twitter you'd get roasted. Lol

      Seun Oyebode avatar Seun Oyebode | Jul 18, 2019 13:49:01
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      @seunoyebode

      This is why I'm not on twitter, Seun.

      haha.

      I hope one day you and I can meet in person. Are you scheming of a WesternEurope/USA trip?

      Abe avatar Abe | Jul 18, 2019 15:18:57
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      @seunoyebode @abrahamKim - we could all jump on Google Hangouts and say hi.

      Brian Ball avatar Brian Ball | Jul 18, 2019 08:12:03
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      @abrahamKim haha. Not a scheme yet, still a wish.

      But oh my, whenever I'm coming to the US of A you're gonna hear about it

      Seun Oyebode avatar Seun Oyebode | Jul 18, 2019 17:05:30
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      @seunoyebode

      Alright sweet. If you go to Baltimore area, then I can make plans to go there too. That way you can see Keni and me in the same space.

      Abe avatar Abe | Jul 18, 2019 19:44:12
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      @seunoyebode @brianball

      not the same, bro.... not the... same

      Abe avatar Abe | Jul 18, 2019 19:44:32
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