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"
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?
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.