Where Are All The Black Tech Entrepreneurs?

I know most white tech Bloggers would not touch this question with a ten foot poll but I will give it a shot. Here is the question from last Sundays questions:

Lance Bailey asks:
HEY SHOE where are all the blacks in technology. I can name a ton of suits who are vp’s or executives for major corporations, but when it comes to being founders or the creative mind behind a website or technology they are usually absent. I know race has nothing to do with it . Its more about exposure. I am not complaining, but i just notice that at local user groups and code fest I am usually the only black kid there. How do i expose other to this entrepreneur movement that’s going on online?

I grew up in a area called the Quad Cities west of Chicago in Illinois. There is a huge Latino and African American population there. Looking back on my childhood some of my closest friends were African American. I was highly influenced by the African American culture. I listened to Tupac Shakur and Christopher Wallace (AKA Notorious B.I.G.). I went to a lot of BBQ’s and family events with my African American friends. I was a part of many of their family’s.

Alright so lets break down the questions.

HEY SHOE where are all the blacks in technology. I can name a ton of suits who are vp’s or executives for major corporations, but when it comes to being founders or the creative mind behind a website or technology they are usually absent?

When I was in the corporate world and held many IT jobs I worked with many African Americans. There are a lot of very savvy African American tech people out there. Some of the best network engineers I worked with were African American. So I guess I agree with you that there are a lot of tech savvy African American people in the tech workforce.

Now as far as the founder or creative mind behind a website – I have had this very discussion with a lot of my childhood African American friends. With one of my most successful websites I actually registered a legal alias of Mike Lowery and used a picture of Will Smith in bad boys as my avatar. I did business with a lot of people who thought I was a African American so it certainly did not hurt me from being incredible successful with absolutely no budget what so ever.

As far as the rest of your question:

I know race has nothing to do with it . Its more about exposure. I am not complaining, but i just notice that at local user groups and code fest I am usually the only black kid there. How do i expose other to this entrepreneur movement that’s going on online?

I am not sure what you mean by exposure?

I have tried to encourage my African American friends to take advantage of racial positions. I registered blacknn.com years ago and had the idea of creating a “Black News Network” where African American’s could contribute news. Each of my African American friends I approached were excited about the idea but none of them wanted to take on the extra work in addition to their day job or none of them were in the position to quit their day jobs to go for it. Also none of them had the skill set really in managing a web server and programming.

I think there is a HUGE need for service oriented websites that cater to minorities. Get after it man! Such opportunities!

So why aren’t there more African American founders of companies? I am purely guessing here but perhaps its because there are not many African American programmers? If you look at the founders of most big websites/companies that were founded by low or no budgets (Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Myspace) they were all founded by programmers. Maybe a better question is why are there not more African American programmers? and the answer to that question I don’t know.

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