This post has taken me a few weeks to get to. I almost let it go, but it just wouldn’t go away. Hope you enjoy.
A month ago, Soledad O’Brien, a CNN reporter, did a documentary in her Black in America series called, The New Promised Land- Silicon Valley. Last summer, 8 black entrepreneurs moved here to Mountain View, CA to learn from mentors and pitch their internet companies to a group of venture capitalist and investors.
It was their chance to get noticed.
The documentary focused on the lack of black entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. Throughout the interview Soledad talked to many VC’s about diversity in Silicon Valley (or lack of when it comes to blacks) and why it is that way.
Less than 1% of tech startups are founded by African Americans.
Throughout the 9 weeks 25 different mentors and speaker sat down with the group to give them insight into the tech industry, and coached them up until demo day.
Vivek Wadhwa, a Duke professor from India and founder of two internet companies profiting over $50 million, was one of the mentors. He left them speechless as he shared openly with them.
“Can I be honest with you? You folks don’t help each other”, he said.
Wadhwa went on to share about the different mindsets. Where he comes from when you see a problem, you work with the problem instead of just stopping and waiting for the problem to go away. “Work with the system”, he said. When he came to Silicon Valley, he hired a 6 ft. tall polished, white guy to be his frontman and do all the talking.
VC’s invested in his company.
He reached out, worked with others, and together they solved their problems. Because of it, he became a successful entrepreneur.
After Wadhwa’s visit, the group of 8 realized they needed to work together. They had been living in the same house for a week working day in and day out on their own companies, but not one had shared their idea with another.
Many of us are fooled into thinking we can get through life on our own having an “I can do it myself” mentality, attempting to solve our problems by ourselves.
Life doesn’t work that way, and you won’t get very far in life with that type of mindset.
When South Bay Church started, 17 churches partnered with us before we even moved to Silicon Valley. The one thing Andy understood from the get-go is that we needed a team, and we needed partners and supporters. Much of our growth and success has come through these partners and the investment they’ve put into our church.
We couldn’t have done it alone.
Some of us blame the roadblocks for keeping us from getting where we want to go, yet if we brought a few people alongside us, we’re much more likely to get around it together.
Whether it’s a company, a project, a book, or a hit song on the radio, no one can go very far on their own.
We need help.
We need each other.
Who is helping you?