October 28th, 2011
12:28 PM ET

'I don't know a single black entrepreneur'

By Laurie Segall, CNNMoney

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - Weeks ahead of the premier of a CNN documentary focusing on diversity in the tech industry, the charged issue is already generating sparks. A heated debate broke out on Twitter Wednesday night after a preview screening of "Black in America 4."

Blogger-turned-investor Michael Arrington ignited a controversy with his comments about the visibility of minority-led companies. In the documentary, which airs November 13, Arrington talked about his difficulties finding African-American entrepreneurs to launch their ventures at his TechCrunch Disrupt conference - and suggested he would accept almost any black entrepreneur, regardless of merit.

"There's a guy, actually, his last company just launched at our event, and he's African-American. When he asked to launch - actually, I think it was the other way around. I think I begged him," Arrington told CNN's Soledad O'Brien.

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soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. shekon

    Blacks are not the only race of minorities or colored disadvantage "population"

    Asians are at top if everything in US yet our low population & votes have no real power (Federal Level)

    We Asians need to unite and form a powerful voting and lobbying block like the Jews have to manipulate Congress & policy.

    The future of the world belongs to Asia and we are part of that future – even staying here in US or as US citizens.

    Blacks are a self destructing race and the white Caucasians are in the path of decline.

    Rise Asian brothers! Time has come to show our pride and power – take over the white man's grip on world affairs since last 800 years.

    November 21, 2011 at 1:38 am | Report abuse |
  2. MJ

    He never met me. Owner of Third and Five Games, a start up game studio based in NYC. It's tough dealing with limited resources, but I'm proud of the success we have made and continue to make. http://www.3rdand5.com.

    November 20, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Larry Moniz

    In case you hadn't noticed, Herman Cain is running for president. Then there are the founders of such companies as Ebony Magazine etc. Also, here's a link with a substantial list: http://www.blackentrepreneurprofile.com/black-entrepreneurs/full-list/ and Michael Arrington shouldn't have needed to look far. As an investor, he should have been aware of Albert R. Grace, CEO and founder of Loop Capital Markets. Arrington obviously stands in the middle of a white herd and can't see beyond its edges to note all the other colors out there.

    November 20, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Don Charlton

    As a black entrepreneur that graduated from a startup accelerator program and is now running a 14-person, angel and venture-backed startup that was covered on TechCrunch (The Resumator), I need to say Mike has never met me, but his staff covered our company with a great blog post.

    November 19, 2011 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
  5. Peri Moore

    One of the key issues in entrepreneurship is access to capital. If one looks at the net worth of different groups and notices that minority groups have less net worth, that means they have less money to invest in new businesses and ideas. That could mean that some groups may get funding from a few dozen friends and family members, while others may need a few hundred. The few dozen are easier to find. Someone with a net worth over $200,000 may not stress over a $1,000 investment. Someone with a net worth of $10,000...will think several times before investing that much. So it is not an equal playing field, this is not an excuse to not try. It is just to point out that despite what some may think. All is not equal.

    November 15, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • BmoreLady

      Could not have said is better myself! RESOURCES, not ideas nor desire is what's lacking!

      November 17, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mr.West

    Its real out here Actually,look at all these haters.I love to see ignorant white people attempt to ramp up the conversation,based upon there biased views.Black Is Beautiful In all Shapes and forms...

    November 15, 2011 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Allen

      Beautiful do not exist without ugly, if all black people are beautiful, there be no ugly, beautiful do not exist. Beautiful and ugly are idea standard in people which exist between beautiful and ugly. Therefore saying "Black Is Beautiful In all Shapes and forms" is a contradiction.

      November 20, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sousou

      trbgipawaele on November 7, 2011 Not to be a troll, but in my PERSONAL opinion I think neopets is funner when you don't cheat ever 8 seconds. Its funner earning the Neopoints.

      February 14, 2012 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  7. Kenny from North Texas

    As an Black IT Project Manager for over 13 years, I have never seen this much raw African American talent anywhere. I agree that more African American entrepreneurs need to collaborate ideas and talents to find solutions for our worlds common problems. Here's the good thing about technology everyone, it can be developed and deployed anywhere... and you do not need much permission to do so. There's no need to go to Silicon Valley, have Silicon Valley come to you! Its all about who has the best great idea for the biggest of issues. But first your efforts must be focused toward general solution-driven products / services for a wide range of customers. Thats one of the issues that I saw on "Black In America- Silicon Valley". The contestants ideas were too narrowly focused and their products did not help solve or ease any general problem.

    The thing to remember about Silicon Valley is that all of those engineers, developers, project managers, and business analysts is that they are amongst the elite at top talent recruiting for their companies. Such as graduates of Stanford, UC Berkeley, San Jose State Univ., Harvard, MIT, Cal-Tech,UCLA, and Penn State. The culture is so much different there, that one must have a concise ideas about their business and be ready at all times to collaborate with someone new to make it work.

    November 14, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  8. Tim

    I couldn't agree more with goodshepard. It's definantley cultural tradition. That's all I heard older people talk about was good job this and good job that. I seem to be the outcast in discussions when I talk abou how we should prepare ourselves to have control of our own financial stability instead of just working for someone. I know I'm not alone but how do I find like minded people? I did the work thing for 22 years with one company and was fired. I knew I was worth more but just brought home the fact that I didn't have control of my own happines and stability. Today, I have an invention that I plan to launch into the marketplace and have never been to energized. I would love to hear from anyone with similiar asparations and maybe we can trade ideas. We need to learn how to form genuine business relationships with each other. We have to change this for ourselves.

    November 14, 2011 at 7:37 am | Report abuse |
  9. Mary

    Selling crack?

    November 13, 2011 at 1:38 am | Report abuse |
  10. MARINE

    The way people think in America really disturbs me. Many young and older Marines fight and die for all of you and all you can talk about is the race thing. Why should blacks get this or that. Well white people can get into Black colleges for free also. I know a white Marine that works with me that went to Albany St for free because of race. So get rid for the college thing because of race for just blacks, Asians or anyone else. I do have the business mind and have the items to prove it, but why do I get followed because I have successful items like a Range Rover? Racism is real because many of you have displayed it in your writing. Just because you know someone of a different race at work still means you can be a racist. You can just tolerate them.

    November 11, 2011 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian H

      It's the media driving this crap Marine. Simple as that.

      November 14, 2011 at 7:05 am | Report abuse |
  11. Joe

    "...and suggested he would accept almost any black entrepreneur, regardless of merit." This is why every other race can legitimately tell blacks to F off. Why the hell should you always get special treatment? You get special grants from the government, special treatment for entrance to college, special clubs and societies, and everything else.

    Entrepreneurship is the one place where there IS NO SPECIAL TREATMENT. No investor is gonna touch you if you don't have merit, they aren't gonna risk their money just because you are "black". No surprise that without special treatment, black people can't get ahead.

    November 11, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. GoodShepard

    Black folk have been programmed to be workers for centuries, people in my caribbean community often have 3 or 4 jobs, it just doesn't occur to us to start a business and our communities are full of naysayers which make it psychologically difficult to gain the courage to move forward on such a project.

    November 11, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian H

      Well to your point who owns the majority of business in the Caribbean, Central and South Africa? Give you a hint it's not white's. So the notion that blacks are somehow programmed to only work for someone else is a stretch. The reality is we are all programmed to work because we have replaced our hunter gatherer societies with our so called "Civilized" society and now trade our time for paper. However there is a small group in all ethnic and cultural groups that own the business that provide the jobs.

      November 14, 2011 at 7:09 am | Report abuse |
  13. bob

    So tired of "black occupy" and "black in america" If you want to be integrated into society stop differentiating yourselves all the time. Listen to Morgan Freeman. Do away with Black History. Stop emphasizing black.
    Be a business man first. Then be black. Don't be black first and then a business man. There's a huge difference. I'm not white but I don't think of myself as "ethnicity" businessman. That is stupid.
    I know plenty PLENTY of black men who are successful. Doctors, lawyers, and some who own their own business. They never talk about being black first. They are what they do in the business world first. Black isn't an issue.
    Everyone's problem is that they are focused on the wrong thing. Its not about your skin color, its about how you plan to make money. If you don't have a real plan its not gonna happen. How do you know it works? You SUCCEED. If you don't you try again. You think white people don't fail? Everyone fails. Everyone. If you stop trying then that is your fault, black or not

    November 10, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hmmmmm

      Amen Bob!!!!!!!!!!! Both my wife and I own our own business that serves any viable customer, not just the black ones!

      November 11, 2011 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      Bob, you are what's wrong with America. Your thinking is out dated and without merit. I will agree with you on this, black people are responsible for their own success and should get to it. Period. But acting as if we don't live in a color conscience society where the playing field is uneven is unacceptable. As long as blacks play that game, we'll always come up short. I can't say this enough. Blacks in particular has got to start helping each other. That means creating our own outlets in order to do so. We need to be our own bosses where we can eliminate one obvious obsticle....RACE.

      November 14, 2011 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
      • bob

        I am not what is wrong with America. I wasn't born here. I see things differently. When my family came to the US, we literally had nothing. Not even pots or pans. Work hard for 20 years and we moved up. That was a choice we made as a family. 2 parents working jobs and kids going to school. I'm gonna be the first graduate degree holder in my family. Why? Because I chose that path. Technically, I wasn't even supposed to get a Bachelor's according to the US census statistics.
        So my point is this to anyone who is reading this- its you vs the world. If you can't make it, then you can't make it. But just because people tell me "no" doesn't mean I won't figure things out myself. If you want it bad enough you will get it. If you don't get it, you don't want it bad enough because with enough effort you can will anything into existence. And I really believe that.
        My parents got paid minimum wage for years until they learned the English language. If you want to compare opportunities, anyone who wasn't fresh off the boat like us had WAY more. And yet somehow, we made it ok. How is that possible? Simple answer, my parents said "We are going to do this no matter what" and did it. There is nothing else. I don't feel bad for anyone who says they can't make it, or aren't represented in a field, or anything like that. If that is the case, its your own fault.
        You think successful people give a crap about representation in a field? They are too busy to worry about stupid stuff like that.

        November 18, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      Agreed. People are people. Race used in this context is an insecurity. We all have our own perceived dilemmas. What we choose to do, and act on is what is important.

      November 16, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  14. honest abe

    here we go again... another white person screaming reverse racism! you can't reverse something if it isn't already in motion

    November 10, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonathan

      Where are the black entrepreneurs? Geez, look around, turn on the TV. They're playing football, basketball, running, rapping; they're in hip hop, acting, and hustling drugs on the streets; making hundreds and thousands of dollars and even millions in contracts; being part of that "1%." They're just not in college studying business or technology... or really anything else that requires much education for that matter. Pretty much anyone with a high school diploma or GED can get student loans and go get an education and take those technology, business and entrepreneur classes. Its not racist or opinionated, just reality.

      November 10, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • onlooker

        Jonathan.. although most of what you are saying is right, you have a very negative undertone. frustrated?

        November 10, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  15. DAZ111

    I do not mind people in general . But I find this person of extreme prejudice . Here we go again hate towards whites . I personally am tired of attacks against white people . When a white person does not get a job because he is white it is pushed to the side . But if blacks blame a white person , the white person is guilty of prejudice . Same as this stupid investing on blacks only. If a white person seeks out all white people to invest in we get sued . Where are the white groups against this kind of racists . Oh only white people can be racists . It is time white people stop taking abuse and take a stand just like the blacks of the 60's ..

    November 10, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • onlooker

      wow, haha.. "its time white people stop taking abuse.." aaahahaha!

      November 10, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |