Silicon Valley's new conversation on diversity
CNN's Soledad O'Brien (left) hosted an SXSW panel discussion on the aftermath of CNN's Black in America 4 documentary.
March 20th, 2012
04:39 PM ET

Silicon Valley's new conversation on diversity

By Laurie Segall, CNNMoneyTech

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - Silicon Valley's startup field is dominated by young, mostly white men from a handful of elite universities. NewMe, an accelerator program for minority-led ventures, aims to shake up the scene.

Three months after CNN's Black in America 4 aired, chronicling the stories of NewMe's first class, several of the documentary's participants reconvened at last week's South by Southwest (SXSW) gathering in Austin. In panel discussions and informal chats, they tackled the question: Has anything changed?

"I think the most important thing [the documentary] did is that it started a conversation that did not exist. That's huge," said Hank Williams, who used his time at NewMe to work on Kloudco, a cloud-based data management service.

"I don't know how much we impacted Silicon Valley, but it's starting a larger discussion around the nation," said Gokit founder Hajj Flemings. "There are a lot of people looking to make career shifts."

Read the full story on CNNMoney

soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Ata

    I totally agree with dashriprock, follow the protocol get your education first, gain experience and start competing with the rest of the talent if you want to make it to Silicon Valley.
    The main problem lies within themselves, if you think you are suited for a position at SV then go for it, nobody is going to turn you down because of your race, ethnicity, religion, or foreign accent if they see you have the skills. But most of the time blacks just brag about stuff and want everything to be handed to them with ease. Well, what about the rest of us...are we all dumb for going to school and doing things the right way in order to get ahead in life?

    Why is that they use the term racist in every situation possible? Compete shoulder to shoulder with every race in the world and if you are who you claim you are....nobody, I mean nobody will discriminate against you.

    I don't hear Asians, Europeans, Australians, or Latinos complain.

    March 26, 2012 at 7:05 am | Report abuse |
  2. dashriprock

    I watched black in silicon valley, and wondered if the participants were the best that we had to offer? Although they were interesting, were they the best. Are there any black folks who have degrees from MIT, or Morehouse's dual degree engineering program? African American's are deep and wide professionally, and I did not believe that we were represented to our potential. I am not taking away from those who participated, as they were impressive, but there are others who have their skills so knitted together that they would be able to take Silicon Valley by storm.

    March 21, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Marie

    OH that is so good.

    I was just thinking of writing an opinion piece calling on our brightest engineers to consider the Non-Profit LLC that is gaining popularity. To consider turning your talent to address the deeper problems that face our world. Things like food and water for struggling nations or – well I dont know – I just think trying to get people to think about using their talent in a way that really impacts society at the grassroots level.

    Anway new conversations about the future of our world are so exciting! RAVE!

    March 20, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • dashriprock

      Get the money 1st!

      March 21, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |