Create Your Own Serendipity
More than ever, the tech industry is re-thinking how work gets done and how great ideas come to light when people are no longer linked by their physical location. In this episode, we have frank but hopeful conversations with Deldelp Medina of Black & Brown Founders and Michael Berhane of People Of Color In Tech. They talk about the ongoing work of building intentional communities in tech and modeling what it means to truly trust and support each other.
- "Duty Calls," the famous XKCD comic - 00:18
- "How Remote Work Could Destroy Silicon Valley" (Marker) — 00:40
- "'Rich people leave, artists and queerdos return': is San Francisco's tech exodus real or a fantasy?" (The Guardian) - 1:09
- Deldelp Medina on LinkedIn | Twitter - 2:07
- Black & Brown Founders website | Twitter | Instagram - 2:10
- History Channel article on the 1978 murders of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk - 2:41
- PBS article on Jim Jones and The Peoples Temple in Guyana - 2:46
- Ruth Asawa - 5:15
- BMUG (Berkeley Macintosh Users Group) - 6:34
- Michael Berhane on LinkedIn | Twitter | Instagram - 11:26
- POCIT (People Of Color In Tech) website | Twitter | Instagram - 11:29
- POCIT newsletter - 17:39
- Techish podcast - 17:50
- Techish co-host Abadesi Osunsade - 17:58
- The Lean Startup - 20:20
- Aniyia Williams - 25:51
The Full Transcript:
[00:00:00] Broken By Design by Clip Art plays.
Shaun: [00:00:02] Welcome to Rework, a podcast by Basecamp about the better way to work and run your business. I’m Shaun Hildner.
Wailin: [00:00:07] And I’m Wailin Wong. This episode, like so many things in my life right now, started with something I read on the internet that made me mad.
Shaun: [00:00:17] Like that old XKCD comic where that one person is sitting at the computer and says they can’t come to bed because someone is wrong on the internet?
Wailin: [00:00:24] Yes, yes, exactly. So back in July, if you remember July, I believe that was 15 years ago.
Shaun: [00:00:30] Hmm.
Wailin: [00:00:32] I read an article in Marker which is Medium’s publication about business and startups. The headline was, “How remote work could destroy Silicon Valley,” and the subhead was, “The tech industry is built on serendipity. If workers flee the Bay Area, what’s left?” This piece talked about the beautiful alchemy produced by chance encounters in the Bay Area. This idea where you have startup founders and venture capitalists and coders all bumping into each other in coffee shops and coworking spaces.
Shaun: [00:01:05] Okay, so like, is the idea that with tech companies going remote and people moving out of Silicon Valley, maybe you won’t get those random encounters that could lead to the next great startup?
Wailin: [00:01:14] Exactly. But as astute listeners of Rework know, Silicon Valley, and the tech industry, they’re not places where just anybody can bump into a venture capitalist at a happy hour. You have to get entrée into these networks. And usually that happens by coming from the same kind of background as these networks’ established gatekeepers, which is to say, a predominantly white and male crowd.
[00:01:39] The piece in Medium that I read does address this point, but not until the very end. And then in kind of a way that undermines the entire premise of the article, which is frustrating. So that’s why I was mad and decided to do a whole episode about my feelings.
Shaun: [00:01:54] All right, well, today on the show, we explore the idea of tech communities through the stories of two people from different generations, who saw a system that didn’t work for them, and decided to build their own.
[00:02:04] Broken By Design by Clip Art plays.
Deldelp: [00:02:07] My name is Deldelp Medina, and I’m the Executive Director of Black & Brown Founders.
Wailin: [00:02:11] I think I read or heard that you grew up in the Bay Area.
Deldelp: [00:02:16] I did. I arrived here at the age of eight from Barranquilla, Colombia. My family’s from Barranquilla originally. And it was a big shock and difference. Barranquilla is a very tropical, Caribbean, loud city. And San Francisco is a very foggy hilly city that was also undergoing a lot of changes.
[00:02:38] We had had just the murders of Mr. Moscone and the folks that were in the Guyanas with the People’s Temple had passed away. And there was a lot of grief in the city when we arrived. I didn’t realize that as a kid, I just think like you pick up on things and you’re like, this is a very sad city. I now have been here for 30-odd years, and I really love it here.
Wailin: [00:03:00] Do you find that it makes you a bit unique in the tech industry in that you’re not a transplant, and that you spent your entire upbringing, or the vast majority of it, in the Bay Area.
Deldelp: [00:03:12] It is. I also have to just be clear, my parents are artists for the most part. And so I just grew up with very creative, very artistic people. And so I don’t come from a place of a lot of logic. So the thing that I would say, is I don’t come from scientists or mathematicians. Those people do not exist in my family, and do not exist for like several generations back either, or as my family has expanded, either. So not only am I a San Franciscoan that grew up here, that went schools here, that remembers things about how neighborhoods used to be, that was here during the AIDS crisis, that knew a time and experienced a time where the tech industry wasn’t the only thing that was here. And it makes me really sad sometimes because I think of all my friends who were quirky artists or had other professions and literally have not been able to stay in the Bay Area because the housing crisis was just so bad they had to leave. Or the work that they were doing was no longer valued at the same rate, and therefore they couldn’t sustain a living here.
[00:04:21] It used to be like, you used to go to a party. And it would be like a mixture of people who were both college-educated, working class, people of all races and ethnicities. That is no longer the case.
Wailin: [00:04:35] When did tech enter your life in kind of a way that you can pinpoint as being your entrée into the kind of career you have now,
Deldelp: [00:04:44] I was the only girl in the after school Computer Club when I was 10 at Alvarado Elementary School. Steve Jobs would be in the newspaper and I would cut out pictures and cut out articles about him. Up the street from me, we had a friend and neighbor that was an editor at PC Magazine, and I would get PC Magazine from him. Perhaps because it was completely the opposite of what my parents did and how they interacted with the world. And I was trying to make sense of a world. But we were also really lucky in the sense that at that time, Ruth Asawa, was the art teacher.
Wailin: [00:05:16] Ruth Asawa was your art teacher?
Deldelp: [00:05:19] Yeah, it’s so odd, because I just think of her in a very warm caring way because that’s the way that she interacted with all of us. You had this school that was very ethnically and racially mixed, and also class-level mixed. It’s the kind of public schooling that I wish all kids today would have access to and it happened in the mid-‘80s, here in San Francisco. And I now realize, as a parent, that a lot of that was because there was a lot of parent involvement. But because people saw that this was a community that they wanted to invest in.
Wailin: [00:05:56] Not to do a completely insane flash forward, but as you as you think about getting into tech as a career, at what age did you become kind of hyper aware that this really interesting, ethnically and economically, kind of mixed group that you grew up in, was starting to shift and change and that you were finding yourself in increasingly, not very diverse spaces.
Deldelp: [00:06:24] You know, my first job out of high school, kind of beginning college, was at a bulletin board service in Berkeley, California called BMUG. We were a very diverse group of people there. There was queer folks, there was trans folks, there were Black folks, Asian folks, Latinos, like we were all there. And then when the dot-com bust happened, that changed. And a lot of people started leaving tech, including myself, because, one, we thought, oh, this was a fad. It’s not going to be a real thing. Two, unless you had studied computer science in the ‘80s and ‘90s, you didn’t really have an entrée, or a way of thinking about technology that allowed a normal human being to see, here’s what the future is.
[00:07:12] And so for me, coming from a non-traditional background, which is like, I studied Humanities, and I studied Linguistics and Political Science. I never studied anything formally around tech, I came up during an era in which it was pretty much an apprenticeship model. Somebody would sit down with you and be like, okay, you want to learn HTML1? This is how you’re going to learn HTML1, and that we would do that for each other all the time.
[00:07:39] And so when the dot com bust happened, and well paid jobs around technology just kind of disappeared, a lot of people left. It was a very heady, important time. And when I looked at it, and I thought about it, I was like, there was only two men of color, one Latino, one Black man that I knew that stayed within the technology field and everybody else left. People became chefs. People went down to Hollywood. People decided to become teachers.
[00:08:10] And in the meantime, what ended up happening is that all the money people arrived. All the people who had MBAs, all the people who went to the prestigious Ivy League schools started arriving. Those folks are predominantly white, predominantly male. And next thing you know, the industry has completely changed what it looks like and who’s actually getting opportunity to even interview for a job.
[00:08:32] So even though I had experience I would find myself going to interviews where people would be like, you don’t qualify, regardless of my experience. There was no set of systems in place that would say, okay, this is what we’re going to do to make sure that these folks who have technical skills are going to stay within this industry and we’re going to make sure that the industry doesn’t become completely whitewashed. It was completely the opposite. It was just like, there’s money to be made here. We have an education and pedigree. We’re going to figure out how this is going to make money for us. And some of the issues that we still have today around gentrification, around displacement, all of those things started to happen then. It was just a really, really rough time for people.
Wailin: [00:09:16] It was like the industry that sprung up in that period, vastly undervalued your skills and experience.
Deldelp: [00:09:22] But nobody said like, “Here’s how this, as an industry, is going to continue. And here’s how you can stay.” If anything, it was the opposite. It’s like, it’s over and whatever jobs are still left, you have to have an MBA from an Ivy League college for you to qualify for even being sought after. I worked as a grants writer for an African American theatre company here in San Francisco. And in the end, what I ended up doing was rewiring with an IT person, all of the computers. Making sure that didn’t get viruses, updating the website. All of those things were things that I ended up doing.
Wailin: [00:09:59] During this time when you thought of yourself as being a tech leaver, that you were making a pivot into a nonprofit career, did you feel the pull of technology back and kind of like beyond just the demands of your day to day job like wiring up the internet for your day job. Did you feel the pull in other ways?
Deldelp: [00:10:20] This is the thing. I’ve never said it was a love-hate relationship, because it’s not true. I’ve always loved technology. I love seeing and seeing how other people create something that never existed before. I love new ways of thinking and engaging in the world. I look at technology as an opportunity for us to grow as humans. And for us to evolve our societies and the impacts that we have on each other.
[00:10:44] I come from the quirky, queer, transgressive part of the internet that got pushed out by commercialism. And that is a very different part of the world than what is currently existing right now in Silicon Valley.
[00:11:01] Let’s just be clear, as a Latina, nobody said, “You would be a great tech CEO. What are you thinking about? What do you want to build?” Nobody ever said that to me. And I never said that to myself. I never saw myself that way until I was in like my mid-30s.
Michael: [00:11:16] It’s really about seeing yourself within a story. And if you can’t see yourself in the story, then you have no belief that you deserve to be part of that story. If that makes any sense.
Wailin: [00:11:23] We’re going to leave Deldelp’s story for a bit and hear from Michael Berhane. He’s the co founder of POCIT, which stands for People Of Color In Tech.
Michael: [00:11:31] I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, I had a really sucky retail job, and I was like, This ain’t for me, I can’t. I want to have some kind of freedom eventually. So I started like an e-commerce website / business. And I kind of started learning to code the HTML, make it look nice and pretty. And then the business completely tanked. This is fresh off of university. But the kind of tech skill remained. So I thought, I enjoyed this. It’s kind of logical and creative. So I learned to code.
[00:11:58] And in the end, I managed to get an entry level job at a tech startup. I mean, it wasn’t like it is now, where there’s like loads of boot camps and the stories of people kind of doing like nine weeks of coding and then getting a job. It wasn’t there. This didn’t exist. And I didn’t know nobody in the tech industry. I didn’t have any friends that did it. I knew one friend of mine who learned to code a year before me, that was it. We didn’t know anybody at startups, we didn’t know any VCs.
[00:12:20] I think now there’s a lot of content around this type of stuff. But it just wasn’t there. This is like 7, 8, 9, 10 years ago, now.
Wailin: [00:12:26] When did you start feeling like you were getting plugged into a tech community, a tech community that believed in you and believed in your skills and was there to help you get better? Was it at your first job? Or did it take longer than that?
Michael: [00:12:39] I think he was at my first job just because it was such an early stage startup. I was the first engineering hire. And I worked side by side by the CTO, it was almost like a cheat code, really. I could just literally watch everything they did, and just copy them. And then they could look at what I did and say, “Yo, like, fix this. Do that.” Both the founders, and I have much respect for them, but they both went to private school. So I don’t think they ever had any misgivings about whether they were worthy to try and do any of this stuff. So I kind of just took their confidence by osmosis and also just kind of by sitting next to them. It was like a cheat code. I could just leapfrog three or four levels.
[00:13:09] And even though, technically, my job title was Junior Engineer, just that one year, it was like three or four years packed in, really. And then, in terms of community, the only real community that I really experienced is the one that I had to kind of build myself for the company that we started. And I think that’s why I started it because I was like, there isn’t anything here that speaks to me in that space. Like I know lots of cool people, lots of cool coders. But no one really looks like me or comes from my kind of background or has the kind of same experiences as me. So we kind of built POCIT to kind of fulfill that gap essentially.
Wailin: [00:13:38] Are there certain experiences or specific interactions you can remember that made you realize that even though you were surrounded by interesting, smart people that there was still that piece missing?
Michael: [00:13:51] There was never one particular thing. It was never one particular thing. I think it would be the odd cultural references that I just wouldn’t get. Just certain conversations just went over my head and it wasn’t because I’m a fool, it was just because we were all coming from such vastly different backgrounds. But it doesn’t necessarily mean we still can’t work together and make great things happen. There is a magic in having people that are of different backgrounds working together. But I did feel a bit lonely in that sense where I was like, they don’t really get me, personally and maybe I’ve got to kind of look outside of work to find that.
Wailin: [00:14:19] What is the origin story of POCIT, then? What was the the first couple steps you took to get that set up?
Michael: [00:14:26] I actually came out of a really bad breakup. And I was so heartbroken. So I decided to book a random trip to New York. And while I was out there, I was connected with a person called Ruth Mesfun. She is now a Computer Science graduate herself, but at the time, she was a teacher. And we connected over our love of tech and our love of entrepreneurship. And when I came back to London, we stayed in contact, just like on the WhatsApp group chat. And then I pitched the idea of starting POCIT and she said, “Yeah, that sounds great. Like let’s just start.”
[00:14:56] It wasn’t anything massive in mind, we just thought was a really cool idea to start a blog where we would interview people of color in the tech industry, and it just like snowballed from there. So it was kind of really random. And if I hadn’t gone to New York, I don’t necessarily know if I would have started this. Or at least in the same way, where I wouldn’t have had a great co founder to start with, at the very least.
[00:15:15] There are points in your life where you’re just so open to new things and new ideas and new concepts, and just think, why the hell not? It’s almost a shame that you can’t tap into that all the time. But I think I was just like, what have I got to lose? What’s the worst that can happen?
[00:15:25] The beauty of the internet is that you don’t need a lot of capital to start a business. We didn’t put any capital up, it was just sweat equity. We started a blog, put up a WordPress site.
Wailin: [00:15:33] And how did you find the the people that you interviewed at first to start seeding the site with a lot of interviews? Was it just people you had met through your job and in London, or people that Ruth knew in New York?
Michael: [00:15:45] So it was all from social media. I think we realized that in order for this to get any traction, we would need to kind of interview people that already had some kind of prominence. So we interviewed a lot of people that were prominent on Twitter, for example, but weren’t, you know, in TechCrunch. They weren’t in the kind of mainstream publications just because those kind of publications weren’t focused on really telling the stories of people from our kind of backgrounds.
[00:16:05] So we found people, like, 2-3k followers, they were doing cool things, and we’d just DM them. The first one was a bit difficult to get, but then slowly, but surely, as people saw the interviews, kind of be publicized and people showing it love, it was a lot easier to get more and more people and it snowballed that way.
Wailin: [00:16:22] That’s really neat. And you know, during this time, you’re still working in tech. And are you going to the happy hours and the networking things? Or did those events never quite hold that kind of interest for you?
Michael: [00:16:35] Yeah, never did, really. I don’t really drink. So those things never really held any sway towards me, or even hackathons as well. I never really saw the point of it, maybe that’s my own fault, and I’ve limited myself by it. But I just saw it as like, massive free labor and coding 24 hours of filled of Redbull. I just didn’t see the appeal, to be honest. And maybe that’s why I resonate more with doing things on Twitter, for example. And I know Twitter gets a bad rap and it is kind of toxic a lot of times. But there is like an undercurrent where, if you can use it for your own benefit, you can really meet some amazing people. And I think that’s what we leveraged.
Wailin: [00:17:08] And so with POCIT, then, you started with these interviews. And then when did it start gaining enough momentum where you’re like, oh, I think we could build this out even more? Because today when you go on the website, there’s so much going on.
Michael: [00:17:19] Yes, it was all step by step really. We got featured in a few mainstream tech publications. We started a newsletter. And then from the newsletter, people reached out to us and said, well, can we use you guys for employment? So can we post our jobs, for example? We said, cool. And then we kind of brainstormed and came up with a relevant fee. And then from there, we scaled up the newsletter. And then later on, we built out a recruitment platform. So that’s when I was able to kind of do some coding. Prior to that, we just used WordPress. And I built out the recruitment platform. And then the podcast came later on, a few years down the line. So it all kind of happened step by step.
Wailin: [00:17:54] How did you meet your co host for the podcast?
Michael: [00:17:56] Abadesi. The amazing Abadesi, actually I interviewed her for the blog. She was recommended by another person who we had interviewed. We had an interview, posted the article, and that was it really for about a year. We rolled in the same circles online and it’s quite a small space, in London, in terms of people that are doing diversity work, or anything to do with diversity and inclusion. And then we ran into each other at a conference. And then later on, I texted, her, I said, I’ve got this idea for a podcast. Are you game? She was. And it’s been a it’s been a fun two years ever since.
Wailin: [00:18:27] At some point, did you find yourself in the position of mentor? Where was the point where you realized that people were coming to you and asking you for advice, and that you had made the transition from someone seeking advice and mentorship to someone who was in a position to give it?
Michael: [00:18:44] A funny moment is when somebody called me a gatekeeper. And I just chuckled and I was like, “Oh, my Lord, this how far we’ve come.” You start this small blog, and eventually, if you don’t let somebody on or if you make a content decision, all of a sudden, now you’re a gatekeeper. So I always thought of that as a moment where okay, we’ve actually come far and there’s a responsibility of what we do. It’s no longer just me throwing up a WordPress post.
[00:19:05] And then in terms of being like a mentor, you get DMs and emails all the time. People want to know how did you do this as an underrepresented person in tech because there are so few examples of people like you, perhaps, that have done it. Sometimes it’s a lot of questions. There’s a lot of people that need help, and how you do that without feeling bad was something that I really struggled with at first, because you want to help everybody. It’s difficult. And I think with the podcast, we try to do it in a way where we do give advice. So if there is a certain topic, we will, instead of answering 100 emails we’ll just talk about on a podcast. How do you break into tech? How do you launch an MVP? How do you learn to code, right? And we’ll do episodes on these kind of subjects so that in future people can just reference that.
Wailin: [00:19:49] I mean, that’s interesting, right? Because it just goes to show how this knowledge is really locked away for certain people. If you think about maybe kind of like a bright young kid who gets into Stanford. And if you want to learn about building an MVP, you think about all the resources available to that person. But then if you’re someone who comes from a very different background, it’s like, maybe you don’t even know where to start, right?
Michael: [00:20:13] To this day, I was taking part, for example, as a judge for a pitch competition and I just mentioned, go read The Lean Startup, and none of the young people had ever heard of it. Within the kind of tech entrepreneurial circles, it’s kind of like the Bible, essentially. And it’s not their fault. It’s just like, culturally, they’re boxed out, they don’t know anybody who’s an entrepreneur, they don’t know anybody who’s worked in a tech startup. Thankfully, it’s more open now than ever, there’s guides, and there’s books and scores of websites. But if you don’t know what to search for, you don’t know what to find. And that’s why I often find myself having to just explain where to start. And once once I can tell them where to start, they can go off and find their own stuff online.
Wailin: [00:20:51] For Deldelp Medina, who left tech and returned, her journey back into the industry started when she got laid off from a nonprofit job.
Deldelp: [00:20:57] When this thing happened to me, and I was just like, what am I going to do next? I found it really interesting that most of my life was now on a smartphone, except my relationship with my childcare provider. And I was just like, this is so frustrating. And then my then husband at the time said, you know, you should go and build something. And I was like, I haven’t built software in years, I have no idea. He’s like, why don’t you try?
[00:21:23] And then that led me down this path of being completely dismissed or discounted, because it was like a “nice mommy idea.” Not taking into consideration like, what the market capitalization around childcare was at the time. And so little by little, I started putting together an understanding of what the Silicon Valley actually meant, even though I had lived here for forever. I didn’t really understand how VCs worked, or what that meant, or where did VCs get their money, or what are their expectations? How do these systems work? I really had to study up on that.
[00:21:57] And I was trying to build this company. And I just ended up finding myself with a lot of other people who were feeling the same sort of ways and experiencing the same sort of things of being discounted or dismissed because they did not look or did not come from certain backgrounds. And it was just really difficult. And so, putting one foot in front of the other now, it’s been almost 10 years of doing work around finding community, creating community, creating a counter narrative of what does it look like for Black and brown folks to create their own companies that are tech or tech enabled. We need everybody to do well in this country. And we have more than enough for everybody to do well.
[00:22:39] Tech and technology has been a huge wealth creator. But it’s also been a huge sustainer for lots of us, right? Because those of us who’ve had tech jobs and have paid at a certain rate, we could surpass our parents earning income very, very easily, and be able to lift our families with a tech job in a way that honestly, when I was in my mid-20s, and as a dot-commer, I can tell you, I paid for my younger siblings’ summer school, because my parents couldn’t pay for that. When my father lost his job I was the one that bought him shirts, so he could go on job interviews. There’s been ways in which I, when I was a single young woman, was financially responsible and acted in financially responsible ways towards my family that I would say my white male counterparts never did, or would have never been in a position to do so. It just culturally wouldn’t have been even a conversation. My friends would be going off to Tahoe to go skiing, and I’d be like, at home, putting money in my mom’s retirement account. That’s the way that I interacted with tech wages. And I know that I’m not the exception to the rule. I think that is pretty much the rule for a lot of folks that come from marginalized communities.
Wailin: [00:23:59] Can you talk about, the culture and the vibe of what you’ve built at Black & Brown Founders and how understanding what it means to come from a marginalized background, how that changes the way you build community with each other and the way you navigate what are going to be, let’s say, like the norms and kind of the micro culture of this group?
Deldelp: [00:24:19] The thing is, trust is something that needs to be earned. And trust is something that you need to always be thinking about. And I think that when you come from places where just who you are discounts and dismisses you… I’ve literally seen people’s cap table, be at a much lower valuation, not because of the product that they’re creating, not because of the market capitalization, not because of any of the things that you’re taught that you should be looking at for somebody’s valuation, but because of who they are. And so trust, to me, is like the cornerstone of things. And how you kind of can create a community where you can have wholeheartedly engagement and people could see each other and be able to engage with each other because they trust each other.
[00:25:16] That’s how you build some sort of amount of progress. And I think that’s the the thing that I always try to strive for is, can I create a system where people feel like what we’re doing, whether it’s our bootstrapping bootcamp, whether it’s our online events, and I say online, because we’re in COVID times now, but we’ve done a lot of in person events. How is it that people feel when they come in? And I think being recognized and feeling like this is a group of people you can trust is also important.
Wailin: [00:25:47] Deldelp is the Executive Director of Black & brown Founders, a group that was formed by a friend of hers, Aniyia Williams. The two of them had met via a different tech nonprofit and shared a desire to address disparities and venture funding and other resources for Black and Latinx entrepreneurs.
Deldelp: [00:26:02] So I’m thinking there’s just something here, that doesn’t make sense. And that’s when we started having a lot of conversations about like, what does it look like to actually build tech and tech enabled products for ourselves by ourselves and not have to take anybody’s money? That if you want to take money, it should be a part of financing, it should be a part of opportunity making. You shouldn’t be reliant upon having to take somebody’s check for your company to be successful.
[00:26:29] There’s companies out there that have IPOed and are still not financially successful. But the reason they’ve gotten there is because they’ve been propped up by a system that insists on getting paid back. It’s a system that has never worked for folks, in general, if you do not come from a certain class, and race level. It just doesn’t. It’s just not a good system for people in general. But now, at this point, things that were cracks before COVID have now become chasms.
Michael: [00:26:55] I think everyone’s struggling. If you’re our age, for example, it’s this is the first real hardcore economic downturn that you’ve experienced. Yeah, maybe 2008. But maybe you were just coming out of university or college so you weren’t really in the economy. And if you start a company now, and this is like, it’s not on the up and up, I’ve spoken to a lot of other founders who are just like, do I shut the company down? Do I keep going? Are there any ways that I can pivot? Even my company at certain points, it was tough. We do a lot of recruitment work and recruitment’s kind of the first thing to go during an economic downturn. And then obviously, people who are looking for work or have been let go. Abadesi actually was let go from her job. We talked about that on the podcast. And we tried to, not try to paint ourselves as like gurus that know everything. We go through struggles as well. It’s been difficult.
Wailin: [00:27:44] The whole notion of community is, or should be at least, a group of people who support each other. This brings me back to the article I read that mourns the loss of serendipity in Silicon Valley. Now that COVID and remote work means that tech workers are no longer geographically physically near each other.
[00:28:00] If the greatest serendipity success stories were ones of getting funding from venture capitalists, that’s a really limiting view of community. It reduces the idea of community to a transactional one. It’s not about solidarity, and sharing, and sacrifice.
Deldelp: [00:28:14] I think the word community has been co-opted by technology and tech companies. You have tech products that are supposed to be built to actually connect us more than ever, but actually have been harmful in actually creating real community and engagement. There’s a lot of technology that’s gotten built to meet investor metrics and not necessarily human metrics, or human needed metrics, right? During this time, we’ve been interacting with people more online than we ever have, versus like doing our in person events or that sort of thing. And it’s not easy, not everybody has great access to internet, not everybody has great access to things right now. People are having a hard time.
[00:29:00] And that juxtaposition, I think, is the part that I think we’re all struggling with right now. I don’t know if we currently have the methodologies, or the understanding as human beings to be able to engage in these things. Right now, we have been able to have methodologies and engagement points that drive paranoia and fear. And that’s why I say if you want to build community, you have to have a sense of trust. And right now, I would say, very few people trust very few things. Who you trust and how you trust is an exercise unto itself right now.
[00:29:39] In 1968, we had a group of folks that said, enough is enough, and we actually need full citizenship in this country. Those folks, Black folks enabled the rest of us to have full citizenship and engagement, regardless of who you were, where you come from. Because that work was done, we were lulled into thinking that we actually had integrated as a society. But the reality is that we never really had true integration. Not at work and not within communities. And technology has not necessarily been helpful in the last 10 years to actually create that integration that’s needed. It’s created more silos. And so, regardless of who becomes president, or what the outcomes are, the reality is the work still needs to be done. And we still need to be asking these questions. And the sense of urgency around this work still needs to happen.
[00:30:37] Broken By Design by Clip Art plays.
Shaun: [00:30:43] Rework is produced by Wailin Wong and me, Shaun Hildner. Music for the show is by Clip Art.
Wailin: [00:30:48] Deldelp Medina is on Twitter at @Deldelp. That’s D-E-L-D-E-L-P. The P is silent. Black & Brown Founders is at BlackAndBrownFounders.com and on Twitter at @BBFounders. Michael Berhane is on Twitter at @MichaelBerhane_. That’s Michael B-E-R-H-A-N-E-underscore. POCIT is at PeopleOfColorInTech.com and at @POCinTech on Twitter. You can hear Michael and his co-host Abadesi on the Techish podcast, T-E-C-H-I-S-H. Their show is available on whatever app you’re using to listen to our show.
Wailin: [00:31:37] Oh, one more thing about being in the woods is the other day I was saying to my husband. I was like, you know how The Revenant is about Leo getting revenge on the bear that killed his family?
Shaun: [00:31:46] Is that what it’s about?
Wailin: [00:31:47] My husband goes, that is not what the movie is about. And I was like it’s not? I was like, well, I haven’t seen it.
Shaun: [00:31:52] Oh can we have this podcast?
Wailin: [00:31:55] The mis-remembered movies?
Shaun: [00:31:56] Wailin reviews movies that she’s never seen.