As it pertains to diversity, TechCrunch is one of the best tech and media outlets in the world. They do a great job of informing the public about diversity issues and improvements being discussed within the industry. For those interested, TechCrunch presented their annual Progress Report highlighting their diversity efforts at events (Disrupt, Battlefield, Include, etc.) and employment.
For this article, I won’t nitpick the current percent breakdown of Techcrunch’s efforts. I get it, they’re trying to improve diversity and are struggling with ways to do it. I will give a few thoughts on how they can go about increasing diverse representation, and it’s from my own experiences.
For starters, if you’re truly looking to expand into the minority tech market, you have to stop holding conferences in New York and California. I understand the belief that all things Silicon Valley are innovative, but tech communities have to eliminate that thought process as of yesterday.
I’ve covered multiple initiatives focusing on diversity investment and startup funding and I can assure you, currently organizations like the SBA and NSF are NOT investing in minorities in those two areas. Perhaps on a local level sure, but not when it comes to diversity. They instead are looking at cities like Atlanta, Miami, Dallas, Chicago, Detroit, and areas where alot of minorities reside. The Oakland, CA investment by Google is a good example of this, but that is a 10 year investment. The cities I mentioned are already full to the brim with talent.
It’s a bit arrogant to think that minorities will travel and set up shop in cities that have not funded their communities in the past. In situations like these, underrepresented groups generally tend to create their own operations and opportunities to compensate, and that is what is happening / has happened here.
Partnering with existing minority and female capitalists is more valuable then seeking out diverse founders. Let the organizations who understand the communities take a lead role in investing in them.
No I’m not saying a new event needs to be created, but what I am saying is that the big tech conferences need to take a chance and move for one year to try and expand their opportunities. Currently one of the largest tech conferences is South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. How did it get so big? Because it’s a new take on technology by innovative Texans.
There are innovators outside of California and New York in all colors. Organizations simply need to end their arrogance and understand that.