Perception matters (sometimes more than reality sadly).
Today’s perception of the tech industry is two-fold. On the positive, technology is seen as the innovative force behind much of the countries success. On the negative side, the tech sector is also seen as unwelcoming to black and Hispanic peoples. Understanding this issue, Mark Zuckerberg is doing what many within the black and Latino communities have suggested, that is reach out to members outside the “tech bubble”. Silicon Valley has some of the best and brightest minds in the nation, however they do not have the only great minds for technology. Neither do well known schools such as Stanford or Harvard. Success in tech and innovation is a community effort achieved by accumulating many people from many backgrounds. When a segmented group is left behind so to are there possible innovative ideas.
Zuckerberg recently visited North Carolina A&T and spoke on the campus about diversity and how innovative tools like Facebook Live can be used in everyday life. This is a fantastic first step that I think should be expanded on. Sometimes simply showing up to an event can boost morale and make potential employees feel more welcomed. Mr Zuckerberg is on to something here and I hope these visits continue. While I understand he is a busy man, executives visiting schools outside of the top college names is a great idea in an effort to expand opportunities.
Perception is reality and reaching out like this makes people feel more comfortable about your product and more inclined to support you. Kudos to Mark Zuckerberg.