Monday, March 31, 2014

Black Entrepreneurs Moving to the Internet

Last updated: Monday 3/31/14 @ 1:35 am
Amidst the stupefying haze of endless chatter in recent decades by suits and skirts with high flown titles and pedigreed academic credentials about the importance of getting more blacks into STEM, more black males into STEM, more black females into STEM, a grass roots movement is surging into the foreground of black consciousness that is tightly focused by a common sense understanding of the obvious implications of the headlines in the Journal, the Times, and Bloomberg.

For this new movement it's not about ALL science, technology, engineering, and math; it's only about a small sliver ==> It's about the Internet!!! ==> It's about Netscape and Yahoo and Google and Facebook and Instagram and WhatsApp and Alibaba.Com!!! That's where the big money has been in the last two decades and that's where the fast money will be exploding in the foreseeable future. The Internet has had and will continue to have a more profound impact on human activity than any invention since the printing press. Sooner or later every process in our society will be based on the Internet. So that's where today's most ambitious black entrepreneurs are heading ... finally .... :-)

I confess to ignorance as to how many, if any, free blacks joined their white peers in the Gold Rush of 1849 and ignorance as to how many of those black pioneers, if any, got rich. But I'm delighted to see that hordes of young (and not-so-young) black entrepreneurs are staking their careers on Internet-based ventures that require combustible mixtures of business acumen, coding skills, funding, courage, and good luck.  I am also delighted to see that HBCUs, HBCU media, and other components of the black community are making substantial efforts to facilitate black Internet-based start-ups. The Hackathons sponsored by Black Founders at various HBCUs and by Black Enterprise magazine are two recent examples, as are the HBCU Symposiums in Silicon Valley (November 2013 and March 2014) sponsored by UNCF and APLU.

Mind you, I'm not saying that we should all quit our day jobs, learn how to code, develop killer apps, then launch our own Internet start-ups. Not at all. The Black Community and the rest of America still need more good black nurses, black doctors, black mathematicians, black lawyers, black teachers, black chemists, black actors, black superstar athletes, black writers, etc, etc, etc ... and black entrepreneurs wherever legitimate business opportunities arise. But where opportunities do arise, especially epoch changing opportunities like the Internet, we should encourage our most creative black entrepreneurs to derive the largest possible gains from those opportunities ... then "remind" them from time to time (incessantly if necessary) of their obligation to provide jobs and financial support for those left behind and to use their new clout to pressure the nation's decision makers into devising policies that will enable more black Americans to lead more satisfying lives.

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