Throwing Down the Gauntlet: the Diversity Crisis & the Startup Community

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Lawrence Brown, an alumni of Resilient Coders, leads a discussion about user personas at an RC hackathon.

It’s been two years now since Google published the infamous breakdown of its workforce that launched a national conversation around diversity in tech. Two years, in the innovation ecosystem. Fifty two sprints. The entire lifespan of your roommate’s weird startup. Forty two thousand LinkedIn requests from recruiters. Two years worth of white guys in jeans, t-shirts and hoodies, pitching their apps to the white guys in jeans, t-shirts and blazers. Two years spent fastidiously crushing minor inconveniences; of redefining work culture for those of us lucky enough to participate in it; of management fads; of bold advances in our never-ending quest towards a utopian future of sparse user-friendliness.

Oh, also, two years of deeply racially segregated neighborhoods, and the highest income disparities in the country. You’d be forgiven for wondering whether we’ve advanced at all in opening the doors to the people most drastically underrepresented in the innovation community — both in Boston, where we are based, and in cities around the world. I think about this every time I write a Slack note in Spanish. Less than 1% of Slack’s workforce was Hispanic, last I checked. /giphy fail

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