Race, Ethnicity & Silicon Valley

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Silicon Valley favors the brash and the brilliant. If you have a pedigree and a network (e.g. if you studied Computer Science at Stanford), the bar

is lower. People will doubt you less. The corollary to this, of course, is that the more of a nobody you are, the harder it is and the higher self-esteem and courage it will take for you to succeed.

Courage is in short supply… everywhere.

A startup is a scary, lonely endeavor. It takes either desperation or an unreasonably big ego to make it work.

Imbalances of power are a feature of the human condition. Much like your forefathers (and even more so your foremothers), the odds are against you

Go forth with determination, grit your teeth and get ready to kick some ass.

my dad, a scrappy mofo if there ever was one.The man in the photo is my old man. Born in 1929, he picked cotton by hand as a child, laid railroad tracks as a teenager, survived the zoot suit riots in East LA, joined the Air Force, played lothario in Oakland and then paid his way through UCLA as a pipeline construction worker. He earned a PhD and retired as a professor. He was given little, he accomplished much, he inspires me still. 

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3 Comments

  1. sympathetic December 6, 2013 at 11:33 am #

    This post doesn’t seem to address race or ethnicity at all.

    • Matt Mireles December 6, 2013 at 11:37 am #

      Fairpoint. I actually wrote this over year ago during some brouhaha about racism in Silicon Valley. I was migrating my blog last night and it got published automatically. I probably should’ve changed the title or at least expounded on the topic. My point is really that race is one of many disadvantages and have coming into the environment, but the solution is still the same.

    • Andrew de Andrade December 7, 2013 at 10:40 am #

      That actually why I thought it was apty titled. Silicon Valley cares little bit about race and ethnicity. The bias towards or against any specific race/ethnicity has more to do with the percentage of that race ethnicity in the applicant pool. i.e. if X% white, Y% hispanic and Z% black people apply for a job, approximately X% white people, Y% hispanic and Z% black people will be hired. In other words, the bias for hiring has everything to do with what Matt wrote above and little to nothing to do with the color of your skin.

      Prior to tech, I worked in finance (Brazil & NYC), which is an industry with a heavy racial/ethnic bias. Silicon Valley is nothing like that.

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