I’ve worked in early-stage tech in some capacity for almost two decades, and I’ve been a white male for about twice as long. The latter is only relevant to mention insofar as it’s my belief that for as much as the tech world presents itself as a meritocracy, it is anything but. Opportunities are not equally and fairly distributed, nor are investment dollars, board representations, or voices.
In light of the tragic murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and far, far too many others, I’ve come to internalize that not only is the playing field unequal, but it’s also zero-sum; if one group is disadvantaged, then by definition another group must be enjoying the opposite of that. In the case of tech — and elsewhere — it is unquestionably advantageous to be a white, cis heterosexual man and as a member of that cohort, I have benefited even if that benefit is subconscious and/or due to no fault or specific agency of my own.
To undo the disadvantage, you must dismantle the system that created the advantage in the first place. With that in mind, I believe that is it no longer acceptable to do the minimum. It is no longer acceptable to simply strive for diversity, read books, and listen, however earnest and pure your motives might be.
Here is what I can do to help, among other things: every Monday, I will make myself available to any under-represented founder, employee, or potential employee. I’d like to help you understand the world of venture capital, give you feedback on your pitch, help you get connected to investors, provide mentorship and advice around product management, or however else I can be of help to you. It should go without saying, but this is free of charge; all you have to do is show up.
I will be available from 1:00pm EST to 4:00pm EST, every Monday unless I say something on Twitter (@nikbonaddio) about it. Hope to see you!