It’s time for @NYTM, to broaden #Diversity in New York’s Tech sector – #workrevolution and the #startup scene

The times they are a-changin’.

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Nytm diversity issue at hand

NYTECH has a diversity  issue, and if the tech industry is to truly thrive it needs to be inclusive. Close the divide is one such  initiative but  it  seems to target increasing the number of white females. Some call it a tech PR issue. It is a much greater divide.  You cannot include those who  you  do not engage. A look at  NYTECH meetups will show they  do not reflect  NY.

screen shot- compilation- top right,  Work revolution  participants; attendees of nytech meetup, diagram comparing NYTech  startup and wifi access with  low income and lack of local growth in BROOLYN mainly black community.  all teh aspects of a strong ecosytem many  untouched by tech. 

As a backdrop NYTM sent out  a call for participants for it’s Work  Revolution Summit  on September 20th and 21st. My gut reaction was to ignore it but  I have received much in terms of tech knowledge from this community and here was an area I could contribute. When I clicked on the link and saw the participants I  shook my  head. I again hesitated.  I had learned from prior experience(with another NY organization)  that often these calls were sent out  to  select persons… so that by the  time  you apply… space in filled.  There is no transparency in selection.  The schedule is attributed to Jessica Lawrence  , Julie Clow  , Josh Allan Dykstra .  I questioned whether or not  i wanted to be there or for that matter what they meant  by  “work revolution” was this managerial, workplace or worker.  were it a private meeing I would have backed off, but it was sent out  under teh aupices of the NYTM board.

Why is it important because opportunity is filtered through these tech leader… do NOT discount their influence.  This sector is BOOMING  yet talent will be imported before it is home grown.  A side effect is that lot of support and cash, funding is being thrown down the drain because of the current access trends.

Not that they are not trying  but they  do not seem to have a policy of inclusion, do not appear reach out to NY’s larger community!
I should not have to call on a contact to get in by pointing out the obvious that “The work revolution summit”  does NOT reflect the NY worker.  Frankly I am not sure of the  criteria.  NYTECH  has received a lot of support  from the city and as such enjoys the  benefits of taxpayer dollars.  They mean well, and really try, but  you cannot change what you  do NOT understand. By not speaking  up I was part of the problem

Here is the response cc’d to  two other members of their board.
Thank you but , actually  Jessica  I  am NOT  surprised.
However  for clarity may   I ask what is the criteria. Looking  at  NYTM it seems that, the selection process at NYTM  has excluded many  who have need of  info as well as many who can contribute. I’m not  quite sure what type of “pattern- matching criteria is employed  and frankly  I closed your reply and was about to delete when I realized I was NOT being the change I  sought.NYTM has a HUGE diversity problem… as I look at images of this community it  does not reflect the NY  I know and love. As I looked at the roster I  became aware that the direction was not  to be inclusive.  Then I took a look a t myself and realized I had NOT applied simply because I understood that  I would not be selected.  How many more simply  do not participate because your programming  never reflect them… I am not speaking  solely of race.  I am speaking of the broader talent pool. NYTM as it currently stands exist outside the realm of the average New Yorker.I applied simply because I believe one cannot  complain (even privately) if you  are not even making a move to correct the situation. Frankly  I have no idea what else but ability to speak on the matter was needed your process was NOT  transparent.I  could make the excuse my hands are  filled.  However last week on the 50th anniversary on the march on Washington. I  accidentally  had the new signal app on  when I posted via email to two meetups.
NYTECH 34000 +  3 people … not  3% but 3 people opened that listing on the email 
Blacks in Technology   1, 169  members 287 people opened that listing.
Numbers are deceptive, I expected a 1% click thru rate and no response… so I was shocked  at  3 people. Maybe it was the heading

Technology and The Dream a Look Ahead on The 50th Anniversary Of the March on Washington-

… and lastly everyone has freewill to open items on the mailing list… but still that is an indication of a larger  problem.  I was and am, shocked and disturbed.The purple area in the map and image shows the MappednNY  map, wifi access  in relation to poverty and unemployment. Maybe your work revolution summit is focused on managerial revolution.  There is no indication…About 3-4 years ago I became more involved in the local communities and found that  in a city with such a “vibrant’ tech  community  many who needed it have been cut off from it. There exist a subtle arrogance that  “we can solve” the problems of others without first engaging them, without acknowledging that what  we seek to solve may be out there.Many  do not participate because they  feel left out. I understand “space” issues but “Closing the divide’ or should I say ‘divides”  will not happen with the current modes of selection. Moreso I see many tech  companies that are really good going out of business because  of that isolation.I  learned very early on that  access in NYtech scene is not all it appears,  whether that is by  design or an accidental side effect of  “democracy” it  is NOT  working.   I do not believe it is 100% cRacism.Simply put it is a type of “nepotism” common in developing countries based on telling and including “who we know and trust’ first. By the time info gets to  “others’ space is filled. I’ve CC’d (Nate as  well as will post) because this has to  change… the NYTech  has to be inclusive to all boroughs and all people. BEFORE a public cry  for diversity  goes out!

Another side effect (of this proverbial inbreeding) is a weakened ecosystem, for often what we believe we know is nowhere near what  actually is.  As someone using technology to help creative industries across the world and seeing 20-30% increases in sales and independence work being created, I may have more  than the average, more than many listed to contribute to this conversation. I may actually have  something to contribute to the NYTECH community,  like many  who are not  part of the core deeply tech qualified.  But how will you  or any of the others know what matters if they do not know it exist.

I am the mother of a 21 year old who seeing the lack of opportunity and the dire situation in NY, is constantly afraid that this disparity will ignite, leaving in it’s wake not  just  business but  human tragedies.

If  I am to be honestly  I  do not have the time and to  a certain extent the enthusiasm.  However if things are to change those of us who can must.  It  does not have  to be myself… but  you need to INCLUDE those who live and work in this city. Who understand it’s culture and the cultures of it’s workers.  May I suggest you reach out and diversify. tech is  code but CODE alone will not  fix the workplace.  LOOK at your participants, look at your events, look  at NY  city. That work revolution has to be inclusive.



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