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Why does diversity still bother black technology workers?



Why does diversity still bother black technology workers?

Looks like technology is turning.

Over the years, an industrial giant has declined the call to reveal data on labor diversity, making it difficult to determine exactly how much Silicon Valley is whiter and male than the general population. But Google’s 2014 decision to publish racial and gender damage from its workforce seems to signal a big change.

The figures show an industry dominated by white and Asian men. Of the nearly 50,000 employees at Google in 2014, 83% were male, 60% were white, and 30% were Asian. Only 2.9% are Latin, and 1.9% are Black. A year later, when other large Silicon Valley companies began releasing their own diversity figures, Google announced it would dedicate $ 150 million to increase diversity in the company.

In the years since, Google has more than doubled its workforce but made minimal progress towards being more representative. The amount is the same in all industries.

This lack of diversity – in May, Google reported that 5.9% of its employees and contractors were Latinos and 3.7% were blacks – extended to the ranks of top executives, entrepreneurs who found companies, and venture capitalists who invested in startups .

The industry, which boasts of its agility, has failed to move the needle at workplace diversity. The end result is the entire economic sector – the sector that has created the most wealth in California in the last 10 years, prints billionaires, and reshaped the San Francisco Bay Area in its own image – which is functionally barely open to Blacks and Latins.

Technology leaders often point to “plumbing problems” to explain Black’s lack of recruitment and promotion. But in 2016, 12% of graduates with degrees in science, technology, engineering or mathematics were black, according to the Center for National Education Statistics. Even graduate classes in computer science at Stanford, Silicon Valley’s elite training ground, are more diverse than companies just down the road from campus.

Whether you are setting targets based on national populations or STEM graduates, several technology companies are approaching, said Freada Kapor Klein, a founding partner of the venture capital company Kapor Capital, which has advocated an increase in technological diversity in decades.

“There are many hard and fast figures that you can use to set up goal posts,” Kapor Klein said. “But [tech companies] not even in the parking lot – they are so far from the field that they need binoculars to see them. “

The problem, according to Kapor Klein’s estimate, is not a matter of education but access and support. A number of Black technology professionals agree that the industry’s reliance on personal relationships to provide access and opportunities is partly to blame, producing network effects that conflict with Black and Latino inclusions.

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The origin of the technology ecosystem – venture capital funds – shows the problem.

Kanyi Maqubela, managing partner of Kindred Ventures, said that the industry’s dependence on personal relationships perpetuates a gate maintenance system that is almost designed to keep investors like him out.

Black investors make up less than 1% of venture capitalists. And this is a small world to begin with. In 2018, only 713 individual investors in large venture funds, which are defined as having more than $ 250 million managed, have the power to lead transactions, sit on the board, and write checks to invest in companies, according to an Information survey. Of that group, 11 are Latino and seven are Black.

A number of leading companies – such as Sequoia, Benchmark, Greylock, and Kleiner Perkins – have no Black partners at all.

Large groups of money investing in venture capital funds as limited partners will trust new venture capitalists to handle their money only if more investors have worked with them in the past to guarantee it – and Black’s established investors are few and far between .

When a Black VC came out to try to raise new funds from that limited partner, Maqubela said, “They take all the demographic patterns they know and apply them purely to you.”

“I am fortunate to have attracted or recruited a number of mentors who decided to train me and guarantee to me, almost all white men,” Maqubela said, “so when I went out to raise funds, I had more than a dozen people who spoke and made calls. on my behalf as a way to show that I am at the club. “

The barrier made it difficult for Black VC to create a strong track record of investing large sums of money and generating large returns for their own records. BLCK VC, a group founded in 2018 as a support and organizing network, has a mission to increase the number of Black VCs from 200 to 400 by 2024, in an industry with nearly 4,000 active investors throughout the country.

“I have talked to a black VC who can move me around intellectually about finance, products, anything, but didn’t know you needed strong references to be trusted by LP,” Maqubela said. “This is evidence of the structural nature of how venture capital is damaged.”

This system was created for a venture capital landscape that is less diverse than other mainstream financial institutions. Six percent of investment bankers and almost 9% of black financial consultants, compared to less than 1% for venture capital, according to a Harvard Business School Studies 2017.

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Problems in venture capital remain throughout the industry.

The percentage of black employees in large technology companies remains low: 2.9% on Salesforce, 3.8% on Facebook, 4.4% on Slack, 4.5% on Microsoft, and 6% on Twitter. Lyft and Uber’s workforce are 9% and 9.3% Black, but are heavily biased towards lower-paid operations teams. Apple’s workforce is 9% Black, but that includes retail employees. Amazon, which employs nearly 800,000 people worldwide, mostly in low warehouses and logistics jobs, has a workforce of 26.5% black overall, but only 8.3% is black among managers.

The number of black people in leadership or high paid technical roles is still lower. For example, at Google, only 2.6% leadership and 2.4% Black technical workers. On Facebook, black people only make 3.1% of them in leadership roles and 1.5% of them in technical roles.

Less than 1% of startup founders who receive venture funding are Black. And with few Black investors sitting on their boards, the percentage of Black’s top executives in large technology companies is even lower.

The problem is not the lack of qualified candidates, but the company’s reluctance to open its doors, said Bari Williams, head of law at Human Interest, a financial services startup.

Companies are reluctant to expand the schools they recruit to include black colleges and universities, said Williams, who advocates diversity in Silicon Valley. “It always comes to some semblance of seeing it as lowering the bar,” he said. Williams, who used to work at StubHub and Facebook, said he saw candidates passed because they attended HBCU.

Many technology companies also rely heavily on references from current employees, a system that is not uncommon in business but which can strengthen network effects. “Who do you usually refer to? People who look and act and dress and talk and do the same things you do,” Williams said.

After being hired, employees must overcome further obstacles to success. People in senior roles “want to guide and care for people who look like them or remind them of themselves,” Williams said. “So you don’t have someone who will advocate for you.”

The result is that even when blacks and Latinos come in, they often find themselves looking for a way out before long, and turnover remains high.

“The technological approach to diversity in recent years has been to fill a bathtub with an open drain,” said Kapor Klein, who co-authored a 2017 study on the topic. He said companies need to do hard work to examine everything from recruitment and investment practices to those running the HR department to eradicating alienating practices and excluding underrepresented groups. “If they are biased, correct them,” he said.

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Since the national protest over the murder of George Floyd in police custody triggered an examination of structural racism throughout American society, a number of venture capital funds and technology companies have announced initiatives to remedy the lack of representation of blacks and Latinos.

Japanese tech giant SoftBank, which has made waves in the technology world with a 100 billion dollar Vision Fund in recent years, announced a $ 100 million Opportunity Fund in early June to invest exclusively in color entrepreneurs. On the same day, Andreessen Horowitz, a leading venture fund in Silicon Valley with $ 14 billion under management, announced a similar fund that began with $ 2.2 million from corporate partners but was scheduled to grow with more contributions.

A number of companies have issued statements of solidarity in protest, although some have been in conflict with the company’s business and recruitment practices to date. Microsoft and Apple have committed to focus on the recruitment and retention of Black employees, with Apple pledging $ 100 million to support the effort. And many companies have committed to supporting nonprofit racial justice or Black-owned businesses, with Google promising more than $ 175 million and Facebook and Amazon donating $ 10 million to nonprofit racial justice. Facebook also announced that it would dedicate $ 100 million to support Black’s business this year, through a mix of free grants and advertising credits on its platform, and committed to giving $ 100 million of business to Black’s suppliers every year, among other efforts.

Black technology professionals, who have seen a wave of commitments come and go, say they are waiting to see if this promise results in real changes in hiring, mentoring, and investing.

Brentt Baltimore, senior colleague at Los Angeles Greycroft’s venture fund and member of the BLCK VC, said that he and his colleagues in the group have been flooded in recent weeks with questions from people in the industry asking how to do better.

Baltimore said that he was glad that more people were discussing the issue, but what was really needed was “boots on the ground”: consistent money, time and leadership dedicated to actively bringing more Black professionals and technology investors into the industry.

Without that, he said, “I don’t see much structural change.”

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.



Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.



Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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