Issue #93: It’s all related.

This post was compiled by Brian Shoicket, COO at Uncubed. Though I’ve tried to only include facts and relevant resources (and personal opinions based upon facts and relevant resources) in this edition of Entry, any opinions expressed are ultimately my own and may not represent those of Uncubed or its employees.

Hi everyone,

It’s Brian; I’m the COO & Head of Product at Uncubed. D’onna’s out-of-office through July, so you’ll be hearing from me for the next few weeks.

You may have noticed that Entry looks different this week. So does the world. Not because systemic racism and inequality are new. But because awareness of, manifestations of, and frustrations with systemic racism and inequality have reached a new boiling point.

So this week and for weeks to come, you’ll likely notice that Entry – your weekly guide for tech careers and entry-level opportunities – features more current events, commentary, shade, resources, and hopefully positive and proactive steps that you can take within your tech career to better the world… alongside internships and entry-level jobs.

Here’s why it’s all related:

    1. If you want to work in tech, you will necessarily have an impact on people’s lives with the things that you build, dream up, market, or sell. 
    2. It is ultimately your decision what this impact on people’s lives will be. 
    3. It is therefore your decision which technologies you will work on and which companies you will work for (or start yourselves). 
    4. My hope with Uncubed Entry is to help make your decisions more informed and your impacts (more) positive. 
    5. The rest is up to you. 

So let’s dive in…

Black Lives Matter.

I hope that we’re on the same page.

If we are, then this week’s Entry is for you.

If we’re not, then this week’s Entry is also for you.

There is no shortage of resources, media, conversations, or people that have sought to make sense of, explain, and/or offer productive paths forward regarding an end to systemic racism and injustice.

There is, however, a shortage of people who are deeply and truly invested in bringing an end to it (forever).

Because of this, I won’t overwhelm you with resources here (though there are certainly some below); just use your favorite search engine, turn to your preferred social media channel, or ask a friend and you’ll find them.

Instead, let’s assume that you read Uncubed Entry because you’re interested in a tech career, and let’s look at how you can have a positive impact with that career…

Join the Conversation. Join a Community. Take on a Project.

I am aware of the partial irony in recommending a Facebook community here while criticizing the platform’s behavior below, but both are justified.

If you’re not already a member, join Hackathon Hackers. Occasional trolling aside, it’s a great community for developers to ask questions, share resources, meet each other, support each other, and build ideas into actual, tangible things.

Two recent posts from Hackathon Hackers that caught my eye:

Looking for other ways to get involved?

DoSomething.org is a digital platform powering real-world impact. They started back in 1993, got a digital overhaul in 2003 (they were one of the first nonprofits to run campaigns using text messages), and they are the largest not-for-profit exclusively for young people and social change.

Here are two of their current digital campaigns:

How the Tech Community is Trying to Help (spoiler: with money)

Here’s a “feel-something” article: Tech companies and execs announce over $20 million in donations after killing of George Floyd.

Of course, every dollar counts, and it is great that companies are a) doing something, and b) taking a public stand.

However – and we’ll dive deeper into the numbers with YouTube and Facebook a bit more below – $20 million is really not a lot for these companies, which generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and are valued at trillions of dollars.

Read the article above to learn about some of the larger tech companies that have pledged money and how much they’ve pledged, then head to your preferred search engine for “[company name] 2019 revenue” or “[company name] market cap” to see how it stacks up.

For a longer list of companies – both tech and non-tech – that have either pledged or already donated, Forbes is keeping track here.

How Tech Companies Have Missed the Point

Vox has a great and relatively concise article on this topic: After George Floyd’s death, tech billionaires are wrestling with their responsibilities when it comes to race.

The TLDR (borrowed from the article):

“What leadership should we reasonably expect from billionaires, particularly tech leaders who oversee massive platforms? Is their money enough if it is not accompanied by real changes at their companies, even if those changes hurt their bottom line?”

Case Study: How YouTube Missed The Point

YouTube Solidarity Against Racism Tweet

Does something feel off to you about this Tweet? It should.

YouTube’s 2019 advertising revenue was $15,149,000,000.00. (Phrased differently: 15,149x their pledge.)

YouTube’s 2019 non-advertising revenue was mixed into an “other” category that totaled $17,014,000,000.00. (Phrased differently: 17,014x their pledge.)

And Alphabet’s (“Google’s”) total 2019 revenue, which includes YouTube, was $161,857,000,000.00. (Phrased differently: 161,857x their pledge.)

“But isn’t pledging $1 million still a good thing?”

Read this MIT Technology Review article: YouTube’s algorithm seems to be funneling people to alt-right videos.

Or this study published by the Association for Computing Machinery: Auditing Radicalization Pathways on YouTube.

Or this Business Insider article specifically about YouTube’s Tweet above: YouTube has pledged $1 million in solidarity with Black Lives Matter protesters, but critics note the site has allowed white supremacist videos for years.

Case Study: How Facebook Missed The Point

Mark Zuckerberg's $10 million donation Facebook post

Does something feel off to you about Mark’s Facebook post? It should.

Facebook’s 2019 revenue was $70,697,000,000.00. (Phrased differently: 7,069.7x their pledge. Better than YouTube, I suppose…)

“But isn’t pledging $10 million still a good thing?”

Read this Washington Post article: Facebook employees blast Zuckerberg’s hands-off response to Trump posts as protests grip nation.

Or this Facebook employee’s Tweet.

Or this CBS News article: After Facebook staff walkout, Zuckerberg defends no action on Trump posts.

Or this recently resigned Facebook employee’s LinkedIn post, which – despite being short and to the point – has 240,000+ reactions and 12,500+ comments at the time of writing.

Or this Vox article: Many Facebook employees think the company needs to stand up to Trump now more than ever.

A New Coalition for Tech: Black Tech for Black Lives

As TechCrunch writes in their article, Black tech leaders issue call to action to fight racial injustice in the Bay Area:

“As a tumultuous week of protests draws broad attention to America’s open wounds of racist police violence, a coalition of Black founders, advocates, investors and other leaders are issuing a call to action for those in the tech industry to stand against the systemic forces that continue to claim Black lives.”

The name of this coalition is Black Tech for Black Lives, and while the focus certainly started on tech in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley, it is open and applies to all.

Black Tech for Black Lives was founded by Y-Vonne Hutchinson (Readyset), Aniyia Williams (Black & Brown Founders), Maurice Wilkins (Fastly), and Darrell Jones III (Just Cities).

Supporters include leaders and employees from Y Combinator, Visa, Twilio, Box, Stripe, and Coinbase (as well as Uncubed).

You can learn more about Black Tech for Black Lives’ five commitments here.

What You Can Do: Resources & Organizations

There are a ton of collaborative documents online and circulating that highlight organizations you can support, articles and books you can read, videos and movies you can watch, and more. So rather than building yet another comprehensive list, just check out any or all of these four:

Able to Donate? Here are Some Matching Opportunities from the Tech Industry.

Hunter Walk, current venture capitalist and ex-YouTuber/ex-Googler, has compiled this Google Doc to highlight some donation-matching opportunities with a group of folks from the tech community.

Simply make a donation to one of the organizations listed (whatever you can afford), Tweet or DM your receipt to the proper people, and they will make a matching donation.

Organizations include NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Equal Justice Initiative, Minnesota Freedom Fund, Center for Policing Equity, Black Lives Matter, Voter Participation Center, and more.

Donate + learn more here.

Do Your Eyes Need a Break? Listen to a Podcast.

Whether for school, work, Netflix, personal projects, or research, it’s hard to stare at screens all day.

Fortunately, technology is portable.

Check out these 2 podcasts: Code Switch and Pod Save The People.

A Final Note

As mentioned above, this post was compiled by Brian Shoicket, COO at Uncubed. Though I’ve tried to only include facts and relevant resources (and personal opinions based upon facts and relevant resources) in this edition of Entry, any opinions expressed are ultimately my own and may not represent those of Uncubed or its employees. If you want to contact me for any reason – whether you agree or disagree, factual errors, link updates, etc. – you can reach me at brian [at] uncubed [dot] com.