Matt Joseph is a startup founder with a ridiculously impressive resume—Princeton undergrad, both a JD and an MBA—and his startup was launched through the prestigious accelerator, Y Combinator. Like MailChimp for text messages, his company, Locent, can send automated text messages and make people's lives easier. It's a perfect product, because indulging consumers' laziness is what Silicon Valley is all about.
But Matt Joseph is a black man in the tech industry, and by not fitting that white male archetype, a lot of people in the biz are unsure how to evaluate his company and his skills. Regardless of his credentials and how useful his product is, he faces challenges that he wouldn't have if he were white.
On March 19, Joseph went on a long, super informative Twitter rant that shed light on what it's like to be black in Silicon Valley (not to be confused with the TV show Silicon Valley, which still doesn't have any black people). Here are the most informative chunks:
Joseph proceeded to give an example of a time his credentials were questioned because of latent bias, and a white dude got ahead despite a less impressive resumé.
It's not hopeless, he explains, just harder:
Joseph preemptively addressed the inevitable criticism that he was just bitter or looking for handouts.
It turns out, avoiding conversations about race makes things worse rather than better. These tweets have already begun a conversation within the tech community. Hopefully, that will be good news for Locent. Then the whole world will be able to more easily automate text messages and send "U up?" in bulk.