On 9/22 myself and four other panelists will support investor Peter Thiel in support of his new book Zero to One. This will mark the first time I have the opportunity to introduce the local Philadelphia community to my new angel fund Third Cohort Capital.  

Peter Thiel is the Co-Founder of PayPal and the first outside investor in Facebook. His keynote will be followed by a panel discussion led by Technical.ly Editor-in-Chief Zack Seward featuring myself as a panelist alongside local investors Ellen Weber (RobinHood Ventures), Richard Vague (Gabriel Systems), and Mark Samuels (SEI). We’ll be discussing the advantages and challenges of the Philadelphia startup ecosystem.

Learn more about Thiel, his new book and his contrarian strategy in this month’s Fortune cover story: http://bit.ly/abcThielFortune

You can read more about Third Cohort in this recent article from the folks at Technical.ly

Monday, September 22, 2014 | 8AM to 10AM

Franklin Institute | 222 North 20th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Ticket: $45

VIP Ticket: $150

Register Now: http://bit.ly/ZeroToOnePHL

All attendees will receive a complimentary copy of Thiel’s new book. VIP guests will have preferred seating and access to a post-event meet + greet with the author, Mr. Thiel.


I’m excited to announce the launch of my new angel investment fund, Third Cohort Capital. Third Cohort came together when myself and eight other alumni of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business program decided to pool our resources together and invest in technology startups. 

Some of you may know of my work over the years via The Appfrica Fund, a fund which exclusively targets early-stage tech ventures and social enterprises in Africa. After cutting my teeth there and learning how to help startups as a funder, mentor, and by sharing my experience, I learned I have a desire to do this regardless of location of the company. With Third Cohort I can do just that. We’ll be focusing on the broader tech space, entrepreneurs with great ideas and great backgrounds who need support from early-backers. 

In fact, we’ve already made our first investment into a company called Shadow that we’re super excited about. Shadow is tackling one of the biggest undertapped markets in the world: people who dream. For me they represent a unique opportunity to democratize sleep science while capturing data at scale about one of the biggest mysteries of human consciousness.


Shadow began their journey by raising nearly $100,000 from over 3,500 people on Kickstarter. Building on that momentum they’ve accomplished a great deal since then that they’ll be announcing soon. I encourage you to follow their progress at discovershadow.com

A portion of the fund is dedicated to what I feel is one of the most inspiring alumni networks in the country, the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business graduates. The types of businesses that go through the GS10KSB program are more traditional brick and mortar, mom and pop type companies. While these small business account for a growing number of jobs in the United States’ sluggish economy, they are traditionally under-capitalized. This is a problem we’ll help to solve.

I’m excited to expand the profile of entrepreneurs that I’m able to work with through Third Cohort! Follow us on Twitter at @thirdcohortfund.

“TaskRabbit presents a clear, elegantly designed future in which work is done at the absolute convenience of the haves by a legion of smartphone-toting relative-have-nots. It’s an entire industry of doing shit people with more money than you don’t feel like doing.”
— Sam Biddle, ValleyWag

I used to be afraid to fly to the point of panic attacks. I still am. I hate it. Every single time.

I checked my TripIt account the other day and in the past four years or so I’ve flown over 681,474 miles around the world. Via 98 trips of (on average) 7,000 miles each, to 82 cities in 28 countries.

I was afraid to fly but I also knew everything I wanted to change about my career was at the destination if I could just endure the journey.

I still still hate flying. I’m less anxious now and it’s never easy but I deal with it. The journey, no matter how painful or uncomfortable, is something to look forward to.

This is because it’s the journey is what gets you to the destination. Arriving at the destination is impossible without it. If you’re afraid of the journey, you’ll never go anywhere.

Pursuing any goal is like this. If you want it bad enough, if you’re willing to put your ego and self-doubt aside and just do it, you never know how far you’ll end up going. 

Don’t take the journey for granted.

My newest project, Market Atlas, just received support from the Knight foundation for our efforts to bring clarity, visibility, and reliability to African financial market data. Our vision is to create value for private equity investors, journalists, researchers and the public sector by helping to improve the financial infrastructure of the continent.

Screwing you at 35,000 ft. Flying is about to change.

Two of the nation’s largest airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, have announced that in 2015, frequent flier points will be based on dollars spent on plane tickets rather than miles flown.

This is a significant change in how frequent flyer mile clubs work. As the name implies, ‘frequent flyer miles’ historically referred to rewards offered to travelers for miles traveled in the air. 


This means that if you flew from Cairo to New York (5,602 miles) versus L.A. to New York (2,500 miles) on most airlines you would earn more reward miles on the Cairo/NY flight than the LA/NY flight. This was always one of the greatest secrets to travel for anyone who lived, worked, or traveled abroad.  You’d earn lots of SkyMiles very rapidly simply leaving the country. The model incentivized international travel because it was the fastest way to earn higher status in these airline loyalty programs, thereby earning more benefits (like upgrades to business class or free flights).

With the latest decision of United and Delta to favor dollars spent, versus miles flown, they’ve taken the first step towards making flying a much worse experience for everyone but the wealthiest individuals and organizations. How so?  

The same hypothetical flight I mention above, can actually cost the same amount of money, even though the flight to Cairo is more than twice the distance. LA to NY is normally around $500, but if you book last minute, fly business or first class, or fly during peak travel season the ticket can easily cost well above $1,250.  

Meanwhile, the economy class ticket from Cairo to NY is almost always between $800 and $2,000 — even when booked last minute.  The only way to buy more (which is what these new rules incentivize) is to pay for a first or business class ticket which can range from between $3,500 to $15,000 per seat! 

These rules make it a lot harder for the average person to change their status, thereby damning you all to tiny seats, only the most awful airline food available (if you even get food), and diminishing carry-on space.

In both scenarios the only way to earn more rewards is to spend more. When you think about it, this was always the case. If you wanted to fly in style, fly first or business class. But the great equalizer was that if you flew a lot for work, or because you had family abroad, or for any number of reasons you could actually push your way into a higher bracket of reward benefits, or join the Million Miler upper echelon of travelers, if you just kept traveling (even if you weren’t spending a whole lot doing it). I call this miler mobility. With these new changes, to get Million Miler status you will essentially have to spend a million actual bucks.

The other ‘hack’ to get around this was tie your Frequent Flyer status to your Hotel, Car Rental, or Credit Card rewards programs. This was quite convenient because you could convert one type of reward to the other. Perhaps you travel a lot for work, or do a lot of public speaking, and they cover all the costs of your hotel rooms. You could take those points and convert them to sky miles to get free flights, or vice versa. 

However, if you think of these frequent flyer points as a type of currency, what this move by airlines has just done is put pressure on their partners (the Car Rental agencies, Hotels, and Credit Cards) to also move their rewards programs to match more of a 1:1 equation with real currency. If the airlines do it, then they effectively lose money if they don’t also do it. Another word for what is ultimately a dramatic jump in pricing is inflation. In the sky, your dollar no longer goes as far as it once did. It only goes as far as a dollar will.

Before this, what was the value of a frequent-flyer mile

Travelers frequently debate on how much accumulated miles are worth, something which is highly variable based on how they are redeemed. An estimate is approximately 1 to 2 cents per mile based on discount (rather than full fare) economy class travel costs.

The airlines themselves value miles in their financial statements at less than one one-thousandth of a cent per mile.

This value was based on a multiple of the miles flown, now it’s based on a multiple of dollars spent. In the example above, I illustrated how you can spend less money going twice the distance as another traveler. This is why these changes aren’t great for the average traveler.

To the airline’s defense, some might say this is simply a market correction. Last year was one of the most traveled years by plane, ever. Increasingly the world is globalized and people are traveling more, from more places to more places.

Perhaps the airlines realized that the currency in some parts of the world is stronger than others. There is no easy way of stopping the wealthy in some countries from buying their tickets from other countries in weaker currencies by using proxy agents like travel agencies. It stands to reason that the airlines have realized these loopholes which once benefited the middle class was not earning them enough to offset the loopholes that were benefitting wealthy purchasers. They are simply trying to capitalize on those who spend more.

Also, to be fair to those wealthy purchasers. It’s my understanding that until now, miles flown were miles flown. They were not really modified by how much one spent. This means if you bought a first-class ticket, you weren’t earning any more or less miles than any an economy class passenger. Even though to buy a first-class ticket with miles, it was way more than an economy class seat. Miles were miles. This scenario actually does suck for anyone who spent $10,000 on a first class ticket if the goal was to earn more rewards in the process.

It was correctly pointed out in the comments that this paragraph is incorrect. Travelers actually do get bonus miles for paying First or Business Class. This is usually some multiple of the base miles one earns flying Economy. When I double-checked, my last flight International flight earned me 25% extra for flying business class.

We all know that the flight experience has greatly diminished over the past few decades. Seats have gotten smaller, meals are less edible, space is sold back to you at a premium. This all echoes the fact that there are simply more travelers, looking to pay less, and regulators looking to fine and charge the airlines more to maintain safety standards.

Whatever the reasons, the result is the same for (you) the average consumer, flying is about to get slightly worse.

The last time I was ever down on myself about my startup was the day someone agreed with me.

Them: "What do you do?"

Me: "Well, I’ve got this small company that I started. It’s not really where I want it to be. I feel like I’m not getting anywhere. We don’t make much money. Nothing works."

Them: "Yeah, that sounds like a dumb idea. Plus, it’s a horrible market and I know guys who are way smarter than you struggling in it. You’re better off doing something else."

That burned.

When you sulk in front of other people, it’s usually because you’re fishing for some reassurance, a little coddling, some empathy. As a kid you run to your mom crying, she gives you a kiss and tells you everything is going to be better. You tell your friends you had a bad day, they tell you to hold your head up. You cry in your lovers arms, she consoles you.

It never occurred to me someone would respond with, "Yeah, you actually do suck."

This made me really think about it…

  • The first person I hired
  • The second employee I hired
  • The third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and so on
  • The first time I was able to make payroll
  • The first time I stared at $0 in the company bank account
  • The first time that person thanked me for believing in them
  • The press I’d gotten, the accolades, the encouragement

Those people all believed in me, why didn’t I? And who the hell was this person to dismiss it all!? 

This is the problem with self-defeat. Rather than pushing back against all the obstacles in front of you, you’re pushing back on all the people who are standing with you. That’s an easier battle to pick that you gain nothing from.

Pushback against the world. 

Entrepreneurship is hard but you do it because it will afford you opportunities no one else in the world will ever have.

You can’t be in it for the financial reward, because there is often no reward. The experience itself has to be part of the reward, otherwise the risk of failing and getting nothing in the end is actually so high no one would ever do it. Statistically, the default outcome for any new business is failure. 

If your sole focus is always how to get paid for your time, you’re not at all wrong. That is almost always the most lucrative & safest route. However, that mindset does put you on a different track altogether. One of dependency, because someone else has found a way of creating the value you then benefit from. 

As entrepreneur, you’re creating the value that others benefit from. It’s ultimately a position of power because other people then depend on you to hire them, fire them or offer them opportunity. Getting that power often comes with the great sacrifice of figuring out how to create the value in the first place.

The below quote is a great description of how these two mindsets yield very different results from an ex-Googler taken from
Amin Ariana’s answer on Quora to the question “What kind of jobs do software engineers who earn $500k per year do?” found here -  http://qr.ae/YxgBp

If you’re a worker in a village who supplies said village with water, you are valuable to its people. 
There are two types of workers:

Type 1 worker: Grabs an empty bucket or two, goes to the sweet water lake, fills them up, comes back and makes twenty people happy. He gets to drink some of that water along the way, and once he gets back, takes some of the water home.

Type 2 worker: Disregards how much of a “fair share” of water he’s getting. Instead of grabbing a bucket, grabs a shovel and a little cup, and disappears for a while. He’s digging a stream from the lake towards the village. Often he disappoints people for having returned from weeks of work with an empty cup. But the elders in the village for some reason believe in him and want to keep him (and throw him a bone so that he doesn’t starve for a little while). Some day, suddenly he shows up with a constantly flowing stream of water behind his back. He puts the Type 1 workers out of water delivery business. They’ll have to go find a different activity and “team” to work with. Type 2 worker, depending on how much control they retained on that stream, get to own a good chunk of it. Because the village wants to acquire and integrate that stream, they compensate the ownership of Type 2 worker in that stream with on par ownership in the village itself, typically land or such.

News media observes the Type 2 worker and his unwillingness to part with his accumulated wealth in return for his added value for the village (often vesting on a schedule, also known as golden handcuffs); and spins it such that it looks as if another village tried to woo that worker but was met with unexpected resistance.

The resulting media impression, in the mind of Type 1 workers, feels like pay inequity. This is because Type 1 workers expect equal rewards for equal time spent being loyal to the same village.

The overlooked detail is that not all sweat creates equal value. 
Type 2 worker was willing to break some rules, becoming an outcast and going hungry for an indeterminate period of time to create an automated stream of wealth for the village. Worker 1 expects to “get paid” this value by performing “skills” or “tasks”. The basis of this line of reasoning doesn’t yield the desired results. The key difference is risk taking with no guarantees.

Arguably almost all of the pioneers of the village itself (in this case Google) were Type 2 workers who held their thirst for years before establishing the stream of billions of dollars. 

So let me tell you another story:

In May 2009, a career Type 1 worker applied for a job at Twitter. He was turned down. In Aug 2009 he applied for a job at Facebook. He was turned down again. He decided to set out on an “adventure” and picked up Type 2 work, digging a stream of revenue from the lake of humanity’s communication needs to the village of incorporated chatterboxes manifested in the very two companies that had rejected his Type 1 services.

Along the way when he and another friend were digging the stream, their inspired group grew to 55 individuals, and the elders of other villages threw them a few bones, $250K at first, then $8MM and eventually $50MM by Sequoia Capital once the stream was going to obviously be successful.

Three hours before this very moment that I’m writing this, CNN announced that this Type 2 worker’s stream "is purchased by Facebook for $19 Billion".

Facebook just purchased WhatsApp. And Brian Acton, after five years of “digging a revenue stream” for Facebook’s business, is now a capital owner in Facebook; a place where he originally applied for a job and got denied.

If you’re an entrepreneur, you’re aiming for Type 2. But many new entrepreneurs still have the Type 1 mindset, that alone can cause you to fail. If you’re Type 1, there’s nothing wrong with that either, you’re creating a different type of value for different reasons.

Always know where you choose to stand, as a Type 1 worker or as Type 2. 

I’ve been in the tech startup ecosystem for around 8-years now and in that time I’ve sat through countless startup bootcamps and fireside sessions where successful entrepreneurs offer their sage advice to young,  novice entrepreneurs about how to get started, how to raise money, and how to succeed in tech. I always felt a little out of place that none of that advice applied to me or my experience.

There are many reasons for this I suppose. As a Black-American I represent less than 2% of the types of tech founders who get backed by VCs. I represent even less, of the norm of the founders who go on to exit.  Also, I didn’t go to an Ivy League school. In fact I didn’t even go a to a ‘real’ college. I went to an art school. I never finished. I never formally studied tech. I taught myself how to code on an IBM PS2 in rural Georgia in a single-parent household. I never considered a career in tech until I took the leap and just did it. I also, never took venture capital. Instead I bootstrapped myself through several business (Appfrica, MetaLayer, D8A) until I became an angel investor myself.

All the while, I was getting advice from startup accelerators and experienced entrepreneurs and couldn’t help but get the impression that my path was some how wrong or less than. It’s not that the advice they gave was completely wrong, it just needed contextualizing. My experiences were different, and often my goals were different than what I was told they were supposed to be. As a result, my story never quite matched that of the other people who were building companies beside me. Hopefully other founders out there, minority or not, will read this and know that it’s okay to follow a slightly different path. As I say on my Twitter page:

Here are some examples of some of the common advice you’ll get as a founder:


What they’ll tell you:  “If you need startup capital, do a friends and family round. Those closest to you will take a risk on you before anyone else will.”

What  you’ll say to yourself: “I’ve already tried that a dozen times. None of my friends and none of my family understand what I’m trying to do, much less have the money to invest, or the liquidity to invest and wait several years for a return.”

What I tell people now is that, yes, if you haven’t asked already you’ve got nothing to lose by going deep into your network to see if anyone has the capital to invest in your product or idea. So do it.

But don’t be discouraged if you come up empty handed. Your friends and family might not be able to give you capital but they can give you something: introductions to colleagues, a couch to sleep on if you can’t make rent, co-sign on a loan or rent application etc. If you know they don’t have the money, tweak the ask to be something they are able to comfortably give to support you.  Your friends and/or family do want to support you, but their own extenuating circumstances may prevent it from being cash.  Be flexible, let them help you.


What they’ll tell you:  “The best way to raise capital is to have rich friends.”

What  you’ll say to yourself: “Thanks for that advice. Unfortunately, everyone I know still ride the bus to work….and no, not the damn Google bus.”

This is also true. If you’ve got some rich friends who believe in you, problem solved.

However, in my experience even the wealthy friends, advisors, and mentors who I do know rarely invest in me. They’ve invested in other peers from different backgrounds and other ventures of different types but never mine. The only thing I can assume is that the things I work on aren’t as interesting, my pitch isn’t right, or my timing is bad. Whatever the case, there’s always a reason why I’m not not the best investment option for them.  You may feel the same, or you may have no rich friends (not surprisingly a common problem).

So double down on yourself and your ability to sell. Don’t rely on other people’s money if you don’t have to. I would argue, that there’s virtually no business idea under the sun you can’t get some traction on even if you lack capital.

What it will force you to do is get really good at ‘the lean startup’ model so popular these days. No product? Make the best web page that you can possibly make explaining what your product is going to do, with videos, a newsletter, a blog etc. Ramp up your company’s social media presence to try to build some credibility in the space. Form partnerships with potential customers or other companies who can help you get traction. There is an endless list of things that can be done to help you get more market validation, which you’ll need to have conversations with investors. I found, and what you may find, is that in doing all this you’ll find a quicker path to revenue than investment.


What they’ll tell you:  “There’s three types of companies. Lifestyle businesses, services business and product business. The only one investors are interested in at an early stage is the product business.”

What you’ll say to yourself: “What’s the difference? I just want to be able to pay myself every month.”

The implication in the above statement is that the only way to succeed is to raise capital from a VC who can guide you on the path to wealth and fame.

First, honestly if you want to be able to pay yourself every month — without any risk to the alternative — go get a job. By definition as an entrepreneur you’re taking a risk no one else has taken before, to validate a way of approaching the market no one has ever pursued before, to (hopefully) earn the types of returns others can only dream of.

Get used to failure and high-risk scenarios. Those are your two new best friends.

Second, success looks like different things to different people. Where I come from, being able to pay yourself doing your own thing is a huge accomplishment. In fact, it’s unprecedented. So a lifestyle business or a service business certainly meet the criteria of success for most people I grew up with. They key here is to know what your definition of success is and pursue that. Knowing what success is the key to knowing how to achieve it.

If you want to want to open a shop repairing computers, do graphic design and app development, or offer some other type of service. Do it. It will pay the bills. It will pay the rent. You’ll drive a nice car. But those aren’t typically the type of investment opportunities VCs are looking for, so don’t waste your time talking to them about such startups.

The reason VCs avoid these kinds of businesses is because they take much longer to grow, there’s usually no guaranteed recurring revenue, and to scale they need to hire more people at every level of growth. All of that accounts for thin margins usually due to high overhead. Subsequently when it comes time to exit, the multiples are much lower. It doesn’t mean those aren’t viable, lucrative businesses. It just means they aren’t what most VCs are after.

Those are services companies. Many of these are also lifestyle businesses, which simply means people do them to maintain a certain standard of living.

If you can build a business where you pay yourself $60,000 a year and have few employees would you be okay with that? $80,000? $120,000?  That’s all great - pay yourself and be happy. You didn’t ‘lose’ in the game of life because you built a company that can take care of yourself, your family, and your other responsibilities while paying yourself nicely and being your own boss. You won.

You may not be in the 1% of wealthy people, but you’re likely in the 10% of businesses that don’t fail within the first few years of launch. Shoot for that 1%. The 1% of businesses that survive more than three or four years, that have employees, and that are more or less your dream job. You won, you just won a different battle than the one the Angel Investors, VCs, and Startup Accelerators encourage you to fight.


What they’ll tell you:  “That’s bullshit! High-tech! Recurring revenue! GROWTH!!”

What you’ll say to yourself: “Okay, I’m in.”

If you are building a company that is meant to be high-growth, tech-first with low margins, recurring revenue and you want to fund it equity or debt then yes, now you’re on the same page as all the investors and accelerators.  Still, there is more than one way to ‘win’.

One is to do everything text book startup-style. Build a great product, get some traction, do an angel round, a seed round, Series A, Series B and so on until you Exit and retire on a yacht.

What no one tells you at the beginning is that there are so many variations to this ‘path’ its ridiculous. For instance:

- You could become a ‘zombie’ company. Which means you get your first few rounds of institutional capital but then you are never able to find an exit. You’ve still got great revenue and great staff but all your investors money is still tied up in your business because maybe you’re still to small to sell or go public. Again, it depends on where you come from. Some people would kill for this as an opportunity. For others, it’s literally their worst nightmare.

- You could do an angel round and never get to Series A. What they call the ’Series A crunch’.

- You could ‘acqui-hire’ away yourself and your team. Essentially, selling the company on the cheap for guaranteed jobs at a bigger company.

For some people, each of these is a type of success, for others it’s not. Don’t mistake other’s people’s definition of success for your own. Know what works for you and fuck what a millionaire investor tells you because he’s playing a different game. To him success looks different. He’s spread his money around lots of high risk companies on the off chance one of them does IPO or exits with a huge multiple to make him even richer. He’s waiting for that and if you aren’t doing that, then yes, you are in fact wasting his time. But unless you take his money you’re not defined by his definition of success.

Ultimately, you don’t have to take anyone’s money. You can bootstrap. Some people will view that as a slow painful way to build a company. Again, for some people slow and painful is all we know. So that’s not actually a setback…it’s the default. Again, know your definition of success.

Bootstrapping will definitely cost you things, like the rate at which your company grows and being able to hang in certain circles. Other VC-backed startups will scoff at you as if your company doesn’t matter. You might not be on the conference circuit. You might struggle to get intros to high profile customers etc.

However, bootstrapping will afford you very different opportunities. You have the benefit of building the company you want to build your way. You can pay yourself whatever you can afford. You can grow however you want and you can always (if you still want to) take on VC money later.

This is basically what GitHub did. They built the company they wanted, their way, by bootstrapping and took on VC when they chose to it. They knew what their definition of success looked like and they crushed it.


What they’ll tell you:  “There’s a unique culture in Silicon Valley. Get into it. You should spend more time socializing with other founders and learning from them.”

What you’ll say to yourself: “You mean…assimilate?”

There’s a great post entitled "The next thing Silicon Valley needs to disrupt is its own culture” that I encourage you to read. It goes into this much more eloquently than I have time for here. 

Assimilating into a culture isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Sometimes it’s necessary.  However, don’t forget that your diversity and perspective is an asset. It’s an opportunity to see and do things in the tech space in ways few others may have considered. That might lead to new insights about customer segments, or just bringing something new to the table. People don’t know what they don’t know. By definition being the minority of a group means you’ve brought a number of things to the table that weren’t there before.

I fucking hate ping-pong. There, I said it.

That’s the kiss of death for the 40% of startups whose offices have fuse ball tables, arcade games, and ping-pong tables in each corner of their space. I’ll likely never be hired by any of those companies, or acquired by them. I’m just out because for them, ping-pong is a cultural value.

However, I’m still a founder. I still love tech and entrepreneurship as much as these guys. I’m still trying to create value out of nothing like them. I’m still going to do it. Culture doesn’t have to define us. It’s a tool to use to bond with different people, but it’s not the only way to bond.

So without compromising your own uniqueness, by all means associate with everyone in the tech ecosystem. But know that people rejecting you because of ‘cultural fit’ has very little to do with you and everything to do with them and their insecurity about something that has nothing to do with you.

It’s no different than being the last guy or girl to get picked for sports on the field or the person who never got invited to all the cool parties in high school. It may make you an outlier. For a while…but eventually there’s quite a few people who share the same reason for rejection and all of a sudden there’s a new culture that you’re a part of and someone else isn’t.  Funny how that works.

Beyond all this, what everyone will respect (if they don’t respect your culture) is success. Succeed your way. Let people respect that. Forget culture. You are a culture of one.


What they’ll tell you:  “Tech is a meritocracy. Stop worrying about being discriminated against.”

What you’ll say to yourself: “Are you serious.”

Yes. They are serious. This is because no matter what occurs in the world of tech it can be rationalized. Smart people are really good at convincing themselves they aren’t doing the same things less smart people do.

‘It’s not inequality. We just work harder and create more value than everyone else so we’re rewarded for it.’

‘It’s not sexism. Women just don’t like tech as much as guys do. They get discouraged too easily. They aren’t as focused.’

And so on.

The reality is, in Silicon Valley and the broader tech ecosystem that emulates it there are mostly good people, a few with a loose moral compass, and a few down right bad people (what compass?). It’s no different than any other random grouping of people in life. Some people are going to be dicks. Those people will discriminate.

You can’t worry about this. I’ll repeat it, stop worrying about being discriminated against in tech. No one can do anything about someone not liking, not trusting, or fearing you. Even if you forced them to hire everyone they have bias against. The fact of the matter is you’d still be discriminated against….only secretly. 

What you can do is focus. You need to do that any way as an entrepreneur. You can build a company that’s undeniably cool, undeniably valuable, and undeniably important. No one can take that from you even if they never invest in you, put you on a stage, or on the cover a magazine.  You will have still have done it and before long others will want to do what you did instead of what the other guys did.  

You’ll still win. You’ll just do it your way. 

“If you told people you’d give them 5 cents for each shopping bag they brought from home they’d laugh in your face. Nobody is going to do an extra bit of work to be paid five cents even though they would do that work to avoid paying 5 cents. That’s loss aversion at work.”