DBT in HBR: Advice on Launching a Tech Startup When You’re Not a White Man
I’m excited to let you know that Harvard Business Review just published an article I wrote for startup entrepreneurs. Many thanks to the team at HBR for their excellent editing! Following is an excerpt, and I invite you to read the full piece at HBR or buy a copy of my book, Mechanical Bull: How You Can Achieve Startup Success.
Whether intentional or not, the tech startup landscape has been optimized for middle- and upper-class white males. According to one analysis, 77% of venture-backed founders are white and 90% of them are men.
If you are a nontraditional tech entrepreneur — meaning you aren’t a white man — it’s important to understand the environment you’ll be navigating and the challenges you need to overcome to succeed in this field.
1) Don’t Be Afraid to Fail Up
While every entrepreneur knows failure is a possibility, women and minorities feel more social pressure to be risk averse. Risk carries a higher price for them, real or perceived. This is especially true if you are a black or brown person. We are surrounded by news and media that teach us we will be treated differently because of the color of our skin, even in seemingly safe situations. This narrative is validated every time we are eyed suspiciously for simply walking down the sidewalk, told to “dim our light” or “smile more,” and of course, when we are confused for another person of color in the office.
Image credit: Jonathan Knowles/Getty Images