Growing up, we attended Watchnight service on December 31st. Given our church’s prophetic beliefs, the Senior Pastor would always deliver a message of futuristic insight of what we could expect as a body, a people, a nation and the world in the coming year. Clearly not for everybody, these predictions, per se, are more of an intuitive guide or roadmap for those who may have great faith and discernment, but are so stubborn that it takes a special word from heaven in order for us to hear. He who hath an ear, let him hear!
The same applies here.
Hear ye a vetted word for technologists, entrepreneurs, investors and ecosystem builders in 2018.
1. Inclusive ecosystem building will become more mainstreamed. More policy makers, government leaders, chambers, foundations and funders of traditional economic development will embrace the reality that entrepreneur-led inclusive ecosystem building is the model of the future. Building startup ecosystems that include all of a city’s constituents - including its
- Rich, middle class and poor;
- Black, Latinx, Asian, immigrant and white;
- Young and old;
- Straight or LGBT;
- Democrat, Independent and Republican; as well as
- Native or new American and beyond
will yield the greatest economic output in the form of new skills development, startup acceleration, high growth and high demand job creation, funding, scale and multi-generational wealth creation. Funding will follow.
2. Silicon Valley will continue to lose the privilege of referring to itself as the “gold standard” of tech ecosystems, startup communities and meritocracy. With more recognizable exits in smaller US cities, we’ll see a renewed interested in startup communities, venture fund investing and corporate innovation throughout the Southeast and Midwest.
3. Due to our current political climate, tech hubs and startups will quietly scale back their diversity programming and outreach while doubling down against any authentic diversity and inclusion work, recruitment and investment. Why? Simply because most of tech probably embraces the ideologies of the alt-right and alt-tech, even if they are subtle about it.
4. There will be an exodus of top minority technical (and non-technical) talent from west coast tech companies into Fortune 500 companies located on the east coast that are both further and farther along in actual appreciation of authentically diverse talent and how this commitment actually increases economic output. Some of this talent will go to work at high growth startups or even launch their own enterprises.
5. In response to this exodus, a large west coast technology company will make a multi-year billion dollar commitment to global and comprehensive inclusive ecosystem building. By embracing a new and unique approach to addressing the lack of continued intersectional racial and gender diversity, inclusion and equity in tech, this will be a game-changing decision for this company and its board that will rock the entire industry.
6. Accelerated training and educational programs like coding, sales and entrepreneurship bootcamps will begin to popup at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s), technical schools, community colleges, and other minority serving institutions, thereby allowing more Americans from socially disadvantaged, rural and poorer communities the opportunity to learn the necessary technical education, training and skills to work at tech companies or launch startups in this first quarter of the century.
7. Look for two large acquisitions of black owned high growth companies. Expect some silent failures as well. Remember, failure is not fraud. Let’s cover these founders as they pivot to their next venture.
8. A very wealthy and successful black business CEO will launch a large seed stage venture fund in order to provide startup capital to minority lead firms. It won’t be a rapper. It won’t be an athlete. It will be a business owner - someone who has built a company in the supplier diversity space up from the ground.
9. More Black and Latinx Americans will get involved in cryptocurrency and blockchain - whether through mining, trading, blockchain product development or ICO’s.
10. Civil and human rights organizations will make racial equity in tech a primary mission. New leadership will arise and embrace the intersectionality of civil, human and economic rights.
11. Africa’s tech scene will have a major catalytic event - either an incubator launch, startup funding or high profile exit - that will propel the continent forward as a major player in the global technology and entrepreneurship ecosystem.
Are you ready for next year?
I am that I am.