StartUpTown Weekend

StarttUpTown Weekend - Stanford

February 2015

Langston Hughes

We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!
“Let American Be American Again”
By Langston Hughes
In 1987, when I was a senior at Penn, I developed an interactive textbook on a PC as my senior project. Over 25 years later and this is still a viable idea but I never did anything with the idea after I graduated. I never had the support to develop it any further.

According to U.S. Census Bureau data, in 2008, blacks and Hispanics constituted only 1.5% and 4.7% respectively of the Valley’s tech population —well below national tech-population averages of 7.1% and 5.3%. You hardly find any blacks in positions of leadership in Silicon Valley companies. There is at least an unconscious bias.

In a Huffington Post article, we also learn:

The 2013 unemployment rate for recent college grads who are black was almost twice that of recent college grads overall…. Black men also tend to be underrepresented in management and professional occupations and over-represented in low-wage work.

Unemployment rates recent college graduates

Racial minorities are more likely than white students to be suspended from school, to have less access to rigorous math and science classes, and to be taught by lower-paid teachers with less experience, according to comprehensive data released Friday by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.
In another article by Vivek Wadhwa, he tells why Indians have been successful:

Indians have done amazingly well as entrepreneurs in the Valley, but other groups—African Americans and women, to name two—remain largely out of sight.

Why were Indians so successful?

They agreed that the key to uplifting their community, and fostering more entrepreneurship in general, was to teach and mentor the next generation of entrepreneurs.

With this in mind, we are planning StartUpTown Weekend which includes the Make America Again! Concert.
According to Chris Dixon at Startup School 2013, there are two ways to develop startup ideas: through direct experience with tools/technologies, problems, perspectives; or through abstract things like analyst reports, trends, analogies (Airbnb for X, Uber for Y). The best ideas come through direct experience. The abstract things tend to be an encapsulation of conventional wisdom. When you diff your direct experience with conventional wisdom, that’s where the best startup ideas come from.
Since the direct experience of the people on the other side of the digital divide is very different, it should be the source of some great startup ideas.
In the design of the banner is the symbol of Ma’at. Because of Ma’at, the Ancient Egyptians knew that everything in the universe worked on a pattern, just as, later on the Greeks called the underlying order of the universe logos (meaning, order, pattern).
Central Park Obelisk

The obelisk in Central Park contains the throne name of Ramessess the Great “User-Ma’at-Ra” or Ra’s Ma’at is strong.

In the beginning was the Word (Logos),
and the Word (Logos) was with God,
and the Word (Logos) was God.
~ John 1:1
Vatican Obelisk

The obelisk at Saint Peter Square in the Vatican is over 4000 years old and originally stood in the Ancient Egyptian city of Heliopolis.

StartUpTown Weekend – Stanford
Will promote the Virtues of Ma’at:
Truth, Justice, Righteousness, Harmony, Balance, Order & Reciprocity
As stated in another blog entry, “Innovation Requires Empathy and Faith,” we must come to grips with the fact that:

[S]omething has gone so terribly wrong with the US private sector—the supposed engine of economic growth and the supposed creators of jobs. When the best firms have rates of return on assets or on invested capital of, on average, just over one percent, we have a management catastrophe on our hands.

In addition to something being terribly wrong with the US private sector, we also have a problem with our education system. As explained by Harvard Professor Clayton Christensen in a New York Times article:

Today, the educational skills necessary to start companies that focus on empowering innovations are scarce. Yet our leaders are wasting education by shoveling out billions in Pell Grants and subsidized loans to students who graduate with skills and majors that employers cannot use.

The fundamental problem is our institutions were designed in the 19th Century to solve Industrial Age problems, as Daniel Pink tells us in Drive:

When it comes to motivation, there’s a gap between what science knows and what business does. Our current business operating system–which is built around external, carrot-and-stick motivators–doesn’t work and often does harm. We need an upgrade. And the science shows the way. This new approach has three essential elements: 1. Autonomy – the desire to direct our own lives. 2. Mastery— the urge to get better and better at something that matters. 3. Purpose — the yearning to do what we do in the service of soething larger than ourselves.

It is time to adopt new education and business paradigms that reflects the science.
Dan Pink - Purpose

RSA Animate – Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us

Our economy, our democracy, and our society would all benefit from reducing inequality and increasing equality of opportunity. ~ The Price of Inequality by Joseph E. Stiglitz
We also have two blog entries about ideas that we are exploring for this StartUpTown Weekend:
Kill and Burn Hollywood
WiFi to Close the Digital Divide

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