StartUpTown Weekend – Stanford

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
There are a number of organizations that teach coding and other STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Science) skills to women and to people of color, but this in simply not enough. Speaking as someone who scored in 99th percentile on math portion of the SAT and graduated from an Ivy League university with a Computer Science degree, I have first-hand knowledge of the limitation of the teaching of skills and excelling academically. Langston Hughes was an engineering major at Columbia University with a B+ average, but dropped out partial due to racial prejudice.
About 10 years ago, I developed a local entertainment television show called Live From VA that interviewed such guests as: Academy Award winner Mo’NiqueRussell Simmons & Rev RunKanye WestPharell Willams & Chad Hugo (the Neptunes), and Katt Williams. The underlying idea for the television show was to develop a tech company based on the strengths African-Americans, for example music. Considering the recent $3 billion sale of Beats By Dr. Dre to Apple, maybe there is something to this basic philosophy. This philosophy continues in a new venture called Pistis Database Services.
Kanye West Live From VA

Kanye West before the release of his first album on Live From VA with Christine and Chanel.

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.

From a NPR story, we find that university professors often do not treat all their student equally:
And all they were measuring was how often professors wrote back agreeing to meet with the students. And what they found was there were very large disparities. Women and minorities systematically less likely to get responses from the professors and also less likely to get positive responses from the professors. Now remember, these are top faculty at the top schools in the United States and the letters were all impeccably written…
There’s absolutely no benefit seen when women reach out to female faculty, nor do we see benefits from black students reaching out to black faculty or Hispanic students reaching out to Hispanic faculty….
Faculty at private schools were significantly more likely to discriminate against women and minorities than faculty at public schools. And faculty in fields that were very lucrative were also more likely to discriminate. So there was very little discrimination in the humanities. There was more discrimination among faculty at the natural sciences. And there was a lot of discrimination among the faculty at business schools.
To address the lack of support that some students at college and universities receive, we are planning StartUpTown Weekend which includes the Make America Again! Concert.
These biases do not end at graduation. For example, Francis Flynn when he was a professor at Columbia University did a study involving a real-life entrepreneur named Heidi Roizen. He describe how she became a successful venture capitalist by relying on her outgoing personality and huge personal and professional network. He had a group of students read Roizen’s story with her real name attached and another group read the story with the name changed to “Howard.” Then the students rated Howard and Heidi on their accomplishments and on how appealing they seemed as colleagues. While the students rated them equally in terms of success, they thought Howard was likable while Heidi seemed selfish and not “the type of person you would want to hire or work for.”
Heidi Roizen

Heidi Roizen, more likable as a man?

A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.
~ Steve Jobs
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

From a article we learn:

In 1887, Sayce first noted the parallels between Genesis 1 and the Egyptian cosmogony of Hermopolis: “the chaotic deep; the ‘breath’ moving on the waters; the creation of light; the emergence of the hill ‘in the middle of the waters.’” Unfortunately, his work was largely ignored.

In 1933 and 1934, Yahuda identified several similarities between Genesis 1-2 and ancient Egyptian texts. He also identified Egyptian influence throughout the Pentateuch.

In 1982, Cyrus Gordon showed similarities between the Egyptian and Hebrew traditions of the creation of man. He drew several parallels between the creation tradition of Khnum, the potter-god, and Genesis 2:4-25

So we find that the writers of the Bible borrowed religious ideas and imagery from other cultures such as Ancient Egypt, Babylonia, and Assyria. Instead of retaining the more balanced masculine/feminine dynamics of the other cultures, the writers of the Bible made the ideas and imagery patriarchal.

In another blog entry, I quote from a book telling us that knowing a person’s image of God provides us with an opportunity to understand the most intimate moral and introspective conversations they have. And if we know your answer to these two questions:

  1. To what extent does God interact with the world?
  2. To what extent does God judge the world?

Then we have tremendous insight into your entire worldview. So if our societal image of God is patriarchal and white what does this mean for people who are not white men?

As stated in the 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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