‘Black in America’: Curtiss Pope, One Year Later

Former Microsoft programmer talks about his hometown, Silicon Valley

Since day one my company has been …

Profitable because of the Supermarket API, which we sell to developers and retailers. It is the company’s profit center.  The business model for the company has changed quite a bit. AisleFinder is not the money maker; the API is the moneymaker. Because of it we have a more targeted way to generate revenue.  We make enough to support our operations currently.

The best business advice I received from a NewMe mentor…

There are no rules. I don’t remember who said it but once I heard that I had to realign my thinking.

Blacks in Silicon Valley are…

More visible, but I’m not sure if the environment is better or worse for blacks here. There are still a lot of people crying bloody murder about racism in tech, but I’ve never had that issue and I have lived here my whole life. There are a ton of blacks here, but I query as to what they are doing and what companies they are involved in.

The solution for increasing the number of blacks in Silicon Valley is…

Ultimately: solving hard problems, which is something that people shy away from. They would rather spend their time and resources trying to invent the next twitter instead of building apps that help people track their blood sugar. Focusing on solving bigger problems is where it’s at. I always feel as though thinking big is the solution to [diversity].

When it comes to shedding a light on the problem, the Black in America documentary did…

The same thing as a walk for cancer does.  It increases awareness and gets people that are concerned or have been impacted to build stronger support networks. I never looked at it as something that would solve all the issues around the subject. When was the last time a tv show did that?

What could it have done differently? Not focusing on…

Participants who have raised substantial amounts of capital crying about how the world is against them and how they’re being discriminated against because of being black. I got two words for you: Shut up. I know that seems overly critical, but others were thinking it too. I feel its important to speak my mind.

As a NewMe Accelerator graduate, I gained…

A great network of determined people.

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