I put education before anything and that was a testament to my family. My parents were very adamant about me being a smart person, a good person, and an athlete third. Those things stuck with me. Even though I’m proud of the accomplishments and everything I did in sports, having my degree from University of Virginia, graduating in three years—those were the things that stand out for me.
What inspired you to start a tech company?
I think, even as a kid, I was always inquisitive, and I’ve always wanted to know a lot more about the world. I think, once I was able to go to college, make it to the NFL, experience different places and play on different teams, it just made me that much more hungry to understand what else is out there.
I met up with a couple of people in 2012 who introduced me to a website, and through that website I started to get really interested in technology and how it worked. And through that I created my own technology company and my own social networking app called Castar. And from there the ideas just continued to build.
I watched The Social Network movie about Mark Zuckerberg and a light bulb came on. If you can create something that helps people, create something that people need and something that people can benefit from, then ultimately you’ll benefit from it as well. And that’s how I came up with the idea for my app and for my technology company. And now I’m kind of like this tech nerd.
I think technology is the one thing that connects the world. As far as I see the world, you have religion and you have technology. The way the world is now, technology even connects religion. Without technology you can’t spread religion as fast. Technology is the number one thing that African Americans don’t feel we belong in and that’s the number one thing in the world that makes the most money.
December is coming up again and a lot of people are looking to support more black business owners through the #notanotherdime movement. Is supporting black-owned businesses a necessary component in African Americans fighting for social change?
Look at it like this: White businesses support white businesses. Asian businesses support Asian businesses. Hispanic businesses support Hispanic businesses. Any time people in your space support you, your chances of being successful go up.
Black people hold a lot of weight in this country. Even though we don’t make up the largest percentage, we still hold a lot of weight culturally, financially, and in the entertainment industry. So imagine if we continued to support each other’s businesses and ventures, how much more powerful we would be instead of fighting over scraps from other races. Now it just seems as if there’s so much separation. We have to understand the value that we bring to the country and, in general, to the race. Our dollar is valuable.
Mia Hall is a speaker, writer, and community strategist with a focus on the business of sports and entertainment. She has worked with organizations such as the WNBA, NY Knicks, and Barclays Center. She is passionate about the youth of today and committed to organizations such as PowerPlay NYC, Inc. Hall is a graduate of Hampton University and Harvard University. A native of Brooklyn, New York, she covers events in New York City and beyond.