Tech Innovator of the Week: Sherrell Dorsey, Founder of The Plug
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

Sherell Dorsey has always had a passion for technology. However, when reading tech news, something bothered her.

“Most of the tech reporting is centralized around a couple of people,” she says, listing the usual suspects; Mark Zuckerberg, Elan Musk, Tim Cook, and so on.

“I would only see these white men being heralded as leaders of the tech industry,” says Dorsey.

However, she knew otherwise. “I have friends who are really building amazing products and services that didn’t have their voices getting shared,” she says.

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Spreading the Black Tech Word

 

This realization inspired her to launch The Plug–a daily newsletter focusing on black people and technology.

With The Plug, Dorsey created a lean content platform to quickly get content out to as many people as possible. The site aggregates tech news involving people of color via Feedly. The content is the pushed out to subscribers in a daily newsletter.

“We don’t have a lot of time, and we have tons of websites,” she explains. “That is a lot of content; everyone is producing content. It is about amplifying other people’s words.”

There is another interesting aspect to The Plug–a “lead” section. After a subscriber reads the top five stories in the newsletter, they can access the lead section. It serves as a “call-to-arms” and highlights ways they can engage in the tech community by listing requests for keynote speakers at various events, advance leadership, and more.

Making an Impact

 

Since The Plug‘s inception this past April, Dorsey says the site has achieved over 300% month-to-month growth. She says the platform is attracting a diverse group of subscribers, including investors. She says the next phase is to fundraise and grow further by bringing on different editors and an expert to assist with back-end design.

“It’s not about, ‘Here’s your news, and goodbye!’” she says. “This is your chance to engage.”

Dorsey also says her site plays a role in a subject she is learning more and more about–data journalism. “I am really starting to understand how data journalists have this real interest in tracking trends,” says Dorsey. She says knowing trends can have an incredible impact on the community at large and can address issues, such as unemployment.

 

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Samara Lynn

Samara Lynn is a technology journalist, covering the industry for a decade. Her work appears in The Wirecutter, Tom's Hardware, PC Mag, and other online outlets. She's the author of "Windows Server 2012: Up and Running" and previously worked in the IT industry. She's currently the digital manager at Black Enterprise.


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