The tech industry thinks very highly of itself, and why shouldn't it. It gave us computers and consumer Internet and email and iPhones and social networking and music streaming and such. This shit is not only cool, but it's also extremely beneficial to society in a lot of ways. It's definitely the best innovation this side of the Model T.
The tech industry titans are led by some of the brightest most disruptive thinkers in American history.
Elon Musk is pursuing electric vehicles with Tesla, space travel with SpaceX and more efficient land travel with Hyperloop.
Jack Dorsey is the CEO of not one, but two multi-billion-dollar, publicly-traded tech companies in Square and Twitter.
Mark Zuckerberg recently announced an initiative that will tap his billions of dollars in wealth "to advance human potential and promote equality."
Jeff Bezos is taking on Wal-Mart while also taking on Apple while also taking on Elon Musk with his own space travel endeavor.
I see some of the most ambitious and intelligent men in the world taking on some major issues facing our society and people today. Yet, the ethnic diversity within their own companies and leadership teams is so dismal and so paltry that one could assume one of those things:
1) Either aiming for diversity in tech is a problem too big to pursue either because the market is not mature enough (like trying to launch Uber before the iPhone existed) or the competitors are too entrenched (like competing with Big Banks or Big Government).
2) The leaders in tech (VCs, CEOs, boards) believe this problem is not consequential enough to pursue in the first place either because - in thinking about addressing the problem at scale - the acquisition cost is too high (inability to reach product-market fit) or the unit economics don't work (inability to reach profitability).
I worry a lot about people who believe it's #2 because they are likely living under the myth of meritocracy.
I personally believe it's #1, which doesn't mean the problem of low to non-existent ethnic diversity in the tech industry can't be solved, but that we'll likely need someone even more ambitious and audacious than Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos and Jack Dorsey to take on the problem.
My guess is we'll need an ethnic minority to lead this charge a la Sheryl Sandberg with the #LeanIn Movement and the resulting push in VC-land to back more female entrepreneurs and tech leaders, which has yielded a number of unicorn-status startups (e.g. Anne Wojcicki with 23&Me and Elizabeth Holmes with Theraonos) and promotions for talented women whom historically were secondary to white males when seeking funds and elevated roles.
But what comes first: the chicken or the egg?
Conundrums often force people to stick with what they know, unfortunately. Until a disruptive force comes along...