C O M P E T I T I O N | D I V E R S I T Y & C H A R A C T E R I S T I C S

At the young, tender age of 6, my grandfather told me something that has stuck with me ever since:

“Never be respectful to those who aren’t respectful to you.”

As an entrepreneur, I constantly find myself fighting those heedful words because I’m constantly being told that I can’t come-off like an “angry Black man” since the aura of rancor may scare off potential investment money that would otherwise be extended from the hands of flatline, encephalograph, SV-residing, decidedly Caucasoid extraordinaires who spend their days attending demo days while their simultaneously locked in a state of absent-mindedness, dilly-dallying and mentally slipping away into a kaleidoscopic, cerebral utopia as the ethereal sonics of UB-40 scintillate all-around the dramatic scenery of their dreams’ parameters as they sit in front of an attentive audience that anxiously awaits their “requisite”, sage advice they’ve acquired over years of experience from starting their own companies since the young, highly-impressionable epoch of the “eager twenties” back in the 1980s when they were fortunate enough to have descended from a lineage of families that had the scrilla-in-the-bank to help supplement their “hopes and dreams” in addition to the skycap-tipping profits accumulated from entire summers of mowing lawns and painting garage doors.

However, I’m not at all concerned with how they “think” (snicker); I’m more or so perturbed with their further dalliance into the gulf from which there is no point of return–no different than death. Yes, I’m getting ready to infer my in-depth perspective on the decision-making that takes place all the way over there on that side of the Mississippi. Bet, I might as well say Gehenna. I’m alluding to Silly Ass Valley Silicon Valley–a locale where you’ll never see Hexagon Lavish® establish itself. And, as you all can see, I’m not the kind of entrepreneur who’ll stand up and clap his hands together whenever Ben Horowitz and Marc Andreessen walk out onstage to deliver their flawed perspectives on why they can’t comprehend the failure rate of SV-based startups or sit there in that same attentive audience to hear the four-letter-word pasquinades of Chamath Palihapitiya or watch Sheryl Sandberg leave the aura of grace laced with a little bit of Massengill on the faces of those who long to be the manifestation of the noun diversity–in the tech industry overall. Silicon Valley is a haven for these cash-rich/credibility-poor Leprechauns–and, at the same time–it’s a would-be haven for those who truly want to penetrate a multitude of consumer-based markets with products that either were or are-to-be developed to actually “benefit humanity“, like software for allergen detection, distinction, classification and analysis, but most of you investors (yeah, I know you’re reading) would rather “donate” (snicker) $1 billion to some clandestine non-profit organization whose mission is to prevent the advent of Skynet.

Hey, just so that I’m assured that I am not going crazy, let me see if I can get this right. San Francisco, California-based hardware firm, 6SensorLabs, is pushing out their portable, food allergen sensor at a price of $249, however, they have already obtained over $8M in funding to do so. Atlanta, Georgia-based scientific R&D/high-tech startup, Hexagon Lavish®, is developing PIR (short for Premier Information Retrieval), scientific software for allergen detection, distinction, classification and analysis, that will be used for both consumer markets and various commercial markets and has yet to obtain a single penny in funding.

Washington, D.C.-based NFC skin-patch developers, Gentag, is working on producing modular sensors that will be used for smartphone application of the near-field communication technology…..you know what? I’m not going to go through the whole cache of HL®’s “competitors”, and you may say to yourselves, “Well, that’s so unprofessional…”.

A lot of you are way too highly-impressionable and easily gullible to the point that now it’s difficult for me to take the large majority of you seriously–and by “you“–I’m mainly referring to the denizens of so-called “entrepreneurs” who claim Silicon Valley as their preferred locale are nothing more than delusional twenty-something eunuchs and 40+ year old male-humans who blame “global warming” for their receding hairlines.

There’s nothing special about Silicon Valley except for the plentiful supply of abandoned hashish-reeked lofts on Berkeley’s less-than-tony south side. Most startup founders who head West to dig for gold, where no gold is to be found, are left with the only option for survival which is to support themselves off the trash bin behind a taco stand in Richmond or fathom the “idea” to charge aging hippies in Haight-Ashbury to rub the exoskeleton of a cockroach for “good luck”. These predicate losers have zero drive–zero inspiration to even conjure up a single original thought and have to rely on the “small guy” [read: an unknown startup led by an incredibly-envied founder] to introduce the “market breaker”, yet these same predicate losers will rejoice in the counsel of venture capitalists who themselves are left absent-minded as the country finds itself whipsawed by the basic laws of economics–inevitably lost in the struggles of a sensible power move. People take a look at Silicon Valley and see innovation. I take a look at Silicon Valley and all I see is the end-result of fetal alcohol syndrome. These pitiful excuses of “entrepreneurs” (snicker) were not inspired by the attributes of science and mathematics; these kids grew up reading comic books, playing video games, eating Play-Doh® clay and day-dream. Adding insult to injury is the fact that investors willingly empty their 401Ks and passed-down inheritance from trust funds that were started by their great-great grandparents into startups that are so void and without form while simultaneously ignoring startups that are far more promising even if those startups reside in a separate metropolitan statistical area (MSA) that’s afar from Silicon Valley.

Understandably, the instance of having to cut someone a check is honestly sort of demeaning but it’s one of the currently better motives to help move things forward. You can’t make moves without the capital.

I want you all to now sincerely pay attention as I share my expert perspective on this flaming issue concerning “diversity” (snicker) as it correlates with the issuance of capital to “preferred” startups–and believe me, I don’t want people coming here relaying to me about…

“Oh Desmond, haven’t you heard of Slack?”

“You are aware that four Black female-engineers from Slack won some sort of ‘diversity’ award a month ago, right?”

“Mark Zuckerberg just asked his staff to lay-off the racial rhetoric at Facebook. See Desmond, there is no racism!”

Some of you self-entitled, white and black Americans (largely white, however) do realize that you are not funny, you’re not all too clever and you have never been particularly good at structuring arguments nor do you even know how to construct and use irony effectively, right? You also realize that just because you reside in cities filled with universities and research labs and cultural institutions and media outlets does not mean that you have osmotically absorbed all of that knowledge, right? Do you not realize that EVERYONE–and those who live outside of the U.S.–has taken notice that your white privilege has more fragility than all of Hollywood combined and that you’re only good for middling navel-gazing in a web of prissy, puritanical, self-righteous contradictions and random recanting? Oh, you’re a college graduate? My fault, you’re A-okay. Wait, my fault again because your sheepskin is irrelevant and it’s obvious that your act is sliding downhill quick and the large percentage of you are no more than a decade away from a premature death in a run-down studio apartment in San Francisco where you’ll be found face-down in a bowl of Kix with your wifebeater stretched and fraying with a ragged copy of Behold a Pale Horse dog-eared on the page about Reptilian Bureaucrats putting fluoride in the water supply. There’s no need to get mad at me because your inner bigot is slowly emerging.

I really can’t say much…well, hold up now…I mean, this is me talking after all….

In all things concerning diversity–if you uncritically entertain the fallacy that the newest is the most progressive and the best–if you base your taste along the narrow blogospheric notion that a fetishization of hyperlocal dilettantism is an adequate substitute for discernment–if you think the ubiquity and accessibility of technology is a compelling imperative to consume as much technology as possible in and of itself–or, if you are simply looking for improved ways to distract attention from your empty, black heart or achy joints, then your manufactured “campaign for diversity” cannot save you. You might as well report to a Lena Durham-directed vehicle for some lessons in self love.

In other words, the past several attempts that startup companies have made to make it seem as if everyone is included are getting as old as you are as you wave the pseudo-populist flag in a vain attempt to distance yourselves from reality as to not be in a position in which you’d be seen as being an echo of America’s racist past [which is apparently still present]. Today, your typical rebel is secluded to being nothing more than an immaterial social media-puss who can only review life and can barely translate or even transliterate the angst to a GED-level understanding of post-structuralist nonsense and community college-contempt (i.e., 4Chan/Reddit, etc.) for anything that occurred more than two years ago.

Breaking it down even further, this is why, in this day and age, some white Americans are bitching and moaning about “reverse racism” (snicker)–and they do this by their very own signature will of outright blatant ignorance [which is why some white Americans struggle to form coherent arguments against diversity]. If, as proponents of this “campaign for diversity” insists, then the appreciation of said “campaign for diversity” is so crucially dependent upon the observer being present when and where diversity was or is relevant and historically situated–and one can argue that this is another trite, overdetermined yet undercooked observation that we’ve seen bandied about the internet to argue for or against every development in “things diversity” since the issue began to surface–and, if that’s the case, then it doesn’t really stand up to logical scrutiny that occurs in concert with every negative reaction to change or innovation or is the same or guided by the same values or outlooks. To interrogate that claim would take substantial space and more analytical effort that a Sam Altman or a Ben Horowitz or an Erica Baker or a Slack or a Black Girls Code is willing to invest in their anecdotes and it would be a requirement of them to re-evaluate their so-called “willingness” to collapse distinctions between historical events as well as aesthetic judgments which wouldn’t assist them in their efforts to finish this “campaign” that they started in spite of the fact the Silicon Valley apparently has arrived at a conclusion that has already been fleshed-out. The story behind diversity is basically an artless narration.

For those of you who are lazy and have to get up first-thing-in-the-morning to be the first in-line at H&R Block, I’ll play nice and break the math down into kindergarten arithmetic:

Cries for diversity + The lack of self-respect = “Please accept me…”

I, personally, have no space in my heart or mind for “acceptance” (snicker), therefore, I don’t see anything all that much wrongheaded about tech companies not wanting to be around or be bothered with candidates even if the hype surrounding is either self-generated or imposed from the outside–looking in–and further insisting that they can be positively compared to Silicon Valley’s classic innovators (i.e., “greats of the past“), the likes of Robert Noyce and the bunch, and the newjacks just so happen to tremendously fall short. In addition to the concurrently practiced racism, you have this perceived option that’s being adopted out West, and it’s easy to see that there’s an influx, rather, an endlessly expanding market of near-amateurs who would’ve been better-off being experiments for the various degrees of corporate autonomy and fabricated approval that social media seemingly necessitates, one would think that they should drop what they’re doing and be attentive. If fifty or so entrepreneurs can’t accomplish what Robert Noyce or Steve Jobs was able to do with a half-hearted approach–and a small devoted following–then why should anyone in particular feel compelled to heartily sigh or just resign themselves to the fact that modernity merely means seek out the “new” all because it’s there?

The issue of diversity is a slighted event; it is a footnote in the history of Silicon Valley; and that is a fair and accurate assessment of the traditional divide between the popular banter surrounding the utterance of diversity and the ongoing canon-construction we see in the aforementioned locale. Perhaps, I’m stating the obvious, and maybe it’s not exclusive to startups overall, but for as long as people have been theorizing about a “unified startup community culture” [where EVERYONE is “accepted” and welcomed into the open-arms of sincerity and sheer harmony] they have been constructing canons; and not just self-styled critics and media assassins, but the fans of the culture themselves have been doing this with their hero-worship of SV’s prime venture capitalists (think of all the YouTube videos you’ve seen where audience members find themselves overwhelmed with elation when they see their favorite VC walk onstage to talk about their best-selling book), however, it doesn’t stop there. Not only are these fans of the culture ranking favorites, they’re also stating their preferences and making claims as to who is the best, what it means to be the best, why it matters to be the best and why the past methods of assessment need to be revisited.

So, for the proponents of this “campaign for diversity“, we can venture guesses until all of the black cows in the present night come home about why rejection happens and at what point the “ground up” canon-construction becomes so influential and tethered to industrial/commercial interests that it starts informing back downwards in the form of a “unified startup community culture”. Even though there have been a small group of SV-fans to have similar conversations, albeit disjointed, and this small group has a grip on influence which has grown to the extent that we all see today in online forums and all over social media. Also, you must realize that localized claims are not truly isolated from mass culture. People don’t just suddenly out of nowhere decide that Slack’s output of four, selectively chosen Black female engineers represents a higher echelon of diverse taste and skill. No, they responded directly to the ideas that were telegraphed to them via the multiple crocodile tears that were shed throughout various publications and convoluted op-eds coupled with propaganda and scattered chatter by various media outlets–oh, and don’t forget ol’ “Messy” Jesse Jackson. This “campaign for diversity” was crafted purposely by a group of people who reside in a locale that is globally known as an exporter of culture; people who undoubtedly knew what was at stake and what kind of larger cultural schisms they were invoking to aggrandize their little “tech” project (which, by the way, they claim originated as a distinctly anti-canonical contrarian thing).

Perhaps now, you all have a better understanding as to why I, Desmond, am opposed to the “campaign for diversity“. I am not, however, opposed to diversity du jour.

The reason why I am personally opposed to the “campaign for diversity” is because the “campaign for diversity” is opposed to the actuality of the hetero-normative [Black] male entrepreneur.

You can refer to this past December’s post for my perspective on that. Bear in mind that you can’t overlook this one convenient consequence that comes with diversity, and if you were to weaponize this convenient consequence you would magnify the instability that has beset Silicon Valley; the instability that has thrown that very same locale in question, and left it with the overlapping problem of having more “smart” people than the system can absorb, and if so, then you’ll end up with more “smart” people on the outside than on the inside. Those systems are never stable–and, of course, these people being “smart” is strictly derived from opinions, rather perspective–and it’s very hard to be in a closed system for your entire life without having to absorb some of these “smart” people. Also, the other thing you have to keep in mind is that a lot of opinions [read: perspectives] are more or so implicit than they are explicit. I’m partially relaying some of the characteristics of a thorough entrepreneur.

The most outstanding characteristic is the action one takes on that qualifies them as an entrepreneur and that characteristic is your ability to have thought patterns totally opposite of anyone else you encounter in life. With that said, exactly how many real, true-to-the-game entrepreneurs are there? Answer: In the 21st century, we can only qualify one individual as such–and I’ll let you all take a quick guess as to who that is. If your thoughts have “equals”, then you’re just another mortal. I, on the other hand, do not have time to do battle with these mortals [read: competitors], so the obvious objective is to penetrate a variety of markets with the intention of “murdering your businesses” (plural)–and it’s going to happen. You can only stave-off the inevitable temporarily.

Another characteristic that you can identify as a qualifier of a thorough entrepreneur is to have absolutely no desire for fame. Fame is not high on the list of desirable characteristics of a thorough entrepreneur. Let’s say you have the urge to be able to do difficult math. Having a famous adviser at a famous university isn’t all too terribly important. If they’re horrible at giving advice, you’re not going to be all that compelled to chase them down for an autograph and a selfie once the lecture’s over.

As I see myself growing from a struggling entrepreneur and evolving into a more thorough entrepreneur, another characteristic I’ve come across is knowing how and when to identify the common theme. For example, I always assure myself that I’m not going to subscribe to the Church of Ideas and Skills–where the degree or the school one attended does not matter. This also, is a characteristic of a thorough entrepreneur. See, you have some would-be entrepreneurs who feel that they’re only obligated to prefer to hire people who reflect the same ethnocentric view. This induces failure since therein lies trouble with the criterion of only seeking ideas and skills. I mean, I only have a high school diploma but I did attend college for a few years. I’m not some natural-born “genius” (snicker); if I were, I’d still end up losing. Even if I did finish college–and had obtained a Ph.D. in applied mathematics, I’m not particularly skilled or creative at applied mathematics. I bring this up because from time-to-time I receive quite a bit of résumès and one theme that I see that’s pretty common is the adjective “skilled”.

Hey man, I’m skilled in this and that. Got any jobs for me, ol’ pal?

Being “skilled” is an accomplishment that takes time to master and hone. The best graduates CAN be some of the better candidates for job positions IF they’re coming out of school with a skill-set that’s applicable for an employer. Case in point, the HL® Family; it’s a mixture of recent graduates, recent Ph.D.s, those who obtained their degrees years ago, those who have graduated and are currently pursuing their graduate studies and those who are itching to get into the meat of the research. You see the common theme of members of the HL® Family being educated but they’re working with an entrepreneur who “isn’t educated”, and by “isn’t educated”, I’m referring to how my intelligence wasn’t reared by the institutions of the establishment because the institutions of the establishment are broken, and when things are broken it’s important for you to take a gander at the definitions that comprise these institutions of the establishment to see if it makes any sense at all. In reference to one particular institution of the establishment, at MIT, if you want to engage in something that’s non-trivial, then you have to be interdisciplinary in your approach and you can easily identify the characteristics of a “good teacher” if said “good teacher” tells you to not respect departmental boundaries because somewhere down-the-line things became political barriers.

Definitions were never meant to translate the actuality that’s descriptive of an event, etc.; they were derived from political barriers and since that’s so, there isn’t necessarily any corollary or law that says that just because one runs across a definition that it’s static and cannot be challenged. Just because we have definitions doesn’t mean that we have to abide by the institutional definitions that have been substantiated by the establishment. I’m “not educated”, but I can define physics in a way that’s different from you. That’s not the problem, however, if I’m the only one with that definition, then I’m screwed (nh). If you were to just considered these as just “historical and political” definitions, then you would be able to change them. If you were to “go with the flow” and consider physics as some fundamental law of the universe, you’ll find that it’s weird that the laws of the universe are different at MIT than they are described at Georgia Tech.

No matter what I share with you people are still going to relish in the illusion. To them, when it comes to engaging in subject matters the likes of high-energy theory, physics is king, and this idea has been breathing since the time of Plato and there is this cult-like aura where there are people who want to keep the definition of physics restricted–static–unchanged and unchallenged so that the definition doesn’t get contaminated by the “lesser sciences”. I may a little bit too repetitive of what I spoke of in “my own definition” a few years back, but when it comes to the definitions, when you take a closer look at them they become even more weird. A lasting perspective is this: you are coming up with a definition, and I’m interested in knowing exactly what it is that you have that will justify that definition. If you mean to justify your definition under the veil of “personal preference” then we won’t have all that much of a problem since all I’ll have to do is just have different personal preferences from yours. Problem solved.

The last characteristic of a thorough entrepreneur that I’ll reveal today (there are far more characteristics to describe) is the unveiling of the path to enlightenment. As you grow with your startup or whatever endeavor you choose to undertake in life, you’ll slowly find out that having a “passion” means putting up with a lot of pain in order to get what you want. If you’re not willing to do what seems to be pointless just so you can gain knowledge, then you’re not passionate about your endeavors. Gaining knowledge is painful and the deeper you get into it (nh) the more painful things are (nh). Passion, itself, is not a characteristic of a thorough entrepreneur. I liken the aspect of “confidence” the same way. Walking in the footsteps of a thorough entrepreneur, you have to be extremely cautious to not make premature conclusions with 100% “confidence”. If that makes you come-off to others as an extreme outlier, then all the better. Remember, no one wants to hear a commencement speech from a regular Joe.

As far as HL® goes, I do not see why investors/VCs and other startups take a personal affront to this startup. To me, an educated guess would assume the reality that we are each in disjointed social circles that do not interact with one another, and when that happens, things get really scary. This is one of the reasons why a social revolution would not be looked upon as a “good thing” but that all depends on which side of the social revolution that you’re on. If you’re on the “good side”, then your motive is to challenge and change the definitions; if you’re on the “bad side”, then your motive is to ensure that the definitions instituted by the establishment remain the same and unchanged. Keep in mind, that is a social revolution plays out, you have to look at who the key-players in the social revolution are–and they are either risk-takers or the [thorough] entrepreneurs. When things get bad, the aforementioned two are almost always the first to leave. Once they start to leave, quite a few of the major institutions [in the U.S.] will begin to crumble. So, the definitions are going to change regardless of the outcome of said “social revolution”. See, the U.S. doesn’t even have a decade to sit around and ponder on the outcome. There’s a reason why the U.S. [federal] government screams for STEM every five seconds. Every year that the employment situation doesn’t improve is one more year of “brain drain”. If you keep stalling, then all of your Ph.D.s and entrepreneurs are going to head overseas–and by “entrepreneurs”, I’m referring to actual, thorough entrepreneurs with ideas, concepts, prototypes, etc., that are backed by proven needs and demand.

In other words, not that many people outside of the U.S. care all that much for white kids taking selfies…

D E S M O N D | D T O ™