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Last week at this time I was in Las Vegas attending Blogworld Expo 2010. For Blogworld it was their fourth year and my second time attending. I had a great time meeting new friends and catching up with old ones while learning a few tips here and there. Blogworld markets itself as the world’s largest social media conference with over 3,000 attendees. Note, if you’re wondering about SXSW, SXSW is NOT a social media conference it’s an interactive tech conference with some social media sessions. During lunch on opening day at Blogworld I was sitting with a few friends and I looked around the room and noticed the lack of diversity. It’s something I’m sadly familiar with as I’ve been in the tech/web industry since 1994 but sometimes it’s just to depressing not to say anything about. Therefore without sounding like an angry mad black nerd I tweeted the following. “Standing out at @blogworld like a drop of oil in a cup of milk #bwe10 #justsayin

Standing out at @blogworld like a drop of oil in a cup milk #bwe10 #justsayinThu Oct 14 19:24:12 via Twitter for iPhone

Sorry, Blogworld Expo organizers (Rick, Dan, Deb, Chuck, Hadji and Chris) it was nothing targeted to you or the conference saying you did a bad job trying to diversity the event or that I felt unconformable. I was just stating the obvious but if you felt otherwise I apologize. After the tweet, a few individuals saw it and said they noticed the same thing and others started checking to see if I was ok, I was. Rick and I talked and had a brief conversation about how he has tried in the past two years to add more diversity to Blogworld and a few other options for next years event. Some of my white friends who didn’t even see the tweet mentioned how they even noticed the lack of diversity at the conference. But still that doesn’t mean there wasn’t no diversity at the event. Here’s a photo from the #kloutup with some of the Blogworld attendees.


photo by: amanichannel

While lately in the Silicon Valley there’s been some heated conversation around the lack of women in tech, I dare to say there’s much bigger problem in the web/tech industry and that is the lack of diversity in tech. But you won’t see that on to many main stream tech blogs outside of Blackweb 2.0 because there’s very few tech diversity writers and writing about diversity doesn’t pay the bills. J

There’s also a big diversity problem when it comes to entrepreneurship, innovation and launching web/tech startups. In a report earlier this year it stated that only 1% of Internet startups being founded where black and around 1% of black founded startups were getting funded. Add those numbers to the fact that most African-Americans are online are reading gossip blogs, making rap & booty videos and lead the nation in sending SMS there’s a big online culture problem that’s not getting better anytime soon. Also when it comes to who are the VC’s and investors in the web/tech space, let’s just say if there’s only 1% of internet startups who are minorities there’s an even smaller number who have capital to invest in future startups therefore we’re going to continue to see the same demographic that we’re currently seeing in the VC investor space.

sFund ....

Screenshot of the sFund announcement made on October 21, 2010.

The sFund is a new $250 million Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers initiative to invest in entrepreneurs inventing social applications and services —, Facebook, and Zynga, the leading companies defining today’s social and online environment; entertainment and media leaders Comcast and Liberty Media, and Allen & Company LLC, who have committed to invest in the sFund and serve as strategic partners

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with that but as the report states, if you’re not white, you better come with your A game and a great team if you’re thinking about asking for VC or an angle investments from anyone in Palo Alto.

Venture Capital Human Capital Report (Part 1)

There’s also the whole, let’s add a rapper who likes technology to our conference and therefore we have the diversity situation solved. I’m not saying rappers, such as Chamillionaire, MC Hammer or Jermaine Dupri don’t belong at tech conferences or are not qualified because they are. But to only add artist that’s well known instead of doing research to find other willing and qualified monitory speakers in the tech/web space is a problem and some see it as disrespectful. Regardless as Chamillionaire stated in this post he should be participating in tech events for his career and the future of the music industry. But dear conference organizers, music artist do not represent the majority of who’s making ways in technology. Would you add Britney Spears to a women in tech panel just because she has a Twitter account? #justsayin Hmm, well don’t answer that.

Personally I’ve been what some have considered lucky to speak at over 60 meetups and conferences. In 2010 I’ve had my first two closing keynote talks and one more upcoming closing keynote panel. I have three more speaking events and I’m done for a long time. So, to the person who told @keyinfluencer they’re tired of seeing James Andrews and myself as the two black guys speaking the most at tech events, you don’t have to worry about me after November 18 as the Internet Summit is my last event.

With that being said here are my thoughts along with some feedback from others to why technology, entrepreneur, and social media conference organizers cannot fix the lack diversity problem. Note, I’m going to use the word “some” and “most” a few times because despite my experience the comments below do not apply to all races and/or minorities just what I’ve seen personally or heard from others.

  • There is a bigger culture problem offline
  • Racism exist and it’s not going anywhere or will be fixed any time soon.
  • The digital divide in terms of race, privilege, location and access is growing
  • “Most” African-Americans in the tech/web space don’t want to pay more than $100 if that to attend a conference
  • Minorities feel uncomfortable at events that are not directly targeted to or the focus
  • Minorities like to hold and host their own events where they have more control
  • African-Americans don’t fly as much as other races
  • If conference organizers add minorities to events just because of their race and not because of their work/value then others will be upset and it’s not fair to the attendees
  • Attitudes – I’ll leave it at that
  • Conference organizers don’t know who to ask or where to look for minority speakers
  • Minorities are not trying hard enough (including myself) to help educate others about entrepreneurship, social networks, web/tech startups and online technology
  • Overheard: “It’s a White’s man Internet, we’re just tweeting in it”

I think I had more but I’m getting depressed just thinking about it.

In 2009 while attending FOWA I had a chance to interview with Chris Messina who’s been a voice over the years noticing the lack of diversity at internet conferences and web startups. Chris provides some advice for both minorities and event organizers to overcome this problem.

If you have other solutions, please let me know in the comments


If you have been reading any of my recent blog post or following my tweets, then I’m sure you know that I attended BlogWorld Expo 2009. This was my first time attending and being that it was the largest expo yet, it seems like I picked a good time attend. While I enjoyed seeing and hanging with virtual friends at BlogWorld who I may have met once or twice in real-life, I was excited to met 11 other colleges for the first time offline. Here’s my list of first time in real-life encounters at Blog World Expo.

Meet another video mentor @chrispirillo at @blogworld #bwe09
1. Chris Pirillo – @chrisPirillo –

2. Cali Lewis @calilewis –

3. Ben Parr @BenParr –

Two of my favorite people @brett & @drew #techkaraoke #bwe09
4. Drew Olanoff – @Drew –

5. Darren Rowse aka @ProBlogger –

6. Kosso – @kosso –

7. Qiana Markham – @crimpshoes –

8. Calvin Lee – @mayhemstudios –

Photo & quote from @disqus at @blogworld #bwe09 - see link for quote
9. Giannii – @giannii –

10. Mona Nomura – @Mona –

11. Scott Monty – @ScottMonty –

It was great meeting everyone and for others who I met for the first time it was nice to meet you too. Lets keep in touch.

If you attended Blog World Expo 2009, who did you meet for the first time in real-life and what are your thoughts on Blog World Expo 2009?

BlogWorld Expo 2009 Session: How Twits Lay Golden Eggs – The Art of Social Engagement for Business

Session Description- How Twits Lay Golden Eggs: The Art of Authentic Engagement for Business Twitter has not only become an online communication phenomenon, but also an invaluable business tool. Learn how to utilize Twitter for business effectively without offending your target audience. Top tweeps will provide you with specific examples of how best to engage your network, tools and tips for sharing tweets creatively, as well as a Tweet Plan for streamlining your Twitter efforts!

Panelist: Nicole Nicolay, Jodee Rich, Chris Brogan, Nick Halstead, Laura Fitton


Guest BlogWorld Expo 2009 notes post from Jason Peck and DJ Waldow

 Jason Peck

Jason Peck @jasonpeck

Social media manager at @eWayDirect.

BlogWorld Expo 2009 Session:
Fitting It All In: Time Management Strategies for Social Media

Amber Naslund

Get organized, figure out where to spend your time
have tangible goals
netvibes – good way to build a dashboard for listening – twitter search, socialmention, boardtracker, google alerts, addictomatic
spend time on 2-3 tools that are valuable – don’t go chasing all of them
measuring and analyzing – it’s a must

social media maturity
Passive – listening 80%, 20% measuring
Responsive – monitoring, responding, measuring
Engaged – monitoring, research, initiating, responding, measuring
Creating – monitoring, research, initiating, responding, measuring and creating

allocating resources
listening – 1 person, 10-15 hrs per week
engaging, initiating, creating – 1-3 team members, 1-3 hrs per day
measuring – 1 person, 5-10 hrs per week

Managing disruptions – turn off twitter, turn off email


DJ Waldow @djwaldow Director of Community @BlueSkyFactory

1. Limit # of SM monitoring tools
2. Turn email off for a few hours a day. Don’t reply immediately
3. Get a task management program and USE IT. “Think” for Mac
-Pick 3 things you must accomplish and do nothing else until they are done
-Pick the ugliest one first
4. Routines
-Sit down for 2 hrs/day, 5 days a week and focus on blogger (or whatever)
-Allocate blocks of time
5. Give yourself permission to forget – read something and write it down.
6. Unplug – take your offline time
7. Pick a finite number of items to respond to and stick with it. It’s okay to not reply to everything. Get over it.

Amber’s presentation:

Amber’s blog post about Social Media Time Management

How do you manage your time using social media?

((nogallery)) Photos: BlogWorld Celebrity panel Jermain Dupri, Robin

Jermine Dupri was one of the celebrities to be apart of the “The New Celebrity” keynote panel at BlogWorld Expo 2009. After the keynote I had a chance to interview Jermine Dupri about blogs, the future of the music industry, what insprires him, and social media etiquette. Take a look.

((nogallery)) Photos: BlogWorld Celebrity panel Jermain Dupri, Robin

Are you following Jermaine Dupri @LTLline and do you agree with his points?

The role for blogs in an age of micro-blogging from Rick Klau @rklau of Google

Video from session:

Microblogs are complementary not competitive
Conversations are fragmenting
You can either go where the readers are or wait for them to come to you
People will only engage with people where they are already commenting
You can go to where they are or you can wait for them to come to you
Measure what matters: Traffic != influence
Keys to building a lasting community = Content + Passion + Engagement
Success with a blog is about commenting to values
Don’t become a slave to focus on your blog without having fun

What are the keys = I control every pixel on my blog
You can personalize your blog over micro-blogs: widgets, links, theme, header,

@louisgray real-time web session at #bwe09 @blogworld

Lead by: Louis Gray

Video from WayneSutton.TV

My Notes:
Session Introduction
Everything is moving faster even it we like it or not

More data is being creating today more than ever
What is real-time
search and discovery
transport of data
live activity with requiring refresh

Real-time search
1st friendfeed
Google isn’t providing real-time search like twitter and/or friendfeed

Friendfeed is like twitter search ++ and it has rich media
Real-Time search

Real-Time data export
Data is flowing everywhere
Problem is trying to get data
Pubsubhubbub = middle man form your content from your data to the networks

Twitter Feed
Reader2Twitter – google reader shares to twitter

Eliminating the Refresh
Hitting the F5 or the refresh button shows you
Facebook is implementing the real-time web
Google Wave – massive collaboration system all at one time in real-time
LazyFeed – great way for finding information by content
Comments: Disqus & JS-Kit Echo

Real Time Summary
More Data. More Places. Faster
Real Time Enables Social Elements
Real Time Keeps Services Synched
Real Time is About Now
Real Time is Real

Best tool to manage brand in real-time