As we all know, February is Black History Month. It’s a month where we honor those who have made an impact on American culture for equal rights, those who have invented, those who have a helped others and those who have inspired everyone to be the best they can be, not only as a person of color but as a human. Last year for Black History Month, I started an online series called 28 Days Diversity where I would feature someone new everyday during the month of February for just being awesome in their own right. Even though it’s black history month, the goal for 28 Days of Diversity is to feature not just African-Americans but other minorities in the web/tech space. Also note that 28 Days of Diversity is not a popularity contest or an influencer list but a list of thought leaders in the social web sector, including entrepreneurs, bloggers, conference organizers, IT professionals and friends not ranked in any particular order who I have either met in person or followed online. Each post will include a picture, bio, two links from the selected person and this paragraph.
For 2011 I wanted to not just feature individuals but also address a topic that affects everyone. For 28 Days of Diversity 2011 each post/person will answer the question “How can we use technology to close the digital divide?” So for the next 28 days, come back to visit SocialWayne.com/tag/28daysofdiversity and 28daysofdiversity.com to see who’s on the list. For day 5, I would like to introduce to some and present to others:
Coined a “serial entrepreneur” by Entrepreneur Magazine in February 2000, Clarence has launched and operated numerous technology-based companies since founding his first, Envision Designs, while initially studying architecture as an undergraduate student in college. In 1993, Clarence co-founded Metamorphosis Studios, an interactive multimedia development firm, where he served as CEO and Creative Director until early 1998 when the company was acquired by MediSolv, Inc. Immediately following the acquisition, at the height of the dot-com boom, Clarence co-founded and served as CEO of ImageCafe.com. Touted as the Internet’s first online superstore of customizable websites-to-go, ImageCafe was acquired for $23 million by Network Solutions/Verisign in November 1999, just seven months after it launched.
Clarence is currently founder and CEO of Groupsite.com, a leader in social collaboration with nearly 40,000 companies and organizations as customers. Additionally, Clarence is involved in other startups including: PhoneGreetings.com, where he serves as partner; Cultural Sponsorships as co-founder; and iReaders as co-founder. Just prior to founding Groupsite.com, Clarence co-founded and served as General Partner at Venturepreneur Partners, an early-stage venture capital firm. In his spare time, Clarence also enjoys advising the management teams of various other early-stage Internet companies. In each of his entrepreneurial endeavors, Clarence has been focused on product design, specifically user-experience, which serves as the catalyst behind the development of Groupsite.com and the other ventures in which he’s involved.
Clarence has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Forbes ASAP, and Entrepreneur Magazine and has been a guest on CNNfn and other media outlets. His entrepreneurial experiences are the subject of a Babson College case study.
Clarence has a B.S. in Business Management from the John Hopkins University and currently serves on the Dean’s Alumni Advisory Board for its Carey Business School. Additionally, Clarence serves on the board of trustees of Philadelphia University and several other non-profit organizations. Clarence is an avid supporter of the community and was awarded an Honorary Alumni by the University of Maryland in 2006 and was recognized as a distinguished alumnus of Johns Hopkins University in 2010.
In his personal time, Clarence enjoys playing with his daughters, spending time with family and close friends, and attending Maryland Terps basketball and Ravens football games.
How can we use technology to close the digital divide?
Access to technology not only has the potential to close the digital divide but also has the potential to close the education gap. The amount of free educational resources online is staggering. I’d personally like to see a free Internet for Education initiative that would provide free or subsidized broadband to low income residents in exchange for a certain amount of time each quarter spent on educational sites. Sites like khanacademy.org, wikipedia and others provide a wealth of knowledge for free.
You can follow the status of 28 Days of Diversity 2011 on http://28daysofdiversity.com and http://socialwayne.com/category/28-days-of-diversity/