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Photos from 2017 Culture Shifting Weekend

On May 19, 2019, Robert F. Smith made history with his generous gift to the 2019 class of Morehouse College. Mr. Smith pledged to pay the student debt (valued at $40 Million) for the entire class of approximately 400 students via his family foundation. When I heard the news, I wasn’t shocked because I have long studied his philanthropy, and was a first-hand beneficiary a few years ago.

I first learned about Robert F. Smith in 2016 while reading about private equity and venture capital (in a former life I wanted to be a VC!), and was impressed to read of his trajectory and accomplishments. The next year I was personally invited to the Culture Shifting Weekend, Millennial Tech Breakfast held in Silicon Valley through a sponsorship provided by Mr. Smith. This Millennial Tech Breakfast, and conference as a whole, brings together a hand-selected network of business people to assist one another in venture creation, networking, and deal making. The level of black genius in the room is matched by only a few other convenings. …


“Be The Change You Wish to See in The World” — Mahatma Ghandi

I was 2 years old when the Ghandi film was released, and was 7 years old when I sat down with my parents to watch the film. I remember vividly the compassion and sense of urgency that Ghandi harnessed to change the lives of his fellow country men and women against the factors that were restricting their ability to live their best life. Let me be the first to say, I’m not a Ghandi — however I do embrace the sense of urgency that he did to organize change and drive resources to the issues of the day. …


Banking on the Unbankable — Harvard Presentation [Recap]

Banking on the Unbankable — Harvard Presentation [Recap]

Earlier this year, Awamary Khan and I were honored to present to The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University on the formation of the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center (launched early 2017). Special thank you to our host, Sage Salvo (Gil Perkins).

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The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University

Awamary is the Executive VP, Chief Financial + Operating Officer at Carolina Small Business Development Fund (CSBDF), a U.S. Treasury certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) based in Raleigh, N.C. …


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Business Happening: V Threat, Flat Outs, Life On Autopilot, Parkwood Entertainment, OwnByFemme, Words Liive, Black Wall Street, Solutions Vending, Smashd Labs, Inovate Harlem, INc3 DC, Techstars, IECNC, Elevation Firm, Point AB.

“I do this for my culture | To let ’em know what a ni**a look like, when a ni**a in a roaster”

SXSW Interactive left me feeling hype, re-charged + re-inspired.

The 2017 festival marks my fifth SXSW — and for what started off for me as a Spectator Sport [I used to be on an old corporate gig’s dime. Hint-hint: if you want to make the trip have “them” pay for it - the experience absolutely qualifies as a mecca of business and professional development opportunities], has now morphed into less Sidelining and more participation as a Cultural Shareholder.

Back in the day I was in Austin to do recon on Predictive Analytics, Digital Strategy, R, Boolean Logic, etc. — but somehow through the nerd matrix I stumbled upon a micro-culture of Black folks organizing and sharing information on their respective genius. People like Mike Street, Hank Williams (you are missed), Wayne Sutton, Denitra Lewis, Rodney Williams, Donell Creech, Alvin Singh, Sage Salvo, Chaucer Barnes, Felicia Hatcher, Dawn Dickson, Marlon Nichols, Erin Horne McKinney, and many more, all spending hours dropping knowledge and exchanging networks for the good of the people. …


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SXSL Swag Surf — LIT!

The first thing my grandmother told me once I shared the news that a group of us would be visiting the White House was, “please ask the President if he and Michelle would like to come to North Carolina for a nice homemade meal — I would be honored to cook for them.” My grandmother, who at 92 years old still drives, reads daily, and can hold a political conversation with a heavyweight like Van Jones, all while making a fierce sweet potato pie, was so cute when she made the request. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to extend that invitation, but Mr. …


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The charge: Get 70 business-minded people together in Washington, DC on July 8, 2016.

The mission: Utilize the Black Wall Street platform to celebrate the DC region’s historical significance and dive into the role the community is playing as we usher in the future of innovation in business

What happened next was magic…

The buzz for Black Wall Street: DC created nearly 250 RSVPS and a waitlist of over 100 guests.

Over the course five hours, 16 panelists and speakers and 125 guests discussed the ins and outs of entrepreneurship, innovation and business community development, and six entrepreneurs pitched their ideas and companies. After that we hosted a pop-up shop at our Cocktails + Conversations event, all in the Nation’s Capital. …


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Please “Pardon My Back”

When I was 25 years old I received the worst advice of my life. This advice came from one my closest mentors, this mentor was approx fifteen years older than me and had met significant business success, so I listened and took his advice to heart.

The BAD Advice WAS — “People Don’t Take You Serious Until You are 30 Years Old”.

The BETTER Advice would have been — “People Take You Serious When You Take Yourself Serious”.

When I received this bad advice at the impressionable age of 25, I took it as gospel — as it came from one of my dearest mentors. And over the course of the next 5 years I figured hell — just keep working and “paying my dues” — and eventually an older person (someone in “authority” will give me a great opportunity in a job or venture funding to start something new). …


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Coming back from SXSW 2016, I felt the need to do more — to have a broader impact on black college students’ exposure to entrepreneurship and ultimately their career trajectory. That’s why I made the “pledge” to NCCU, Hampton and North Carolina A&T to bring five exceptional business or engineering students to attend SXSW 2017 as a guest of Black Wall Street. [Read more on charge in the second of this three-part series.]

*Originally Published in Exit Event.

As the famous idiom goes “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words”, and as we say in Hip-Hop culture via re-appropriation, “A Picture is Worth a Billion Bucks”. …


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Looking toward the future. Aspen // 2015

Over the past 72 hours — I have been humbled by the ‘out-pour’ of support to the “I Got The Job” post I put on Medium dated April 1st, 2016.

But it’s time to come clean — I didn’t get the job….I actually didn’t even apply for a job with Bridgewater.

I did however apply for a job with Talib in May 2014. To some of you this may sound kind of weird — let me explain. I am an entrepreneur, which means I work for two parties:

1) Party #1 — Is Me, this means that when I wake up every morning I look in the mirror and simply get to work. This is an agreement I have between me and me.

About

Talib Graves-Manns

I Build Things - Products + Communities. Knox Street / Black Wall Street / Co-Founder of Point AB / Co-Founder Life on Autopilot 2015–2016 EIR Code2040/Google.

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