Introducing #diversity30: a collection of portraits celebrating diverse makers and creators

Over the course of my career, I have built and launched many products, solo or as part of a team. I have worked with incredibly talented people: designers, coders, content creators, visual artists, and more; all with a unique set of skills, stories, and beliefs who all brought their own magic to the table.

But when I read the news and look at product launches, the faces and words I see do not reflect this diversity.

Yes, we have made progress. Once in a while, we see a breakthrough, something so rare that it’s worth celebrating. Such as when the awe-inspiring Arlan Hamilton was on the cover of Fast Company last month; the first black woman who is not an entertainer or an athlete to be on the cover.

But it’s impossible to ignore the current reality: that makers and creators we see in the media are not representative of the diversity of the community. Why don’t we see even more women, people of colour, or LGBTQ+ makers and creators featured on magazine covers, interviewed in op-eds, or mentioned in generic lists of top entrepreneurs to follow?

The elephant in the newsroom

The first obvious issue is the lack of diversity in the newsroom. This short video by Slate Magazine shows how bad of an effect it can have on TV shows, and the same is true of any writer’s room. People naturally tend to write about what they know and identify with. And when they realise their writing doesn’t reflect the diversity of the community they cover, they often add a token non-white, non-male, non-straight person. This happens a lot at conferences too.

No network, no work

We are gregarious animals. We like each other’s company. But we also like comfort, and we usually hangout with people that seem most like us. But did you know that as much as 80 percent of new jobs are never listed, and that 85 percent of open positions are filled through networking? This means people tend to recruit people they know or are somehow connected to, and the current lack of diversity in teams self-perpetuates. As lots of speaking and PR opportunities come through one’s company, a bunch of makers and creators are automatically left out.

Nobody is looking

I’ve had conversations about diversity with journalists, with events organisers, and with people working at accelerators. Several times, I heard something along the lines of: “You have NO IDEA how hard it is to find people from underrepresented communities” — but is it, really? Have they really tried to visit local schools, to work with local communities, in short, to reach out? Most accelerators recruit people on LinkedIn by searching for top universities. Most event organisers want speakers from Google, IBM or Apple. How do they expect to end up with a diverse cohort or panel with such a process?

A platform to give all makers & creators a voice

This is why I’m excited to launch a new online publication today. It’s a bit different, it has an unusual format, but I think it may just work for the purpose of giving more makers and creators a voice.

Introducing the first issue of #diversity30, a collection of portraits celebrating diverse makers and creators. Each edition will feature 30 incredibly talented and driven people designing products and building companies, as well as their advice to the ones who are just getting started.

Makers and creators can use this platform to share their thoughts about diversity and their ideas to build more inclusive communities.

Events organisers can use each issue to find more diverse speakers, younger people to find role models, recruiters to find talent, and everyone can use it as a source of inspiration.

Of course, the first 30 incredible people featured in this issue do not represent the infinite diversity of stories and histories makers are made of, but it’s a start. And I’m excited to share the journey with you all.

Spread the word

I’m currently working on the second issue, and would love your suggestions if you know any maker or creator I could feature. Let me know if you have good interview questions to ask people for their profile. Finally, if you are working for a company that cares and would like to support the production of the next issue, please get in touch.

Massive thanks to Dash and House of Greenland for making this possible by sponsoring this edition!

Sign up here if you’d like to be notified when the next issue is out 👇