Techies: A Study of Silicon Valley

On January 5th I announced that I wanted to do a portrait project focused on Silicon Valley. Three months later, here it is.

www.techiesproject.com

I started this project with two main goals: I wanted to show the outside world a more comprehensive picture of people who work in tech. I also wanted to bring a bit of attention to folks in the industry whose stories have never been heard, considered or celebrated.

Since January I’ve sat down with 100 people in tech from many different backgrounds. Folks who have faced innumerable obstacles to get here and continue to face obstacles day-to-day, but stay because they are incredibly talented, passionate about their work and want to see tech get better.

This project is designed for you to pick your own path. You’ll find filters that enable you to sort and explore the content however you’d like. Perhaps you’ll use it as an opportunity to learn more about people from different backgrounds than you. Perhaps you’ll find people who finally look like you, come from where you come from, or have been through similar struggles.

What do I want to happen with this project?

I want people to take this content and use it for whatever they’d like. I want people to dig into it, tear it apart, and build new things with it. I want it to make people feel uncomfortable, angry and inspired. I want it to spark new, hard questions and new attempts at answering them.

I want people to share this project as far as it can go. Share it with people who think tech is a perfect meritocracy. Share it with people looking for diverse employees, speakers and advisors. Share it with people who feel alone in this industry.

I’ll leave you with a quote from my interview with Victor Roman:

I think it’s a wonderful conversation to have about understanding where people start from. Because how can we measure someone’s accomplishments without recognizing that not everyone starts in the same place on the race track. Some people start a mile or two back, and then when they don’t finish in first place, we say, “Well, you didn’t do very good.” When the reality is they ran faster, and they ran longer than any of those other people. The person who ran first place, they just started at a different location. And I think that’s an important part of this conversation, about what is that mile or two back, what makes up that distance.

I’ll be posting a story a day here on Medium, so follow along.