What Is It Like To Be Black In The Silicon Valley Tech Industry?

Written by Quora

Karim Liman-Tinguiri, worked at Facebook

Nothing special really. I just showed up everyday and coded like everyone else. I have never really felt like I was being treated differently (neither positively nor negatively). But then again, I only spent three months doing an internship at a single company (Facebook) in Palo Alto, CA so my experience is not necessarily statistically significant.

Eghosa Omoigui, Stage/Geo-agnostic Tech Investor & Startup Advisor

It makes one memorable, particularly if you have put in the 10K+ hours required to become a franchise player (hat tip to ‘Outliers’). Huge advantage, once you figure out how to use it. Being more of a giver and less of a taker helps.

Jacob Vincent, worked at Symantec

To my wife and I, race isn’t as much of an issue as in other cities where we’ve lived.

I’m always aware that I’m a black person, but it doesn’t feel to be as much of a publicly-imposed defining characteristic. Though this statement may seem naive and oblivious, I believe that the dearth of ‘soul’ (as my cousin likes to call it) is more due to factors within the black community, as opposed to groups of people actively trying to keep me out because I’m black. (Feel free to message me for elaboration, but I don’t want to take this discussion off-topic).

Maybe it’s because the Valley attracts the highly-skilled from all over the world. Maybe it’s because I live in the bluer area of the state. Maybe it’s because everyone is highly educated. Maybe it’s because everyone here have been indirectly forced to accept integration per se – whether it’s being funded by an Indian, or taught by a Nigerian, or meeting a Brazilian with whom you share enough of an idea to tap as a co-founder. Yes, from time to time I feel like the only black man or the only black family in the room/group/etc., but I do not feel as if I am treated differently or defined by that.