Posts Taged technology

Interview on Technlogy, Internet Adoption and How Minorities Can Take Advantage

Recently I was interviewed on WUF1080am. We talked about a few topics: Technology, Internet adoption, How we get more minorities to take advantage of broadband, and Net Neutrality. Turned into a great conversation. Give it a listen.

Navarrow Wright on WUFO from Navarrow Wright on Vimeo.

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Surprised?  No.   Disappointed?  Yes.

That’s how I feel after reading this report on Blackweb 2.0 that says only 1 percent of web start-ups are from African Americans. “Overall, African Americans are still underrepresented in both the tech and entrepreneurial sectors,” the story notes.   The research advised that “burgeoning black techpreneurs” might find a greater reception and investors for their ideas in New York’s Silicon Alley.  I have wrapped my career — and it has become my passion — around the hope that more young blacks will be motivated and inspired to take the leap.  Our tech landscape needs their talents, ideas and voices.

Motivated to do something about it?  More than ever. Stay tuned !!!

Reaching and Engaging Minorities Online

Click the image to watch the video from the event

Yesterday I was invited to speak on a panel about this at the Politics Online Conference   It was interesting to see the political world looking for ways to embrace the Internet.  There were vendors showing off online tools  and apps on Ipads. With sponsors like AOL and Microsoft I felt like i was at the Web 2.0 conference in San Fran but I was right in the heart of DC.  Our panel focused on how businesses and campaigns can reach minorities audiences online and the things they need to consider. There was a good  some good discussion during the panel. Click on the link above and let me know me know your thoughts.

Only for the Plugged-In

Unfortunately, everything these days seems to be framed around politics and ideology, red or blue, left or right, R or D.   Some so-called pundits have already figured out the next wave of political fortunes — just based on the elections this week in New York, Virginia, and New Jersey – and what that will mean to proposed policies and ideas.

Changing lives and creating hope, and embracing the full power of broadband access, should not be hijacked by politics. It is a goal that transcends partisanship.  I was reminded of that this week, thanks to a column in the Houston Chronicle.   David Cohen of Comcast and Rey Ramsey of One Economy Corp. point out that only 63 percent of Americans subscribe to broadband at home.  “Recent studies show that a staggering number of senior citizens, minorities, disabled and non-English speakers are unconnected. Broadband can improve our health care, our education, our productivity and make us all more connected — but that’s only for the plugged-in,” they write.

I encourage you to read the column and see how broadband has changed lives in Detroit and Houston, and even the last paragraph has a lesson we need more than ever.  “This, we think, is the secret to promoting broadband adoption — showing the unconnected just how dramatically broadband can change their lives, both professionally and personally. And that’s a goal behind which Democrats, Republicans and independents can rally.”

Why I Decided to Start Blogging: Empowering Communities Through Enabling Technology

First let me start by saying that I’m not in politics or a policy maker. I am a technologist and have been involved in technology for over 15 years, and I can honestly say that technology has had a significant effect on my life. The birth of the Internet has granted opportunities and access to knowledge I would not have obtained otherwise. I have created companies out of the comfort of my home and connected with clients that never met me face-to-face. I have been empowered to lead my career in the direction I wanted.  Without the Internet I would not be where I am today.

Recently, I have become more familiar with the activities of the FCC, including net neutrality regulations being debated in Washington.  Net Neutrality is the claim that prescribing rules and restrictions on how content is accessed and transmitted on the Internet is the singular path to a “free” or “open” Internet. However, I would argue that before the Internet can be truly “neutral” there has to be equal access to it, and these regulations do not support that goal. We still do not have full deployment of broadband Internet to underserved communities, which are disproportionately rural, poor, and/or minority communities. We need to have digital literacy programs that educate these communities on the uses of broadband so their members are aware of the opportunities it offers them. We cannot allow the playing field to be limited. Making sure these communities have access in the first place should be a higher priority than trying to limit it in any way.

A recent PEW study showed that less than 50% of African Americans have adopted broadband. Although that statistic increases some for other minority groups, it’s still a far cry from what adoption rates could look like considering that broadband in available to 92% percent of Americans. These figures provide a simple lesson:  huge segments of our population are underrepresented in the discussion of what I’ll call ‘net values,’ and we need to get these people active and counted. Right now the net neutrality issue is a rich man’s issue, where certain companies and organizations are focused on having rules in place for profiting on future growth and using people’s fears to make believe this is in the best interest of the “people.” What’s really in the best interests of the people is focusing on ways to increase broadband adoption. The Internet allowed me access to opportunity, and we need to give that same opportunity to others. Many of the issues that are facing our country, from healthcare to job creation, to public safety and improving education and our energy consumption, could all be improved by universal access to broadband and additional understanding about on how it can be used to empower the masses.

The Internet today is a place where new entrepreneurs can break down old and outdated business models everyday. It is a place where a young minority kid from the inner city could gain all of the knowledge he or she needs to be successful.

Now, imagine how much more could happen if everyone had access to broadband.  It is my goal through this blog to bring awareness to the issues and opportunities that I feel people should be thinking about when it comes to high-speed Internet access. I hope that through this process more people will become interested in learning about the infinite possibilities of the Internet.