Tag Archives: Intel

Black Women Enter the Boardroom

Black women are clearly leading the charge to bring diversity to corporate boardrooms. In the past weeks black women have taken positions of leadership at some of America’s biggest and best known tech corporations.

Susan Rice

Netflix announced that, Susan Rice, former national security advisor and ambassador to the U.N. has joined it’s board of directors.

Rice continues to build on a long and distinguished career that includes serving two presidents. Currently Rice is serving in multiple roles as a Distinguished Visiting Research Fellow at American University’s School of International Service, Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and Contributing Opinion Writer for the New York Times.

In a press release Netflix CEO Reed Hastings wrote, “We are delighted to welcome Ambassador Rice to the Netflix board. For decades, she has tackled difficult, complex global issues with intelligence, integrity and insight and we look forward to benefiting from her experience and wisdom.”

Rice responded by saying, “I am thrilled to be joining the board of directors of Netflix, a cutting-edge company whose leadership, high-quality productions, and unique culture I deeply admire.”

Rice holds a Master’s  and Doctorate in International Relations from New College, Oxford University, England, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. She earned a Bachelors degree in History from Stanford University . In 2017 Rice received the Award of Commander, Legions of Honor of France from French President Francois Hollande for her contributions to Franco-American relations.

Edith Cooper

Edith W. Cooper has joined the board at Etsy.com. Etsy.com is global marketplace for handcrafted goods. Cooper brings to Etsy 30 years of leadership experience in management and sales across the financial services industry. Cooper’s career includes stints as the former Executive Vice President and Head of Human Capital Management at Goldman Sachs. Cooper was responsible for the recruitment, development, promotion, and welfare of 35,000 employees around the world. She held positions at Morgan Stanley and Bankers Trust and is a member of the Board of Directors of Slack, the Museum of Modern Art and Mt. Sinai Hospital.

Etsy CEO Josh Silverman said of Cooper, “With Edith joining the board, we gain significant talent-management expertise, based on years of experience at leading global financial institutions. We are also honored that a person who called Brooklyn her home for many years is now working hand-in-hand with us to make our tech company even more successful. We are looking forward to Edith bringing her wealth of knowledge to Etsy providing guidance as we continue driving growth and empowering the 1.9 million creative entrepreneurs who rely on our marketplace.”

Richelle Parham

Richelle Parham took her seat on Best Buy’s board. Parham was named to Black Enterprise’s 2015 Most Powerful Women in Corporate America.  She is a partner at Baltimore based private equity firm Camden Partners Holdings, a private equity firm that provides growth and seed capital to lower-middle-market companies in technology, business services, education, and healthcare.

Parham brings 25 years of experience in global strategy and marketing to her role at Best Buy. Parham has exhibited her leadership in numerous corporate roles that include vice president and chief marketing officer for eBay before joining Camden Partners Holdings in 2016.  From 2008-2010 she served as chief of Global Marketing Innovation and Initiatives and head of Global Marketing Services of Visa Inc. For 13 years she held a variety of leadership positions at Digitas Inc. including general manager of the company’s  Chicago office. She has been a director of Ranir L.L.C. since September 2017 and was independent director at Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings since 2016. She has also held senior leadership roles at Rapp Worldwide and Citibank.

“I am delighted to join the Board and look forward to working with Hubert and the other directors as Best Buy continues to execute on its vision to enrich people’s lives through technology,” Parham said.

Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

Intel Corporation, maker of computer chips has announced Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey is joining its board of directors. Lavizzo-Mourey is a public health expert and is currently the PIK Professor of Health Equity and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. She served for more than 14 years as the CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and is a board member of manufacturer General Electric Co. and oil and gas company Hess Corp.

Lavizzo-Mourey is the fifth director to join Intel as an independent director with no material relationship to the company.  Intel has pursed such members since 2016. The chip maker is rapidly expanding into data heavy computing fields such as the data center, which handles information coming from connected devices and services such as autonomous vehicles, and health care. Lavizzo-Mourey will join other black female executives at Intel that include Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Aicha S. Evans and Barbara Whye, Intel’s chief diversity and inclusion officer

In an email Whye wrote; “We know she will bring a unique and important perspective to our board as we continue to drive diversity and inclusion within Intel and the technology industry.”

 

ALERT! – Specter and Meltdown Security Flaw – ALERT!

Regardless of what computer you own, Apple or Windows, Spectre and Meltdown security flaws affect you. Security researchers recently revealed the details of these two microprocessor security flaws. Chips made by Intel, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and others are in billions of devices making them sitting ducks for hackers.

Devices with these chips include phones, tablets, PCs, and computer servers. Exploiting the vulnerability opens the door for hackers to steal personal data, passwords, cryptographic keys, and other supposedly inaccessible information from device owners. While the average consumer should exercise caution the impact on business could be devastating. 

The Meltdown flaw only runs on Intel chips while the Spectre flaw can affect devices with virtually any modern processor.

Computer microprocessors handle data like a passwords or encryption keys. Normally these are kept from other apps. But both Intel and AMD pride themselves on the speed of their chips. To do this the chips use whats known as “speculative execution” to try to guess answers that may be needed if a chain of calculations came out a certain way. Since the delay in calculations can be predictable researchers found that a rogue app could guess where confidential data was located in a chip’s memory and steal it.

Regardless of your web browser, Google Chrome, Apple Safari, or any version of the Windows family, they all use Javascript code.  Hackers could introduce a data stealing Javascript program and post it on any chosen web site. Your browser app would automatically run the rogue code like it was an ordinary part of the site’s features resulting in your data becoming vulnerable or stolen. As you can see this is an extremely grave threat to business computing.

Although this vulnerability is now known there is no evidence anyone has used it…yet. And that is where the danger lies. The danger of these flaws is so great that tech companies  swung into action quickly to fix the problem. Perhaps too quickly.

According to various news sources the Microsoft patch to fix the flaw has been damaging some devices.  In some instances the computers are suffering performance problems while others have been bricked. A bricked computer is frozen and unusable. The problem has become so bad that Microsoft has halted issuing the patch for both Spectre and Meltdown for AMD equipped computers and devices.

Intel’s CEO Brian Krzanich addressed the Meltdown and Spectre issue as the keynote speaker at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. “I want to thank the industry for coming together to address the recent security research findings reported as Meltdown and Spectre,”  said Krzanich. He called the response to the issues a “collaboration among so many companies.” Krzanich promised that “for our processors and products introduced in the past five years, Intel expects to issue updates for more than 90 percent within a week, and the remaining by the end of January.”

Browser makers have swung into action to combat the flaw. Users of Google Chrome should turn on a feature calledsite isolation.”  The feature prevents malicious Javascript from accessing sensitive data. Google will soon release an update to Chrome’s Javascript feature that will improve protection against Spectre attacks, however, browser performance may suffer.

Microsoft has already issued a Windows security update for its Internet Explorer and Edge browser apps labeled “KB4056890” to protect against Spectre. According to Microsoft the update will change the browser’s features to protect confidential information in a device’s CPU. But make sure you check if your device has an AMD chip before using this patch.

Firefox maker Mozilla said its newest apps changed several features to make Spectre attacks more difficult. Released on January 4th, Firefox version 57.0.4 includes the new protections. Mozilla said in a blog post that it is studying additional ways to strengthen security against the attacks. “In the longer term, we have started experimenting with techniques to remove the information leak closer to the source, instead of just hiding the leak by disabling timers. This project requires time to understand, implement and test.”

Apple is planning to release an update to Safari in “coming days” to protect against Spectre. Early tests of the Apple updates showed a minimal impact on browser performance. For additional information on Apple products click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facebook and Intel Report Diversity Improvement

Maxine Williams, Facebook’s Executive Diversity Chief

Facebook’s surprising diversity report showed marked improvement in hiring of women and minorities. While the report shows that Facebook is still overwhelmingly white and male the improvements show that Maxine Williams, Facebook’s Executive Diversity Chief, is having an effect on the company.   Facebook’s report revealed 35 percent of its staff  are women, up from 33 percent a year ago. The number of number of women in leadership positions is up a percent to 28 percent.

Even with these improvements retention of female employees in the tech sector is a another challenge. Women are leaving the industry after hire in the face or sexism and other bias. So these numbers for Facebook can only be considered an improvement if women stay on with the company.

The report shows an increase of Hispanic employees of 4 to 5 percent and African-Americans by 2 to 3 percent. However the guys at the top are still white men making up 71 percent of the company leadership. No change there.  The rest of the company leadership is held by Asians at 21 percent with other groups holding only 2 to 3 percent.

How is Williams making change happen? Along side the diversity report Williams blogged about initiatives she believes are improving Facebook’s hiring and workplace culture. She pointed out the  “Diverse Slate Approach,” which encourages consideration of applicants who don’t look like the hiring managers.  According to Williams Facebook has discovered that “the more people you interview who don’t look or think like you, the more likely you are to hire someone from a diverse background.”  Facebook’s “Managing Inclusion,” training program teaches managers to consider what issues affect under-represented groups.  Facebook believes that this training helps to build an understanding of how these employees or applicants arrived in tech the industry and what obstacles remain.

Williams believes Facebook is moving in the right direction but said, “We aren’t where we’d like to be.”

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich

Another major tech company is also touting its diversity improvements.  Intel has reported that its diversity program is actually two years ahead of schedule.  In a recent blog post Intel CEO Brian Krzanich claims Intel is two years ahead of its original diversity plan. “We set out to achieve by 2020 an inclusive workforce that reflects the diversity we see every day in the world around us,” he wrote. “Doing this would bring the number of female, Hispanic, African-American and Native American employees in Intel’s 50,000-strong U.S. workforce to full representation.” According to Krzanich the goal is now moved up to 2018.

Krzanich, in a stand against racism, resigned from President Trump’s American Manufacturing Council after comments the president made about the events in Charlottesville that one left one woman dead. According to Krzanich he wants to “…call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues…”

Intel’s mid-year report shows the company’s five-year plan is on track to bring full representation of  women, African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans in both technical and non-technical jobs. According to Intel full representation is defined as the “full market availability of women and underrepresented minorities.”

“In December of 2014, our gap to full representation was 2,300 employees. Today that gap has narrowed to 801 people, a 65 percent improvement, said Krzanich.

But like Facebook and other tech companies white and Asian men still represent  almost all top management positions. More than 90 percent of Intel’s mid to senior-level technical roles are white and Asian men.  Intel is also dealing with a retention problem with women and minorities. The company says it has added “diversity playbooks” and other programs to help managers hire and retain under-represented groups.

Although diversity in the tech sector is a real issue, and progress is epically slow, there is progress. According to workplace culture and company review platform Comparably  companies are doing better.

Comparably has come out with a list of the top ten companies that are doing better than most in the area of workplace diversity. The scores of these companies are on a 0-100 scale and based how female employees rate their experience at the company. The diversity score is based on how employees of color rate their experience at a company. Here is Comparably’s list for women.

For diversity

 

 

 

Celebrity Cyber Report – Will.I.Am, Floyd Money Mayweather, Miami Heat

Rapper/Entrepreneur Will.I.Am

Rapper/Entrepreneur Will.I.Am’s company i.am+, has acquired Wink, which makes hubs for connected household devices. Wink is widely considered to be one of the most popular smart home platforms.

Wink announced the acquisition by email praising Will.I.Am’s company and saying the two companies will be merging. The statement said in part, “Our teams are in the process of coming together to shape our future roadmap and we can’t wait to share what we’re working on. In the meantime, please know that your Wink app and Wink Hub will continue to operate just as they have. The acquisition doesn’t change anything with regards to the Wink user experience.”

Wink also announced in the email it will be introducing “a number of new in-app features and partner integrations in the coming months.”

The problem is that Will.I.Am does not have a very good track record with his technology investments. Among some of his less successful ventures include the Puls Smartwatch, an iPhone accessory that added a keyboard and interchangeable camera lens to the iPhones 4 and 5 and wired earbuds that were considered dead on arrival by critics. None of these ventures saw any notable success.

Will.I.Am is a known technology nerd who is obsessed with futuristic tech. So much so that Intel hired him to be their Director of Creative Innovation.

Will.I.Am, born William James Adams Jr, lacks experience building smart home products or the services that power them. This alone could spell trouble for his new investment. That being said, Wink is already a popular Internet of things platform with over 1.3 million devices connected as of last year. Will.I.Am, brother, we wish you luck.

Boxer Floyd “Money” Mayweather

Is boxer Floyd “Money” Mayweather about to enter the crypto currency ring? Mayweather posted on his Twitter page a picture of himself on a private jet with an ungodly amount of cash in front of him. In the post he claims to be ready to make a “$hit t$n of money” on August 26th.” 

Is Mayweather is talking about an ICO or Initial Coin Offering? ICOs are the newest form of fundraising. Companies use ICOs to raise money from the public by selling digital coins or tokens. Dozens of companies, many never before heard of,  have raised over $1 billion this year alone.

Maybe Mayweather is jumping on the ICO bandwagon with Stox.com.  Another company no one had ever heard of before Mayweather made them kinda famous. Stox.com claims that “every day [sic] people will be able to predict and trade the outcome of events in almost any imaginable category: Finance, sports, politics and even the weather.” Stox.com is seeking to raise $30 million.

There are few question that need to be answered, most important of all; is this method of raising capital even legal? The SEC expressed doubts by ruling that the coins or tokens sold in an ICO are actually unlicensed securities and violate federal law. Financial industry experts interpret this as a warning from the feds against ICOs.

The next question is, is Mayweather really investing in the ICO or just pumping up the company? You know, by endorsing them. If it is an endorsement he better say so because there is another government agency, the Federal Trade Commission, that is cracking down on undisclosed endorsements. Wait a minute! Mayweather said a “$hit t$n of money.” Was he talking about that $100 million fight with Connor McGregor? Thats on the 26th. Stay tuned!

For Miami Heat fans the future is now. The NBA team has announced that it is dumping paper tickets in favor of mobile based or smartphone tickets for home games. 

According to team management a third of all  fans used their smartphones to attend games last season. Other NBA teams like the Timberwolves and the Cavaliers have already switched to mobile tickets but those teams still offer the option for fans use a driver’s license and credit card to get into the stadium.

The new policy applies to all Heat tickets. Even if you walk up to American Airlines Arena and buy tickets at the box office, you’ll still get them on your phone. Re-sellers i.e, scalpers can relax. The Heat will still allow tickets to be transferred although how is not exactly clear.

Intel Drops $4.5 M on HBCUs to Increase Retention in STEM College Majors and Careers

Written by Robin White Goode for BlackEnterprise.com, June 27th, 2017

 

Intel Corporation announced the Intel HBCU Grant Program, a three-year, $4.5 million initiative, to help retain students in STEM pathways at six historically black colleges: Florida A&M University, Morgan State University, Howard University, Prairie View A&M University, North Carolina A&T State University, and Tuskegee University.

“The key goal of the program is retention, in college as well as in STEM careers,” Barbara Whye told me, Intel’s chief diversity and inclusion officer and vice president of Human Resources. “We’re working to increase retention rates in partnership with the universities.”

This is not an easy goal. The New York Times has previously reported that black people make up 1% of the tech workforce at Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Twittermaking this demographic the least represented of all underrepresented groups.

Intel’s Commitment to Diversity

In January 2015, Intel announced its goal to reach full representation in 2020, across all categories, from entry level positions, to the senior vice president, as well as among the Intel Fellows—which is the highest technical role at the company—Whye says. “Full representation” is determined by what’s available in the employee “market.” For example, if 25% of those with engineering degrees are women, Intel’s goal is to employ 25% or higher women engineers by 2020.

Intel is one of 80 companies that agreed to a White House pledge last year to increase diversity; of those companies, it’s been reported that only seven have released data about their progress, of which, Intel is one.

“We are serious about this commitment,” Whye says. “We’re one of the few still monitoring and reporting transparently about our progress. We’ve committed $300 million to invest in diversity and inclusion in our Intel workforce.”

The Intel HBCU Grant Program

The Intel HBCU Grant Program may hold promise in supporting the company’s achievement of its goals. The six HBCUs were chosen because they grant degrees relevant to Intel—in computer science, electrical engineering, and computer engineering.“These degrees fit within our relevant space. About 80,000 workers at Intel have engineering degrees,” Whye says, who also has a B.S. in electrical engineering.

She also explained that the program was developed with input from the schools themselves.“We spent nine months on the ground with the university presidents, in conversation. A lot of times, companies design programs for universities instead of having conversations with those universities, but we talked through its development.”

Another great aspect of the program is that it’s based on what research has shown to contribute to student success. Whye explained that, in order to increase retention for STEM students, key success factors are access, awareness, opportunity, role models, hands-on research, a quality curriculum, and knowing how this work makes a difference. “The program is designed around these key success factors,” Whye says.

The three-year program will also bring professors from the six campuses to Intel, so they can engage in annual workshops, and take back what they learn to their schools.

Internships and two-year scholarships are integral to the program. Black employees at Intel will also have the option of getting involved, by “adopting” one of the six schools or mentoring a student.

For more information about the Intel HBCU Grant Program, visit this website.

App of the Week – Life Pocket

Inspiration is a powerful force. Understanding a problem and how it impacts you and those you love is even more inspirational. One teenager from Kenya possessed this inpiration and understanding and used it to make a change in the world. That is why Life Pocket is the App of the Week.

The Kenyan teenager we speak of is Caroline Wambui. Wambui was deeply affected by the loss of her uncle to kidney failure. No one in Carolines’s family was a match for a donation. There is also a cultural taboo against organ donation in Kenya. The country, like so many other African nations, does not have a national organ donor program.

Caroline Wambui with smartphone

Kenyan’s and other Africans die needlessly because of the lack or a donor database. Many others are forced into extremely dangerous organ markets.

But fortunately Kenya has a robust technology program that is bringing technology education to schools. The Kenyan government has instituted a laptops for schools policy. Contributions from numerous multi-nationals and local startups are working to improve Kenya’s educational system by introducing technology.

Caroline, because of this effort, used her education in technology to find a solution to the problem that led to her uncle’s death. It took two years but this young lady created the app Life Pocket.

The Life Pocket app registers and links patients with organ donors, doctors and hospitals for the purpose of making life saving organ donations possible.

Damaris and Caroline working on the app in a computer lab at the Embakasi Girls School.  (Photo by Guillaume Bonn/ Getty Images Assignment for intel)

Life Pocket  was just a dream until Damaris Mutati, Caroline’s teacher at the Embakasi Girls Secondary School became involved. Mutati introduced technology to her students. She understands that technology education is vital to the young people of the African continent.

Caroline enlisted the help of her fellow students to develop Life Pocket. Mutati demonstrated a burning passion for tech education. She participated in two programs run by U.S. chipmaker Intel in Kenya. Intel’s programs, Teach, and She Will Connect, assisted teachers seeking to introduce IT knowledge to African children.

But Intel did not stop there. The company’s staff volunteered to teach a coding workshop at Caroline’s school introducing the students to Intel XDK a unified development environment that enabled the students to design, create, test and deploy HTML5 apps.

Because of the efforts of Mutati and the involvement of multi-national corporations like Intel technology education has taken hold in Kenya and across Africa. One student, Caroline Wambui, has already changed the world because of it.

App of the Week – BAE

Bae-LogoOnline dating is how people meet in the digital age. More and more dating relationships and marriages start online than every before. But would it surprise you to learn that black singles have a tougher time on dating sites than whites? That is why  Before Anyone Else is the App of the Week.

BAE Founders

BAE founders Jordan Kunzika, Brian Gerrard and Justin Gerrard.

 

 

Before Anyone Else is a mobile dating app created by Jordan Kunzika, Brian Gerrard and Justin Gerrard. The objective of the app is to improve the online dating a experience for black people. Jordan Kunzika, is CTO of BAE and a first generation Angolan-American. As a senior at Dartmouth College he was often the only black person in his computer science classes.

Kunzika is  Google Generation Scholar and has been an intern at Microsoft and Intel. Kunzika chose the entrepreneurial route after college and help found BAE.   “I was honored to get full-time offers from Microsoft and Google before even turning 21, but I knew that I could serve a higher calling to represent a paradigm shift in what a tech entrepreneur could look like,” he says.

According to Pew Research over 30 million Americans have used an online dating service or mobile dating app.  A survey conducted by OkCupid  of 25 million OkCupid accounts revealed that when users rated their matches they penalized African-American men and women. 

The BAE selection process works like this, users swipe right for brothas or sistas that appeal to them and left for those that don’t. BAE is different because of a proprietary algorithm built by Kunzika. “What users like the most about BAE,” he explains, “is the quality of the matches and that it helps you find those you’re most interested in.”  If the user prefers to match with someone with an equal or higher educational achievement BAE will learn that over time as you swipe right for those potential matches.

The app proved to very popular and within a few weeks of their April 2015 launch, they reached 17,000 downloads and have grown over ten times since. 

BAE is free and available for Apple and Android devices

Obama Hosts Technology Demo Day

demo_day_hero_01

www.whitehouse.gov

President Obama hosted the first ever White House Demo Day on his birthday. The purpose of Demo Day was to accelerate diversity in the U.S. tech sector and highlight the administration’s dedication to this goal.

The event hosted more than 90 entrepreneurs from 30 different companies. Many participants were expecting to see and demonstrate start up technology efforts from various entrepreneurs. The diverse group of participants represented the spectrum of  women and minorities struggling to get recognition from the established tech community. In a show of support the White House and ventures capitalist announced several programs and initiatives to advance diversity in tech.

One group of 40 top venture capital firms representing over $110 billion dollars invested in almost 7,000 start ups announced their commitment to a more inclusive entrepreneur environment. In a letter from the New Enterprise Association, a group that includes Andreessen Horowitz, Intel Capital,  and Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, committed to monitor diversity within their individual firms and the companies they invest in.  The significance of this letter cannot be understated when women and African-Americans face huge obstacles to employment and investment in Silicon Valley.

Big name technology companies also made their presence known. IBM, Microsoft, Airbnb and Indiegogo are falling in step with the likes of Apple, Intel, Facebook and Pinterest by announcing that they will adopt the Rooney Rule. The rule comes from the NFL and states that a women or minority must at least be interviewed for senior positions in their companies. As many as 45 venture capital firms have adopted the Rooney Rule. But there are some who believe that even though the rule is well meaning it won’t work.

Google and Facebook announced a new program aimed at improving their diversity. Facebook launched the Supplier Diversity Program, that will focus on increasing the number of women and minority-owned business in the company’s supply chain.

In another announcement the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced the expansion of its InnovateHER 2016: Innovating for Women Business Challenge. The program is national competition intended to identifying products and services designed to uplift and empower women and families. The contest is conducted through a string of local business competitions that includes a final round of live presentations. The idea is to spur innovative efforts by and for women.

Now you know

 

 

Congressional Black Caucus Talks Diversity in Silicon Valley

CONGRESSIONAL-BLACK-CAUCUS_2_20Members of the Congressional Black Caucus Diversity Task Force traveled to Silicon Valley on Sunday. The objective of the visit was to meet with executives from some of the Valley’s biggest companies to discuss ways to get more diversity into America’s technology sector.

Making the trip were CBC Chairman G. K. Butterfield (D-NY)  and Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.). The group met with representatives from Apple, Bloomberg, Google, Intel, Kapor, Pandora and SAP.

“Our goal for this trip is to encourage and partner with these organizations to implement a diversity plan that will place more African-Americans in the tech pipeline,” Butterfield said in a statement Thursday. “This will potentially lead to a wide range of opportunities, from student internships to positions on the boards of tech companies.”

In May the CBC launched a five year program intended to expand recruitment of African-Americans at every level of the industry. According to a CBC TECH 2020 anouncement the tech industry will produce 1.4 million tech jobs by the year 2020. Seventy percent of those jobs will go unfilled. As part of the TECH 2020 initiative the CBC has announced specific goals and principles for tech diversity.

Efforts to bring more blacks, Latinos and women into the technology industry were highlighted by the efforts of civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson who persuaded companies to release their diversity data. The data uncovered that only African-Americans and Latinos were less represented than women in the valley. The percentage of people of color employed in the tech sector were in single digits; the low single digits.

The numbers measured from 2014-2015 indicate that after a year diversity among the biggest tech companies has not improved. Google’s 2015 report showed only 2 percent black employees and 3 percent Hispanic. Google has decided to spend $150 million dollars on improving diversity. That money will not all be spent in house. According to Google half of the money will go to ouside organizations.

In a blog post earlier this week Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg said one of the most important things companies can do to promote diversity in the workplace is ”to correct for the unconscious bias that all of us have.”

Apple computer’s diversity report shows that its workforce is made up of 11 percent Hispanic and 7 percent black employees. Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, who is on the record as being unsatisfied with the diversity of the workforce, has dedicated $50 million to improve the companies diversity and inclusion.

Rev. Jackson has asked that tech companies create specific, measurable recruitment goals and report their success in meeting those goals.

The executives of Pinterest claim to be the first in the industry to honor Rev. Jackson’s request by publicly announcing their diversity goals.   Pinterest is expanding the number of universities where it recruits, instituting an internship program. The company is working to identify students from underrepresented backgrounds and setting up Inclusion Labs at the company to experiment with new ways to improve diversity. The company has also taken a page from the NFL rule book, the Rooney Rule, that requires that a woman and a minority candidate be interviewed for leadership positions within the company.

Intel, the worlds largest maker of computer chips, is also laying claim to being the first to publicly announce their diversity goal. According to a post from Rosalind Hudnell, VP of Human Resources and Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Intel, the company set its goals out in May of this year. Hudnell also announced a $300 million effort by Intel aimed at increasing diversity in the company. Intel is using some of that money as an incentive for it’s employese to get into the diversity act. Intel will dish out up to $4,000 in bonuses to employees who can recommend a minority or women candidate that can increase the diversity of the workplace.

The most recet report on Silicon Valley diversity was published by Fortune.com on July 30th and it compares the diversity of some of the valley’s biggest companies ranked by gender and ethnicity. You can see the report here.

Related stories

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Congressional Black Caucus to Talk Diversity with Silicon Valley Leaders

 

 

 

Roy Clay Sr., The Godfather of Silicon Valley

Roy Clay Sr. Technology Pioneer

Black History Month is a celebration. The month is dedicated to the abilities and accomplishments of African-Americans. It also speaks to the determination of black people to be part of American greatness even in the face of racism. 

The African-American Cyber Report is about technology and black people. We cannot put the words African-American and technology together without speaking the name Roy Clay Sr.

Roy Clay Sr. is known as the Godfather of Silicon Valley. Mr.Clay was at the cutting edge of computing and technology before Microsoft and Apple were ever dreamed of.

Born in Kinloch, Missouri Clay lived in a home with no indoor plumbing, his neighborhood had no streetlights and black boys faced police harassment if found outside the small town after dark.

Clay was educated in the Ferguson, MO. school district. The same community where Michael Brown was killed by a police officer. Clay himself had unfortunate run ins with the police. But unlike many other young black boys before the civil rights era Clay was inspired rather than discouraged.

Speaking of his hometown Clay said; “Everybody cared.” Clay said his first teacher “inspired me to do well. By the time I left that little school, I thought I could learn to do anything.”

Clay went on to be the one of the first black men to attend Saint Louis University in 1946 when there was no such thing as computer science. He graduated in 1951 with a Bachelors of Science in Mathematics.

It was shortly after his graduation in 1951 that he was first introduced to computers. In those days computers often took up entire buildings, had to have carefully controlled environments and rarely ran long before crashing. Today’s technology was nothing more than science fiction.

In 1958, Clay found himself working as a computer programmer at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, now known as the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. His job was writing software that demonstrated how particles of radiation would spread through the atmosphere after an atomic explosion.

Clay was present at the birth of the technology industry in the U.S. Today the buzz word is code writing. Bot Clay was writing code even before the emergence of the civil rights era. In 1963 he was employed by Control Data Corporation working on a computer language known as Fortran. For us laymen Fortran is a general-purpose, imperative programming language that is especially suited to numeric computation and scientific computing.

Word of Clay’s work got back to David Packard co-founder of Hewlett-Packard and in 1965 he recruited Clay to set up HP’s computer development business. Packard’s idea was to build computers that worked with other HP instrumentation products. Clay was vital to this effort because Packard knew almost nothing about software. 

“He trusted that to me,” Clay said.

HP 2116A “mini” computer

Clay led the team that brought HP’s computer, the 2116A, to market in 1966. He also wrote the software for the 2116A as well. That computer Clay and his colleagues designed was about the size of a typewriter. It not only reduced the size of the computer but improved its reliability.

But Clay was unconventional and his practices did not always sit well with the other half of HP, Bill Hewlett. He built an atmosphere around HP’s computer-development business that inspired creativity. His  staff would start the day by playing golf at sunrise and would often not get to the office before 9:00 am.

Hewlett, not pleased with Clay’s methods,  said to Clay, “That’s not the HP way.” That attitude changed when Hewlett discovered Clay’s team still working away at 10 p.m. on a Saturday when he called for help with his computer.

Clay was a vital piece to the rise of HP to technology prominence.  He established the software development facility, managed the computer division and guided the companies emergence as an HP Computer company. Clay became the highest-ranking African American at HP. 

The computer industry began to emerge and its home was the northern California region that became know as the Silicon Valley. Roy Clay Sr., because of his work, became known as the Godfather of Silicone Valley. His work in the computer field caused an industry to grow. When industry grows so do the investments in that industry. Clay was the guiding hand behind the technology  investments made by capital investor group  Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers . The group invested in Tandem Computers, Compaq Computers and Intel Corporation. Today Intel corporation is the leading maker of computer chips for just about every computing device you can buy. In 2013 Intel reported over $52.7 billion in revenue.

In the mid-1970’s, Clay discovered that Underwriters Laboratories was going to require a safety test on electrical products to ensure that they wouldn’t shock or cause a fire. Clay was an entrepreneur and he formed his own company, Rod-L Electronics. Clay could very well be one of Silicon Valley’s first technology start ups.

At Rod-L he invented the first electronic equipment safety testing device to be certified by Underwriters Laboratory (UL).  Clay soon partnered with his former employer HP as well as IBM, AT&T and Xerox. His ROD-L tester was soon found on each company’s computer production line. The ROD-L sticker  was found on these companies computer products as evidence that they were certified by UL. According to Clay, “If it didn’t have Rod-L on that rear panel, it meant it was not a real IBM computer.” The Rod-L tester is still the standard today.

Clay also focused his intellect and leadership abilities on local politics by serving as the first African-American on the Palo Alto, California City Council in 1973. Palo Alto, in the heart of the Silicon Valley, is home to Stanford University as well as Hewlett-Packard. He also served as the city’s vice-mayor.

Clay was motivated to action by the Nixon administration policy proposal of “benign neglect.” This policy was aimed at urban African-American communities and designed to withhold resources from these neighborhoods. Clay’s response was to organize networking events for Black technology workers. He believed, “The way to get through “benign neglect ‘was to get African-Americans in positions to do things so we can get others in positions to do things.”

But with so much accomplished in his life Clay has to be introspective.  Clay grew up in the community of Kinloch, Missouri next door to Ferguson where Micheal Brown was killed by a police officer. Clay had his own incident with police when he was young and was told by the police; ” “Nigger, don’t let me catch you again in Ferguson.” Clay’s mother told him after the incident, “You will experience racism for the rest of your life, but don’t ever let that be a reason why you don’t succeed.”

Clay’s mother was prophetic and he took it to heart. Clay’s first attempt to find employment after college was at McDonnell Aircraft. Not knowing he was a black man Clay was invited to interview for a position with the company.  Once they got a look at him he was told “Mr. Clay, we are very sorry but we have no jobs for professional Negros.” Clay would not be defeated and five years later he was hired for the job.

In 2003 he was inducted into the Silicon Valley Engineering Council’s Hall of Fame. Mr. Clay was honored for his pioneering professional accomplishments alongside his former employers Bill Hewlett and David Packard of HP and Robert Noyce the co-founder of Intel.

Today Roy Clay Sr. still lives in Palo Alto and is CEO of Rod-L Electronics.

Now you know.