Two years ago I was laying in bed, phone in hand, frustrated with the headlines on my daily tech news feed.
Every name, every company, every “futuristic” feature story I saw cited a dominant caricature of the white guys in tech. Where daily news stories were adept at covering CEOs and founders like Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, there were very few attempts to deeply cover emerging tech companies founded by black and brown entrepreneurs. The headlines were underwhelming: a diversity story here, a press conference there. That deep investigative and creative storytelling citing diverse experts and sources remained absent.
Something had to change.
In the spring of 2016, I launched The PLUG, a daily tech newsletter covering black founders and innovators in tech. I had no money and no partners. The early days were a scrappy doing. I’d hacked together a logo, opened a free MailChimp account, purchased a $10 domain name, and every weekday at 6 am scoured the news to curate a top five list of stories to read on diversity in tech and the latest black tech founders to watch.
While we’re still made of small beginnings, today The PLUG has grown in both subscribership and influence, continuing to be a journalistic answer to the lack of inclusive coverage and dialogue in documenting black influence in the tech.
To say that it is an honor to work with Motherboard to extend this work in a series of long-form stories and features highlighting the people and trends shaping the world around us is an understatement. With that said, we know this opportunity to have your attention and bring you interesting and important news stories on this platform is invaluable.
Over the next few months, our team of journalists, in collaboration with the Motherboard team, will tell several stories, including the first database of over 50 black-owned co-working spaces in the US, which are championing inclusion in the tech industry while providing safe spaces for black communities. Today, we’re taking a look at how technology is providing a lifeline to formerly incarcerated people.
We look forward to having you along for the ride. We think you’ll like what we’re bringing to the table.