The Start-up life of a Blaque girl…Ep1
Yo, this startup life is muva facking struggle.(They don’t like to tell you this bit)
It’s an uphill battle. Foremost, I am creative, and secondly, I have to be a business woman. I have to remain logical over situations, don’t take shit personally, it’s not always about my race and if it is about race it is more to do with the other person’s inability to view past the colour of my skin, gender and appearance. I’ll leave you to figure out the rest, I have things to do.
I am not a Blaque Barbie, you can’t put me in box and expect to use me as a show and tell, I have my own voice and my own opinion. I learn the rules and work on bending them to work in my favour.
Let me explain; I am in the process of creating a product within asset management and retrieval the market is worth Billions. Caucasian middle aged men dominate the market, I have often had to be forthright with my communication calling people’s bluff for them to take me seriously. I hardly play cards unless it pairs and snap, but I can only guess start-up life is like playing Poker at a professional level.
Under serendipitous circumstances I discovered a company who could execute part of the project. I had a meeting arranged, now this dude is at least six foot, and he looked like he played rugby or American football and was a hell raiser in his youth. Anyway, I sat down in his office, they way I lodged my foot on his desk, I thought it was mine. I plonked my bag down on the chair next to me, (this bag is too nice to leave on the dirty floor) and we started talking, you know how it goes.
Little did he know, is I have worked with people like him before, their bark is worse than their bite. I could tell he was being a pretend adult and googling while talking to me, I’ve learnt not to give you just enough information, you would literally have to be a hacker or a mind reader to get the information from me. Anyway, I tried to play oh I just some air head with a cute idea or I could be she is cute air-head with a very good idea. Nah, let us not get it twisted I like nice things, but I like my cookies hard, I am not origami I will not be folded over.
All the niceties and then to business. He had some great questions, some of them I couldn’t answer. I knew I had to go and do some research. Back to the library I go.
On one occasion I used my knowledge of IP as I thought, the person whom I spoke with about the concept I am working on was trying to cut me out the equation. The email I sent was very boisterous when writing the email I thought this dude isn’t even thinking of chopping me out of the equation. This is my idea. After I had sent the email, I had a tinge of guilt, what if…? Then I thought I have to defend myself before anyone can defend me. Also, there was a 50/50 chance, he is going to tell me to piss off, or he was going to get back in line. I was dealt a good set of cards, the later worked.
I am not going to lie. My train of thought went along the lines of I hope this doesn’t backfire on me or I was a bit aggressive. In all honesty hip hop is my daily dose of medicine Todays (Album is Belly: Up for days) and I also have a potty mouth. So, I was like let this dude fuck around, and I will annihilate him.
I told one of my best mates what I did, and he said “Nah, Nubs. You is cool; you have to say it how it is. Otherwise, they will take the piss” or something along those (Nubs, is short for Nubian, It’s a childhood nickname)
Now, these situations are not unique to me, people stealing others work is prolific in just about every field, but within the start-up arena, the stacks are worth much more. So, you have to fight your corner and play the cards that have been dealt, if you have a poor set of cards, then you need to wait until you have strength in numbers or expand you knowledge in your area.
I can attribute my race to this situation, to be honest I am an anomaly, I am a blaque female raised by a white family in West Sussex, I moved to London while I was at Primary school, I competed at national level athletics while I was in secondary school, I went to uni, I did a semester abroad at Keene State (I spent most of my time drunk or high) after that I never handed in my dissertation in on “The War on Drugs” ( I wonder if they will let me submit it now?) I travel to places to explore cultures. This list could go on.
So, race really hasn’t got much to do with it in my circumstances.
I was not raised to use race as a calling card. I was taught be nice and people will be nice to you.
At face value I may be assumed to be one way but once you speak with me it’s a different. Yes, race plays a part of most of my equations, yet so does my character, ones character can not be defined by one’s race. People fail to take responsibility for how much their character plays a part in most interactions.
So my advice is focus on your character not your appearance as people will stop and speak, however if you are selfish, conceited and culturally unaware, then regardless of your skin tone, no one is really going to want to stick around and help you or be friends. It is really that simple. We can over complicate this with facts and figures. But this is my story, so I tell it from my perspective.
Until next time on the tails of the start-up life of a Blaque Girl
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Originally published at medium.com on April 17, 2017.