THE BLOG

Black Tech Entrepreneurs Bring Great Value to the Field

02/19/2015 01:32 pm ET | Updated Apr 21, 2015
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The growth of technology and how it's augmenting not just "business as usual" but also our day-to-day lives has often been compared to the Industrial Revolution. That time period was one of huge growth for America and produced, indisputably, the most successful and innovative entrepreneurs of our time including Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, and Carnegie. Their businesses focused on the infrastructure and commodities of the future. Translate that to today, it can only equal technology, after all it is our future. I'm not one to jump on the bandwagon and tell you that you need to learn to code in order to be successful in technology. Though valuable I don't think you have to be an expert in computer programming to be a successful technology entrepreneur. I do believe, however, you have to understand it enough to be able to identify and leverage talent to help you build your business (be it a co-founder type or a programmer for hire). One of the things I love the most about those innovative entrepreneurs of the 19th century is they simply figured it out. Rockefeller didn't go back to school to learn how to refine oil, he partnered with Samuel Andrews, a chemist. Carnegie didn't go back to school or teach himself the in's and out's of architecture to build the longest bridge at the time that spanned the Mississippi River. In fact he found "a guy" who was simply a good designer but also not an expert in building bridges. This is what true entrepreneurship is about.

It's no secret we can count on one hand how many black entrepreneurs were produced out of the Industrial Revolution. If we don't open our eyes and take some action we'll be left out... again.

The lure of fame and recognition is often what derails us and makes us gravitate to other industries like music and entertainment. I can't tell you how many entrepreneurs I still meet trying to launch a record label thanks to the successes of Diddy and Jay-z et al. both of whom are approaching $1B in net-worth. Yet, it was Dr. Dre who had the foresight to marry a credible and authentic brand with consumer electronic trends to launch a hardware technology company, Beats by Dre, which later got acquired by Apple for $3B. Even the stock buy back of the company was masterfully and artfully executed. You don't have to major in business or finance to see who's leading the pack here.

The future is not in recreating via blueprint what someone else was successful at. The future is where our culture, innovation, and capitalism intersect. Where we understand the in's and out's of the game that is being played and have enough foresight (and courage) to build for upcoming trends. And more importantly the inroads are being built now so that when you (or your kids, or your kids' kids) have that next genius idea you have a well-earned seat at the table when checks are getting cut and deals are being made.

We'll know black lives matter when we see more successful minority entrepreneurs in the tech industry.

This post is part of the "Black Future Month" series produced by The Huffington Post and Black Lives Matter for Black History Month. Each day in February, this series will look at one of 28 different cultural and political issues affecting Black lives, from education to criminal-justice reform. To follow the conversation on Twitter, view #BlackFutureMonth -- and to see all the posts as part of our Black History Month coverage, read here.