NO. 21: Jacky on Unsung Heroes in the Black Tech Space

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NO. 21: WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON BEING BLACK IN TECH SPACE?

JACKY ALCINÉ (@JACKYALCINE) ANSWERS

LOCATION: OAKLAND

INTERVIEW DATE: AUGUST 2016

“In terms of tech, this is close to what people consider to be the mecca of the recent software engineering [industry]. I’m very contrarian to the idea. This is where people attribute [innovation] to people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.

[But] there has been like hundreds of people that actually built the platforms we stand on top of today. It’s like the equivalent of America saying we built this land. Like nope. Native Americans tilled it. Black people built it. Y’all just take it. That’s kind of how I see tech in terms of attribution.

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As far as black people making things out here, it’s quite a few people who aren’t recognized.

There’s one. Brian Fox. He’s the guy who wrote software that literally runs on every single server on the planet. The software he worked on is kind of invisible, but it’s literally on most phones, computers and maybe even things like Chromecast. But they’re not going to put that in the history books.

[Gerald Anderson Lawson], he also came up with the basis of what game cartridges were. So what became SEGA, etc. A brother made that. They out here. But again, it’s about what image are you trying to portray? Do you [really] want to show that black people not only toil for this country but also built like one of the largest export products that were ever created?

It’s a tug of war.”

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