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October 31, 2023 42 mins

Ep. 138 We're at AfroTech Conference in Austin, TX this week, so I'm bringing you one of the most downloaded episodes of Black Tech Green Money. There are a lot of new subscribers here, so unless you went back deep into the archives, this gem is one you might have missed. I hope you gain a lot of insights and inspiration from it!

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:01):
One Lucas Black Tech, Green Money. It's so good to
be with you guys for another week. I am actually
headed to Austin right now. So we have a throwback
episode of Black Tech Green Money. This is one actually
of the most downloaded episodes of Black Tech Green Money.
This one surpasses almost every other episode that is out there,
so I'm happy to bring it back to you. It

(00:23):
is put yourself in a position to be successful. So
I'm gonna tell you two stories today, and the topic
of this particular podcast episode is something I firmly believe
it and it's about putting yourself in a position to
be successful. Because so often we want to be successful

(00:43):
and we see success, whether we see it on social
media or we see it in people around us. We
see success, and we don't always believe that that success
is either possible for us. Or we might believe that
it's possible for us, but we don't know what to
do in order to accomplish that success that we so desire.

(01:07):
So I'm going to tell you two stories today, and
this is these are my stories. And hopefully whenever I
whenever I talk to people, you know, whether it be
talks at conferences, whether it be keynote speeches or whatever.
I'm really trying to give value. So if I'm telling

(01:28):
you my story, it's not because my story is so great.
It's because I'm hoping that there's something in my story
that you can take and use for yourself in order
to find your success. So the first story is a
story about how I found at least the first few
steps and do the career that I'm in today. Because

(01:52):
I'm on preface my story with this, there's a quote
by Steve Jobs, and you've if you're listening to this podcast,
you've heard let me say this before, and it's a
quote by Steve Jobs that I firmly believe in. It's
one of my favorite quotes. I do have a couple
of favorite quotes, but this one is among like the
top three of my favorite quotes, and it says, you

(02:15):
can't connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect
the dots looking backwards. And what that means for me,
at least I believe I know how he meant it.
But what I get from that quote is this is,
if you look back over your life, you will find

(02:37):
clues that dictate your present circumstance. So if you find
yourself doing a particular job and you are like really
really good at doing that job. If you look back
at whether you were you know, a kid, or whether

(03:00):
you had a particular job, or whether you had certain experiences,
you will find, if you look hard enough, certain instances
in your life that says you will be good at
this particular thing. And that's what connecting the dots means.
It's not something like, you know, super highbrow. It's not like,

(03:22):
you know, it's not super deep. It's really a simple thing.
If you look backwards, you will see things that connect
to what you find yourself doing today. And it's hard
to do looking forward, if not in some cases, very
very very difficult. So we want to do certain things

(03:46):
in the future, but we don't always know what, like,
and I believe in like, what is the divine plan
for you? Like, because if I would have told you
at you know, sixteen or seventeen what I wanted to
be doing, it's not what I'm doing today. But I'm
really really happy doing what I'm doing today. But it's
not something I could have articulated, you know, years ago.

(04:09):
So anyway, all right, so let's you know, we've set
the stage with that particular quote. You can't connect the
dots looking forward, You can only connect the dots retrospectively
looking backward. All right, all right, So there was a
time when I wanted to be in the music business.
I wanted to be a producer. I wanted to be

(04:29):
a music producer and a songwriter. And so I'm from Toledo, Ohio,
which is you know, if you drive fast, it's like
half an hour from Detroit, but if you like relatively
close to the speed limit, it's like forty five minutes.
It's a little bit south of Detroit. And you know,
you know where it's at. Look on the map. If

(04:50):
you don't know where's at, Google Google map it. All right.
So I'm from Toledo, Ohio, not known for like a
lot of things other than you know, we have i think,
one of the top rated like minor league baseball teams
in the country, and very rust belt, midwestern, you know,
middle class, blue collar sort of city, you know, And

(05:14):
I wanted to be in the music business. So being
an ambitious kid, you know, I've always been super ambitious
and always like strategizing about, Okay, I know what I
want to do, how do I get there? I've always
been that way. It's been my like it's part of
my DNA. So I was thinking as a youth, like

(05:36):
how how can I find my way to the music
business in Toledo? And I found myself at a teen
summit that at local radio station was putting on, you know,
or at least the program director was on a panel
at this teen summit that was happening at a particular
library in my hometown. And so after the teen some

(06:01):
I almost remember what I was wearing a day, which
is like super woild because I don't remember like a
lot of details about like my childhood and youth, but
I remember, like almost verbatim what I was wearing today.
But it has nothing to do with the point of
this story. Only that is like a like ad point
in my life that obviously was like super critical to

(06:24):
what I'm doing today. So anyway, so at this teen something,
the local program director for the radio station was on
a panel at the library that I'm in attendance of,
and I'm with a friend of mine that I was
going to high school with, and we were for some reason,
we're at this teen summit and we were just there
to hear about I don't even know what the teen

(06:44):
someming was about, but I guess it was about teen
issues because it was teen something. So the program director
is talking, and in my mind at that teen Summit,
I'm sitting like in the last row, and I'm thinking, like, yo,
I want to be in the music business. And so
I'm in Toledo. The closest thing to the music business

(07:04):
is the radio station, and so this is how my
money works, and my mind has always worked this way.
So I'm like putting together the pieces. And so after
the teen Summer is over, I go up to the
program director, who's like in the only he's the program director,
program director of the only hip hop and R and
B radio station in town. There's only one at this stage,

(07:27):
and so I go up to him. I say, hey,
my name is Will Lucas, and I want to be
in the music business. And so he says, well, the
best thing I can tell you to do is find
an internship somewhere. So matter of fact, matter of fact,
because there was a lot of like teenagers like in
line because it's tease something. There's a lot of teenagers
in line waiting to talk to him, and so he said,

(07:49):
just come out to the radio station like tomorrow or whatever,
and we'll talk some more. Because it's a lot of
teenagers in line. So I go out to the radio station.
It had to be the next day because that's kind
of the kind of guy was. So I go out
to the radio station and he says, again, you know,
we're sitting like in this I guess, like a little

(08:09):
tiny three thousand watt radio station, like way out of town.
Like it's I mean, I think Midwestern country, like no
man's land. This is like pure flyover. So like the
radio station is like in like places you don't go.
So but for whatever reason, that's where the radio station was.

(08:30):
So I'm out there, and you know, I'm sitting inside
the radio station, inside the studio. And he says again, So,
the best thing I can tell you to do is
find an internship somewhere. And so as a matter of fact,
we need an intern here at the radio station. So
I'm so my internship started that day at the radio station.

(08:50):
So I would go out there every day after high school.
Well I should say every day because it was like
three days to the next point of in this story.
So I would go out after school for the next
several days directly out to the radio station in my
Buick rivie. I would drive out there and I would

(09:11):
see about like what he wanted me to do. So
three days into my internship, which I really wasn't like
doing anything, I was just watching him do radio. I
was watching him b and on air personality. And so
three days in he put me on the air with
him during the five o'clock traffic jam. So mind you,
he works from three pm to eight pm, like afternoon Drive,

(09:34):
which is like beyond the morning show is the number
one radio slot for radio personalities. Morning show is like
the King of the Hill. Afternoon Drive is the next
biggest time slot for radio personalities. So I go out there,
I hang out with him during his shift. After I

(09:54):
get out of school obviously, so I probably make it
out there like three thirty four o'clock, and he puts
me on the a with him during the five o'clock
traffic jam. My third day into my internship, and so
he did this five o'clock traffic jam, which is like
when they do this, you know mix and you know,
I'm will Lucas. I'm like, I don't know what to

(10:15):
do is but I'm just like hanging out with him
on the air, you know, from five to eight pm
when his shift is over. So I did that for
a couple of days, and we found some sort of
chemistry obviously, because he let me continue to be on
the air with him every day after five o'clock and
so he signs my phone and so three days into

(10:41):
it going to air, did that every day. I went
through like it's so crazy to think about. I went
through multiple you know, like radio names, like I like,
because I was trying to find like, what was my
name going to be for the radio. His name was
Charlie Mack, and I'm like, okay, I gotta find a
name for myself. So my name's Will Lukea. And so
we was just like messing around with a bunch of names. So,

(11:03):
you know, at one point in my you know, early
early early, like the early weeks of my radio career,
my name was like night Train for whatever reason, I
have no idea. So then then there was a point
where I remember being in the production room with him
and we were talking about, Okay, what is my radio

(11:24):
name going to be? And so he was like after
we like probably threw out ten fifteen names, it's like
the room is tiny. It's like a four by six room.
It's like super duper tight. So I remember he was like, well,
whenever you figure out, let me know brother, and I
heard him say Butter. He said brother, but I heard Butter.

(11:47):
So my first radio name, my first official radio name,
was butter because when he said whenever you figured out,
let me know better, I heard butter. He said brother.
So Buttera it was so my name on the radio.
My first name on the radio was Butta, and that's
what they call me for years in my radio career.
So six months after doing the five o'clock traffic jam

(12:10):
with him, he put me in this Saturday I gave.
I got a Saturday night show. I was eighteen years
old doing radio on a Saturday night in my hometown
six to ten every Saturday night. And I had the
number one radio show in the city on Saturday nights
in Toledo. And mind you, this particular radio station, and

(12:32):
this for some of you guys like this will mean nothing,
so I'll try to make it like parallel to something
that will make sense to you. Is this is a
three thousand watt radio station. The biggest radio stations in
town have one hundred thousand watts or more. So think
of you know like this. Let's say we're talking about cars,
and so I am driving a Nova, like a Honda Civic,

(12:57):
like a Prius. I am driving one of those the
biggest dogs in town. The biggest radio stations have like
Dodge Rams, F one fifties or you get. So we
are in the tiniest situation in town, the bottom of
the totem pole with regards to the power of the

(13:17):
radio radio tower that this particular radio station has. So anyway,
I'm doing these Saturday night shows, but I have the
number one show in the city. I'm like eighteen years old,
and so he remember he was on the afternoon drive.
Six months after I had the Saturday day night show,

(13:38):
they moved him to the morning show and I got
his afternoon drive show. So I was eighteen, just about
to turn nineteen, and I'm doing drive time radio in
my hometown three to eight. And so by this time
I had graduated. So I'm doing three o'clock to apm
Monday through Friday. And so I had the number one
show in my demographic because I was My job was

(14:01):
to target eighteen to twenty four, eighteen to twenty four
years old, people who are in the listening audience, because
that was a coveted demographic of people who listened to
the radio because they spend money, so advertisers want to
target that demographic. And so I'm doing that. And so
suffice it to say, like all of those skills that

(14:22):
I learned, again, I didn't want to do rap. I
never wanted to do radio. Like, don't forget that point
in the story. I happened to be good at something.
I learned very quickly. How to be engaging. I learned
very quickly. How to build production skills. I learned very quickly,
you know, how to make things sound a particular way

(14:45):
to make people want to listen to it, and just
creating engaging content. And so I did this very early
in my career with the intent of finding my way
into the music business. And so story number one, the
whole like crux of this conversation is talking about how
I thought I was doing this particular thing to get

(15:08):
to what I wanted, But there was another plan for
my life, and so I found if you look at
what I'm doing today, I have a podcast that's her
all around the world, and I'm able to do this.
I produce this podcast, I do the booking for this podcast.
I obviously record myself. I'm in my basement right now
recording this podcast. And I'm doing all of these things

(15:29):
with the skills I learned at seventeen and eighteen years old,
having taken an internship with the intent of being a
music producer and songwriter. I couldn't have scripted this. I
could not have scripted this because I was doing it
with a particular intent. But I did it well because
I knew if I did it well, it would put

(15:51):
me in position. It's just a different position than I
thought I would be in. But I'm living a dream today.
I'm living a dream that I didn't know I had.
But it's a better dream than the one I thought
I had. Story number one, Story number two, let's talk
about it. So afrotech and so I'm doing podcasts. So oh,

(16:14):
I got this thing about podcasts. Man, I've slipped into
the podcast game. So I've talked about this, maybe not
on this podcast, but the one I'm about to tell
you about. So a couple of years ago had to
be what like five years ago. Now this is before
this is pre me being involved with afrotech. So I'm

(16:37):
talking to a friend of mine. He's an advisor. He's
a white guy. He's an advisor to a startup that
I'm founding. I'm trying to get going at this particular stage.
And he comes to me and he says, you know,
what would it take you Remember, he's a white guy.
He says, what would it take to get more black
kids interested in tech? And I said, well, they need

(16:59):
to see a black Mark Zuckerberg, like somebody who looks
like them and is realizing success. And because that's what
I believed in that moment. And at the end of
that conversation, I kicked myself because I'm like, yo, like,
we have super successful black people in tech, we just
don't know who they are. And so I went and

(17:20):
after that podcast, after that conversation, I went, and I'm
thinking to myself, like, what can I do to be
a part of the conversation of elevating the names of
black technologists? What can I do to be a part
of the conversation of making sure that we have representation?
So I said, Yo, I did radio for all these years.

(17:41):
I did radio on teleto, I did radio in Detroit.
I know how to do this, and so I'm like,
I'm gonna put together I'm gonna do a podcast and
it's called Today. I mean, I'm kind of jumping ahead
in the story, but I'm just for to save time.
I did this podcast. It's called of ten Podcasts. It
was white. I was only gonna do ten episodes. That's
why it's called of ten podcasts. One of ten, two

(18:04):
of ten, three of ten. You guys are smart. Thank
you for following on. So I did this podcast called
of ten Podcasts. It's still in iTunes, you can find
it today. And the point was to highlight these super
successful black people in tech, and I wanted to share
their stories, and so I did this podcast. I was

(18:25):
only intending to do ten episodes. Again, it's called of
ten Podcasts, and that was gonna be it. And so
I did these ten episodes. I had like fantastic people
on there. I mean like Krim de La Crim, people
who were at the top of the game in this
podcast and in this season of Black Technology. So I'm like,

(18:45):
the first episode was like my guy who's a friend
of mine, Mack and Day at the EGBO. He was
like one of the lead engineers at Facebook, friends with
Mark Zuckerberg. I mean, this guy's he's fantastic and he's
actually founder of dev Color. He's founder of dev Color.
I was about to google it, so sorry for the

(19:08):
falls there. I was about to google it, but it
just came to me. He's founder of dev Color, like
a black kind of cohort or collective of black engineers
in Silicon Valley. So my guy back back and day
add Yegro. So he was the first episode that I had,
and I had like a run of ten episodes. Phenomenal
people who were in this podcast that I did. And

(19:30):
I'm gonna know about Like I'm a guy in Toledo
in his basement doing his podcast, and people are saying, yes,
I will do your show. And so I'll save another
day to talk about how to get great people for
your podcast, but for tonight we'll talk about, you know,
putting yourself in the position to be successful. So did
this podcast called up ten podcasts, fantastic series of highly

(19:53):
successful black technologies. Put it out, and you know Twitter
is like yo, people on Twitter, not Twitter, not actual Twitter.
People on Twitter were like yo, fantastic run episode six.
I love that episode fire. Remember when he said this
episode like seven. She said that, and I was like, bars,

(20:13):
So it was like, it's fantastic run. When is your
next season? And I'm like, there is no next season,
Like this is it? Like I'm working on other things.
I did this to contribute to the conversation. Like I
wasn't intending to do several several seasons, but I did it,
and like this is like a gift to the world.

(20:34):
I didn't even have any sponsors for this, Like I
did it because I wanted to contribute to the conversation.
So like we're five we were five seasons in. I'm
kind of jumping ahead of the story, but we did
more seasons. But the point is, after that first season
of ten podcasts, I heard about this thing called afro

(20:57):
Tech and I'm like, how did I not know? Oh,
it was the first year of Afrotech, and I'm like,
how did I not know that this conference happened? Because
half the people I interviewed on the up ten podcast
podcast were on the stage of the first afro Tech
and I said, I'm never going to miss another afro Tech.

(21:20):
I'm never going to miss another one. And so I
knew then, like I was sold, Like I didn't I
had I didn't go to the conference that year because
I didn't know about it, but I saw pictures and
I'm like, yep, this is my thing. I'm never going
to miss another one. I'm here until they stopped doing it.
I knew that the first moment I heard about Afrotech.

(21:41):
So obviously I go to the second year of Afrotech
and I knew. I absolutely knew I was going to
have a life changing experience. I don't know why I
knew it, I just knew it. And so again, I'm
a content creator, so I said, you know what, I know,
I'm gonna have fantastic experience. I'm gonna vlog every day

(22:05):
of this conference. So I'm taking my camera and I'm
gonna record, not with the intent of like putting out,
you know, like a bunch of content, but I'm just
gonna record. Put a bookmark there because we're gonna come
back to that. I'm planned on doing a video, and
I said, I'm gonna put out a video about my

(22:26):
experience going to the first to my first Afrotech, which
is the second Afrotech that ever happened. And so I
was no, I was gonna have a good time. So
I did it, So I took my camera recorded everything
about my trip that getting on the airplane, I'm matter
of fact, getting in the car, on the ways to
the airport, getting to the airport, sitting in the airport,
landing in San Francisco, first day, vibes like the whole situation.

(22:51):
And I said, and remember I did this Upten podcast,
so I was still doing the podcast at this moment.
So I'm so I took and I come from radio,
so I'm telling you the dots are connected. I come
from radio, and I have this podcast that is called
the of ten podcast, which is a tech based podcast.

(23:12):
At this time, so coming from radio, I'm a DJ.
I do club nights. So I said, I'm gonna print
flyers to take with me to AFRO Tech and on
these flyers is not a club night, it is promoting
my podcast. So everybody, because I saw who was going

(23:33):
to be speaking on stage because it was on the website,
so I said, everybody who's going to be speaking on stage,
I'm printing flyers about my podcast with their faces on
and saying, hey, if you like Jessica Matthews Uncharted play
Present Day Uncharted Power, check out my podcast because she's
on my podcast. Hey, if you like Paul Judge, several companies,

(23:57):
a whole bunch of patents, a whole bunch of money,
a whole bunch of nights clothes, if you like Paul
Judge and you and he's gonna be probably in the
conversation because I don't think he's on stage, but he's
gonna be in the conversation at afro Tech. He's on
my podcast. You should check out my podcast. Here's a flyer,
here's a link to go get it subscribed today. So

(24:18):
I took this. These flyers probably printed five hundred flyers,
and I'm recording video. So I'm the only person there.
I'm the only person there at the second afro Tech
who's passing out flyers for anything, because there's not even
club people passing out flyers for the parties at night.
There's only me passing out flyers, and people like, yo,

(24:40):
where the party at? And I'm like, no, not a party,
it's a podcast. So I'm doing that. So people all
over the situation are, you know, taking my flyers because
anything gets they're about to get turned out that night,
but they about to subscribe. They don't even know it yet.
So I do that. So I'm sitting the stage for
some here, all right, So I'm recording every day and

(25:02):
I'm passing on flyers. I decide the first night sitting
in a friend of mine's apartment because he left because
he said, you know what, you don't have to get
a hotel come into San Francisco. I'm out of town.
You just had the keys to my place. So he
let me stay in this house, in this apartment or whatever.
It was a basement in San Francisco, but it was

(25:23):
somebody's basement. But he made an apartment, or they made
an apartment. He's renting it way too in New East
right now, So he let me stay there. He was
not in town, so he's like, you can stay at
my place while you're there. No reason for you to
get a hotel. So I said, you know what, I'm
not at at one of the parties. I'm going to
go back to the place and edit the video that

(25:44):
I recorded. I remember, I think the first the first
Apple Tech I went to was like a Thursday, Friday, Saturday.
It could be Friday, Saturday, Sunday. I don't remember too
many details that are not helpful to the story. So
I record all day Thursday, record all day, and I'll
get back to the room and I'm like, I'm not

(26:05):
gonna do like a big video. I'm gonna do a
video every day. So I edited down all the video
from that Thursday and edited down real quick. It might
have been I could look on Google right now or YouTube.
I'm not gonna but I edit all the video down
from that Thursday. Might have been five minutes long, might

(26:26):
have been ten minutes. I don't remember. You can find
it because it's still on YouTube right now. Afrotech twenty seventeen.
You can go see it and it might have been
five minutes long. But it was the video that I
took from that day and it was like my experience,
my journey of being at the first Afrotech for my
for myself, and edited the video down, put it up

(26:49):
on YouTube that night. So on Friday, I'm walking into
the conference and people are like, yo, I saw your
video from yesterday. How would you do that? Cause that
was yesterday? Like nobody, this is twenty seventeen. Nobody like
this is no TikTok, there's no Instagram stories, there's none
of that. Like, nobody puts out video that fast and

(27:11):
quality video. Edit it like, not just like hit record
and just play some stuff. Like I edited the videos
that night, a bunch of video edited that night, put
it up on YouTube Friday. People are like, yo, fire video.
I saw your stuff from yesterday. How did you do that? Whatever?
I did the same thing all day Friday. I recorded

(27:31):
all day Friday, edited it when I got back to
my guy's place, put it up on YouTube Saturday. People
are like, oh my god, how you doing this? You
are here, but then you on YouTube from being here fast?

(27:52):
How so I'm like, this is what I do. So
did that every day at a conference. Put it on
YouTube asap, not playing around what I didn't know what was.
What I didn't know what was happening was I was
building a name in reputation for myself as being a
content creator in this scene of black technology. I had

(28:14):
no clue. All I knew was I went with the
intent of giving people black technologists. Specifically, I wanted to
give people FOMO For what reason, I don't know. Because
I'd never been to Afrotech before. I just knew that.
I said, I'm never going to miss another afro Tech.

(28:37):
This is my first year going. I'm never going to
miss another afro Tech, but I want to make sure
anybody who should be here never misses another afrotech. I
want to give you fomo like you missed out. I
had no idea what it was going to be like.
It could have been like aw smoking mirrors. I had
no idea, but I knew in my heart of hearts

(28:57):
that this was going to be a life changing experience.
So I edited the video, put it up fast, built
a name for myself. Didn't even know I was building
a name for myself. So I went to the next
afro Tech, which would have been twenty eighteen, and I
took my wife because I'm like, yo, you've got to
see this thing. Like there are thousands of black people

(29:20):
in San Francisco, and there ain't that many black people
in San Francisco. So I'm sure the airport was like
security because why are all these black people coming in
to sanfrans Like why all of it? Why are they here?
But we're all like pulling up in San Francisco. So
I took my wife and I said, you've got to

(29:41):
see this thing. It's like thousands of black people, all
of them are in tech, and they all talking about
tech and they're talking about building million dollars, billion dollar,
trillion dollar companies. They all talking about algorithms, they all
talking about crypto, they all talking about like strange stuff
to most people, you've got to come see it. So

(30:02):
I took her and I didn't record this year. And
so this is when I knew that I was building
a name for myself, because everywhere I went, people was like,
where's your camera? And so I'm like, oh, y'all really
like on that? Like I didn't know. I didn't realize
people were looking for me to be recording. And so

(30:22):
this year twenty eighteen I'm specifically talking about, was the
first time I realized that people wanted what I was doing.
Because you see the comments, like you see the likes,
you see the shares, but you don't really like see
people and you didn't you don't really know that those
likes were clicked by a person. I mean, content creators
know what I'm talking about. Anyway, I didn't realize people

(30:44):
would miss it. But I was putting out all this
content about tech, putting out all this content on my podcast,
putting out these videos by entrepreneurship and business, which you
can still find on my on my YouTube page and
I remembermember being back home. Actually, let me tell you

(31:04):
this first before I duck out of here, because this
is an important part of the story. And so because
I'm like a big believer in like you got to
see yourself there. Representation is so important and sometimes when
you don't have an ecosystem around you, it's hard to
have that reputation. And this and being an AFRO Tech
season right now, we're like a couple of weeks from
Afro Tech. This is why this particular episode is so

(31:27):
important and why you cannot not be there, all right.
So I took my wife, I told y'all twenty eighteen,
and at the end of the conference on the way home,
I'm like, we're in the airport and I'm like, wasn't
that fantastic? Like that was like thousands of people black
people and we all in tech doing this thing. And
She's like, yeah, it's beautiful, fantastic conference. That was amazing.

(31:52):
You should not come back unless you on stage. I'm like, oh,
how I'm gonna get on stage? I don't know. I'm like,
I don't understand, like because I'm thinking, like if the
people that I'm looking at on stage are people who

(32:13):
should be on stage. You know what I'm saying, Like
the people who are on that stage like doing things
like you know, cause you know, you know how it is,
like you just feel like you know everybody's got it,
but like you're trying to qualify yourself and it's difficult
to do that. So I'm like, how am I gonna
get on that stage? Do you see that credentials? Do

(32:35):
you see their resumes? Do you see the money they raise?
Do you see the exit you know back? Do you
see like all of that? And I'm like, I don't
know how I'm getting on that stage. But you know,
I'm talking to my wife. I'm like, I right, challenge accepted,
Like I don't know how I'm gonna do it. I
got a podcast, I got a couple of startups. I
got one, two, three, four, five six that failed, but

(32:56):
I'm gonna figure it out. So that's obviously November twenty eighteen.
So I said, this is what I'm gonna do. I'm
a big believer in vision boards because like you need
to see it. So I put a picture. I still
have the picture because I took it down off my
vision board, but it was a picture I found on Google.
I just googled Afrotech and I found a picture Anwar Bay.

(33:17):
He's a designer for like video games Black Dude, and
he spoke at Afrotech that year. So I found this
picture because it wasn't particularly that I was looking for
a picture of anwar speaking to Afrotech. I just googled
Afrotech and I've looked for pictures and that was the
picture I chose. So I took this picture of anwar
on stage and I put it on my vision board.

(33:39):
So you got to remember, every single day, I'm looking
at this picture and others about you know, what I
want to bring into my life. And so I put
this picture on my vision board and I'm looking at
it every day. And I said, the next time that
they open up a call for speakers, I'm going to apply.
Don't know if I'm getting on stage, but I'm gonna apply.

(34:03):
Don't got tell you drink. So I take this picture,
put it on my vision board. I see it every day.
I said, next year, when they open up call for speakers,
I'm gonna apply. Don't know how I'm getting on but
you know, I gotta do what I gotta do. So

(34:24):
around the time that they make the call for speakers
just had to be like February, March, April May. I
don't know, somewhere around there, but it's around that season.
I'm driving down. I remember exactly where I was, And
y'all don't live where I live, so I won't give
you like exactly, you know, coordinates, but I remember exactly

(34:46):
where I was. And I'm sitting at a red light
and I get an email from somebody who works for Blavity,
which owns Afrotech. Obviously if you didn't know that, Yeah,
he's like the black BuzzFeed, like it's the biggest black
millennial website in the world. Chauttham, Morgan Deborn. So I'm

(35:10):
sitting there and I get an email from somebody at
Blavity saying, Hey, my name's Da Da Da. And I
was talking to Morgan because we're going on or going
in a new direction for Afrotech, and Morgan said, we
should talk to you about running it, and I'm like,

(35:34):
I don't what, like, hold on, you're going in a
new direction for afro Tech and you want me to
run it. The guy who says, howard in the world
am I going to get on this stage? How like
I don't feel qualified, is what I was really saying
to myself. I never cognitively said that to myself, but

(35:56):
that's what I was saying along the whole line of thinking,
if you if you look back, if you hit rewind,
that's what's happening in my story. I'm telling myself you
aren't worthy of that. So I'm sitting at this red light,
get this email saying we're going in a new direction
for Afro Tech, and Morgan says we should talk to you.

(36:20):
Do you have time to talk? And I'm like, oh
my god, this this is the thing because you got
to realize I come from radio, and so I've seen
a lot of celebrities, some of the biggest celebrities in
the world, been to all the concert all the things.
So like celebrities don't improbab like black Tech people like

(36:42):
winners are like, that's my rock star too, that's me.
So when I walk in the room and I'm hanging
out with Dave Salvant, you know from Squire, or I'm
with Rodney Williams, or I'm with you know, Morgan, or
I'm with Jessica Matthews, or I'm with whoever, like Paul
judge Ryan Glover, Like, when I'm with these people, those

(37:06):
are my rock stars. And so you're asking me to
steer the ship of the most important thing to me,
the thing that makes my eyes glittered, like you asking
me to run it. And so I'm trying to figure
out how I'm getting on the stage to give a
two minute talk and you're asking me to steer the

(37:26):
ship of the brand. I'm trying to tell y'all, like,
I'm not saying that about I'm not saying that to
glorify me. What I'm saying is, if you look back
at the things that I did before getting that email,
it's set me up to get that email. So don't

(37:48):
despise small beginnings, Like there are things that you are
doing today that put you in a position. If you're diligent,
if you treat it with respect, if you get the
education you're supposed to get out of it, if you
don't take it for granted, if you actually do the work,
if you do it with integrity, if you don't cut

(38:10):
corners but you learn the lesson, if you go all in,
if you disciplined. I was putting out content when nobody
was paying me. I was putting out content because I
loved the content. I wanted to hear the stories. And
so now the people that I interviewed a lot of
these like may my friends. Now there are people like

(38:32):
I text with them, I talked to them. When I
see them, it's what up. We get a drink, we
got to eat, we hang out. The people who are
like my rock stars, those are the people that you know,
I can rub shoulders, where I can stand next to,
I can sit beside and we all good. I'm getting

(38:53):
the bag, they getting the bag and we all get
in the bag. Because I didn't really is it at
the moment. But again, you can't connect the docs looking forward.
So when I was doing the podcast, I thought I
was doing it for X week reason. I thought I
was doing it for reason X. But reason why why

(39:14):
was around the corner and I didn't even know it.
But I treated it with respect because I gave to
the community. I wanted y'all to have something that didn't
exist before. I wanted y'all to see yourselves in the
people that I represented put on the platform. Gave a
pedestal to uplifted on that podcast, which put me in

(39:39):
a position to touch more people. I could I couldn't
have scripted that out. I couldn't have dictated how it
was going to happen. So today I sit in a position,
you know, a privileged position, a position I worked for,

(40:00):
or a position of honor, a position to be able
to serve you. And that's really what it's all about.
But I did that work, and what I do this
work for continually is to show you that you do
this work. These are the rewards because the stories that

(40:20):
we highlight on this podcast, the stories that you will
see at afro Tech twenty twenty one, the people that
you're gonna meet at this conference coming up, which I
mean I did the whole podcast just now trying to
get you to see why you need to be there.
You can't miss this. You cannot miss this. It's virtual.

(40:43):
So what this virtual world that afro Tech builds is like,
it is this aint zoom fan. This ain't go to meeting.
You don't build the whole world for y'all, and you
meet people from all across the World's people I met
last year from Tanzania. It's people I met last year

(41:04):
from the UK. It's people I met last year from
all from Tennessee. It's people I'm met from all over
the world, and they all look like I mean, they
all pretty for the most part, look like us, and
they're trying to do the thing, and they doing the thing.
They want to hire you, they want to fund you,
they want to buy your stuff, and they're at this conference.

(41:27):
So that's my story. I hope you got something out
of that. You never really know why you're doing what
you're doing. You might think you know why you're doing
what you're doing. You might have real intentions on the
reasons that you're doing specific things that you're doing, but

(41:50):
sometimes they don't work out like you planned. That's just
a fact. Sometimes the outcome isn't something that you prescribed.
But if you're in there and you're doing the work,
there will be opportunities that open up to you that
you could not have asked for, that you couldn't have
imagined would be possible for you put yourself in a

(42:14):
position to be successful. That's my story for today. Oh
y'all enjoyed this episode.
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