Beginning New Conversations On Twitter

Over the last week, I’ve been posting about minorities in tech, startups, and investing. The core issue here is while most investment capital for startups resides in the Valley and SF and while most deals originate through referral networks, using curated lists on Twitter could (theoretically) help foster conversation outside traditional networks — especially with folks who are not often represented.

Since then, Intel announced a huge $300M diversity fund initiative, and Fred Wilson wrote about what folks in investing and startups can do to help. Last weekend, I created a public Twitter list called URM, for “underrepresented minorities” in tech, startups, and investing — Kristy Tillman (@KristyT) from Boston helped out a ton! She created a hashtag for this called #URMList. You can check out and subscribe to the list here. What’s cool is that there are already more people subscribed to the list than on the list (for instance, Marc Andreessen, Fred, my colleagues at GGV, and many more now follow the list) — though I want to keep adding more and more people. I received almost 50 different emails from folks with ideas on how to get investors to engage with #URMList on Twitter:

  1. People who are on the #URMList likely don’t know each other. The list is public. Please subscribe to it even if you’re on the list.
  2. Please keep sending me suggestions and twitter handles for more people to add to #URMList.
  3. Second step in this plan was for me to create another public Twitter list of SF/Valley investors (plus a few others) who engage often on Twitter. Here it is, subscribe here.

So, here’s the next thing I’d suggest people do — begin conversations with people on each list, both the VC list and the #URMList. I’ve started to a bit when I’m on desktop using TweetDeck. There are about 200 members on #URMLIst and I know 2 of them personally, and the rest I’m just listening to. I think it will take lots of time to find overlapping interests, but Twitter isn’t going anywhere and either are any of us.