The Black Godfather of Silicon Valley

East Palo Alto

East Palo Alto. Photograph: Barry J Holmes for the Observer

What a sad looking sofa in Andrew Smith‘s story on Silicon Valley (h/t). Replacing “Whisky Gulch“, this is also in East Palo Alto:

Fours Seasons, East Palo Alto

I was a committed community technology practitioner for nearly ten years, and I believed that access to technology was a fundamental social justice issue in American cities. I was wrong. —Virginia Eubanks, pp.4–5, Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age

This was Thomas Perkins‘ “software guru“, Roy Clay:

The Black Godfather of Silicon Valley
Palo Alto History Museum
High Tech: Winning Success in Silicon Valley
Before Bill Gates, There Was Roy L. Clay Sr.
HP’s Radical Move
The Black Digital Elite
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

Soon after, HP solidified its commitment to computers by spinning the operation out as a separate division, headed by Perkins and housed in Cupertino. There, a dozen miles from headquarters, Perkins presided over what passed for HP’s counter-culture. In a company where white shirts and steel—toed shoes were de rigueur, many of Cupertino’s four hundred employees wore blue jeans and sandals and flouted HP’s regimented work schedule. Software chief Roy Clay led a group of programmers who took to playing golf a few mornings a week, arriving late to work. They might have escaped the home office’s notice had not their number included a recent college grad named Jim Hewlett. One afternoon Clay got an angry call from Jim’s father, Bill, reminding him that the HP work day started promptly at 7:45 AM. Jim had played his last nine holes, but his co-workers played on, confident that Perkins had their backs. —Anthony Bianco, The Big Lie: Spying, Scandal, and Ethical Collapse at Hewlett Packard

For more history on Blacks in Silicon Valley: Uninvited Neighbors: African Americans in Silicon Valley, 1769–1990, by Herbert G. Ruffin; see also Black California Dreamin’.

there’s so much subtext in this post that to say more would be superfluous


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