An Important Twitter List

It’s been an interesting couple of days. On Friday, I posted about women and minorities in startups and investing, and yesterday, I followed-up with a more targeted post focused on underrepresented minorities (URM) in startups and investing. I’m trying to listen and focus on small things I can do in my limited capacity that may have leverage. The main argument I’ve found most compelling relates to networks and information theory — that if any investment pipeline is a product of an individual’s or firm’s own network, and if the Silicon Valley and SF properĀ (where most venture capital resides) is — let’s face it — not racially diverse — then the pipelines may only be tapping certain wells.

So, I started thinking about this last night. Here’s my thought process: 1/ Twitter is the single-greatest networking tool for folks in startups and investing. 2/ Most investors either are on Twitter (or should be, in my opinion). 3/ Underrepresented minorities in general make up a significant portion of activity and culture on Twitter (especially in America). 4/ Twitter facilitates conversations with the least amount of friction, seen lately around conversations I unassumingly started on pro-rata rights, physical stock certificates, and this topic, too.

And…there’s my idea to start, to kickstart more lightweight, organic discussion that’s outside the normal everyday networks and routines for investors. So, here’s what I did:

First, I created a public list on Twitter called “URM” which is a list of underrepresented minorities in startups, tech, and investing on Twitter. So far, there are over 100 members I’ve put into the list and I’ll make it my small contribution to keep adding to this list until my fingers bleed. You can follow the list by clicking here — note lists strip out most conversation @ reply mention tweets, so it will be higher signal.

Second, if you’re an investor on Twitter and reading this, please subscribe to the list and make a concerted effort to engage in conversation with people on the list. There’s no requirement to follow anyone and this should be more about getting to know other people over time and engaging in discussion versus investment pitches. Right now, I see about 30 people have subscribed to the list, and when I check it next week, it would be nice to see 100s of investors subscribed, too.

Twitter seems like the perfect first step here. It’s lightweight, easy, conversational, and if you’re reading this, you’ve likely met many of the strongest people in your network using Twitter, so what’s to say that it can’t continue? There’s no travel required, no email, no pitches…just a public dialogue…and likely an easy way to make new friends. In just 24 hours, I know I have.

Haystack is written by Semil Shah, and is published under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license. Copyright © 2017 Semil Shah.

“I write this not for the many, but for you; each of us is enough of an audience for the other.”— Epicurus