Dropbox Employee #1 Aston Motes on How To Support Black Engineers


Aston Motes was Dropbox employee #1, has founded multiple companies, and now helps run /dev/color, which is a non-profit dedicated to supporting black engineers.

Here is the interview, with notes below with links to points in the video:


1:20 Introduction, going way back to MIT, and how Aston joined Dropbox.

5:20 What Aston built early at Dropbox.

6:42 How Aston and Ivan first met: at a YC poker game.

7:25 How did Dropbox develop a culture around high quality.

12:58 How Aston optimized his career around his rate of learning.

17:00 How startups are a constant stream of things to learn.

18:00 How to get more people to start startups.

19:35 How economic security impacts the founding decision

22:55 How comfort of a high salary can prevent founding a startup.

24:00 How starting a family encouraged Ivan to take more career risk.

27:15 Why tech concentration on the coasts is dangerous.

28:15 How software engineering is democratized for access. 

29:40 What is the mission of /Dev/Color.

33:13 How to scale /Dev/Color. 

36:00 How startups can work with /Dev/Color

38:00 How startups can make the best environment for black engineers, and generally helping people who are “the only”.

41:45 How to make your environment better.

43:53 How to improve your recruiting.

47:00 How to learn more. Go to https://www.devcolor.org/

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