With the JOBS Act (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) of 2012 being signed into law on April 5, 2012, startups and government are two communities that need to know more about each other. Engine.is is taking the first step in bridging that divide by selecting18-startups selected from across the nation to participate in the inaugural, ‘Startup Day on the Hill’.
Gokit will represent the Detroit startup community as part of this ground-breaking event. Hajj Flemings CEO/Co-Founder of Gokit and Wayne Sutton, Gokit Advisor and will meet with influential Members of Congress on Capital Hill at the U.S. Capitol Building, June 19-20th.
The main focus of the 2-days is to discuss and create action items of how the government and startups can work together.
You can follow our journey via:
Hash tag: #startupday
Today is the 1-year anniversary since Gokit was conceived on 03/11/11. We are launching our product at SXSW Interactive the birthplace of Gokit and so our story has come full circle. We are very excited to be apart of the most significant interactive conference in the country. We hope to follow in the footsteps of two of the most notable SXSW launches: Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss (2007) and Foursquare (2008) were launched.
Detroit based startup Gokit was recently featured in CNN’s Black In America 4: The New Promised Land: Silicon Valley. We are currently seeking a creative and talented User Interface (UI) Designer/Developer; who will build user interface design concepts for Gokit’s main platform. The successful candidate will become a key member of the Gokit team and our rapidly-expanding platform.
The UI Web Designer/Developer will work on the main platform and build prototype user interface designs, assist with usability testing, and serve as a knowledge resource for the latest trends and technologies for web- and standards-based user interface development.
Please contact Hajj Flemingsthe CEO/Co-Founder of Gokit at Hajj@gokit.me
CEO Hajj Flemings, Biz Dev Wayne Sutton, and advisor Hank Williams have been holding down gokit in a major way in the past couple of months. From the NewME Accelerator program, to the upcoming CNN “Black in America” segment. They have been making the rounds, spreading the word, and representing gokit to the fullest.
BUT, they are only a portion of team gokit, so allow me to complete the cipher and re-introduce the remaining founding members of our team:
Software Engineer: Andre Barnes (Twitter: @DreBarnes)
Not only does Andre’ bring a wealth of programming knowledge to the gokit team, he is a problem solver at heart. As an online identity platform, gokit answers the “where can I find out ALL about you in one location” question that many people currently can’t answer in one clear and concise statement, and Andre’s skills helps gokit answer the question “How can we make finding out ALL about you as easy as possible on one platform?” Andre’ hopes that his programming work, along with his project management, business analyst and customer service skills shine through gokit.me and serves as a valuable tool for the myriad of people who will utilize our experience.
Test/Community lead: Terrance Gaines (Twitter: @BrothaTech)
Terrance Gaines has been interested in technology ever since he can remember. He realized his passion for technology of all kinds when he worked at an electronics store selling Audio/Video gear to make some money during college. As a result of his love for tech, he was exalted as the “Tech Guy” by family and friends. Terrance always stayed on top of the latest tech trends for his own personal enjoyment, and on the side, would inform those around him on how to use technology to empower their lives.
Using his techie background and unique writing skills, Terrance writes about the latest technology trends, and works with individuals and small businesses for the sole purpose of assisting those who want to embrace all that technology has to offer, but are not sure where to start or who to trust. Even though Terrance was the last man in during the “Founder’s Dinner” that spawned gokit™ during the SXSW 2011 Conference, he felt he had to be a part of the start of something great in the gokit.me online identity platform, and offered his technology insight and writing ability as a Content Strategist, Test & Community Lead; achieving business goals by maximizing the impact of content.
You may not see us on stage at your local conference, or on TV (be sure to tune in to CNN tonight @ 8pm, est), but we are working hard behind the scenes to make sure our identity platform is top-notch. Stay tuned for the latest news and continue to sign up for and spread the word about gokit.
"It’s been a long time…"
The gokit team has been hard at work getting ready for our pubic beta. We’re so close. During our maturation, the biggest opportunity to date by far has been our participation in the NewME Minority Accelerator Program. If you don’t know by now, NewME has catapulted our team and the other participants into pseudo-stardom as a result of CNN covering the Accelerator (and other subjects) for its upcoming "In America" Segment.
The folks over at CNN have certainly done an excellent job at raising “attention” for the segment, so much so that there have been many public responses to the segment before it has officially aired. Two of our very own team members have seen the segment, listened to the current
debate discussions, and have taken the time to pin their own perspectives.
Wayne Sutton - Co-Founder, NeME Accelerator & gokit founding member
Arrington is not Silicon Valley
"Still, I’m not saying I agree with Arrington and/or a lot of his comments about Silicon Valley but what I can say is that living in Silicon Valley for the summer it’s an entire different world. You can say there are not a lot of blacks in Silicon Valley or tech and be part right just like you can say that Atlanta is the black capital of USA and be part right based off of opinion, demographics and culture.
Sadly for Silicon Valley, Arrington is a loud, public figure and CNN knows that. I know that. But his comments and/statements do not represent all of Silicon Valley or Silicon Valley VCs;it also doesn’t mean he’s right. Just Arrington perspective. Media is media and always be careful what you say to media on camera and off. Some of my comments will be used not the way I like and it’s life. Lesson learned.
What I would like to see are the interviews from Mitch Kapor, Ron Conway, Jay Jameson and others who talked more about the need for the NewMe Accelerator..”
Excerpt from: One week until CNN Black In America 4, Silicon Valley – Everything changes after this or does it?
"One thing I want people to keep in mind before, during and after you see Black In America 4 is don’t focus on the negative or what has happen so much in the past but think about what you can do to make a positive change in your life and those around you."
Hank Williams - Founder, KloudCo & gokit founding member
Excerpt from: Arrington, Race, and Silicon Valley Also posted on CNN Opinion
Arrington Says: Silicon Valley Is a meritocracy
"Mike said a few very clear things about his view of the state of diversity in Silicon Valley.
- its true that there are very few African-Americans in Silicon Valley
- despite this, Silicon Valley is a pure meritocracy
- you become successful because you have a “big brain”
First, let me say, I think Mike truly believes everything that he has said about the tech world being a meritocracy. Lots of people believe that.
But I do not believe Silicon valley is a meritocracy. I would more properly say that tech *markets* are a meritocracy. There are very few businesses where a single individual in her bedroom can create a piece of software that can potentially touch millions of people without any additional capital. No matter how talented you are, if you want to open a hot new restaurant or a shoe factory, you need lots of money before you start. Not necessarily so with software.
Consumers and businesses, for the most part, don’t care what the ethnicity of their software or Internet service vendors are. Users want solutions. And so if an entrepreneur can get a great product completed cheaply, in many cases they can compete on totally even footing. Even if they ultimately need capital, explosive initial success knocks down all known barriers.
But the market *makers* operate in a world that is not particularly even-handed. The market makers are the folks that help new young companies and entrepreneurs by providing insight, mentoring, capital, and relationships. And this part of the tech world is driven by all the same types of biases that exist in the non-tech world. And it is *much* harder for even the most talented African Americans in the tech world to gain access to influential, insightful, connected mentors, let alone investors.”
Excerpt from: Arrington’s not a racist (who’s said that anyway?)… he’s just being dishonest
"Either way, Mike was within his rights to decide what he would or would not cover, or how he would cover it, and at what depth. He does not owe any person of color or female entrepreneur or anyone else anything. But to, after the fact, say that he bent over backwards to cover African American entrepreneurs is laughable.
Does this make Mike a bad guy? No. I presume in actuality, he wasn’t even involved in the editorial process. So I won’t blame him for the uncharacteristic lack of depth of demo day coverage. But I sure as hell am not going to let him claim credit for somehow being some kind of bend-over-backwards-to-cover-African-American-entrepreneurs kind of guy. Let’s get real.
So to conclude, no one is accusing Arrington of being a racist. But it’s clear he is (or at least his writing reflects him to be) incredibly insensitive to issues of race and privilege. No one imagines him sitting around spewing racial epithets or purposefully discriminating, or even thinking bad racial thoughts, but that is not a very high bar.
Mike, it would be great if you’d put an end to this pity party and join us in real discussion as you suggest you would like to. Most of us engaged in this debate are pretty reasonable people and if you really do want to “do something” as you suggest, now is a great time to work on it with us. And yes I’ve heard you want to work with will.i.am on the issue, so you can bring him too.”
In Addition to the many (many) tweets on the subject, there have also been several blog posts on the subject from NewME participants and other influentials in the tech community
Race and Technology: Q&A with Startup Founder Hank Williams
Drama: Why Arrington is NOT a Racist and Don’t Believe the Hype
Is Technology the Whitest Field in America?
Dear Mr. President Barack Obama, see what had happen was… Explanation of my Black In America 4 comment about not putting money in my pocket
…and my favorite: Before You Blog About Trying to Occupy Techcrunch…
Regardless of all the conversations, hype, accusations, debate surrounding CNN’s latest "Black In America" segment focusing on the NewME Accelerator Program and technology start-up scene in general, make sure to watch the segment for yourself, then develop your own opinion.
Identity is one of the most important online issues that we deal with today. Due in part to the proliferation of social networks like Facebook,LinkedIn, and Twitter, we now live very fragmented lives online with our identity is scattered across the Internet. How does a professional or entrepreneur start to manage their online identity? The answer: a landing page, the page people “land on” after clicking on a link. As a knowledge worker or creative entrepreneur, your online identity (personal brand) needs to be managed at all times. Some sites that have recently grown in popularity starting to address the identity issue are About.me and Flavors.me.
For the full article go to BlackEnterprise.com.
The gokit™ team is out in Silicon Valley for the NewMe Accelerator. The program officially started last week, June 16th and runs until August 18th. The team is already hard at work on the gokit.me product. We are looking to connect with the startup and design communities in the Valley!
If you are interested, please contact gokit™ co-founder and CEO Hajj Flemings currently out in Silicon Valley for additional details.
Exciting times. If you all don’t know, gokit™ along with several other startups were selected to participate in the NewMe Accelerator program - A six-week entrepreneurial program with a sole purpose of giving minority-led startups the “feel” of what it’s like to be take part in a startup program. Participants will link up with people in the startup industry for advice, guidance, and networking and will conclude with a “Demo Day” (*cough* gokit.me launch *cough*) where all the participating startups will pitch their ideas/product to elite members of the startup community.
The NewMe program has some bite behind its bark and has enlisted support from major tech names like Google, Pepsico and Justin.tv and other supporters like Business Development lead man for Forsquare, Tristan Walker, and budding Venture Capitalist, MC Hammer (yeah, that MC Hammer).
The official program starts tomorrow, June 16th and gokit™ Co-Founder/CEO Hajj Flemings as we speak, is on his way out to Silicon Valley to represent gokit™ in hopes to put the gokit on the map.
Stay tuned to the blog to get more videos, pictures and updates on gokit’s experience out in Silicon Valley
The official tag-line for the gokit.me platform is:
"Instant identity kits to tell your story. Beautifully"
In other words, we want gokit.me to be easy to setup and use; we want it to be all-encompassing of who you are professionally, personally and socially; and we want it to be clean, attractive and down-right sexy to look at and share. In the end, gokit.me will be your identity kit(s) you use to tell your story. So we want our users to start thinking about their identity and how they want to be portrayed and how they currently portray themselves online.
Evan Williams wrote a great article titled: “Five Easy Pieces of Online Identity” that we think will help people start to understand what we mean by an online identity
Every Internet service that has a concept of users has to deal with identity. And for anything social (which seems like everything these days) identity is a huge part. For the Internet as a whole, there are battles waging to “own” identity—or, at the very least, not let someone else own it. And there have been efforts for years to make identity more manageable for users and to put control in their hands.