By Michelle Quinn
San Jose Mercury News
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) As Uber moves thousands of its employees into a new building in Oakland; Catherine Bracy, the managing director of a new organization called the TechEquity Collaborative is bracing for the onlsaught of tech workers, Bracy says Oakland is at “an inflection point where we have an opportunity to write a new narrative of what the tech industry can be” Could that narrative include empowering women in technology? We sure hope so.
Some cities prepare for hurricanes, tornadoes and floods.
Oakland is preparing for a different onslaught, an influx of tech workers and tech companies.
One might make the case that Oakland would be very lucky indeed if such a thing happened.
After all, cities around the world lovingly tend to anything tech sprouting up in strip malls and suburban garages.
Instead, the city, known more for Occupy, the Warriors and MC Hammer than coding, is looking to what has happened to San Francisco in terms of population, culture and cost (cue the head shake and sigh, “It’s too late for San Francisco”) and asking how Oakland can be different.
Can it welcome newcomers without losing its soul?
Oakland is at “an inflection point where we have an opportunity to write a new narrative of what the tech industry can be and put out a counternarrative to Silicon Valley and tech,” said Catherine Bracy, the managing director of a new organization called the TechEquity Collaborative, which now counts about 15 firms as members. “There’s another way to do the business of the Internet.”
One of the best parts, though some call it one of the worst, of the Bay Area tech boom is that it is decentralized. Opportunity and prosperity are spread out geographically.
About 20,500 tech workers live in the East Bay city, home to Pandora and Ask.com, according to the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Beacon Economics. City leaders estimate that there are about 6,500 tech jobs within the city. About 7.6 percent of Oakland’s tech workers are African-American, much higher than the industry standard.