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Stop Crying in the Bathroom & Start Your Own Business

Stop Crying in the Bathroom & Start Your Own Business

The tech industry has a ‘diversity problem’ and companies are courting women, people of color and other marginalized people as the pressure mounts to hire someone besides 24-year-old cis, straight white male programmers.

However, for many marginalized people, working in startups, agencies, and large tech companies can be a miserable, demoralizing experience that literally results in crying in the bathroom.

There’s more to life than startups, Facebook, Google or Twitter. Come hear ideas for making your own path in the tech industry, without compromising your dignity or your mental health.

I will share my story of being fired for ‘culture fit’ and going on to start my own freelance business and share specific steps for other people who want to do the same thing.


Kronda Adair

June 24, 2014


  1. Stop  Crying  in  the  Bathroom   &  Start  Your  Own

     Business Kronda  Adair   ! karveldigital.com   kronda.com @kronda  @karveldigital
  2. Disclaimers:     I’m  not  a  lawyer.   I  don’t

     have  a  business  degree.   I  don’t  think  people  with  jobs  are  suckers.   I  don’t  have  all  the  answers.   https://www.flickr.com/photos/timpeartrice/3629832995
  3. Why  I  Wrote  This  Talk   Tech  companies  are  eager

     to  get  more   women  and  minoriHes  into  ‘the  pipeline.’    
  4. What  they  don’t  tell  you  is  that  the   pipeline

     leads  to  a  sewage  plant. https://twitter.com/dresdencodak/status/472403499150766080
  5. ! 2006:  Went  back  to  school   ! 2010:  Successful

     Internship  to  hire  at  a   small  agency   ! ! My  Tech  Journey   !
  6. 2011:  Graduate  Web  Design  &   InteracHve  Media  program  at

     Art   InsHtute  of  Portland   ! October  2012:  PromoHon  &  Raise   !
  7. November  2012:  Fired  for  ‘culture  fit’ “We’re  moving  away  

    from  work/life   balance,  &  towards   career  advancement.”    
  8. What  Happened  Next: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kef08/2988576699

  9. Why  Should  You  Start  a  Business? Security   The  Long

     Tail,  by  Chris  Anderson http://www.longtail.com/about.html
  10. The  Long  Tail  “In  an  era  without  the  constraints  

    of  physical  shelf  space  and  other   bo_lenecks  of  distribuHon,   narrowly-­‐targeted  goods  and   services  can  be  as  economically   a_racHve  as  mainstream  fare.”   !
  11. Flexibility  

  12. Freedom   “Black  queer   feminist  outrage,   cats  &

     code.”   My  twi_er  bio:  
  13. Growth  

  14. Growth  

  15. Growth  

  16. Growth  

  17. Growth  

  18. Growth  

  19. Growth  

  20. Growth  

  21. Growth  

  22. Growth  

  23. Mental  Health   How  to  Be   Black   Chapter

     17:   How  to  be   the  Black   Employee
  24. Micro-­‐aggression:   “Micro  aggressions  are  the  every  day   slights,

     indigniHes,  put  downs   invalidaHons  that  [marginalized  people]   experience  in  their  day  to  day   interacHons  with  well  intenHoned,  well   meaning  people  who  are  unaware  that   they  have  delivered  a  put-­‐down  or   invalidaHon.”
  25. None
  26. Barriers  &  Challenges Money   Healthcare   Caregiving   Time

      Non-­‐compete  /  Conflict  of  interests   Golden  Handcuffs  (dat  cushy  paycheck  tho!)   FEAR   !
  27. Resources •Make  a  plan  (scorepdx.org)   •Save   •Get  support

     from  a  partner  or   family   •Go  part-­‐Hme   •Get  a  loan   •IDAs  (Individual  Development   Accounts)  
  28. Change  Your  Peer  Group Hang  out  with  &  read  

    people  who  are  doing   what  you  want  to  do.   Find  out  how  they  did   it.     !
  29. Media Quit!  Podcast  5by5.tv/quit   The  Lean  Startup  by  Eric

     Ries   168  Hours  by  Laura  Vanderkam   ! Bidsketch  Blog     h_p://blog.bidsketch.com/   !
  30. Come  Out! Start  talking  about  what  you  are   going

     to  do.     ! Saying  it  makes  it  real.   ! !
  31. How  the  Heck  Do  You  Start  a  Business? Register  your

     business   h_p://sos.oregon.gov   !
  32. What  do  you  need  to  learn? ! ! Financial  management

        Legal  Issues   Contracts  (docracy.com  /  Contract  Killer)   ! ! ! !
  33. ! ! Focus  on  your  strengths  and   outsource  your

     weaknesses   ! Advice:
  34. ! ! Don’t  be  afraid  to  fire  a  bad  client.

        (Be_er  yet,  learn  the  warning  signs  and  avoid   them  in  the  first  place)   !
  35. ! ! Plan  to  start  charging  more   as  soon

     as  possible.   !
  36. ! ! Focus  less  on  what  you  need   and

     more  on  what  you  can  do   for  others.   !
  37. ! ! BE  YOU.   !

  38. ! ! Remember:   http://www.theguardian.com/news/oliver-burkeman-s-blog/2014/may/21/everyone-is-totally-just-winging-it

  39. Thank  You! karveldigital.com   kronda.com @kronda   @karveldigital

  40. ! SCORE  Business  Advice:  h_p://www.score.org/   Self  Employment  Assistance:  h_p://www.oregon.gov/EMPLOY/ES/SEEKER/Pages/

    self_employment_assistance.aspx   Docracy  (Open  sourced  legal  documents):  h_p://www.docracy.com/   Oregon  Business  Registry:  h_p://sos.oregon.gov   Quit!  Podcast:  h_p://5by5.tv/quit   The  Lean  Startup  by  Eric  Ries:  h_p://www.powells.com/biblio/1-­‐9780307887894-­‐1   168  Hours  by  Laura  Vanderkam:  h_p://www.powells.com/biblio/62-­‐9781591844105-­‐0   How  to  Be  Black  by  Baratunde  Thurston:  h_p://baratunde.com/howtobeblack/   How  to  be  the  black  employee:  h_p://karvel.me/htbbe   Microaggressions  (arHcle):  h_p://karvel.me/micro-­‐aggressions-­‐text   Microaggressions  (video):  h_p://karvel.me/micro-­‐aggressions-­‐vid   My  Nerd  Story:  kronda.com/my-­‐nerd-­‐story   ! ! References