Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • >>Female Presenter: Without further ado, I'd like to introduce David Crane from Google

  • Ventures.

  • [applause]

  • >>DAVID CRANE: Good late morning/ early afternoon. Thanks to everybody for coming to Google and

  • convening together around what's guaranteed to be a super exciting screening of a very,

  • very important documentary.

  • I think we're brought together today because something called the "Global Employee Resource

  • Group Summit" has been taking place for the last couple days. I'm reading my cue notes

  • here, as you can tell. This is an important activity, though. This is a group of Googlers

  • that have come together to focus attention and time on planning, leadership development,

  • and relationship-building, all organized around diversity.

  • I've been at Google a dozen years and one of the sources of great personal pride is

  • watching this diversity initiative first be dreamed up and then actually built, scaled,

  • and executed. And I'm so proud of what my colleagues do in all areas of diversity, particularly

  • in this one area that we're spending some time paying attention to today.

  • This documentary--this is, I think, a multi-year project at CNN. We're in the fourth year.

  • This particular program, as you will soon see, I had a small participation role. I spent

  • some time being able to see a number of very inspired, very talented entrepreneurs that

  • spent a summer at Silicon Valley chasing their dreams and trying to understand whether they

  • could turn those dreams into businesses.

  • It was a pleasure to see them, to interact with them, to see their first pitches, their

  • first public articulations of what they're doing. And in just a few minutes, you're gonna

  • see the output of an interesting project that CNN has invested in to chronicle this journey,

  • to illustrate some of their challenges, some of their successes.

  • As soon as the documentary is over, there will be a very interesting panel discussion

  • led by a few folks that are sitting up here. So please stick around. Without further ado,

  • let's roll that video. Thank you.

  • [applause]

  • >>Michelle Thornton: So, we expect you're gonna tell everyone to watch, right? November

  • 13th? OK. Great. I'm Michelle Thornton. I work for CNN. I get to hang out with Soledad

  • sometimes. I try not to stand too close 'cause she always tries to look kinda cute.

  • [laughter]

  • And I have, or at least, my job at CNN is to monetize content like this because it's

  • important for two reasons. One, of course, funding. That's what this conversation is

  • about.

  • But advertisers wanna have this conversation with you guys. You guys are consumers. And

  • they wanna let you know they respect content like this. The other reason I wanna do it--let

  • me tell you--I never get to wear blue jeans at CNN, OK?

  • [laughter]

  • So, thank you so much for hosting this. When LaFawn Bailey calls, we say yes. We don't

  • ask what it is. But in all seriousness, we don't see conversations like this, right?

  • We see comedy and we see other genres. But we don't see real conversations about real

  • serious topics. So, we want you to support and watch and tweet and Google+ [laughter]

  • this type of content. So, I have the privilege today to introduce all of the panelists. I

  • was told by my good friend Soledad to tell you that this wasn't the ending.

  • So, there is a cliffhanger. So you'll get to see, hopefully, some good news. Our moderator,

  • Navarrow, is the--it says here CTO. Don't you guys hate that? He's the Chief Technology

  • Officer, in case someone didn't know what that meant.

  • >>Navarrow: This is the one place they would actually know what that meant.

  • >>Michelle Thornton: Oh, OK. All right. Good. Good. Good.

  • [laughter]

  • See? I kinda fit in. I kinda don't. And then, of course, Soledad, who by the way, is our

  • new morning anchor starting in January. Yay.

  • [applause]

  • With that being said, we cannot let her get away from telling stories like this. So, we're

  • going to see her around these docs, but she will also be the face from 7 to 9. So, we're

  • very proud of her.

  • Second up is Chris Genteel. Chris? All right. He said he might sing a song for us.

  • [applause]

  • Or maybe not. He's said the Black Eyed Peas were here yesterday. So how come we didn't

  • get to come yesterday? What's really going on? And then, as you saw on the screen, is

  • Ang--. Here goes Angela. Angela.

  • [applause]

  • So, we can't show a doc and not have a conversation. They're gonna talk and then they're gonna

  • allow you guys to ask some questions. So, enjoy.

  • >>Navarrow: So, how's everybody doing?

  • >>Audience: Good.

  • >>Navarrow: It's a little different from the last time I sat in this chair, as you can

  • see on the doc. So first, I'm sorry, I had to run over there and charge up my iPhone.

  • It won't keep a battery. If you guys can suggest another platform I might switch to afterwards.

  • [laughter] Let me know. We can talk after. So this is gonna be really informal. We're

  • gonna have some conversation up here. I want you guys to be involved. I'm hoping you have

  • a lot of questions.

  • And we'll make it engaging. But first, I wanna start with Soledad. For people who may not

  • know about the "Black in America" series, maybe you can talk about why you and CNN feel

  • it's important to tell these stories and what the effect has been.

  • >>Soledad : I'll have to start at the very beginning then. The "Black in America" series

  • started 2007, when we started working on a six-hour, three-part documentary, which really

  • started with the anniversary--the 40th anniversary, of the assassination of Dr. King.

  • And I was asked by the head of CNN Worldwide, "Do you think there would be an interest in

  • a look at the assassination of Dr. King and also African Americans--'Black in America'?"

  • So with that, we took the ball and started running with it.

  • And we did a two-hour documentary on the assassination of Dr. King, and then, two more days of two-hour

  • docs with our first "Black in America." And it was wildly successful. Some people loved

  • it. Some people hated it. But what it did do is spur a lot of conversation about stories

  • that clearly were not being told.

  • And in fact, probably the biggest compliment that I got when people would stand up at anything

  • else I was doing and say, "When are you doing 'Asian in America'? How about 'Caribbean in

  • America'?" My own mother said, "Oh, so no Afro-Cubans in your little documentary.

  • [laughter]

  • Interesting. Those are your own people you let down." So, it was just really successful.

  • And I think it was a moment that people felt--. For me, we saw that we could do these really

  • interesting stories about people whose stories really didn't get told and you could also

  • win.

  • It was wildly successful ratings-wise. It was just a big win across the board and it

  • didn't have to be stuck in a, "Well, we're doing this programming because it's a good

  • thing to do. And if no one watches it, that's OK because we've done our good deed on the

  • diversity front."

  • It was like, "Wow. We can win with this." And then after that, we started doing "Latino

  • in America." And then we created the unit, "In America," in order to tell a bunch of

  • stories. We did "Gay in America," "Muslim in America," "Education in America," "Working

  • in America"--looking at coal miners.

  • And again, we were just really successful. So, out of that, the "Black in America" series,

  • we kept thinking about, "Well, what are the stories you could do?" The first one was really

  • a survey. The third one was a look at--. The second one was another survey and we decided

  • then to take a look in the third one in a single topic, which was a church and a pastor

  • and what that church was doing at a very tough time economically.

  • And then, this one, of course, was--. So, we try to connect what's happening in the

  • story-- a single subject story--to what's also happening in the world at that moment.

  • So, how do you make it relevant news-wise, but also compelling, interesting?

  • 'Cause a documentary is a story that's unfolding in real-time, or something is at risk, or

  • you're cheering for people, you're rooting for people and there's something happening.

  • That's our definition of how we do documentaries. And so, we really think on this one in particular,

  • you end up touching a nerve when people start arguing about the parts of your documentary,

  • right?

  • Because it means you've really hit something relevant that people are willing to go and

  • shout about their perspective. And I love, ultimately, for all of our documentaries--it's

  • about a conversation. So, if we're able to get people to stand up and yell on one side

  • or the other, or talk--hopefully--in a more calm tone about one side or the other to start

  • a conversation, then I think we've been really successful.

  • >>Navarrow: So, I'm sure we can all think of thousand topics we'd want them to cover.

  • Can you talk about why you chose this topic?

  • >>Soledad: You know, again, I think for documentaries--any documentary--it's "are the characters great?"

  • We went out. Jason Samuels, our producer who's in New York today, but who's been literally

  • emailing me constantly, "Tell me. What's the blow by blow? What are they laughing at? What

  • do the people think?”

  • So he came out and really met with Angela. And at first, over the phone, and then met

  • all the people in the house. Because the truth is, are they good characters? We call them

  • characters? Are they interesting? Do you care about them? Do you want to see them win or

  • lose or struggle?

  • If you do not care, it will be a terrible documentary. And then, it was clearly in a

  • house--eight people in a three-bedroom house--was already going to provide some issues in terms

  • of just people close together in a small space who have a lot going on and who were stressed.

  • As Pius pointed out in the doc, no drinking, no hot tubs. So, it certainly wasn't going

  • to the "The Real World" or anything. But it certainly, I thought, was a way to explore

  • an issue that was relevant. And then again, "Does race matter?" is a very interesting

  • question to me.

  • I think of our "Black in America's" really, ultimately, can be boiled down to that question.

  • Does race matter?

  • [Soledad laughs]

  • >>Navarrow: Sign off on the crowd. So, Angela. Can you tell us a little bit about what made

  • you decide to create The NewMe Accelerator?

  • >>Angela: I'll try not to get too lengthy, but--. So, as you saw, I had a site called

  • BlackWhite 2 point 0, and I started that about four years ago. And then, last year in 2010,

  • I had a conference called the "NewMe Conference." And we invited entrepreneurs and people in

  • government and also people in private equity.

  • And it was a day and a half. And we basically closed it out with brainstorming--what it

  • would really take for minority entrepreneurs to be successful in the technology industry.

  • And one of those things was an accelerator, but the idea just seemed so huge, so--it was

  • just in the back of my head someplace.

  • Wayne, I've known for a while actually online, how I meet most of my friends. [chuckles]

  • But he had the idea for a start-up house. So, it brought really this residential component

  • to what an accelerator is. And then also, when I went back and looked at my notes from

  • the conference, it really helped satisfy a lot of the barriers that people said existed.

  • So, it's really expensive to live out here. People felt like they were disconnected and

  • couldn't actually come out here and just relocate. So, that was one thing that really helped

  • lower that barrier. And then people just felt like they didn't have a network at all.

  • And that really hindered their ability for their companies to be successful. So, giving

  • them mentorship, a network, and just real--not a curriculum--but just knowledge from other

  • people's experiences. It just turned into an accelerator.

  • >>Navarrow: So, Chris. You were here at the welcoming site. You were sitting in the audience.

  • Maybe, can you give us some of your impressions that day of that event?

  • >>CHRIS: Sure. You've got entrepreneurs who have never been in that position before, maybe

  • being somewhat on the spot. And getting access to minds like yours and David Crane. And getting

  • at that real, live--an old mentor of mine used to call it--the "oh, shit" moment. [laughter]

  • This is the real moment. And you could see from that moment on, over the course of the

  • summer, and I think the piece captured it really well, just elevating the stakes of

  • the whole thing--making it really real. We were proud to see that be at the beginning,

  • of seeing that.

  • And then, seeing that transformation. And also knowing that raising that game and having

  • that success was within their reach because now, we're here. We're part of the mix in

  • Silicon Valley.

  • >>Navarrow: So, Angela. We know that that was a challenging day for all the entrepreneurs.

  • Can you talk a little bit about some of the other challenges you faced that you maybe

  • didn't expect to face when you guys started this program in the Valley?

  • >>Angela: Yeah. There are a lot of very little reasons, very little things, that I just like--just

  • different situations. I really just expected, I guess, people to be a little bit more like

  • me and just really focus in on the work and not other issues, and really commit to that

  • for nine weeks.

  • But there were other things that came up around transportation, [chuckles] around what type

  • of food people wanted to eat, and just other little things like that that I didn't even

  • think of at all.

  • >>Navarrow: So how important was it to do it here, in Silicon Valley?

  • >>Angela: Oh, it was hugely important. Mainly because this is the epicenter for technologies.

  • So, it really had to be here. Not only that, there aren't really many minorities in the--well,

  • African Americans specifically--area. So, for us to do it in New York or Atlanta, it

  • would not have had the same impact at all.

  • >>Navarrow: Soledad, after meeting the characters and getting in-depth in their stories, can

  • you talk about maybe who surprised you or who stood out to you in terms of their stories,

  • the things you learned about them?

  • >>Soledad : You know, when I meet people, again, 'cause my job is--I'm a storyteller,

  • right? So, my job is to sit in on this and say, "So, what's the best way to tell this

  • story?" And not just to a room of people who are in technology, but to a room of people

  • who know nothing about technology, or their only technology is their mobile device and

  • that's it.

  • And how do we make that story live and be relevant and interesting? So, it really was

  • digging into people's stories. For me, what struck me about Angela was all that she was

  • juggling. That here's a woman who's a mom, a single mom of three kids, who she has left

  • behind at home while she is working on this big idea.

  • And she's got this company she's also trying to launch at the same time. And she has all

  • these little things in the Accelerator that she has to manage that have popped up--some

  • big little things and some little little things. And every time I'd see Angela, she was pacing.

  • On the phone and pacing. On the phone and pacing. When I asked the question--. The first

  • time I saw Angela, we drove up and Jason said, "Oh yeah. That's Angela. The house is down

  • there, but that's Angela." And there was a woman in sweats, pacing up and down.

  • So I'm like, "That's the woman running the house? She's pacing up and down." So, we really

  • wanted to capture that incredible pressure that is on someone who both really, personally

  • wants to make a difference, but also really personally wants to be successful, too.

  • And as a person who has before, many times in her life, people have low expectations

  • of what she can achieve and she's always said, "Well, low expectations doesn't mean I'm not

  • gonna achieve." So, we wanted to get that in there, too. I love Anthony and I think

  • when I watch the doc, I always feel that my love of Anthony comes out because he's the

  • youngest.

  • He's 25. And he told me--we didn't really have the ability to put it in the documentary

  • and I tried 8000 different ways--but the thing he said to me, which broke my heart and made

  • me love him more, he said, "You know--." He started really playing around with video games

  • and really just being in technology when he was about 7th grade he said.

  • And he just loved computers. He loved technology. But as he went through school, there was no

  • one to capture that and channel him into, "Well, if you love that, you should be doing

  • this. Well, if you love that, you could be doing this."

  • And so, he was sort of, by his guidance counselor, who sounds like a jerk, kind of forced in

  • a direction, "Well, just go to community college and do this and do that." And not really put

  • on a program where he could take what he's passionate about clearly, and combine that

  • with a fabulous job at the end.

  • And he said, "You know, if me, today, had been in front of me as a 7th grader, my life

  • would be totally different." Honestly, it just broke my heart. It just, because he,

  • and