People like us…

…do things like this.”

That’s something I learned from my Advisor. It’s a saying that’s supposed to put the listener in an empathetic mindset: how do the people you’re trying to reach self-identify? What’s the secret handshake? Is there a black turtleneck and denim uniform? White earbuds?

Making it personal, how do I let the world know how to think about what we’re doing here at Abernathy? There are thousands of publications with reach, quality content, and strong leadership. What’s so different about us?

It’s clear to me there’s a market for what we’re doing. There’s a vast disparity between the black male stereotypes and the lives of black men I know. Yes, I know rappers and professional athletes, but these same guys also work in software and private equity. That’s not a joke, nor is it uncommon.

And as for me—in terms of street cred—I’ve got about as much as a private-school educated product of a two-parent household could have. Thug life.

A few months ago, when I was iterating on the idea of this publication and sharing it with my friends, the universal reaction was to the effect of, “Hell, yeah. Why doesn’t this already exist?”

It’s a fair question.

In 2011, I moved to New York City to work with Seth Godin and five other brilliant humans on a book publishing startup called The Domino Project. We sold a lot of books, had a lot of fun, and the experience forever changed my conception of what’s possible.

[I studied information technology in school, what on earth am I doing making books?]

One of the highlights of my time with Domino was putting together a deal between one of our authors and a small company in Atlanta that was (and is) doing good work.

That company is called MailChimp.

MailChimp Logo

MailChimp takes the pain out of email marketing. Email sucks, it’s hopelessly broken, and MailChimp makes it a lot less terrible.

In their own words:

MailChimp has been around since 2001. We started as a side project funded by various web-development jobs. Now we send more than 600 million emails a day. We love seeing businesses start small, fund themselves with paying projects, and build up a strong API, so that’s how we run MailChimp. We create products and features that empower our customers to grow.

It was a pleasure working with MailChimp four years ago, and it’s my honor and privilege to announce them as Abernathy launch sponsors as well. Indeed, I reached out to my contact at MailChimp before I even had a respectable site to show them.

“We’re interested” they said.

I love it when that happens.

By willie jackson

willie jackson is an inclusion strategist who empowers thoughtful organizations and the leaders who run them.