Everette Taylor is an Entrepreneur & Marketing Executive founder and CEO of MilliSense and a marketing consultant, who travels around the world to help tech companies successfully run their businesses by sharing his digital marketing knowledge and tactics.
He has gained his space among the many millionaires in Silicon Valley and, like President Barack Obama, is an example of how Black people can and should be successful in any market as long as they work hard for it.
Everette started working at an early age and started to pick up his marketing talent from being a street vendor as a kid. A smart, confident and down to earth young man, who strongly supports diversity although his efforts are not only geared to helping minorities or one specific group. He likes to help people in general.
He has been very busy with his business yet, he took some time to answer some questions that I am sharing in this article.
1 – It seems to be very difficult for an African American to gain such position as yours in the Tech Industry. What has led you there?
I would argue that I’m not in the position that I want to be and not really that high on the totem pole in the grand scheme of things. I’ve worked really hard the past several years to make a name for myself and my craft happens to be marketing. Because of my skill set in marketing, I understand personal branding, content distribution, social media growth, etc. Things like this have allowed me to be able to get myself out there more, there’s so many talented people in the tech community but the more technical people may not understand or care to embrace their personal brand.
I’ve been blessed to have the success that I’ve had so far and I’ve worked really hard for that. But I can’t discredit that I’m lucky because there’s so many hard working and talented African Americans in the industry, outside of the Tristan Walkers of the world – very few get the attention they deserve.
2 – What has inspired you to adventure yourself in a field that (maybe) many Black men never dared to?
When I was homeless when I was younger, I used to go to the public library almost every day. Not only for shelter but because of free internet access. I would read about guys like Mark Zuckerberg who weren’t much older than me, doing amazing things in the tech industry. Growing up where I’m from, you really thought your only options were to sell drugs, play ball or rap.
Tech presented a new opportunity that I never even knew was there. And despite not being an engineer, I hustled and learned ways that I could contribute to tech companies with a non-technical background.
I don’t think what I did was anything special, I just think many people don’t realize the opportunities that are out there. That they have a real chance in this industry. We have to do a better job of educating people and letting young people know that working in tech is a possibility no matter where you’re from or what your skill set may be.
3 – What is your main focus, since you have initiatives to bring more diversity and gender equality to technology industrie, help youth, mentoring programs and so many other campaigns?
I’m a little bit all over the place, I’m passionate about all of those things and more. Ideally I would like to be able to put more of my energy into one thing and focus but I tend to do things the hard way which stretches me thin at times. Each week I try to do contribute in some way or fashion to all of the things that I care about.
4 – What do you believe in?
I believe in doing right by people, being a man/woman of your word, making personal happiness a top priority while still being unselfish enough to help others as much as you can. I believe in peace, acceptance of people who may be different than you, and doing something bigger than yourself. I believe in a lot of things.
5 – If you had the power to make any decision you wanted and have that come through, from all the initiatives you have, which one would be your main priority?
If I had the power to make any decision I wanted, that’s tough. Probably why I’ll stay out of politics (laughs). But in terms of my initiatives, it would be young people getting the resources and support they need to be successful. Young people that come from backgrounds where those resources and support aren’t available.
6 – The Chinese government censor the Internet, and they want to extend it to certain movies and TV shows, which would block exposure of diversity and equality in a way. Do you agree with children getting smartphone and access to social media so early in life?
It’s weird to think about. The first iPhone was released a few days after my 18th birthday. I spent my whole childhood without a smartphone. With technology rapidly advancing and mobile being such an important tool to consume content and educating ourselves – young people at this point may be at a disadvantage not having one.
I think it’s more so on the parents to make sure that despite having a smartphone, videos games, etc. – that their children still lead well-balanced lives away from technology.
7 – Do you believe that keeping people from seeing and being exposed to the reality of life at an early age makes any difference in their future or do you think it protects them?
It really depends on the person here. I was exposed to reality of life early but I’ve also seen how damaging that can be to a person. As with all things in life, balance is needed. Too much of either can be damaging. You don’t want children being too naive to the world around them though.
8 – Are you interested in politics? What is your opinion of Barack Obama as a politician and as a person?
Interested in politics as an observer absolutely and passionate about the welfare of my country? Yes.
Interested in being a politician myself? That’s an emphatic no.
I think it’s important for all of us to stay up to date with politics and what’s going on in the world around us.
It’s so easy for us to lose touch when it comes to politics. Especially if we’re passionate about our careers, families and other things that consume our time. You have to try though, I can’t watch CNN everyday or read every article, but I keep a pulse on what’s going on.
In regards to Obama, I personally love him. He’s given hope to a countless amount of little black boys and girls. Shown them that anything is possible. I also think he’s a genuinely a good human being.
As far as politics and Obama, I think he did the best he could. He made his mistakes like anyone else but I truly believe his heart was always in the right place. I believe he has truly created some positive change in our country and I’m sad to see him go.
9 – Do you admire anyone or have any leaders you like to refer to for guidance and inspiration?
My mother, Millicent Ferrell first and foremost. She sacrificed everything for my sister and I to have a decent life. She’s a daily inspiration for me. There’s a ton of people I look up to in my industry but just to name a few: Laura Weidman Powers (CEO, CODE2040), Morgan Brown (COO, Inman News), Kimberly Bryant (Founder, Black Girls Code) and Stewart Butterfield (CEO, Slack).
10 – You did sell candy bars and other things to make a profit when young. What would you advise to motivate a young kid who cannot afford his education to be successful?
Work hard in the classroom. I was the first person in my family to go to college and didn’t realize how many scholarship and financial aid opportunities that are out there. Take care of business academically and take time to use the internet and reach out to guidance counselors to learn as much as you can about funding for school.
11 – In Brazil for instance there is very little exposure of minorities and black actors in the media, the marketing is mainly focused on advertising caucasian actors. How do you think this could be reversed?
I won’t pretend to know much about the landscape of Brazil and the media there. But this sounds like a classic cultural issue. True change won’t happen until people in the country and communities of Brazil change.
12- The US is a place where everyone come to from everywhere. We have all diversities here but at the same time, there is still segregation. So when you look at the world, and the people you want to reach with your initiatives, what do you focus on? An example would be your answer to my question about Brazil: you are not familiar with the history or landscape. So how are you including these ‘International diversities’ in your interests?
I’ve been focusing on connecting with people all across the world, that’s what’s amazing about social media and the internet. It’s allowed me to interact with people I never would have. The same way I offer mentorship and guidance to those domestically, I do so internationally. And although I have long way to go in educating myself with all the things going on in these different countries – I’m actively traveling to speak internationally and connect with people from all over. Despite being in the US, I think there is commonality in a lot of the injustices everywhere. Especially when it comes to race or people in other minority groups. I hope that the impact of my initiatives will someday span internationally but I’m taking it a day at a time.
13 – What difficulties did you face throughout your life being it financial, social, monetary or emotional. Did you experience discrimination and racism and what/who motivated you or helped you cope with the difficulties?
I actually spoke about this recently, how despite growing up around chaos. Gang violence, drugs, and other things you see growing up in the hood – there was a sense of normality to everything because I didn’t know any better. Yes I didn’t have much growing up, but I still had a pretty positive childhood with a loving mother. I tell some people about the financial struggles and they think it’s the worst thing, but I just kanye shrug it off. Now I’ve spoken openly about being homeless while trying to complete high school, and that’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to endure. Also dealing with depression, something that’s not talked about often in the black community. I ignored the signs for so long and suffered for a long time because of it. And I still do at times, I’m not invincible or perfect.
As far as discrimination and racism, that’s something as a black man that I deal with almost on a daily basis. Even if it’s only small things such as walking past a white woman and her clutching her purse more tightly. I pick up on all of that stuff. When it comes to adversity and a lot of things I’ve dealt with in life – I don’t let it bring me down, just use it as motivation and inspiration to create change. I just want to leave things a little better for those after like me, just like those who sacrificed so much for me in generations past.
14 – How do you define success?
That’s complicated for me to answer because I relate success to complacency or the finish line. Success has a sense of finality to me, as if you don’t have anything else to prove. Success is a dangerous feeling, it can be as harmful as it is helpful. As far as defining it, I think it differs for everyone and is ever evolving. I don’t think you can ever let anyone else tell you what success is, you have to figure that out on your own. But true success is always happiness, no matter how much money you make or how the outside world perceives you.
15 – What is missing for black people to gain a bigger space in society, to get more marketing?
Opportunity. We just need a shot. For people to stop being prejudice and stereotyping us, constantly putting us in a box. Just give us a chance to prove ourselves and we’ll shock the world.
Hopefully Mr. Taylor’s legacy will continue to grow and his message of hope for the real commitment of organizations to diversities will spread and surface as much as his success has been.