It could have been a Blogher meet up 2004, or an early Tech Crunch gathering circa 2008, but it was the first San Francisco/Bay area digitalundivided gathering, called START, and held in a borrowed room at Google’s Spear Street offices, that got everyone present so excited.

In some ways, Friday’s gathering–which featured a talk by digitalundivided founder Kathryn Finney, moderated by SF’s own Cheryl Contee, had the vibes of every tech/media event with an eager crowd: young start-up founders, a smattering of investors, writers (including Gawker’s Nitasha Tiku ), and its own hashtag (#didStart), but it was different in one notable way: 90% of the people in the room were people of color, women, queer, or some mix of the above. Bay area connectors including Wayne SuttonMonique WoodwardBrian DixonCarla MaysImpact HubOakland‘s Konda Mason and Ashara EkundayoPitchmixer‘s Ayori Se, and Hack the Hood‘s Zakiya Harris joined a packed room so eager to talk and connect, Google security had to gently push everyone out at 8:30PM.

Read more at Live Work Oakland.

About The Author

Susan Mernit is editor & publisher of Oakland Local ( a news & community hub for Oakland, CA. A former VP at AOL & Netscape, & former! Yahoo Senior Director, Mernit was consulting program manager for The Knight News Challenge, 2008-09; was a 2012 Stanford Carlos McClatchy Fellow; and is a board adviser to The Center for Health Reporting at USC, Annenberg School of Journalism. She has consulted with many non-profit organizations on strategy, product development and social media/engagement, including, TechSoup Global, Public Radio International and the Institute for Policy Studies/Economic Hardship Reporting Project, led by Barbara Ehrenreich.

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