Black Eyed Peas musician Will.i.am (who is also a tech entrepreneur) came on stage at Salesforce’s huge Dreamforce tech conference in San Francisco to plead with attendees to volunteer to teach inner city kids about tech.
“I’m not just here because I like to hang out with geeks. I’m here because I think geeks could change inner cities forever,” he implored the audience. He then explained that many of the nation’s inner cities are filled with talented kids that just don’t know how to aim for a career in tech.
“Until we get education reform, it’s up to you to,” he said, encouraging the conference attendees to volunteer with under-served schools, saying that these kids could become the next generation of tech employees.
Will.i.am then showed the music video remake of the BEP’s 2002 hit “Where Is The Love?” that the group reunited to make. (The video features a long list of guest star appearances, too).
He asked the folks at the show to buy the song and/or video on Apple Music and iTunes because proceeds from it will fund education programs and college scholarships via his charity i.am.angel foundation.
At the end of his speech, the audience gave him a standing ovation.
Interestingly, and completely coincidentally, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman recently talked about a similar thing.
Hoffman recently told the story of how volunteering to teach tech at an under-served Bay Area school in his early career (when he worked at Apple) led him to a path of success and happiness. And he implored others to volunteer as well.
So, why was Will.i.am at Salesforce? Salesforce invested in his tech company, and Salesforce’s foundation also donates to schools. In fact, shortly after Will.i.am’s standing ovation, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff came on stage and implored everyone in the audience to “adopt a public school,” which he says he has done himself, personally. (Just “knock on the door and ask the principal, ‘What can I do to help you?’,” Benioff says.)
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