It's Bigger Than This

Alloy #13 – Week of June 1, 2020

Robert Floyd
Founder, Designer
Jun 2, 2020

I want to do something a bit different with this post. For two reasons, one, I believe that my voice and whatever little platform this weekly post is are important and, two, the events surrounding George Floyd’s murder have taken up a lot of headspace to the point where I didn’t get much done last week.

This project consumes many of my waking moments every day. I spend my nights, weekends, and early mornings working on or doing research for Project Alloy. I firmly believe that there is a better future for healthcare providers, patients, and our communities powered by intelligent and intentionally designed technology. Part of the driving factor behind my belief is the idea of “Relentless Optimism.”

Sidenote: I am aware that there is a book with that name however I have not read it and am not sure how it differs.

To me, relentless optimism is about believing the best is possible in the future while acknowledging the hard facts and realities and committing to doing the work to make that future happen. Relentless optimism isn’t just about being positive and dare I say, naïve at times, it’s about acknowledging the hard parts of making tomorrow better, admitting mistakes, and having candid conversations about how to make a better tomorrow the reality.

I’ve been noodling on this idea for several weeks now and I like it because it drives a lot of the things I believe in and that I participate in.

With all that in mind, I want to say a few things about the events of the last week.

First, black lives matter. What happened to George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless other black people is disgusting and should never happen again.

Second, I believe that the future can be better. That true racial reconciliation can happen and that we can live in a country that truly values the lives of black and brown people the same way it values white people. And just as importantly, black perspectives, ideas, and dreams will be given just as much credibility, honor, and respect as those coming from their white counterparts. This is particularly true in the tech, design, and creative spaces.

Third, I want to acknowledge my own complicitness in the racism that we see in our country. I try very hard to hear all voices with whom I work however my own biases whether conscious or unconscious have and will play a part. I am doubling down on my own efforts to confront my own internal biases and educating myself as to how I can be a better ally to my black friends, coworkers, and collaborators.

Fourth, I want to do the work to reconcile with my black friends, collaborators, and designers. This looks like a few steps for me:

  1. Listen to understand.
  2. Respond (when appropriate) with compassion and empathy.
  3. Learn how to mourn and to shoulder the grief of these tragedies.
  4. Work to build teams, companies, and products that are open to all.
  5. Speak up and elevate BIPOC voices, goals, and perspectives wherever I am.

I encourage my white friends to adopt a similar perspective. Especially step one. While it is only one step, it is perhaps the most important for all other actions to build off of. Please, please, please don’t listen to respond and don’t respond without listening.

I truly hope that one day Alloy Healthcare becomes a real company with real people working at it. This post is my own statement to say “this is what we will be about.” Relentless Optimism. The belief that tomorrow will be better than today as long as we do the work and look candidly at the problems we face.

Thank you for reading. Next week we’ll be back to our normal updates.

Until then, ✌️

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