Doubt: There is No Room – Invest in Atlanta So Diverse Eng Can Grow Here

This week I had a draft of a post.

Then I started over.

I didn’t feel ready on Saturday. Nor Sunday. Now I am ready to deploy.

You see, I spent this weekend at the most awesome Game Jam I’ve ever been to: The HBCU Game Jam 2023 ( organized by Spelman College, and I saw 15 HBCUs make 29 games – where 62% of participants had never made one before. I hope it is double next year.

Zynga sponsored alongside Google, and I was lucky, and privileged to meet so many amazing developers, co-workers, and brilliant minds, and meet their games as they entered the world for the first time. I was inspired at the university level as both students and professors who are not our future, but the current. I won’t steal the thunder of Zynga’s posts or Spelman’s – but you can follow me on LinkedIn where I will be re-sharing whatever comes out the door from those amazing groups with photos far better than my own of the talent I witnessed. I am so grateful to work for a company that cares to be a part of events like this and dip its toes in the water for Atlanta – a place I call home and where we have the GA Tax Credits and are working hard to grow our games scene in a way that is equitable.

If you made it this far and are in a position of business leadership (and perhaps legal…), this is what you need to know about my home and why this Game Jam matters – if you live here, if you have salaried employees, your business gets money back: “Eligible game developers receive a 20% income tax credit plus an additional 10% if they add the Georgia Entertainment Logo to their game, like the extra credit filmmakers get for displaying the Georgia Peach logo at the end of their movies…While game developers used $26 million in tax credits [between 2017 to 2021], their projects generated $389.5 million in economic output. Companies using the credit also paid $7.4 million in state taxes and $5.6 million in local taxes during those years.” (Source: “Audit finds state’s video game tax credit a worthwhile investment” from Georgia Public Broadcast, Dec ’22). This has been hard work by Asante Bradford, Andrew Greenberg, Hi-Rez Studios, Tripwire Interactive, and so many more for a decade. I’ve seen many finger-wavy million-dollar figures in my life and these aren’t fake at all – in fact, Google, Microsoft, OneTrust, VMware, Amazon all have offices here too. There’s not much left to say except…

This event was a much-needed reminder of why: Doubt, there isn’t room for you for me.

Mentally before I got there, I was not happy. Many of my friends, specifically women, were fired in games in the last 6 months. I’ve never seen so many DMs in my life from people who need help – recruiting, engineering, product management, production. Not writing about it in some way would be me pretending I am not who I am – transparency and integrity are extremely important to me. So I’m not going to ignore it; however, what I had before to write about wasn’t inspiring – not to a student who may now see this. It wasn’t what I wanted to write about. If so many companies ran sudo rm -rf commands to get rid of their resources and then tries to hire eng in ’23-’24 and that candidate runs:

kubectl get pods -n women-eng
kubectl get pods -n blacks-in-gaming
kubectl get pods -n recruiting
kubectl get pods -n product-management
kubectl get pods -n marketing

And it returns:
No Resources Found.

That candidate will assume the stack is actually Elastic Beanstalk and we went back in time 10 years ago. Zero diverse engineers, Zero black women engineers, is a real number that will be hit with some company choices because not everyone can make the choice those companies want them to make. This reality extends far beyond one group. It’s on this industry to support and be the catalyst to show up – through investment.

We are all different people with different circumstances and there’s no longer room for companies who do not step up to meet others at their table. If we want to support minority candidates in games we need to meet them where they are in their spaces. To actively listen. Actively listening is doing something about it and spending the money to show up. There’s no way to sugarcoat that.

I entered the week thinking “Who is going to write about major rollback on diversity progress in tech from this recession?” and ended with it thinking “There will be so many commits in this future that if we choose not to be part of the repo that has them, that’s on us.”


Inclusivity is often forgotten when it counts, but driven by those who must be inclusive to thrive. Jess Weiner, who I highly respect and who works with major brands like Mattel and Dove, calls it “Sounds Fabulous. Signifies Nothing.” She’s right. Because the real work takes time and listening – education – while addressing. You may not have connected all the right dots – for example, some parties may donate, but not know they could actually hire in your location and get money back. It means not giving up when you don’t get it right. It means balance. She knows because together we explored an adventure where we got some parts right, and some parts not right. That’s okay – better to have tried than to…SFSN.

Doubt. There is no room for you.

There are times where, and I can only speak from a small corner, not been invited at all to something for which I was seen as accountable and still stuck with the cleanup. No one likes this. Moments like these have taught me that, many will speak inclusivity, they will speak teamwork, and then when it countscompletely forget you exist. I carry that lesson with me. I balance time for me and for others. I make hard lines between my family, my life, and my career. Because people will always ask more of you than you can give and ask more from others who are already operating with less on top of it.

Doubt, there is no room for you.

I will continue to be a little too spicy on occasion when it counts – and I won’t always get it right. I will apologize but still try to be a good person. I’d rather be that than anything else with the single limiter we all have, time.

I will be confident in the respect I have earned with 25 games, and the reputation I have where I am honest where it counts, and I will listen to my incredible personal board of directors (thanks, Alan, for the link) who continue to remind me that while I screw up constantly, I am one giant commit that will make sure, opportunities are not lost on those who are fearless. I have absorbed tens of thousands of branches. I continue to do so. Your personal mantra should be “looks good try merging” for all the people you care about in your life and their missions.

I will be vocal. Just a little too loud for someone. And I will never stop writing. I will always try to be kind and say no in the right direction so I can yes to the truly right things that make a difference in this world. I encourage you, reader, to do the same in the way you know how to the people you are trying to query with your writing. So – invest in Atlanta.

And then, individually, repeat after me no matter who you are:

I am amazing and I deserve resources

My namespace will get removed. My pod will get deleted sometimes. And it will be recreated by my own choices in the spaces I want with the people who believe in me. Doubt, there is no room for you.

I will attempt to deploy a pod, that same pod, in another cluster, and it won’t accept it because the resources were not properly defined. Doubt, there is no room for you.

I will find that my pod in a better cluster with a ton of CPU and memory and the right limits – maybe something that supports streaming – performs better. Doubt, there is no room for you.

And I will scale, with the limited time I have on this earth, to the scope that I, in an environment that truly supports the power of me, will able to scale. Doubt you can land in a CrashLoopBackoff. Because, I SAID there is no room for YOU, and the Pod PriorityClass of ME was set to value: 1000000000.

It turned out, this week, there were just a few too many people to write between the lines to and the query of this blog post was a little big…and I wanted to have a little fun – to write something about a group of people who have no doubt, but to do that I needed a little bit of patience to listen.

If you only understood half this post. That’s okay. It had a few subnets and the lines were the security groups. Today, the judgement’s Pod PriorityClass is set to value: -2147483648. Always remember to deploy with resources and make sure the right people hit the deployment endpoint to invest their traffic.

Image from Unsplash by Stephen Cook