Episode 65 – Kalimah Priforce

Headmaster CEO of Qeyno Labs • http://www.priforce.com//

Tell us about yourself?

I grew up in the Brooklyn group home system from seven till I was fourteen. I knew I needed to get the hell out of that condition. I think all the kids felt that same way, but I think the difference between most of the other children and me was whether or not we felt like the world wanted us. And the feeling that the world wanted me was partly due to the books I was reading.

Even though I had speech problems I delved into books. It’s not just a matter of whether or not the world wanted us but whether we had it in ourselves to create our world. It even inspired me to have a hunger strike against my group home. That hunger strike lasted three days because I wanted more books in the library. By winning the hunger strike, it allowed us access to more books and some privileges to leave the group home and to go to the library and to the museum.

From there I was discovered by a community of Buddhist monks and nuns, and that community of Buddhist monastic gave me a private education on top of the poor education I was receiving from public schools.

I want to know about your entrepreneurial efforts, starting with your computer company when you were sixteen

I already became a hacker when I was around twelve at Junior High School. I always had a love for technology; I had a knack for it. And when I built my first computer, I realized that I could do this for other people, and that’s when I started with Whiz Kidd computer services.

What do you think about the small numbers of people of color in tech?

When I talk to Oakland officials, a lot of these tech companies are thinking about moving to Oakland or branch out in Oakland; they’re asking for things, whether it’s tax breaks, etc. They want a whole lot, and for them to have the arrogance that the community could ask something of them in return, it’s indicative of the culture at its most senior levels.