As many of you attend the vision board party and laugh it up with others presenting your collage of what you trying to vision, we want you to think about your story as your true guide for achieving success and fulfillment in 2016. A vision is what you tell others what you want and it may be politically correct and watered down or designed to make others laugh or be emotional at the vision board party. A story is what you are, what you want in life and what it will take to fulfill your story. African-Americans are being manipulated to believe in someone else story and not our own personal story to tell the world. You are a unique person with substance to offer this world and it is time African-Americans acknowledge ourselves and our experiences and our journey with our own story. In 2016, the Afro-Tech has risen and have obsolete the concept of black leadership or black role models using Agile principles to fulfill user stories of our people to effectively address our challenges and our opportunities. In this article, I will talk about how black folks have been manipulated using anti-empowerment patterns to have us focus on other people stories instead of telling our own story. Then we are going to discuss how to move towards being black and proud by creating and fulfilling own stories to achieve true fulfillment and success. The reason for this article is because we all need you to be proud and happy with who you are so we can progress collectively as a people. They Keep Wanting to Tell Us Someone Else Story If you look at the current landscape of these so-called African-American entities from Urban League, Black Enterprise Magazine, blogs like Urban Intellectuals and Financial Juneteenth and talkers like Al Sharpton or Dr. Umar Johnson and the weird universe of Tariq Nasheed and Christelyn Karazin, you would see these are entities who are in business to tell you black people someone else story. Whether it is a Grio 100 crap or some profile of some punk black kid that created a mobile app or some “did you know?” blog headlines or showing pics of black women dating white men, all of them are just around to talk to you about someone else. This also include black celebrity gossip blogs or showcasing someone else bling or net worth, it’s about someone else story. This is not white media – this is so-called independent black-owned black media we are talking about. This is pretty much how religion works – someone declare themselves the shaman of the tribe and start telling the followers a bunch of stories to attract them and keep the sheep following. And black people get caught up listening to the stories and get caught up in the stories taking sides based on stories they hear. Black people are now judging people in the real world against stories they read online or in a magazine or at a pretentious social gathering. Then we see why black people cannot hang out at a club without something going down because you can walk into a black club and feel the “wall of separation” and tension between so-called cliques of black people. And all it takes is for someone to disrespect someone else “wall of separation” and the tension erupts to fighting and shooting inside a black club. Because our people is so caught up in show and tell posing and frontin to show someone else that facade story, we black people end up having little personal respect for each other. The “other people story” narrative put out by these black entities over the years resulted in black people judging each other too much, not trusting each other to do business or collectively work on solutions. That is what that whole February Black History Month crap is about – talking about someone else story or “his-story” instead of talking about our story. Wait for Black History Month and watch everybody all excited to start telling you about someone else. And this is your own family and personal friends where they will talk to everybody else about someone else story but never tell them about your positive story to anybody about you starting a business or pursuing a dream goal. This is why we black people have not made any organic progress as a people - we cannot afford to let this mentality continue in 2016. The Rise of Afro-Techs, Agile and User Stories In 2016, the Afro-Tech has risen up and taken the role of solution provider for the empowerment and betterment of our people, our communities and our future. Effective immediately, the concept of black leadership or a movement is obsolete and no longer valid in any discussion regarding black empowerment and progress. The Afro-Tech will instead focus on methodologies using applied practices and patterns to deliver results and solutions for our people that is real and tangible. We will use the Agile principles to guide our methodology to creating solutions and this involve a concept called collective ownership. Collective ownership shift the responsibility from an "anointed" individual to both stakeholders and talent resources to deliver solutions and results. So instead of a so-called “black leader” with a good narrative to attract followers, the Afro-Tech will work directly with you and our people to understand the problems and work together to deliver solutions. The Afro-Tech will also focus on continuous improvement through incremental iterative cycles to consistently deliver solutions. The black community will be involved to provide input and feedback and help us deliver solutions that are needed and create value – the most important output that determines our progress. At the end of the day, the Afro-Tech end goal is to create value that can be used by the stakeholders and demonstrate a benefit. In order to achieve value creation, we are going to need open communication and participation. To deliver value, the Afro-Tech community will need to work against user stories – that is what this article is about. Let’s break down how a solution will be structured in the Agile approach. A Theme or Epic is the overall solution and loosely defined by features or attributes that have to be established. A feature or attribute is what is defined under the theme. So if the theme is economic empowerment, a feature is establishing complementary currency that is local community-based to keep local dollars recycled in the black community – see, Farrakhan, Dr. Claud Anderson or Dr. Boyce Watkins never told yall about the technology to implement fiscal localism before but we Afro-Techs know this technology and the pattern and practice to make it happen, which is why the Afro-Tech has taken over. To deliver the feature, we need you and everyday black people to create the user story. A user story is a statement of who you are and what you want to accomplish through the feature of the solution. For example, for fiscal localism a black consumer can make the following user story: “As a local consumer, I would like to have my currency in the form of bills in addition to a mobile wallet” So this statement driven by the black consumer or stakeholder tell us our people want to hold money in their hand and we create polymer currency notes in denominations that can be spent in our community and can be transferred and deposited into a mobile wallet at an exchange station. A user story allow us to work with the black community to help us know what they want and the black community work directly with us to make sure we are fulfilling the user story to deliver expected results and create value. This is why it is important for black people to stop following other people stories and learn how to define our individual stories to work with the Afro-Tech to produce genuine solutions that create value. How to Create Your Story Let me personally give you this advice from the heart – you as an African-American should not be ashamed or hesitant to express yourself honestly as a black person in 2016. Many of you are on LinkedIn ashamed to show you doing things for the black community or you own your own business out of fear of your (white) co-workers finding out you are too big for them to have an inferior condescending perception of you. Trust me, if they don’t like you then they don’t like you and nothing you can do about it except be yourself and just do you. Don’t be apologetic and just move forward to craft your life story of where you are and where you want to go in life. To create your story, we want you to get a pad of sticky notes or Post-It notes you can find at the dollar store and find an empty wall in your personal space. Write down one thought in your head on the sticky note and post it on the wall. Do not inhibit yourself and place it all on the wall and make this a quiet session for yourself for about 40 minutes with a timer alarm. Then step back and realize this is your story of thoughts and concerns and hopes and wishes that is your current right now. Now that you have all of your thoughts on the wall, it’s time to shape your story of what you want or what you like to see happen. You need to look at all of the sticky notes and generate larger picture categories that will be your theme and underneath those themes are features. For example, if I have on the wall “need more slacks” or “have nice cologne” then my theme is Style and a feature of Style is “possess an impressive wardrobe” and a user story is: “As a fashion-conscious brotha, I want to have a diverse selection of slacks to choose from” This is my individual user story under style. Then when I buy slacks, just one or two on sale, I fulfilled a small tasks of my Style theme and developing the story of my Style. This is a satisfying and fulfilling moment for me. We recommend you personally learn the Agile methodology and process to create your user stories and design bigger pictures of epics and themes and features. Then learn to work with talent and resources that matter to help with the tasks and address problems such as freelance web sites to see your user story fulfilled. You will find this whole experience a rewarding process and you will also see you have little risk doing small things that fill up the bigger picture. Then you begin to understand this is how the black community should have operated all along. Instead of following some black leadership crap, our African-American people should have been establishing self-organizing teams to knock out small tasks to fulfill our stories to define the features of our theme shaping our overall story as a people. We Are the Collective Sum of Our Stories Like a million stars shining in the universe, each of us have our own unique story that makes up the bigger theme of who we are as African-Americans. The Afro-Techs have taken over in 2016 and our position is you are a unique person made by your experience, your journey, your highs and your lows and we respect you as a gift from God and we want to know your story and if possible, help fulfill your story and our people story with solutions that create value. With that said, there is no longer a need to look at another person as a black leader or black spokesperson again as this is an obsolete line of thinking in 2016. Black people no longer have a movement, we have methodologies to promote incremental processes at regular intervals. African-Americans are going to move to self-organizing teams to fulfill multiple user stories to make up a theme and we are going to adopt collective ownership to deliver value we can see and benefit from. Because black people now accept and understand there is no longer a spokesperson for black people and we African-Americans are unique individuals with our own story, we no longer going to judge each other or compare each other in any context. If you are a gay black person, that is your story and how Dr. Umar Johnson feel about it don’t mean a damn thing. If you are in an interracial relationship, that is your story and there is no need to talk about swirling or whatever – it is your story and who you are. If you spend your paycheck on creating care packages for the homeless and pass them out on weekends, that is your story and what you contribute to the greater good and progress of our people. In 2016, we accept each other as a unique story and we allow everybody to express their story and express themselves and we treat each other with mutual dignity and respect. Vision board parties are cool social events but in 2016, learn how to define your story and fulfill your story. As a curious person, you want to travel and live abroad – fulfill it. As a person who want to give back to the hood you came from, you want to make a difference in hood children lives – fulfill it. As a person who loves EDM, you want to introduce EDM to the black community – fulfill it. Do not be afraid to create your story and fulfill it. We have to accept who we are and we have to accept others personal stories and become an African-American culture constantly fulfilling small stories that make up our bigger theme defining our progress of delivering true value to grow and benefit from.