Bryan’s work runs a conference called Build Right: Maker Series. They bring in industry leaders to Dayton to give talks and workshops. Last month, they brought in Sara Chipps, who co-founded Girl Develop It, which is an organization that teaches women how to code and supports them in their programming journey. There’s a new chapter in Dayton, which Bryan teaches at sometimes. She also founded (or co-founded? Sorry, I don’t remember.) Jewelbots, which is a friendship bracelet which gets girls started in coding. She goes out of her way to make sure that people who don’t look like the norm are successful.
In other words, she’s pretty cool.
Bryan gave me his spot at the conference and stayed home to watch the kids that day. He’s pretty cool, too.
I got a sweet badge, which had space for my name, twitter handle, and job title. Only one of which I could write. And donuts. I also got a donut.
And an Adafruit Gemma! It’s a tiny computer that you sew in to your clothes with conductive thread. You include a battery pack, write a computer program and load it into the Gemma, and then it does what you want! I never got mine working at the workshop. My Windows computer never got set up with the program and I didn’t finish sewing it to the piece of clothing I brought.
But I learned, listening to Sara Chipps, that the job of a leader is to set the vision, hire people smarter than you, then get obstacles out of their way.
Something I’ve been thinking about: A person doesn’t wake up one day and start a company or a non-profit. A person takes on a small challenge- some that makes you stretch, but is just within reach. Then, when they stretch and grow with that challenge, they are able to take on a bigger challenge. After a decade, they are leaps and bounds ahead of people who were watching shows that whole time. Is it discouraging that the process takes a decade? That decade is going to pass anyways, might as well grow during it.
I enjoyed talking to Sara one-on-one, and ask her some questions. I got to find out her story of stretch goals. She started out at a help desk (which is actually where Bryan started his tech career too) and then she took on bigger and bigger challenges until now she’s living in New York and people are flying her all across the country just to hear what words she might say to them.
This was me:
But… this was also me!!! I got to bed at about midnight and was trying to sleep… and my eyes popped open when I realized… I bet I could finish the dress.
I really wanted to have something to show Heidi for being gone all day. I thought I could get Bryan’s Macbook set up with the program, but he would take it to work in the morning. So I got up and downloaded the program and finished sewing the dress and squished so many bugs in the code and the circuit. It felt so awesome.
I got the dress to play Hot Cross Buns and Listen for Bells and my name in morse code and a secret message through binary and hexidecimal. I would look at the clock and think… just a few more minutes. And then the sun came up.