Of machines and empathy, from Manila. online @ chia.dev · product @ developh.org · designing @ uxsocietyyale.org · more angst @ chias.blog

As Developh enters its fifth year, we’d love for you to consider supporting us in our mission to bridge the technology gap in the nations that need it most as we nurture technologists that are humanity-first.

We’ve been students hard at work helping other students as we’ve built initiatives and programming across education, acceleration, & community — working to address gaps in the current Philippine student startup and technology ecosystem.

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Just last year:

  • Our community has grown to over 1,000 members, exploding in growth as we pivoted to completely online programming

Three years ago as a high school senior in Cavite, I wrote “A Guide to CS in High School (PH Edition)”. Written a bit over a year after Developh (then Developers’ Society) launched, I had so much to learn and absorb about the tech scene.

Navigating tech is daunting and extremely overwhelming. The Philippines has universal talent, but unequal opportunity — computer science education is lackluster, and there’s so much room to do better — especially outside the country’s top institution. At the same time, there’s no shortage of incredible community-driven efforts to address the technology gap in the country…

This article was written for Technology.ph, published in July 30, 2019.

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For the first time since 2013 and for only the second time ever, the Philippines has produced a startup entering the world’s premier accelerator, Y Combinator. From Manila to Mountain View, PayMongo is a FinTech startup looking to help local entrepreneurs and merchants to better their payment infrastructure — modernizing payments for the Philippines in a rapidly transforming digital economy. …

We’re looking for a Chief of Community and a Chief of Marketing as we grow online. Apply by May 30th.

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Founded in 2016, Developh is an international student-run nonprofit investing in youth-led innovation for good across Southeast Asia. We want to build student leaders in technology, promoting a more equitable pipeline for young people to explore the field and pursue careers in tech or even founderhood. To date, we’ve impacted over 80,000 people in our events — presenting across events from the Grace Hopper Celebration stage in 2018 to building ventures for radical technology and good.

In this wildly new time, Developh is reinventing its approach to incorporate our strengths: we’re distributed, made of proactive and eager students from alll…

A self-assessment at nineteen. I hope to write this every year.
Some of these are merely blatant truisms, but I’m nineteen and have so much more to learn about and uncover and are a start to where I must ground myself.

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1. A willingness to look foolish. I care less about what others think.

When I search this up, it looks like a quote tied to faith and religion — but I believe is as applicable to any other form of practice. (I used to rant a lot about how this was my biggest inhibitor in high school.) When I fear failure, I try less and thus do not move forward.

From a club of 40 to an international nonprofit, here’s what we learned from our journey of growth and impact

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First off: Take my words lightly. I’m a sophomore undergraduate with much to learn about design, management, and the industry. At the same time, working in different student environments from long, daily hours to global remote projects in scrappy spaces have brought our team to be dangerously good at winging things and making them work.

As students, learning how to build organizations at scale has been a tricky thing. 1.) We built ourselves at a high school level (and had a lot less ‘culture’ or foundational interest in our work–especially since the most popular organizations were only faith-based ones in…

You’ve been through this: you come in at 9 AM, text your supervisor (or the Messenger group of interns, or you open the email template) — tell them you’re coming in weaving through through traffic, having barely made breakfast. The company asks you to stay a bit longer today since everyone’s trying to make the deliverables for the next big event, and you agree; anyway, you want to wait out traffic. You work, and work and work, and take two hours to commute home. You don’t get paid, this is just for experience.

We’re not a country that frequently pays…

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Despite promises to improve the worsening chaos of Manila’s traffic, the Philippine government continues to war with Angkas, showing its true colors.

“What do they mean by transportation crisis?” says Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo after the breakdown of the LRT-2, a transport line serving 200,000 passengers across Metro Manila. It was eventual that the country would want to slip and weave past the ever-worsening traffic, and with it, the government’s unfulfilled processes. So came motorcycles, a mess, and a discovery of what a startup is.

Traffic in Manila has become an embedded symbol of our nation’s failed systems. Heavily urbanized over the past few decades, the Philippines’ central collection of metropolitan areas contains some of the world’s densest cities; home to near…

When unexplained ‘glitches’ disenfranchise millions, the security and integrity of our democracy is threatened.

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A technician handles a malfunctioning vote counting machine

The 2019 midterms saw an unprecedented amount of irregularities that have yet to be explained. Outside all the propaganda and illegal campaigning, technical errors have disenfranchised near a million voting Filipinos and deluded the promise of public transparency. This has completely shifted the landscape of a critical election.

For the past few days, the nation has been calling out against the innumerable counts of malfunctioning vote counting machines (VCMs), pre-shaded ballots, incorrect voting receipts. Perhaps these issues are to be expected. But to start, the 2019 Philippine midterms saw a 220% increase in cases of malfunctions than in the previous 2016 election.

This year, 1,665 SD cards that would contain vote data needed to be replaced in contrast to 2016’s 120 during the election period, with hundreds of them corrupted on the day of the election. The Comelec had attributed many canvassing errors to the defective cards, sourced…

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I never felt as helpless as I did during the 2016 elections.

Given, I was barely out of my sophomore year in high school and didn’t know much about politics. Like many others, I grew up with the notion that the government was just an inherently bad thing. …

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