Why I Come to ChiHackNight

I started coming to ChiHackNight in February 2016 because of an email I got with the subject line, “Mixer Tonight with Gnar Gnar Shredtown!” It was an announcement for an improv jam, which is like a hack night but for improvisers.

This is the text of that email in its entirety:

Yo Mixbots! 2 quick things!
1. We’re mixing it up with the incredible curators of the Sh!thole tonight, Gnar Gnar Shredtown.
2. We talked about this last week, and you should go check it out. ChiHackNight — http://chihacknight.org/
Learn at 10, play at 10:30.
KnB

I did not mix it up that night with the curators of The Sh!thole, but I did start going to ChiHackNight.

In November 2015, I moved here from San Francisco where I had been somewhat familiar with tech and tech culture. I’d worked in it for a little bit and drank some of the Kool-aid and breathed a lot of that silicon-heavy Bay Area air.

But I had never been to a hack night for civic issues before. The first night I came, I missed the talk entirely and ended up just sitting down at a table with a group of people in the cafeteria saying, “I have no idea what’s going on. Please help.” And they were awesome. And I’ve continued to come.

I love ChiHackNight because of the people. They are using their brains to make our city and world a better place to be, sometimes until 9:30 on a Tuesday night. Using their brain! Until 9:30! For non-$$work problems! I didn’t even know such a thing was possible.

Mostly I’ve been floating around and meeting people and learning about projects and getting inspired. But one of these days, I’m going to stand up so help me God and announce a project or group. JUST YOU WAIT!

I don’t code or design or project manage or map. I am a writer. And an improviser. And sometimes a marketer. And I read a lot of books.

Despite that, I have felt so welcome. More importantly, I’ve realized how every problem is interdisciplinary and we need everyone on board—everyone from all backgrounds— to solve them.

I am so happy this group and these people exist. Comic book heroes ain’t got sh!t on ChiHackNight.

Go forth and make cool things!

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