It’s called Hack Club and it’s *actually* changing the world.
It’s not easy to make a positive impact on the world today. There’s so much going on and so little time to do anything about it. Most people in my field of work think they’re making the world a better place, but they are more accurately writing some mediocre application that does a mediocre job of providing marginal improvement for a problem that is not a real problem. (I’m talking about you, Silicon Valley.) Occasionally, though- some folks in the technology sector solve real problems. The kind that effect all of us and impact all of our futures.
Zach Latta is in the latter category.
Zach is a strange guy. He’s strangely productive. He’s strangely dedicated. Also.. he’s strangely young. I’m not going to mention his age, because we don’t measure intelligence or ability in years- we measure through action. And Zach takes action. He’s been doing so for a long time. His particular brand of action is focused on solving problems at the systematic level. Which means taking on issues that involve big hairy problems, politics, most importantly, real people.
Zach is the Executive Director of Hack Club. Hack Club is a 501©(3) nonprofit that helps high school students set up coding clubs. Now I’m sure it’s easy to dismiss that as an incremental step forward. Besides, what makes a hack club any different than a chess club- or a theater club? Well.. A whole lot, actually.
He and his team have been working like madmen to tackle a problem much bigger than getting kids to learn how to code- They’re teaching kids to how to leverage technology to create a better future for themselves. That, my friends.. is a very big deal.
Remember these faces.. Because they’re on to something big.
We live in strange times,
Very few things are promised these days. We live in a world of increasing change and constant transition. One minute you know exactly what the next four years is going to look like.. the next minute.. you’re not sure if even have another four to count on.
But there is one thing that I am certain about. It’s the inconvenient truth, that our current generation is actively destroying (or at least severely damaging) the future prosperity and safety of generations to come.. Our inability to find common ground on unavoidable challenges such as a changing climate, or massive socio-economic issues - is leading to the rapid erosion of the foundations that we have taken for granted for several generations.
The youth inherit the sins of their elders, and we are not doing them any favors these days.
This is why I’m so excited for what Hack Club is doing. They’re equipping teens with two critical skills.
SKILL # 1: The ability to leverage technology to build new things.
SKILL # 2: The ability to organize communities around shared goals .
When I think of what actually matters in tomorrow’s world, I think of those skills as necessary ones. Not optional. Not nice skills to have. But absolutely vital skills.
Unfortunately yet unsurprisingly, these skills are often neglected by antiquated models for education, which are not built to educate at the pace in which technology shifts and transforms. So, kids are left to fend for themselves, and often forced figure it out all alone, without guidance or community.
Without organizations like Hack Club, an untold number of eager and intelligent high-schoolers would miss out on the incredible art and science of hacking. And not having access to these communities has real negative impact- not just on their future- but on the futures of their loved ones, and their neighborhood. Teaching a kid to code is about more than giving him or her desirable skills that our economy values. It’s about empowering her to use her agency to make a change in the world.
If we really expect our society to improve at any reasonable rate- we need our young people to be technically competent- not just so they can be engineers- but so they can know how to think about things in a scientific manner, how to adapt to a changing environment, and how to solve the tough challenges that they will most certainly face in their life times.
Hack Club is currently in 150 schools across 16 states and 7 countries. And that’s awesome. But it’s not nearly enough and they’re not satisfied. Good thing they’re just getting started.
Do me a personal favor. Help Hack Club succeed.
Go to their website. Discuss Hack Club with your colleagues at work. Tell your spouse that’s growing worried about your child's future. Tell your little brothers and sisters that they can start their own hacker club! Tell your friends on Facebook and Twitter to SHUT UP about Trump (for a little while) — and ask them to spread the word about this.
And of course Hack Club cannot do this great work without the support of volunteers, and financial backers. So donate to their cause because it’s the least you can do to make the future a little less screwed up for the young kids who have to inherit, and help fix- this mess we’ve made for ourselves.
Also, they’re on product hunt: so check em out there as well:
also thanks for reading this. keep up the awesome.