Community Partnerships

Uncountable + The Hidden Genius Project

Presenting Uncountable’s new collaboration with the Bay Area nonprofit

We’re proud to announce Uncountable’s partnership with The Hidden Genius Project.

TThe Hidden Genius Project is an international, Oakland-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to help train and mentor Black male youth, affectionately known as “Hidden Geniuses,” in technology creation, entrepreneurship, and leadership with an eye towards transforming their lives and communities. Uncountable’s data-driven teams provide an ideal medley of insights, ideas, and advice for these engineers and technologists of tomorrow.

One crucial aspect of The Hidden Genius Project is its partnerships with top technology startups in which students gain first-hand exposure to world-class entrepreneurs, engineering talent, and businesses. As part of this knowledge-sharing enterprise, Uncountable recently hosted a current cohort of Hidden Geniuses for a virtual business trip as part of the summer portion of their 15-month Intensive Immersion Program.

Hidden Geniuses at Uncountable

ToTo foster the most insights into cutting-edge technology, the business trips typically feature small breakout room sessions in which participants directly learn about various team members’ responsibilities, and are encouraged to ask incisive questions. During our visit, Uncountable hosted five such breakout sessions, each of which focused on a different aspect of the organization and provided a plethora of distinct functional viewpoints from interns to founders.

Here are some of the highlights:

Session 1 — Richard Garcia (Director of Sales) & Noel Hollingsworth (Co-Founder/CEO)

Richard and Noel spoke about their respective paths to Uncountable — what inspired Noel to help found the company, and what motivated Richard to join the team.

The Hidden Geniuses quickly identified the early leverage points in Richard’s and Noel’s careers, pointedly asking, “What do you wish you learned about tech in high school?”

Our team’s response? “Focus on learning a hard skill like science or engineering,” Richard said. “I wish I’d been ahead of the curve in learning something I could directly apply.”

Session 2 — Will Goldie (Full Stack Engineer)

In his session, Will gave a detailed description of what the life of an Uncountable Full Stack Engineer looks like, as well as providing valuable information about the delineations between seniority levels.

The Hidden Geniuses were especially eager to learn about how responsibilities change with increased experience levels. Because they are developing the necessary skills to become a junior engineer at a company like Uncountable, the Hidden Geniuses appreciated hearing how those skills apply to a real-world environment.

Towards the end of the session, Will was asked, “What are the hardest tasks in your job?” He explained that it’s difficult to identify the most efficient and effective approach to a problem, even when you have the requisite knowledge: “There is often more than one way to solve a problem, and building a new thing isn’t always better.”

Session 3 — Will Tashman (Co-Founder)

Will gave the Hidden Geniuses a holistic overview of the teams inside Uncountable and explained how each fits into the broader mission of the company.

Understanding how their individual areas of expertise fit into the bigger picture helped the Hidden Geniuses understand their potential career paths as well as get a handle on the impact they could have on a company.

Session 4 — Ryan Clark (Intern) & Tim Wang (Intern)

Uncountable interns Ryan and Tim spoke with the Hidden Geniuses about their day-to-day responsibilities in entry-level roles. This unique perspective proved to be especially valuable as Geniuses can expect to intern at tech companies as they embark on their own careers.

In terms of their professional development, Ryan and Tim are only a few years ahead of The Hidden Genius Project’s young people. So, they spent time offering the Geniuses insight into how they thought about joining a smaller startup like Uncountable (versus a bigger tech company). The big takeaway? For Ryan and Tim, smaller startups offer “more meaningful contributions, but with more uncertainty, too.”

The Geniuses were also curious to learn how Ryan and Tim pitched themselves on their college applications to be accepted into schools (CalTech, Brown) with strong technical programs.

Session 5 — Andrés González (Data Scientist)

Andrés is Uncountable’s Lead Data Scientist, and he spoke with the Hidden Geniuses about his winding career path, what makes a good data scientist, and some of the ideas he wished he knew when he was younger.

Breaking into the competitive world of Silicon Valley startups from Germany gave Andrés a helpful perspective about the challenges of starting as an outsider, and he was vocal about the ways in which he felt he got lucky, and how the hard work he put in paid off.

“Do not envy anybody’s success, if you do not know their mistakes,” Andrés said.

One Hidden Genius asked: “What can you do to give yourself an edge?” In his response, Andrés emphasized that the little things that help others to see they can rely on you (“Be on time and do not lie”) and the value of focus (“Pursue your passions, but focus on only a few things”) before finishing with: “Ask the right questions and the answers will find you.”

Conclusion

WWe’re thrilled to have successfully kicked off our partnership with The Hidden Genius Project by hosting this cohort of Hidden Geniuses as a part of their 15-month Intensive Immersion Program. This is a wonderful first step for these young people, but the real work is still ahead and we’re looking forward to continued opportunities for collaboration and to track the success of this cohort as they grow into their professional careers.

For more information on The Hidden Genius Project, visit https://www.hiddengeniusproject.org/

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