In my previous career, the Hello World demo was the one you tried out first when you were working in a new coding language or trying to create your first webpage or program.
The commands that you type to build a website or program show up on the screen with “Hello World”. It lets you know that what you have input is correct and the computer understands you. It’s a demo that for some of us of a certain age still gives a sense of nostalgia. On the other hand, when you teach someone new to coding how to do this, their eyes light up as if they have just discovered a brand new world. Indeed they have! It’s a visible confirmation that they can learn something that for various reasons they might not have thought that they could. It’s really about access, to a new world opening before you.
Access is something that we can take for granted. We grow up with certain networks, expectations, education channels and opportunities. Not only to technology but also to politically stable locations, public health, financial systems and other infrastructure. When you have spent your whole life having access, it can be difficult to imagine what it must be like not to have access. We can’t imagine not having an internet connection wherever we go or clean water or the freedom of mobility.
Earlier this past summer, when I was brainstorming The Do Good Only Company into existence, I thought about all of the possible directions we could go to start. Would we focus only on one particular market segment, service or technology? Would we focus our efforts on building a series of must have apps or products so that we could all work really hard for several years and then have a miracle exit to the life of leisurely philanthropy? Did we want to become something exclusive and elite?
In short, the answer to all of those questions was “Hell, no.” What I wanted to do, very simply, was channel all that rebellious energy I have and use it to knock down walls, to create access. Whether it’s from the years of being a Ramones fan, playing rugby or always being the weird smart girl in school, over the years I have built up a tremendous capacity to happily be the bull (Taurus by the way) leading the charge through the china shop. It means using your voice, your strengths to make room for others – not because anyone needs rescuing but because sometimes people don’t have access.
This is the week that we are officially saying “Hello, World”. We have spent the past two days concentrating on who we are, our strengths, our direction and all of the differences we bring to this effort. In one sentence, Sumana said it best. She said that “We have the ability to see abilities in others.” We’re already deeply involved in this work, with our current cohort of the Future Skills Lab . This is the beginning of all of the ways we will promote and create access – to new skills, new opportunities and new choices for all who want to make the investment in themselves and their communities. Looking forward to seeing you on our journey!