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052: Emberitas with Lydia Guarino and Shannon Byrne

Hosted byCharles Lowell and Stephanie Riera

January 6th, 2017.

Lydia Guarino @lydiaguarino | data.world | GitHub

Shannon Byrne @s_byrne | Blog | GitHub | shannon@emberitas.com

Stephanie Riera @stefriera | The Frontside | GitHub

Show Notes:

  • 01:23 - Emberitas
  • 02:50 - Developing Curriculum For Women By Women
  • 10:16 - Pairing People Together
  • 12:14 - The Volunteers and Support
  • 18:42 - Getting Women to Attend Meetups
  • 23:20 - Icebreaking Exercises
  • 27:42 - Takeaways From the Event
  • 33:35 - The Future of Emberitas
  • 36:10 - Favorite Parts of the Event



CHARLES: Hello everybody and welcome to The Frontside Podcast Episode 52. We're coming to you live from Frontside HQ where we can help you zero in on that precise experience that you want for your users. So, if that’s something that you're interested in, go ahead and reach out to us at Frontside.io.

Today, actually we got a pretty large panel today. It's a hardcore Austin posse - Lydia Guarino, Shannon Byrne, and Stephanie Riera. And we're going to be talking about kind of a passion project of theirs called Emberitas. We're going to be digging deep into it.

But before we get into that, I want to introduce everybody. Lydia is a product engineer at Data.World which is a social network for your data. It's actually a really cool startup where you can go and you can upload your data and you can see other public data sets and slice and dice them. It's really cool.

Shannon, who has been a developer since 2013, is kind of in the startup scene and been ubiquitous certainly in the circles that we've run in here in Austin. And so, her latest gig has been as a code school instructor teaching JavaScript and Ruby on the full stack. And of course, you’ve heard Stephanie on the podcast many times. She's a developer here at the Frontside.

Without further ado, let's talk about Emberitas. What exactly is Emberitas and how did it get started?

SHANNON: Emberitas is a 1-day 2-track workshop for teaching Ember to women. Last year, what was it? Like April maybe of last year, or maybe March, we were at an Ember ATX meetup. Brandon and Charles were talking about how to get more diversity into the Ember meetup. And then, of course, Lydia and Stephanie and I, as sort of the token ladies of Ember ATX, kind of huddled in a circle and we talked about how other communities in Austin were doing things. And of course, there's Rails Girls which is a 1-day workshop to teach girls programming through a little bit of Rails. We were like, "Why not do the same thing with Ember?"

And so, after that, we just kind of picked up on everything, split up a lot of the work, decided we were going to do it, and made it happen. And we hosted our own 1-day workshop for teaching women who had no knowledge of coding some of the basics of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript through Ember. And then taught other women in town who maybe were using Angular or had some experience with Rails or whatever, but didn’t know what Ember was, the basics of Ember, so that they could then take that back to their companies and make more Ember jobs for all of us.

CHARLES: For someone who's worked on trainings before and tried to develop them, how challenging was it to develop a curriculum for women -- literally, all spectra of experience with development. It sounds like a difficult task. And I'm curious what considerations did you take in when you were developing this curriculum and what did it encompass?

LYDIA: One of the things that we did to make that a little easier on ourselves is we split the workshop into two tracks. We had a beginner track and then we also had an intermediate track. Shannon ran with the intermediate track and I ran with the beginner track with an understanding that for beginners, there's a lot more discussion about some of the basics of web development in general or how you think of a project and how you start with the basic building blocks of HTML and CSS, and then grow into building an application.

For the beginner course, what I wanted to focus on was taking those basic building blocks and showing how they can be converted into an application. We actually started with making static web pages and then converted those gradually in pieces into an Ember application. Ember actually makes that pretty straightforward to do because there's such strong conventions that there's obvious places to put all of that information. So, we built everything in HTML and CSS, and then we came back and layered on Ember on top of that but the project was the same in both scenarios. And I'll let Shannon talk a little bit about how she approached the more advance course.

SHANNON: For the intermediate course, one of the challenges was that it was very open as to what that would mean. It wasn’t intermediate Ember; it was an introduction to Ember for anyone who considered themselves a developer. So we had some people who came in and they had a little bit of JavaScript experience and then we had some people who were already full stack JavaScript developers and then some people who had experience with like an NPC framework. People were kind of coming from all over the place, was my expectation.

And so, it was kind of difficult to approach that, to be honest. I wasn’t really sure what to do and I had a lot of false starts as, I'm sure, most people do who kind of create tutorials. Now that I'm working on curriculum for a code school, the same thing happens. There's definitely a lot of after the fact, being like 'duh'. Now I know I should have done it this way. But the way that I approached it was really just a result of conversations that Lydia and I had been having for years, which is how there's sort of some unique differences on what we’ve seen for how women kind of communicate and learn a little bit differently especially when they're in our classes and the experiences cater just to them.

So, I just kind of went off of that and said, "Okay, how do I like to learn?" And then kind of applied that to how I developed the curriculum. It was a lot of, "Well, you might think we could do this, but actually that doesn’t work. Let's try this." And so you go through it and it's kind of like a lot of false starts, a lot of learning together, a lot of like having these tiny little frustrations that you normally have when you're coding, and then achieving something together.

And so the ultimate goal of both the beginner curriculum and the intermediate curriculum was not to teach everybody everything about Ember in one day, but to give them the confidence that they could go out and do whatever they wanted with Ember or just explore more about development in general, after that workshop.

CHARLES: That makes me curious, Shannon, if you can unpack that a little bit more. You said that there were challenges and things that you took into account in developing this curriculum that was specifically for an all-woman studentship. Can you elaborate on that? What were some of the concrete things that you made that you custom-tailored?

SHANNON: To be completely honest, there weren’t a whole lot of things that I could really custom-tailor. It was more just thinking about the things that I had witnessed in terms of working with women specifically, and seriously as a result of the conversations that I've had with Lydia, trying to be much more conversational, trying to allow the questions that generally arose sort of drive what we did instead of being very rigid about how we did it, and the approach that I thought was going to work. And generally, just kind of being like quick on my feet and allowing the course to go at the pace that it should go and not trying to force anything, and really mostly trying to read the room and understand that we might not get to everything in one day.

LYDIA: From the very beginning, from the very conception of this idea, we wanted to build something by women for women. And so, it was really important that we chose female instructors which is one of the reasons that Shannon and I volunteered to be the instructors ourselves when maybe we would have wanted to seek someone else to take that piece of it. But this is something that we were personally passionate about and we knew how we learned Ember and how we could translate that into something that would be accessible to the broader community of women in Austin.

So, we did some targeting with specific groups in Austin that were women-driven. So, Women Who Code has a big following in Austin and we reached out to that community and we made sure that all of the sessions were, like Shannon mentioned, collaborative.

For instance, in the beginner course, everyone worked as partners. You weren’t just sitting there by yourself isolated with your own level of knowledge, you have somebody to bounce ideas off of you, you have somebody right next to you to ask your little secretive questions where you're a little embarrassed to raise your hand but you need someone to quick correct you. I also made sure that when I was teaching the course itself, it was less lecture and more tutorial which allowed me to walk around the room and actually speak to each individual pair about where they were in the process. So, instead of losing people throughout the course because they had slipped behind, I knew where everybody was for the entire day.

While that slows down the overall speed for some of the faster people, it meant that we didn’t have anybody take off at lunchtime which is a problem for a lot of workshops as somebody gets so far behind that they just give up. That was something that we wanted to try really hard to avoid with this particular workshop.

SHANNON: Another thing that I want to say, if I can go back and fix my sort of bumbling before about what I specifically did. I thought about something I actually specifically did. In a lot of online tutorials, what I found is that it will tell you to do something but it doesn’t quite tell you why. And answering that 'why' question is something that’s always really important to me when I'm learning something new, so I added a lot of that into the tutorials that we did. Either out loud I would explain it or I would say, "For anyone who's interested, there's a link in the curriculum that will tell you exactly what that is," a much longer explanation of what a computed property is, why that works, and sort of even some of the internals in JavaScript if people were curious in learning that, to answer that why question for attendees.

CHARLES: The 'why' is a question that unfortunately gets such short shrift in almost everything that we do. It's like shocking unless you see the absence of why.

The other thing I wanted to ask too, Lydia, was you talked about making sure that everybody was paired up so that nobody got behind. Were you deliberate in kind of making sure? I know you had something like 40 students in the first one, so it can be difficult to kind of assess the skill level of each one. But were you able to be deliberate in those pairings and to kind of match people with a productive set of skills?

LYDIA: I think that it's actually a little bit dangerous to have people label themselves before they get into a project. So instead of saying 'hey, if you’ve had some experience here, maybe work with somebody that’s never seen this before', I tried to avoid that. So I actually let them choose their partners -- rather I just assigned them based on where they were sitting in the room. And for any kind of gaps we had there, if I had one pair where those people had way less experience than another group, we had an army of volunteers that were available to come and kind of sit down next to one of the pairs and help them work through the pieces. And I think that that’s one of the major things that helped the day running smoothly because instead of having to have me come over and help them over and over again, we had somebody that could kind of more quietly come over and sit down and work through the tougher pieces or if someone got stuck on a bug, help them untangle it.

CHARLES: I think that’s fantastic because having participated in running trainings before, I know that’s one of the biggest challenges of keeping everybody together and moving forward in unison is making sure that everyone can do things like do an npm-install. I had an entire training derailed because one person just could not figure out how do it. It was basically just Brandon and I and it was terrible.

I guess the question is how many volunteers did it take to make that go smoothly? And I guess the follow on question is do you think that’s indicative of kind of the Ember community at large when you guys proposed this event that you were able to really draw on this large pool of ready volunteers to show up?

LYDIA: The volunteers were actually a strategic move that Shannon and I spoke about early on which was that part of what we wanted to do is show how welcoming and how supportive the Ember community in Austin is. And so, most of the volunteers that we had on hand were actually members of Ember ATX that were interested in increasing diversity as well. So these were people that they could meet in events and people that would encourage them to come back to a meetup next month or whatever. And you could see these are like really approachable, fantastic people and they're ready to help and they're excited about having you join our community.

To keep it running smoothly, to answer that question, we were kind of split. Shannon's had a little bit more people in it than mine but I ended up having close to 20 people. So I had 10 pairs. I actually had almost as many volunteers as I had pairs. So we had some drifters floating between the two classes. But at any given time, I had at least five people running around the room in addition to myself. So, that’s a lot of volunteers to coordinate, but we actually had a lot of support from Ember ATX and from people that really wanted to help out.

SHANNON: That’s a huge ask to ask 10/15 people to come out for the whole day on a Saturday. Even for attendees, that’s a lot to ask people to do. And to have so many people from the Ember community in Austin come out and do that, I don’t think -- maybe there was one volunteer, Lydia's husband, who didn’t know any Ember. But everyone else was from the Ember community and either did Ember professionally or as a hobby, so it worked out really well like that.

I was really glad to see that because the whole reason that I do Ember is because of the people that I met at the Ember meetup and I keep going back. And that warmth that I feel about the Ember community is kind of why I feel so great about doing Ember and why I choose to do Ember professionally is because that feeling that I have kind of follows me around while I code in Ember which is kind of silly.

CHARLES: I don’t think it's really silly at all. I think that’s so much of the pervading narrative is that technology is about technology when in fact it's about people in the community. And I think it's great that kind of almost as just by virtue of holding the event and having those volunteers, what you're giving them is not just a set of tools but also you're kind of giving them a small part, that being the benefit of it is giving them this community.

SHANNON: What was really excellent too and I think what made us be able to kind of coordinate with the volunteers really well is that Lydia and I were running the classes but Steph was really in charge of coordinating the day and making sure that things run smoothly and making sure the volunteers knew where they needed to be and where they could be most helpful because our challenge was that we actually were in two different spaces. We were able to get space donated to us by The Iron Yard but the Iron Yard campus in Austin is actually like there's kind of a field between their two locations where the classrooms are and where their main space was.

And so, what kind of happened was that without Steph kind of like wrangling the volunteers into the right place, the volunteers were kind of forgetting that there was this kind of second intermediate location to come to. And so, I'm so thankful that she was able to be there and just be focused on coordinating the day of type stuff to make sure that everything ran smoothly.

STEPHANIE: Thank you, Shannon. That’s so sweet. I did want to make a quick mention about the volunteers. I feel like, especially in our industry, we hear a lot about the "brogrammer" and we give a lot of slack to men, particularly white men in the tech industry.

I think it's very important to highlight most of the volunteers that we had were all men. And it's these men that are spending their Saturday there to coach and teach women. I think it's a very beautiful thing to see because a lot of these women, I think, they are intimated by going to meetups and going to hackathons because they feel like it's not an inclusive environment and they can't ask questions in a room full of guys. I think that’s indicative of 'that’s not always the case'. Yes, there might be a problem in the tech industry but there are also people that care and you can see that through the volunteers.

SHANNON: It's no lie that the three of us were really the only girls at Ember ATX until we put Emberitas on. We didn’t have a large pool of experienced -- not even experienced Ember developers, but even people who had just sat down to try out Ember in Austin who were female to pull from. And so that was always the go-to was to make this so that we could have this be able to diversify Ember ATX in one way by bringing more women in, but also just to make the community stronger overall.

I'll say again the Ember community is far and above the best programming community in Austin and I wanted to make sure that every other girl at least had the opportunity to know why I rave about Ember meetups and the Ember community and everything about Ember. And that doesn’t just go for Austin, obviously.

To shout out as well to Leah, who already does so much with Women Helping Women in Austin, Tilde actually donated a bunch of extra swag to us from the Ember Conf from last year, Ember Conf 2016. So, that saved us a ton of money that we got to use towards other stuff. And then saving money on that, then we got to do a happy hour after that we also invited sponsors and the rest of the community, too.

We had a bunch of Ember community members who weren’t able to spend the day with us volunteering but they still came out and had a couple of free drinks and got to chat with all the attendees as well. So overall, the whole day was really fun and full of Ember community members.

CHARLES: Personally, I'm so sad that I missed it. I was out of the country although it was on my birthday. So, it was like a good birthday present to know that that was like going on in my community back home.

Having not been to so many Ember meetups since, have you all noticed and I guess this is really just kind of a question for the four, have you noticed real traction like an uptick in the number of women in attendance and kind of an increase in that level of interest from women in the community at large?

LYDIA: The meetup right afterwards had a pretty major uptick because a lot of the people that had come in through Women Who Code and are already kind of avid meetup goers took a chance and came to the meetup. And I've seen several of them come to a couple of the other ones throughout the year. There's at least two people that I've seen repeat show up a bunch of times. When you’ve got a meetup of about 40 people and even if you just increase it by two more, that’s like actually moving the needle pretty significantly.

The trick about increasing diversity, that’s a little bit above chicken and the egg problem, is that the best way to get women to attend is to have women attend. And so, you want to have some women in the room when other women come for the first time because then it becomes a welcoming environment and you can start kind of the snowball effect of, "Okay, I'm welcome here. I see that this person is comfortable in this setting. That means that I'm going to have an easy time integrating here as well."

SHANNON: The timing in terms of -- if we were to do this again actually, one thing I'd improve is to make sure that all three of us could be at the upcoming Ember meetup and that we plan to do it the week before the Ember meetup, so that energy is high and all that kind of stuff. But I think there was something that prevented each of the three of us from maybe even being at that next Ember meetup which really was not a good idea. Maybe one of the three of us was there. So, that’s something that I'd like to improve upon is being more strategic about fulfilling on that goal.

And then another thing that I'd like to do as well like we have Women Who Code slack channel here in Austin and we have an Emberitas room now and we do actually chat on there. And I'd like to incorporate that into what we do as well, is having a community for the women who met there to continue speaking online, so that we can develop that community and I can post in there and say, "Ooh, there's an Ember meetup tonight. Let's all go." But I know a lot of them. I think a lot of them went to an event together that I didn’t know about. When Yehuda was in town, I think a handful of people talked about going to that and they met up through the Women Who Code Ember room. So, that’s cool.

CHARLES: That’s fantastic. I actually think this is a good opportunity to plug something that I learned about through [Emily], who is Alex's girlfriend, is the WeSpeakToo which I think is another good way. You talked about that Catch 22, the chicken and the egg of the best way to have women to attend is to have women attend. I also think the best way to have women attend is to have women speak. And to see that in terms of leadership, there's representation there.

And so, there's a tool that I just found out about that I think is really cool that helps kind of solve that Catch 22 or lower the friction if you were a meetup organizer. You can go and you can find there's a list of women in Austin, it's only in DC and Austin, but it's coupled with an analysis of the ratios of female, male, and non-binary speakers in Austin. There's a signup sheet where you can go if you're a woman or you're non-binary and you can sign up and you can enlist your levels of expertise. And if you're a meetup organizer -- you hear a lot of people say, "Where do I find someone who can speak at my meetup?" And so, that tool exists now. Everything's for Austin.

If you go to wespeaktoo.org/austin, there it is. I certainly hope the three of you guys are on that list if you're not already because I've seen each one of you speak and there's a lot to share there with the community. And so, if you're listening too, I think it’s also a good resource if you're in the DC area or in Austin area or if you want to bring it to your own city. Anyway, I just wanted to share that as what I thought is a cool tool.

SHANNON: And to plug another list too. I have to get the URL, I don’t know it off the top of my head. But Leah for Women Helping Women put together a list of female Ember speakers to make that available to all the Ember meetups. But even if you're a non-Ember person, these are a list of really great speakers. Some of them spoke at Ember Conf last year, other people who put in their proposals and then other people who were just like interested in speaking locally. She has that list somewhere and I'll try and find the link to it.

CHARLES: I will definitely look for that. The other thing that I wanted to talk about before we moved on was we've talked about how you paired people up, you talked about kind of a tight-knit community you created and they were going not just Ember meetups kind of user group but also the bonds that were formed were maintained as they went to other meetups. When we were talking about this part of the podcast, you mentioned some of the icebreaking exercises that you did but you didn’t give any specifics. You didn’t give any details. I want to hear about this and I want to hear what the best ones were because I'm so curious. Again, I'll just throw this question up. What was it that you did to kind of break that ice and what were the best results that you saw?

SHANNON: The icebreaker was actually a little bit of a happy accident. We had budgeted time for an icebreaker at the beginning and it was something that kept slipping down the priority list until the morning off. And on the morning off, we had discussed different brainstorming ideas beforehand but we hadn’t settled on anything. And in the morning off, we were like, "You know what we should do is we should have them as a group act out programming terms or programming concepts." As a group, they had to decide on a way to explain some programming concepts like a wow loop or http or something like that. They had to describe that physically.

STEPHANIE: Also, we use HTML too which is a hard one.

CHARLES: Did you just write them on cards and hand them out to people?

LYDIA: Yes. I literally was scribbling a list as people were walking in of terms that we thought would probably possibly work. And then we've split them up into groups and passed them out. I have to say people came up with the most creative things. It went so much better than I would have ever dreamed.

CHARLES: Is any of this on video? What was the best one?

SHANNON: I have the wow loop dance. I think it’s posted on the Emberitas instagram page that you can all go check out. It was so funny. They all went up there and while one of them was clapping, all the rest of them had a dance. And then when she stopped clapping, they'd stopped dancing. And so, it's really straightforward but it was just hilarious and sort of the big personalities of some of the extroverts in the room were given their chance to shine there in the morning and I was laughing so hard. It went a lot better than I think we expected it to since we had done zero preparation.

LYDIA: That said, Shannon put together a fantastic survey at the end so that we can kind of gather feedback on how to make this better in the future. And we had several comments about the icebreakers themselves. And one of the things that we might want to tweak in the future is exactly how we let different people participate in that activity because some people that were a little bit more reserved, a little bit shier like starting out the day with basically public speaking or a performance was a little bit rough.

Now, I'm going to argue that when you push somebody out of the comfort zone as soon as they show up for the day, everything else is going to be great because they’ve already stepped outside of their comfort zone and they’ve already done the thing that’s going to pull them out of their shell and be able to talk to other people in the room.

CHARLES: Right. The point of those things is vulnerability and to make it safe to be vulnerable. And so, someone who is definitely in, someone who walks around into these groups as a shell, I definitely see the value in that.

SHANNON: The other thing too is one of the positive things about an icebreaker like this is you could kind of take a backseat or kind of [inaudible] off to the side, so we didn’t require everyone to say something out loud either. So, there are positives and negatives.

I think that was like an overall learning thing about doing this is for me, I definitely am a perfectionist and I want everything to go perfectly and I want everything to be exactly my way. It was learning that no matter how well something goes, you can't please everyone 100%. And getting the feedback on the surveys and just seeing how, for some people, the icebreaker was their favorite part of the day. For other people, it was their least favorite part. Some people wanted more workshop time, other people wanted way less workshop time and to focus more on community building and this and that. And so, we can't please everyone but we've really pulled off something really cool that I think made a lot of the stakeholders very happy.

CHARLES: Yeah, definitely, which kind of goes right into my next question which I'm going to ask to all of you is what do you feel are kind of like the key things that you learned from this based on the survey, based on your experience, based on conversations with the participants and observations later on? What was it that you feel like was kind of your biggest takeaway? Why don’t we start with you, Lydia?

LYDIA: For me, the biggest takeaway was that it really makes such an enormous impact for women to see other women speaking and women putting these types of workshops and things on for other women. That was the one thing that stood out to me the most in the feedback was that people were just so excited to see someone relatable up in front of them giving these presentations. And that having the opportunity to see a room full of women that were interested in the same things that they were interested in was incredibly inspiring and encouraged them to kind of go out on a limb and try something that they hadn’t tried before and follow up in the future with more meetups and things like that, which was precisely the goal. I feel like our primary goal was to get women to feel like this was an accessible community and I feel like that was where we excelled the most.

CHARLES: How about you, Stephanie?

STEPHANIE: I wanted to piggy back off of what she just talked about because I, myself, we just touched on something earlier and it was about the feeling of being uncomfortable. It's no secret that and I said it there, I hate public speaking. Absolutely hate it, it terrifies me. I hate doing podcasts, I hate doing all kinds of speaking. But I realized how important it is.

And then as Shannon was saying like you can plan and you want to try as hard as you can to make everything go as smoothly and perfect as possible, but sometimes things will happen. And I remember at one point of the day, she came up to me and asked me a favor and was like, "Hey…" She had been emceeing all day and asked, "Do you mind doing the middle part?" And I think it was talking about Ember ATX and why it was important to do this workshop and all of that.

So I was caught completely unprepared and I was very hesitant. But in that moment, I thought to myself, "Well, we are choosing to be leaders in the community. We are choosing to put ourselves out there and do something for the greater good. I'm just going to do it. I'm just going to force myself to do it."

I think it went well. The first bit of it, I was very nervous and I just admitted it to everyone. But someone else came up to me afterwards and told me, "I think it meant a lot to people to see someone just take something on and speak from their heart, and you can see that they're so nervous but they're still doing it."

And so, that’s the point I wanted to make was yes, I'm uncomfortable with it but it’s the only way you can grow as an individual. I also want to send a message through that which is yes, we're all women, we're all bad ass, we all have this purpose that we want to achieve and we're doing it. So, that was my biggest takeaway. So, thank you, Shannon, for that unexpected request.

SHANNON: Yeah. That kind of came as a result of like I was trying to emcee and teach and I went up to Steph and she was like, "I'm nervous!" And I was like, "Look, I need to lay down. I've been talking all day. My brain is mushed." And she did such a great job and I was so happy that you did that.

For me, I would say Lydia definitely covered all of the philanthropic reasons that this is important and why it went so well and everything that was great. For me, I think that I had been going through some stuff. Like sometimes I question - am I really good at what I'm doing? Am I doing the right thing? Can I accomplish this? The sort of questions that everybody has. Taking this on and sort of planning it from start to finish on our own, doing all the marketing, getting all the sponsorships, getting all the attendees, communicating with all the attendees, trying to pretend that we were kind of more official than we were. I was individually texting people to their numbers and it would be like, "Reply with STOP if you no longer want these texts." Just to make it look like we were something official when really like I'm copying and pasting from one person to the next. And we're trying to get literally everything done, just the handful of us that were working on this.

It made me start thinking about what do I really want to do. I had never truly considered teaching other people to code until this. And now, I'm trying that out. Since then, through Emberitas, we've done another lecture series for high schoolers. We did a weekend workshop for high school girls and honestly, it opened up something in me and I was like, "We need to be teaching high school-aged kids to code." I know that’s something that a lot of organizations are trying to do but I now have a very specific idea of how I want to approach that.

It really gave me a lot of confidence that I really needed at the time. I think that I threw myself so hard into doing Emberitas was because I needed something to really be passionate about it at the time. And then it gave back to me everything that we put into it and I was so fortunate for that. Just to watch everyone having such a good time and everyone learning something and just the look on someone's face when they get something and then the look of someone's face when they make something is so cool. And that’s just what I loved about this whole experience.

CHARLES: Yeah. It sounds wonderful. Here we are in 2017, what's next? Are there any further events that we can look forward to? Are there any grand plans? I mean, you kind of alluded to some of that, doing more education for targeting a younger age group? What can we look forward to? Why don’t we start with, Shannon? What can we look forward to in 2017?
SHANNON: What you can look forward to in 2017 is me updating the website a little bit. It's still the typo-ed place it was at the very last day before the workshop. So, I need to update that so that people can get more information and contact us if they're interested because I have had a lot of people reach out to me over Twitter, through our Facebook page, all that kind of stuff, asking when we're going to do this again, and if we're going to do it in other cities than Austin.

What was really cool was all of our curriculum is open source, so we put that out there and we told on our Twitter that people could check out our curriculum. And one morning, we just started getting ding…ding….ding…ding…ding…all of these GitHub pull requests from people in Seattle. And it turned out that a code school in Seattle was using it as part of their curriculum. And so, a couple of those girls reached out and we're like, "Oh, we might be interested in posting one of these in Seattle." And so, hopefully doing something like that would be really fun.

Additionally, just kind of improving the curriculum. We need to sit down and kind of click out the best things about how we approach doing the beginner curriculum, the best things about how we approach doing the intermediate curriculum, and sort of entwine those together. So, a lot of kind of behind the scenes work to get things in place and then a lot of planning to put on the next one.

And so, the biggest thing that limits us from putting on more is money. We need sponsors and we kind of already hit up everybody who does Ember here in Austin. So, we're going to have to expand our reach if we want to put on another one of these at the same quality that we did before.

CHARLES: So, you heard it here. If you're interested in seeing this happen, by all means, reach out and send money.


CHARLES: Lots of money.

SHANNON: You can email me: Shannon@emberitas.com, if you want to talk about any of those things. Or hit up our Twitter or our Instagram. Yeah, there's place to contact us if you're interested in helping us out in any way.

STEPHANIE: And it's also important to point out that a lot of those sponsors gave lightning talks.


STEPHANIE: So, you can have your plugs in there.

SHANNON: Yeah. You can show up and have a captive audience for five minutes.

CHARLES: Alrighty. In closing, again, I want to kind of go around and ask what was the number one -- we talked about kind of mistakes that were made, things that were learned. In terms of the number one impactful thing that you feel like this event had and this kind of process had either for the external world or even for the internal world, like affecting the way that you work day to day. What has that been? What has that been for you, Lydia?

LYDIA: My favorite part of the entire thing was that some of my best friends and I decided to build a thing that we cared about. And then we watched it grow into something amazing, and then we got to see the people that got to enjoy the beautiful thing that we built. It was just one of those moments where you feel really proud about deciding to take a risk and deciding to kind of put yourself out there and do something that is outside of your comfort zone that makes it totally worthwhile and makes it so that you want to do it again, and again, and again. And I'm just really grateful that Shannon and Steph thought this was a cool idea and just had to make it a real thing.

SHANNON: I was just thinking, as usual Lydia says it best. That's exactly what was so great about it was we did it together, it was great, we want to do it again, we want other people to do it. There's something so inherently rewarding about this experience and it was just so much fun. And I'm so glad that I got to do it with the two of these guys.

CHARLES: Yeah. I think just kind of watching from the sidelines, just the energy that it generated. I think it touched everybody who participated, who volunteered, and even people like me who just kind of watched it from the sidelines as part of the general community. And so, I am really looking forward to what you guys are going to bring in the future. And I really hope that you don’t allow it to just fall by the wayside and that there is some continuance of it. And I promise I will participate this time.

But thank you, thank you, thank you so much for doing that. It really was wonderful.

Thank you all for coming by and sharing the story of Emberitas. You can find them on Emberitas.com or if you want to reach out directly over Twitter, it's @iheartemberitas. Hopefully, we get to hear from you and we'll continue the discussion. And thank again. Thanks everybody for listening and thanks to you guys for coming.

SHANNON: Thanks for having us.

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