11.1.19 -- Why HackerNest (8th birthday!)

I can't explain it.

I sat in my office, trying to find the right words to express my hopes for this silly HackerNest thing. Words worthy of sharing a naive, precious dream. Tricky. I leaned back. Crossed my arms. I blinked. Somehow, without me noticing, 8 years slipped by. HackerNest ran 900+ events connecting 85,000+ tech people with real-life friends and teams. 2018 added 12,000+ new members and saw us active in 60 cities.

We accomplished some stuff and I'm older now. Maybe wiser.

Sadly, even after all that, my words still aren't good enough. But I'm still trying. Here goes.

Hacker = problem solver
Nest = nurturing environment

Technology affects everything because it's created to solve problems, big and small. Our purpose as the tech community is literally to 'make' the world a better place. We're supposed to develop stuff that brings transparency to government, cleans up the environment, helps people walk again, and protects charities from fraud. We're supposed to save the world because we're the most capable of doing so. We're supposed to be heroes. Some shining stars truly are.

As a collective, however, we're more like feral, undeveloped children than responsible heroes. Our industry was born from the internet. Compared to others, ours is so, so young. Sure, we're clever and ambitious, but we're also insecure, impulsive, undisciplined, misunderstood, directionless, and lonely. We lack the guidance of an established authority for many reasons, but mostly because we're so fractured and disconnected. Today, we're not that great at making the world better. Sometimes, it feels like things are getting worse.

HackerNest exists to change that. Not by waving a big stick around and dictating authoritarian rules, but by bringing us together, building a home because we have none, and giving us a chance to collectively teach ourselves how to be. Uniting the community lets us unconsciously establish standards and expectations to hold ourselves and others to. We encourage positive things that guide towards good outcomes and denigrate the cruel and toxic. We connect everyone so we can support, inspire, and challenge each other to aspire higher. We trade stories and advice that make us smarter. We get strong, join forces, and get stronger still. We teach each other how to be heroes. Together, we can help everyone, nourish everyone, protect everyone.


Together, we can save the world.

Thanks for reading.

Happy birthday, HackerNest. I'll try again next year.