20. Building Bridges

On today’s episode we welcome Rachel Ober. Rachel is a Ruby on Rails developer based in New York City. A true renaissance woman, Rachel has significant experience in and a passion for user experience, user interface and cognitive design. Rachel is a Platform Engineer at Harry’s where she works on the Ruby on Rails platform of the Harry’s store and subscription services as well as serves as a technical mentor to junior developers.

As a co-founder, Rachel encourages other women developers to hone their skills through Write/Speak/Code. Founded in 2013, Rachel organizes and volunteers her time teaching women and underserves minorities in technology Ruby and Ruby on Rails through RailsBridge NYC. In today’s episode we are talking to Rachel all about building bridges.

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Rachel tells us how she got involved with Rails Bridge and Ruby on Rails.
  • Hear more about the uses of Bridge Troll, a homegrown tool for Rails Bridge.
  • Learn how Rachel tries to build a community through Rails Bridge workshops.
  • Discover other bridges that have been built apart from Ruby on Rails and Rails Bridge.
  • Find out why the intention behind Rails Bridge is to have it be an open source curriculum.
  • Understand how you can give back in Rails and help others.
  • Listen as Rachel explains how the curriculum is constantly evolving and staying up to date.
  • Hear how each Rail has a different style.
  • Discover the hiring community around Rails Bridge.
  • Learn how bootcamps and code camps have been a good forum for people to grow and learn.
  • Rachel discusses education and the price of good education.
  • Hear how Rails Bridge started out as a women focused outreach.
  • Discover why Rails Bridge is exploring diverse ways of getting candidates.
  • And much more!

Transcript for Episode 20. Building Bridges

[0:00:01.9] MN: Hello and welcome to The Rabbit Hole, the definitive developer’s podcast and unseasonably cool downtown Manhattan. I’m your host, Michael Nunez. I have our co-host today.

[0:00:09.8] DA: Dave Anderson.

[0:00:10.8] MN: Our regular guest.

[0:00:13.9] EG: Emanuel Genard.

[0:00:14.8] MN: And our special guest.

[0:00:16.4] RO: Rachel Ober.

[0:00:17.9] MN: Today we’ll be talking about building bridges and before we do, let’s introduce our special guest today. Rachel Ober, how are you?

[0:00:26.3] RO: I’m doing well, how are you?

[0:00:27.3] MN: I’m doing all right, we’re all here, unseasonably cool downtown Manhattan, hanging in here.

[0:00:31.4] RO: Staying warm.

[0:00:32.8] MN: Staying warm.

[0:00:33.1] DA: Yup.

[0:00:33.8] RO: I wore full length pants today.

[0:00:35.9] MN: Yeah.

[0:00:36.3] DA: I was very excited about that because I love fall clothing and not –

[0:00:40.3] RO: No, don’t you say full, it is not that time yet.

[0:00:44.0] DA: It’s just around the corner, yes.

[0:00:46.9] MN: Exactly. 17 weeks it will be snowing.

[0:00:48.6] DA: Don’t worry about it.

[0:00:49.6] MN: I heard that you enjoy building bridges.

[0:00:52.5] RO: Yes, I do. Specifically, a couple of years ago and when was that? 2013? I started an official chapter of Rails Bridge in the New York City area.

[0:01:05.2] DA: Awesome.

[0:01:05.8] RO: In 2009, Rails Bridge Proper started in San Francisco by the two Sarah’s, Sarah Allen and Sarah Mei. Around that time in 2013, technology industry in New York City was still relatively new, it was very difficult to find space to hold free events and I was looking into building a community of people who wanted to volunteer and teach people how to code for the first time.

I built this – well I used a tool, it’s called Bridge Troll and it sends out a message to people who are interested in these workshops.

[0:01:46.7] DA: Is this like a homegrown tool for Rails Bridge?

[0:01:48.1] RO: Yes, it started a tool for Rails Bridge and now it’s used for many different chapters, many different kinds of bridges and we put our events up there, we sell out, because it’s a free workshop within about 24 hours and we get, we open the event two weeks before we plan to hold it, we get a bunch of repeat volunteers coming back because they love it or at least they tell me and they keep showing up.

And what we do is it’s a one and a half day workshop, we start usually on a Friday evening after work, around six, we get people setup on their machines.

[0:02:28.5] DA: From scratch like people who have not developed before or –

[0:02:31.9] RO: Usually, though we do start – we have started seeing people who have either taken some type of intro class or they’re currently in a boot camp and they come in with some type of Ruby setup or they’ve tried installing Ruby and Ruby on Rails on their machine and along the line, they just couldn’t figure it out, they need some help where there, we do the install fest, Friday night, we get them setup so that they have a working environment, we have them deploy a dummy app to Haruku.

Then we have everything natively installed for them and then we start hitting the ground running Saturday morning and we get working and then we start wrapping up around four, get everybody together and we try to hold an after party and get people talking to one another, we try to build community, we try to build excitement and give them next steps.

Hopefully everybody walks out of there feeling really encouraged, that they’ve deployed their first application, they can go home, show their parents, show their children, show their partners, this thing that they’ve created on their own and hopefully get them over the hump so you might say. Because historically, new people to Ruby on Rails might not know that it was notoriously difficult to get Ruby on Rails installed on your machine.

[0:03:52.3] MN: Right. Yeah, I think I remember there was a time where it was just really difficult.

[0:03:57.1] DA: Especially if you’re a windows developer.

[0:03:59.4] MN: Yeah.

[0:03:59.6] RO: Especially. I remember our first Rails Bridge in early 2013 and I think we started around six and we still had people past midnight who were still struggling with the install process and now, I am very happy to say, we’ve had some of our volunteers work really hard and put together a VM that we can just distribute to our attendees and get it setup and people are usually like in and out really quick.

“Do I really have to come? Do I have to stay all night?” No but it’s a good atmosphere, you come, we give you dinner for free, hang out, get to know the people you're going to be spending all day with tomorrow so we try to kick it off that way.

[0:04:44.7] MN: Nice, it sounds like a really structured hackathon?

[0:04:47.9] RO: Yes, well, it’s structured – well, hackathon maybe, I don’t know, I have mixed opinions on hackathons but –

[0:04:55.5] MN: Yeah, I mean, I’ve been to hackathons, I have like a similar format where you get together, you figure out what you’re doing on Friday and then you spend all Saturday just like hacking away. There’s really not much direction with a hackathon so I can see where it would be super intimidating for someone who is new.

[0:05:09.2] RO: Yes, actually, that’s one of the big differences between our chapter in New York City and how it originally started in San Francisco. If you’ve ever worked or been to the West Coast, they’re very laid back there and historically, those workshops, they run them practically every month out there and people just show up, they figure out what they’re going to do the day of and then they run with it.

I have found that in New York City, there is a much higher standard of free workshops and I’ve actually had people like – even the volunteers have such a higher standard of what they want to offer the students where we – I’m not really sure if any other chapter does this but we hold volunteer trainings so that we can tell – because I get so many questions from people like –

“Are you sure I can come to this? I don’t’ know what I’m doing” and it’s like, you know, just come and any type of feedback that you can give, as long as you understand that the people you’re teaching are incredibly new, they might be really kind of nervous coming to this thing and if you're giving them a helpful safe environment for them to learn, that’s like the best thing that you can do because they probably encountered some really troubling situations trying to teach themselves how to code previously.

Yeah, we put a lot of emphasis on structure and giving certain expectations which I don’t think was originally built into the program so I’m really proud of the volunteers who have been able to really work on our training.

[0:06:44.9] MN: Would you say that some of the things you’ve done at Rails Bridge here in New York have kind of made their way back into the larger Rails Bridge community?

[0:06:51.4] RO: I would say so. I’m not completely transparent in all the other chapters because it is such a distributed system, I do get to talk to people, we have a Slack channel and we talk about – “how do I get more people to show up” or one of the common problems I hear a lot is “because it’s a free workshop, there is a large attrition rate sometimes” and so what we try to do is we account for that by opening more slots and asking people to unregistering, et cetera.

I think I might have been the first person who called it a chapter instead of just an ongoing workshop, I just found there were two previous workshops in New York City and I just felt like if we could call it a chapter and kind of get a core group of individuals, not really have any requirements that you had to stick around, just try to make it into an entity with that I would be this kind of middle of the wheel that would just have spokes coming out of me and I could be able to teach people and have people run workshops.

It could be more self-sustaining that way because I think it was just really difficult to hold free things in New York at the time.

[0:08:00.5] DA: Right, that makes sense so you're kind of like building a community, labeling it and –

[0:08:05.0] RO: Yeah, since then, we do have actually the software built, Bridge Troll built off of that concept of chapters so we have Rails Bridge which specifically aims towards teaching Ruby on Rails, now we have other bridges such as Go Bridge, Mobile Bridge, Scala Bridge which is all based on the same type of formula of we’re going to get people together.

We’re going to install things the night before and then we’re going to come in and get an application running. It’s all setup with similar type of criteria and then you could have – in New York City, even though I don’t know everybody who’s done this, people can just start a workshop in the area so you might go on today and see that there’s a Scala Bridge next weekend and just because I started Rails Bridge in New York City doesn’t mean that I have to be in control of everything that happens in New York City.

Anybody is free to come in, what I want it to be is just kind of like “hey, I’m a resource if -and I’ve done this before and I’d love to help you” but it’s a completely free, it’s an open source curriculum and in that’s the intention behind it.

[0:09:17.0] MN: that can be multiple bridges per se, not just a Rails one?

[0:09:21.1] RO: That’s correct. That can be as you mentioned, a Scala Bridge and Elixir Bridge so Alchemist Bridge.

[0:09:28.5] RO: There’s Crime Bridge?

[0:09:30.7] EG: I signed up for Elixir bridge

[0:09:32.4] MN: Yeah?

[0:09:32.8] EG: I’m on the wait list for it. I got the email from Bridge Troll to sign up for that.

[0:09:38.0] MN: Alchemist Bridge over here, before they get to the other side and be able to turn silver into gold or is it copper into gold.

[0:09:45.9] RO: What’s really great about the tool too is that you just say, I’m interested in events in New York City and you get emails for all of these other bridges, that’s how I found out that this other bridge is happening in New York City. I don’t always get contacted.

[0:09:59.9] DA: Thanks Bridge Troll, that’s cool. I think it’s very decentralized as you were saying.

[0:10:04.9] RO: Yes, there is pluses but also minuses because at the same time, if you're trying to have some type of consistency with resources in New York City, you might not necessarily know who is currently involved in it. We have issues with marketing, getting people to sponsor us for instance.

We have a bunch of people now who actually do want to give us space where that was a problem a few years ago and what we actually really need is people to sponsor the free meals that we offer and we always try to offer free childcare for people as well to lower those boundaries in attending our workshop and getting started with coding.

[0:10:43.6] DA: Cool.

[0:10:44.1] EG: Someone who has been to a few bridges as a volunteer right? I’d say, it’s very well organized, I mean, all I really have to do is show up.

[0:10:54.1] RO: Well thank you.

[0:10:55.7] EG: Yeah, also, I’ve been to the volunteer training and I think I’ve been to one install fest but yeah, it’s really like – what I’ve noticed is that, there is a pretty good sort of cadence to the day where around 9:00 on Saturday, we show up, introductions are made, Rachel or whoever it might be leading that bridge today, that day will like have something to say about it in the history of rails bridge and what we aim to do today and things like that.

We break up into groups, beginner, intermediate and advance and really, each time, it’s really for me anyway, I find it to be really eye opening in terms of like the questions the students ask or questions that I may have had myself a long time ago but I maybe forgot about or don’t even worry about now but the ask to gain after like they defying reason and why and try to explain the best I can.

It really – I feel like it should be grounded. I recommend people…

[0:11:59.4] RO: Gets you back to your roots.

[0:12:00.5] EG: Yeah. I recommend people to try and do advanced workshop even if you don’t think you can tech – if you’ve been doing rails for three, six months, if you’ve been through a boot camp, you can probably help somebody.

[0:12:16.0] RO: Yeah, there’s a place for everyone to give back in Rails Bridge honestly. People are – what we try to do is we try to get people to come back. If you’ve taken one workshop, we invite people to come back, take it again, we have a different curriculum so as you mentioned, we have beginners, intermediate and advanced.

After that, we suggest people – I mean, everybody’s asking me like, “what do I do next and can I give back? I really want to help, what can I do?” Come back, be a volunteer and that doesn’t mean you have to stand up in front of everybody and teach the curriculum.

If you're sitting at the back of the classroom and you’re noticing somebody’s struggling, you can step in and say “hey, I noticed that you’re not working on the assignment, is there a question that you have that I can answer “and that is one of the most helpful things that somebody can do to help a new learner is just kind of notice that they’re struggling and answer the questions.

Or even I tell volunteers, if you remember as a learner, you, struggling at a certain point in the – like that you had historically struggled with something. Be that devil who’s advocate in the room and say like “hey, talk to the teacher, why wouldn’t you do it this other way” or “hey, can you try using this other example like what if you reversed the list? Does it give you the same output type of thing?”

That usually sparks conversation in the room. You can definitely be an educator that way and then at that point, that really gives you a forum to get more comfortable being in front of people and saying “hey, maybe next time I’ll try leading a discussion” or “I will try teaching one part of the curriculum” and it really – it’s a valuable experience for everybody because a lot of people then get that confidence to speak at conferences, speak at work, come up with their own curriculum, things like that.

[0:14:09.3] DA: Is a curriculum like constantly evolving or is it pretty steady?

[0:14:13.2] RO: Yes, definitely we have to keep up to date with any future versions with Ruby Rails, operating systems, especially the Installfest changes all the time but we also try to take any type of comments that people have during our retrospectives at the end of the day saying “hey, this was really hard for me to understand, maybe if you put an illustrated example or a video or something in,” that’s a change that we can then contribute because it is open source and create a poll request and it can get merged back into the curriculum.

[0:14:45.9] DA: Awesome. Emanuel have mentioned about as a volunteer, there is like, Rails Bridge has like a template I would call that teaches the volunteer how to onboard on to the program to then help the people who are taking the Rails Bridge. I don’t know if I want to use the word course or like just to do the Rails Bridge workshop.

[0:15:08.6] MN: Workshop?

[0:15:09.2] DA: Workshop.

[0:15:09.7] RO: Yeah, it’s a workshop.

[0:15:13.1] DA: You guys have that established and then of course the people taking or participating in the workshop also get a sense of what that coach is like through the volunteers as well. I think that’s pretty cool, just like the idea of like, this is how the community behaves and what not. When you go and speak to someone who as a Ruby Rails developer, they probably are interested or follow this particular format that the entire community in New York City follows.

[0:15:41.1] RO: Yeah, I think each Rail, if you would go to a different part of the country, I’m sure they have a different style. I know for me and the culture that I try to impart on the other people who are coming in is that this is a place that you can make mistakes and people are going to help you out, they’re not going to make fun of you and whenever I get it up there, Saturday morning, whenever I’m the one leading the workshop, I’m like, “This is your time, ask your questions, we’re here to inspire you, everybody here is rooting for you and we want to see you succeed” and I think whenever – especially when people are still waking up, maybe they’re just having their first cup of coffee, I try and psyche myself up so that I can psyche other people up because the worst thing is like if people are really quiet and they feel like they can’t speak up so I’m like, “Yeah, let’s go,” I’m like the one-person hype woman out there and get them all – I try to make myself look silly so other people don’t feel as bad and –

[0:16:43.4] MN: I mean, that’s amazing, just to like get to – if you have to psyche yourself up to get the energy, so they can then be inspired to ask questions, to participate too, in short, they finished to the program to get whatever they came for, right? Like to learn Rails and what not.

[0:17:01.0] RO: Yeah and I try to point out people in the room who I know who have volunteered before, who I’ve recognized and I said, “Hey it’s great to see you again!” Like, “Oh yeah, how many times have we been here now?” like, “How long have you been with Rails Bridge?” and I try to say and I try to ask people in the audience, “Hey, why are you here? What are you trying to get out of this? How can we help you?” and try to have that dialogue with the audience so that they get used to speaking up.

They get used to talking to the other people in the audience because those are the people who you are going to spend the rest of the day with and you want to build up that rapport.

[0:17:35.6] MN: How does it work out with – like are there any hiring opportunities that happen like through Rails Bridge? Do you know of any stories that has happened through that?

[0:17:44.3] RO: Well we do have people who have sponsored us such as some of the boot camps in New York City who have sponsored us and they will – what happens is somebody will ask, “Oh this is really great, I really understood everything today. What next steps could I take?” and we’ve had hosts and sponsors like General Assembly, Dev boot camp, Fools Back Academy and they’ll have representatives come and talk about their programs and we’ve had a lot of people who went from Rails Bridge.

Took a boot camp, got a job and a lot of them have come back to help us volunteer and then teach and it’s like a really great cycle. It’s like self-sustaining that way so it’s pretty amazing.

[0:18:33.4] MN: You mentioned the boot camp and recent as you know they are closing down their offices which is pretty sad for the community entirely.

[0:18:40.0] RO: Yeah and by the end of the year they’re done so.

[0:18:43.7] MN: Yeah.

[0:18:44.3] DA: Oh wow.

[0:18:44.7] MN: I mean I imagine, I’m sure the New York City community feels that because that was one of the first I believe.

[0:18:50.8] EG: I think it was the first one.

[0:18:52.4] MN: Right that had the boot camp and it was really successful at the time and probably still is until the recent news. So is there any space for Rails for like what happens to that community now that that particular, you know that big pillar of boot camp is now closing how does that affect Rails Bridge?

[0:19:11.9] RO: Yeah, it definitely makes me take pause to think about well, what is the hiring community going to think, are people going to immediately think, “Well if Dev’s Boot Camp is closing does that mean that people aren’t…like the students who want to pay that money, are they not there? Is that the problem or are the students who are coming out of it, are they not as prepared?” I think that puts a lot of doubt into the cloud and –

[0:19:39.8] DA: Especially when it is growing so quickly right now.

[0:19:42.9] RO: Yeah, you have hundreds of boot camps at this point in the United States alone, I’m sure there is internationally even more.

[0:19:50.2] DA: Even like remote boot camp that a buddy of mine is doing a Java Script boot camp which is all remote.

[0:19:54.6] RO: Oh interesting.

[0:19:55.8] DA: It’s amazing like all the different forms that these boot camps are taking like for every person there is a boot camp for you.

[0:20:01.7] RO: What I like about – so I went through our traditional computer science education at a university, Northeastern University in Boston and I would not give that up for the world. My life revolves around software engineering and web development but I definitely see the need for some type of format for someone who maybe went through a different program that got out of college and realized the job is that they thought were there either weren’t there or they didn’t feel the same passion that I do about my job and they want to try software engineering.

And I think I want to see a world where we can take these individuals and give them a healthy community to come into and I do think the boot camp and code camps in particular have been good for them. The price point is still expensive for a lot of people. That’s where I think places like Rails Bridge is a low cost entry point to get in to even see if that’s something that you would enjoy.

[0:21:06.9] EG: Yeah. I went through App Academy and I always thought that they were so many boot – even two, three years ago when I first went to App there were so many boot camps and I was really encouraged by that but I also thought that maybe there were too many like for all of them to be making money to be able to sustain themselves.

[0:21:29.9] DA: Yeah, there just needs to be a differentiation between them which I think for a good number of them there is kind of like, “Okay well this is the Rails, definitive Rails one. This is here, Java Script one”.

[0:21:42.1] RO: I think there’s this question of how expensive it is in general to get an education whether or not you are going to something like a for profit school or a traditional background. It’s just expensive regardless.

[0:21:56.5] DA: Yeah and there are places like Recurse Center which Emmanuel and I both have been to which is free but less directed like it’s all self-directed. So you do need to have like some good incentive to learn or you need to have good motivation for learning.

[0:22:17.3] EG: Also in terms of not to get too business-y but for instance, the business model of say App Academy like I didn’t pay them until I found a job which is one of the biggest reasons why I wanted to go there. One, I couldn’t afford to.

[0:22:34.7] RO: Is App Academy the only one that has that guarantee?

[0:22:38.0] EG: Full Stack and Grace Hopper Academy have that.

[0:22:41.5] DA: Yeah, the one that my buddy is going to is as well but I cannot speak their name for a plug because I don’t remember it.

[0:22:50.1] EG: There are a couple who have that kind of business model where the other side of that is that once you do finish though, they are super on YouTube, keep applying.

[0:22:59.2] RO: I get it. that makes sense for the student I guess why it could fail is if people are really struggling like when you are starting out, where do you get that capital to start the school in the first place and pay your teachers and make sure you are finding quality teachers because quality teachers are not going to want to starve to teach.

[0:23:17.4] MN: Yeah.

[0:23:18.7] DA: Yeah especially computer science. Folks who have good computer science skills are not going to.

[0:23:22.7] RO: Yeah because they are getting paid a lot of money to do what they do and usually, education is not going to pay as much.

[0:23:30.7] EG: And also I mentioned that like Rachel’s goals with Rails Bridge where bringing more underrepresented groups to tech right?

[0:23:40.9] DA: Yeah, I’ve heard that.

[0:23:42.2] RO: Yeah, so Rails Bridge started out as a women focused outreach but in the most recent years, the board has actually tried to outreach other communities such as non-binary gender queer folks as well as people of color, as well as poor individuals. That’s actually one of the goals that I have been trying to achieve is looking for a lab that could host us and that has not really panned out as well but that’s where Rails Bridge has grown to try to outreach to these other communities.

[0:24:16.2] DA: Awesome, so I guess that is a primary focus from the very start?

[0:24:20.1] RO: Yes.

[0:24:20.7] MN: So that’s why you have these different aspects baked into the environment that you are building with childcare.

[0:24:26.3] RO: Yeah, try to be as accessible to people and essentially and I’ve been trying to think as well is like, “Okay so we have food so people don’t have to pay for that. Free space, free childcare” whatever type of limiting factors are out there? And so one of them is people who come to these workshops are people who can own a laptop not just a desktop. Like I’ve been to others, one time someone showed up with a desktop but mostly it’s a laptop or it’s a tablet computer.

And so you have to think, “Okay that might be another limiting factor. Can we offer loan on laptops? Can we get a lab?” so after I find some place for that then I’ll think about the next limiting factor to try and get more people to experience coding who might not have that.

[0:25:16.1] MN: Where do all the internet cafes go?

[0:25:20.0] RO: They are all in China.

[0:25:21.8] MN: They’re all in China town now for some reason.

[0:25:23.5] EG: Did you say someone showed up with a desktop one time?

[0:25:27.4] RO: So it wasn’t at Rails Bridge. It was at a different, it was with the work that we did with Rates Decode. We had a coding day and somebody brought, she had a doily and she brought her desktop then.

[0:25:38.4] MN: I was going to say that it was a hand truck, thought it was a LAN party, ready to go down, yeah.

[0:25:41.4] RO: Yeah, it was like a LAN party.

[0:25:43.4] MN: That’s how you show up at LAN parties. That’s what I use.

[0:25:45.3] RO: When she brought it in, it was like that was her dedication to it, to the program and opening herself up to opportunities and I was really impressed.

[0:25:54.8] MN: Yeah, the doily had probably had the monitor and the keyboard set up and all of these.

[0:25:59.3] RO: Yeah but I feel like she’s done this before because she had the boxes and she had the bungee cords around it. I think she knew, she made a decision not to get a laptop and bring her desktop around.

[0:26:12.6] MN: LAN parties, she’s been preparing her whole life for this.

[0:26:15.3] DA: It’s like that Greek myth of the guy with the boulder.

[0:26:18.6] MN: Yeah, there you go. Well that’s really cool to see that people are actually really enthusiastic to show up regardless of what they have too.

[0:26:27.2] RO: Yeah, I think if you set the stage and you really do make it about the person and saying like, “This is for you. This is what you are going to get out of it. We are committed to breaking down these barriers for you” I think they’re really willing to show up and that’s for participants and volunteers.

[0:26:43.9] MN: Cool, yeah.

[0:26:44.6] EG: It’s really cool.

[0:26:45.4] DA: I know lately we are having a big push for more diversity and our hires and it’s been an interesting challenge. We’ve had some successes but I do feel like the kind of efforts that you are doing with Rails Bridge is really important because it’s a pipeline. There is only so much supply and in order to increase the supply you have to open up the opportunities and reduce the barriers.

[0:27:06.5] RO: Yeah, that’s why I think having diverse entry points so not just the traditional CS background. So we need things like boot camps, we need things like internships and apprenticeships. We need a diverse way of getting candidates and rethink the way that we gauge our candidates so that we can get the type of programmers and developers who are creating the products for diverse people because we don’t want — Like a company is limiting itself if we’re only thinking about like the top 1% of the population because it’s like other people have money and you want to make that money, right? So hire the people so that they can help you make that money, right? If we’re just talking about capitalism here. Anyway, totally put all the feel good about helping people programming is just makes business sense at that point.

[0:28:03.9] DA: Yeah and I feel like for a lot of startups too soon became more clear that the things that work in our specific culture may not work on another culture.

[0:28:15.2] RO: Oh yeah, absolutely.

[0:28:15.5] DA: You know like Uber in China just completely flopped and you know that’s true in that demographic but think about all the other demographics that were not really dealing with as a technology humidity and we have a much better residence with. We had a broader base with diversity.

[0:28:32.0] EG: Yeah like Dave mentioned, we’ve been sort of trying to recruit more female engineer that stride and we’ve been somewhat successful absolutely, a little bit where we’ve doubled the amount of female engineers that we’ve got this year which two to like four is not that great but –

[0:28:50.8] DA: Actually it’s more than double as an exponential.

[0:28:53.2] EG: Yeah, actually we might be at six now.

[0:28:56.1] MN: Yeah, I think it is six right now.

[0:28:57.3] RO: Yeah, keep that trend going.

[0:28:58.7] EG: We’re at six now so we’ve more than doubled them which is great but in the work with the diversity committee, we’ve kind of had this problems of like one, we went to host meetups to try and meet people. We don’t have a space to do that right now. We’ve been trying to find other ways, we posted on different job boards and maybe job boards, we’ve been really doing a really good job of like, literally like going through linked in and like trying to target – hey, have you thought about joining stride?

[0:29:28.2] DA: Right.

[0:29:29.0] RO: See, that’s where events like rails bridge I try and sell it as a great place for recruiting, not necessarily the students but these people who are so involved in volunteering and caring about that, wouldn’t you want somebody like that to join your team? That’s a great time to recruit somebody and say “here, I gave money to Rails Bridge, here, give me your ear for a minute as I pitch you.”

[0:29:57.5] DA: Yeah, definitely. Awesome, it was great have you.

[0:30:01.8] RO: Thank you so much for having me, this was great.

[0:30:04.5] MN: Yeah, how can people reach out to Rails Bridge?

[0:30:07.8] RO: Rails Bridge is at railsbridge.org. If you’re interested in volunteering or attending one of the workshops in New York City, you can find us at railsbridgenyc.org.

[0:30:17.9] MN: Okay.

[0:30:19.6] RO: And where everywhere else on the web at rails bridge.

[0:30:21.6] MN: Awesome. Anywhere on the internet where people can find you?

[0:30:25.3] RO: All the social networks I know of, I’m usually Rachel Ober.

[0:30:28.2] MN: Okay.

[0:30:28.6] RO: There are other Rachel Obers emerging. I am not on snapchat because another Rachel Ober snagged that name because I was like, I’m too old for snapchat. And then whenever I actually found a use for it, I’m like, “Darn it.”

[0:30:44.3] MN: Rachel Ober too. The real Rachel Ober, you can do that one too.

[0:30:49.1] RO: Yeah.

[0:30:49.5] MN: Awesome, it’s great to have you here to talk about Rails Bridge and all the things it’s done for the community, I like to thank the cohost, Dave, thanks for stopping on by.

[0:30:58.2] DA: Yeah, thanks man.

[0:30:59.1] MN: Emanuel, it’s always great having you onboard.

[0:31:02.2] EG: Yeah man, it’s been a while.

[0:31:03.0] MN: The regular guest.

[0:31:05.2] DA: Hopefully more regular.

[0:31:05.5] EG: Yeah.

[0:31:06.5] MN: Awesome, Rachel, again, thank you for coming on down, greatly appreciate it. You can reach us on twitter.com/radiofreerabbit. This is the rabbit hole and we’ll see you next time.


Links and Resources:

Rachel Ober

Rachel on Twitter

Rachel Github


Rails Bridge

Rails Bridge New York

Sarah Allen

Sarah Mei

Bridge Troll

Ruby on Rails


Go Bridge

Scala Bridge 

Elixir Bridge

Install fest

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Dev Bootcamp

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Recurse Center

Full Stack Academy

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