Approaching Mountain View, driving down highway 237, it suddenly stopped raining, clearing the sky of any existing grey matters. The subtle sunset was apparent and the moister in the air felt quite refreshing.
I had passed by Hacker Dojo many times but never actually visited the place. My friend and old school mate, Jon Hull, had invited me that Friday evening to go and hang out with the dev guys. As I’ve always admired technology and creativity, I took the offer willingly and got there almost at 7pm.
It’s Friday evening, I thought. Are they still working?
Feeling a bit nervous, not knowing who or what to expect, I didn’t take off my giant winter hood, trying to disguise my long hair and makeup! It was important for me to ‘fit in’. I knew how dev folks ‘look like’ and we certainly did not look anything like each other!
They always stereotype me, I thought. Guess what? Here, I was the one who was stereotyping them. These folks were as open and as friendly as I was. In fact, my ridiculous giant hood came in handy as a great icebreaker.
“Are you coming directly from the North Pole?” a guy who was working pretty hard on his new app for the iPad asked.
“Where did you park your deer? On the roof?”, asked another guy who was working on a web app.
“Yeah… It actually took me a while to get here from the North Pole, I said. And I parked them in the back. LOL!! We all joked and laughed.
Then they told me their own stories and how they often gathered at Hacker Dojo to work, brainstorm ideas, or to just vent with each other. The atmosphere was mellow yet quite inspiring.
The air filled with hope and aspiration, kind of forced you to get in the same mood. Jon gave me a grand tour of the building and showed me all the secret little corners of the place. I had no idea the place was this big… and they were still renovating!
In every little corner, you saw one or two people mesmerized in their laptop screens, hardly noticing you passing by. Sometimes, they’d look up, politely say hi, and then got back to work.
It was as if you had entered Hollywood. Except this time, instead of the struggling actors and actresses, you had ‘struggling developers’.
Not so struggling perhaps because all of them had good jobs. But struggling in terms of having a dream and sticking up to it. No matter how much work it involves, these folks aim for what they believe in. They are ambitious. They are creative. And they have sense of humor.
And Hacker Dojo seemed to be the perfect place that offered the support, the channel, and the inspiration they need in this ‘struggling’ climate of Silicon Valley!