As part of our ongoing effort to fuel more conversations, relationships, and advice-sharing within the technology community, we’re launching a new blog post series called Community Spotlight, in which we’ll be interviewing people of interest in the tech space, and asking them about the projects (work or personal) that they’re working on and passionate about.
To kick off the series, Rails Girls co-founder and soon-to-be children’s book author Linda Liukas has very graciously agreed to be our inaugural spotlight. I had the pleasure of meeting Linda three years ago at the first Railsberry in Krakow, Poland, where she gave a talk about Rails Girls, a non-profit volunteer community aimed at making coding more accessible to women. Even back then, you knew this person was about to start a movement. She’s passionate, determined, and one of the sweetest people you will ever meet.
Recently, she launched a Kickstarter project to raise $10,000 to publish a children’s book called Hello Ruby, which will teach children about the fundamentals of programming. In just a couple of hours, the project reached that $10,000 goal, and today, the project has raised more than $315,000, proving just how brilliant—and trusted—a Ruby community member Linda has been and will continue to be.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Linda Liukas. I’m originally from Finland, and split my time between Helsinki and New York. I love Muji, Zelda Fitzgerald and Moomins.
What kind of work do you do?
I think I never grew out of fairytales. For me, programming and the technology has always been a maze of stories and magic and I’ve been lucky to be able to explore this world both professionally and as a hobby. My latest project is a children’s book on the foundations of technology through the eyes of a small girl called Ruby. Before this I worked at Codecademy and co-founded Rails Girls.
Most of my workdays are now spent with illustrating, cutting pieces of paper and reimagining what a curriculum of code should look like.
How do you stay motivated when you’re stuck on a problem?
I clean up the house. When stuck, I do dishes, vacuum, iron… all these repetitive, but somewhat respectable things that let my brain relax while still feeling productive. Idle time for the brain is so important.
If you could change one thing in technology, what would it be?
I would try to make people who don’t work in this industry see how warm, whimsical, compassionate and full of culture the technology community is. It’s not a world of only computers. People are the backbone of technology. Internet is profoundly human.
Thank you for your time, Linda!