I am founding a team & an organization – Lets gather geeks to hack for a better hong kong and meanwhile sharpen our skills
It all starts with Code for America
Jennifer Pahlka: Coding a better government is one of the best TED talk I ever watch. It is an initiative that creates network of geeks, act to speak louder than words, shows what is possible and mobilize citizen engagement to change the government. Rock star developers are hired to work as an internship in government and revolting the bureaucracy using technology, encouraging citizen participation in the governing process.
I can’t explain better than the 12min tech talk. Please really watch the video and visit their website especially if you consider yourself a technology professional.
Code for Hong Kong?
Hong Kong need this more than any other places. Hong Kong is a great city, just now sick. Anyone with common sense will know Hong Kong is having problems in numerous perspectives which need fundamental changes in how our government and society works. Every year Hong Kong people march to voice out our opinion and anger. I see talents go away as Hong Kong get worse.
Technology is one of the few things that stands a chance to fight against monopoly and bureaucracy. Egypt succeed in evolution with the help of social media technology. Startups grow rapidly in Chile or Vietnam changing the landscape. After empty words of “Cyberport” and the dot.com bubble years ago, we need to ask why we didn’t have technology revolted our lovely Hong Kong. We need to show the possibilities. We need to engage developers and every citizen to participate in saving our city. More importantly we need to TRY.
Your lack of software and science start-ups will hurt you
Eric Schmidt commented that on Hong Kong’s technology industry during his recent Hong Kong visit . It is about capability, having a strong technology industry to support social movements. It is also about respect. As the Chinese saying goes, a man must despise himself before others. The first thing to do for gaining respect is respecting yourself. There are all sorts of developers out there. The industry is largely misunderstood and people can’t differentiate good from bad and we are hurt as a whole. There must be reasons why most other countries software developer enjoy easily twice the wages and higher social status. It is our own responsibility to build up the industry such that it is as professional as when people talk about doctors, lawyers or accountants. Hong Kong need developers that knows their stuff and shows professionalism. We are talking about Ethics here — The book Clean Coder is the bible for programmers on this. Good news is we can improve together and community is growing. Start-up incubators, social entrepreneurship facilitators and co-working spaces are now there.
There are nice communities out there and I am glad to have joined them this year. To name but a few, Codeaholics, HK Web developers Meetup and Open Data Hong Kong are awesome. I also see lots of passionate developers or designers that start up ideas which are turning Hong Kong into a better place. From Legcovotes , Lawn Map tohttp://www.diamondcab.com.hk/
I myself as a developer faced lots of difficulties when I try to code something like that. These ideas need continue support after hype in hackathons. Adding features, keep servers running or gain media coverage. These need to be done after overtime for your day job.
Code4HK want to unite these initiatives and work as an engine to support them. We seek practical ways such that we together achieve the cause.
Guild as the answer
How such organization should work, guild is perhaps the answer. After inspirations from Spotif’s Tribes/Squads/Chapters & Guild.
Guild is an old concept. For us it resembles our experience in online games like World of Warcraft. Meet friends, beat the bosses together, have fun and level up.
Of course it actually exists since the Middle Ages for craftsmanship. It is where apprentice can become master. Every programmer have their own job. Their own projects. Their own skills and corresponding community. Code4HK as a guild serves to co-ordinate them for a common cause.
There are communities sharing the same cause of coding a better world – Social Innovation Camp , Open data HK or #hack4good. We are trying to position to complement them and look for their support as well. We hope members form teams bringing our ideas to their hackathons and hack there. Members join communities sharing our ideas and exchange technologies. Through these initiatives we achieve our 2nd goal – peer improvement
We don’t want a hierarchical organization. Everyone can code for Hong Kong. Everyone can become a “crew member” and form teams. These teams get their hands dirty and work on “missions” as open-source projects that will change Hong Kong. Again, we position these teams as SWAT that act and deliver. Code jam (Dojos) are organized for peers to hack on technical stuff together to know each other better and improve their skills.
We are building applications including map that showing pollution spots; app that counts number of participants in 1st July demonstration using big data and scientific way. We want to create HK version of PolitiFact, a crowd-sourcing fact-checker of HK politicians. We want to make platforms allowing citizens to voice out why they march on 1st of July, to vote, discuss on politics issues and organize themselves for protest.
With all these we want to show possibilities and explore how far proxy democracy can go and how citizen engagement and technology will make the difference.
It is possible to run hack days for Charity, helping NGO to setup websites, there are limitless potential meanwhile we will have focus and priority in changing the way Hong Kong government works.
I already have brilliant friends that take this serious and consider these goals as one of their career objectives. Currently this idea is in incubating stage that we are looking for founding crew of 5-7 people to explore how things work out. Still we will need your support and know how you feel. We hope to deliver the ideas and open it to public soon in 2014. Follow @code4hk and #code4hk in twitter. Leave a comment if you have any idea.