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Meg Gutshall - Building accountability into Community

Season 5, Episode 7 | May 13, 2022

In this episode of the podcast, Dan and Bekah talk with Meg Gutshall about accountability and how to bring that to your community. She shares some of her memorable experiences with community and she does it all with Philly flair.


Meg Gutshall

Meg is a Ruby on Rails developer with a passion for open source and tech for good. She's always smiling, continuously learning, and quick to strike up a conversation. She takes her advice with a grain of salt & a shot of tequila.

Show Notes:

In today's episode, Bekah and Dan talk to Meg Gutshall, a Ruby on Rails Developer, and community volunteer at Virtual Coffee. She shared all things Philly and some memorable stories of how she's supported others--including Bekah--in their journeys into tech. Meg talks about her Accountabilibuddies group at Virtual Coffee and how she chose Ruby after graduating from a full stack bootcamp.

Gritty, the Fliers Mascot

Links


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Transcript:

Bekah:

Hello, and welcome to season five, episode seven of the Virtual Coffee podcast. I'm Bekah. And this is a podcast that features members of the Virtual Coffee community. Virtual Coffee is an intimate group of developers at all stages of their coding journey. And they're here on this podcast, sharing their stories and what they've learned. And we are here to share it with you here with me. Today is my co-host Dan.

Dan:

Hey, Bekah today, we're talking with Meg Gutshall and Meg is a Ruby on Rails developer. Um, she has a passion for opensource and tech for good. She on the podcast, talks about community building, um, you know, all the stuff that she's done with communities throughout her time and, uh, what brought her to her love for Ruby. And, um, also if you know, Meg, you might know that she's from Philly. Uh, is that came up once or twice in the podcast? Uh, 98 million times, um, which was, which was delightful to, I, I have a special place in my heart for Philadelphia. So it was a, it's always, it's always good to hear. Um, also Meg, uh, is another one of our big volunteers at Virtual Coffee. Um, like Andrew last year, last week. Sorry. And, uh, so she talked about what she's been doing with her accountability, accountability, buddies, group, accountability, buddies, and, um, and, and all of the work she's done. Um, making, you know, making spaces at Virtual Coffee for everyone.

Bekah:

Yeah, we're happy to have Meg here with us today. And actually, before we get started with the podcast, is here for a special announcement.

Meg:

This episode is dedicated to our friend, Mike Rogers. We miss you. We love you, and we'll never forget you.

Bekah:

Thanks, Meg. We start every episode of the podcast. Like we start every Virtual Coffee. We introduce ourselves with our name, where we're from, what we do in a random check-in question. We hope you enjoy this episode. Today's question is what board game would you play for the rest of your life? If you could only play one board game. My name is Bekah. I am a technical community builder from a small town in Ohio. And if I could play one board game, I'm not using the word board game, like kind of loosely. So. At a table game, maybe I really like Splendor. I've been into that. I'm not very good at it. I lose all the time. I think I lost my 12 year old, but I like it. So I'll just keep playing Splendor.

Dan:

Splendor's cool. Um, hi, I'm Dan. I do development stuff in Cleveland, Ohio. Um, Know, there's a lot of good board games. Um, do the rules allow for expansions, you know, and stuff, or is it just the base?

Bekah:

No, you can only play The

Dan:

The base. Okay. Because that's, you know, that, that changes things,

Bekah:

All about that

Dan:

Um, you know, Catan is really good. I don't having to pick one though is tough. I think I'm going to go with Dominion because there's a lot of different combinations. Each game is a little bit different, you know, so, oh, it's a little different options, so I'm sure. I don't know the factorial height. I'm sure there's some way to calculate how many different, you know, set up you could do for each one, but I'm not going to do that right now because, uh, you know, it's, it's late at night for me. So yeah, that's my answer to me.

Meg:

My name's Meg I'm from Philly, the home of Gritty. I would play Yahtzee for the rest of my life. Um, Yahtzee's my jam. I love it. Yeah.

Bekah:

lose the dice though. So then I would be out of luck. I couldn't play anymore.

Meg:

Yeah. But then you can just ransack your other board games and find five more dice. It's pretty. Yeah.

Dan:

It's true. Cause you're not allowed to play any of the other ones. So.

Bekah:

have a collection of games. Welcome Meg. We're happy to have you here with us today. We are, this is like kind of a special episode because we're recording in the evening and we normally don't do that. So. um, I don't know if I need to apologize for that in advance. My brain stops working at 3 45 every day. So welcome. Welcome to the evening edition. Um, we're going to let you get us started with your origin story. So how did you get to this point of your.

Meg:

Oh, geez. That's a long, that's a, I don't know. That is kind of a long story, but I'll compact it. Um, I, I, uh, Went to school on to college at, uh, Temple University that's in Philadelphia. Once again, home of Gritty, the mascot for the Flyers. Um, Dan earlier said it was for the Phillies

Dan:

know, I knew it was wrong. As soon as this.

Meg:

Yeah. Gritty's, the Flyers mascot. Um, and I studied Spanish. At Temple and graduated with a Bachelors of Arts and didn't want to teach. And then I was like, oh, oh, what am I going to do? Um, translation jobs didn't come too easily. So I just kind of wound up doing admin jobs and I got a job. My first job was that. Field hockey coaching and training facility for girls 18 and under. And, um, it happened to be like the number one facility in the state of PA. And I just knew nothing about field hockey. I still don't. Um, but like I just communicated with the parents about. Um, you know, having their kids register in the legs and stuff and set up tournaments. And I learned so much just through like running business and also I did some web development there, uh, just because it was me and my boss and one other employee. And then after that, I. One of the parents. When I had on-site left, she asked if I was looking for another place and to work. And she, um, worked at a, it recruiting, uh, place and they were looking for an admin. So that's how I got into tech. I, I know really anything about. And once again, I, um, their website and I saw, you know, what people were making and I was like, dang, that's a lot. And these kids coming out of college, I was just like, yeah, I'm definitely smarter than you are doing this. I'm not trying this. So I took like a Coursera course, um, and, uh, tried it, loved it. The, it was like HTML, JavaScript, just a very basic web thing. And so since I loved so much, Dove into it with the free code camp bootcamp or no, sorry. Oh my gosh. Flat Iron bootcamp. Um, but although I do very much recommend free code camps, a free code camp or online, um, Flat Iron boot camp. And that's where Bekah and I met and yeah. That was, that was a lot of work. Uh self-paced online, well working, um, three jobs, like part-time there. It was more like, I dunno, I don't know how you'd say it freelancing because I was con consulting for job. And then. I have a tenant and I had a pet sitting business for the time, um, COVID and yeah, it took a while. I was a lot of work, but it paid off because now I'm with, uh, I'm a consultant with Penn medicine and talking to my manager about. Getting hired on full time, hopefully before the end of June.

Dan:

That's awesome.

Bekah:

That's awesome. I think I, I'm trying to of the first time you and I chatted, but I know that when you were at Flat Iron and I was always impressed. So it was like self-paced remote. I didn't know anybody. I like hardly talked to anyone there just because it's kind of hard to. Like, I dunno, make friends on line when you don't see people like you can't like accidentally run into them. And, um, you were running a study group there that met up and I was always like, wow, I honestly, I thought you worked at Flat Iron because you are so active in the Slack and doing all these things. And I was like, that's awesome. And then I came in, I gave a talk. I think you invited me to give a talk. I was going to give a talk conference and I think you were like, Hey, want practice here? And I just remember it going so horribly. And I'm like, is going to be really awful. But like I appreciated kind of being able to do that in a safe space, like where nobody was going to get up and walk out of the room because it was so bad. but it like helped me to recognize like where. I really needed to practice and I needed to work on getting through that talk.

Meg:

You know, I remember it differently. Um, but yet you, so you're definitely not the only person. I was an instructor. Um, I would get hit up by a lot of other students, like asking for help and stuff. I, I literally had to impose a limit for myself of how much I'd help people per week. And I would just tell them, uh, I reached my weekly limit of helping people. I'm sorry, but you should ask this person. I know they're on that section right now. Um, and the group you talked about, I started with another, uh, classmate, uh, her name's Sherry Martin, and she came to me with these, this idea. Um, we called it co-talk, uh, cause she said she. Talk to someone about, um, at their boot camp, they had, uh, took turns presenting code and talking about it and using technical terms, talking about it and how she thought that was so cool and like helpful. And she wanted someone to help her start this. And she actually, um, Left Flat Iron early for a job. Uh, she's just like woman on a mission could not stop her. And so we would do a technical challenges. I think it was every week. And then when I found people like you, um, who actually had something present or maybe to a conference. I will pitch them that, Hey, do you want to practice? I don't remember your talk, um, Dean, like good. And it was like you said of relaxed, like ditching it, like, Hey yeah, just practice here. We'll record it. So you can watch it back and see how you did. I remember you saying me, realize that I need to read off a script. So that's what did for the actual, um, And I went so much better and I was like super happy that like you practicing in front of people helped, um, helped you figure that out before the big day.

Bekah:

Yeah, for sure. I mean, so many people are like, oh no, you don't read off of, like, you shouldn't read off of anything or like have notes. Like you should be able to do it. I can't do that. Like, my memory does not work that way. I have to have something in front of me. I distract myself all the time or I go off on tangents or I'll remember that. I meant to say this thing five minutes ago and now. What am I supposed to do? I go back to that point? Um, but so it was, it was really, really to like, have that I mean, I feel like you've done lot of that throughout of the stuff that you're doing and like a Virtual Coffee now, you know, you you've come on it and you have like a really great knack for knowing people. I, I love that. You said that you set limits back then, because one, I think good and really important because it could be easy help everybody all the time.

Meg:

I guess.

Bekah:

And, but, but like, you have these connections knew, I can't do this, but I can connect people. I think that's so great because you're able to help so many more people and like, hopefully preserve your, your own self from falling into total exhaustion by creating boundaries, but also like showing that it's okay to have boundaries with things.

Meg:

Yeah. I think, like I said in the beginning was with all the work and just like pushing through, like you said, it's it, it wasn't like, um, fire a great job of creating a community for the online self-paced students. Um, they're just like here's Slack. And, um, so I did kind of what I'm S I started doing with the accountabilibuddies group, um, just posting incessantly and being so annoying that you have to be my friend in participating. Um, like, oh my gosh. Okay, There. This person's always posting, I guess I'll go and see what it's all about. And it's like, oh, they're not a crazy nut job. And there's other people here. Yeah. That's pretty cool. You know? Um, so yeah, I have to keep a little bit of my crazy nut job and check. people actually show up.

Dan:

Can you, can you tell us a little bit more about like the, about the accountability group itself and, and you know, what sort of what it is and you know, how maybe how it started a little bit.

Meg:

Yeah. Um, okay. So was Sarah Strong who put a post on Slack somewhere and. Let's just asking for an accountability partner when job searching, because you know, it's super fun when you write cover letters and fill out applications with like your address and you go. I have to send in your resume and then type in everything that's in the attachment you just sent, like that's all really fun. Also getting rejection letters and all that stuff. Super fun. Um, so you want to share the fine with other people, right? being sarcastic just in case. I can tell, um, But yeah, it's like, I'm sure a lot of gosh, so many people in tech now when looking for a job, it's, it's a slog. Um, just like going through all this and getting in your inbox, like, oh, are you interested in this? And like another recruiter just. Shooting out emails to whoever. Um, and it's nice to have other people that identify with that and to have just like a block of time set aside. Okay. I'm going to work towards my goal of getting a job and this is what I'm going to do. And these other people are going to show up and do the same thing. And so her and I, and, Aditi, um, green, I'm pretty sure that's her last name. Um, we showed up it was nice and I think we did it two weeks in a row and then Sarah couldn't make it. So I just kind of kept it going and took it over and she's like, oh no. Yeah, that's great. Like, definitely do that. And lot of people who have joined our job seeking accountabilities group, um, have since left because they're working during the meetup time. So yeah, it's pretty awesome. And yeah, like people come in say like, Just some people come in. They're like, oh, it feels like I've applied for so many. And it's just so many rejections and, you know, it's, I feel for them because you know, I've been there, you guys have been there, but, um, just like, okay, you got this, you can keep going. And I love it when people just drop in, even if they're. Um, job seeking. Um, a lot of times, um, Brett will in from Australia he's wrapping up his day on Friday morning, our Friday morning, his Friday evening, I guess. Yeah.

Bekah:

is.

Meg:

It's like his family's in bed and he's just like, oh yeah. You know, let's come say, hi, keep you company do this.

Bekah:

When you, so you run it through zoom and you have recently been breaking it into different rooms.

Meg:

Yeah. Yeah. Um, because sometimes we have a good amount of people come out you know, everyone. Has their own way of working. If som needs, be a little quieter. You have like a breakout room for quiet coworking, or you're just in that flow, but you have the presence of another person. Like somehow that just makes you feel more accountable having someone there. Um, and then, um, since this month we're doing. Like job search tight, monthly challenge. Um, I've been adding breakout rooms for people who want resume reviews or who are working on their cover letters. It's they have anything specific, um, and got their resume reviewed. Say they. with reviewed it in a breakout room. Um, and I guess I'll be adding different monsoon, the elevator pitch, reeling portfolio stuff.

Bekah:

Yeah. The second half starts today. I, I was off today, so I keep forgetting it's Monday. Um,

Meg:

I think that where today can't be Monday.

Bekah:

mean my kids are home. Like my kids have been home since Wednesday. So all of a sudden sometime is like, it's, it's gone.

Meg:

Slackers need to be back in school.

Bekah:

Right. I know. I love it. Having that accountability does make a huge difference because some times it just seems so hard. Like you don't want to do it one more time. want one more rejection. You're of writing cover letters, knowing that there's somebody else there seems to make it, it, it feels easier when you that accountability.

Meg:

Yeah. And sometimes you need. Vent to other people who get it or celebrate with other people. Like, oh my God, I just got an interview. Or I just got this rejection email right now. And you know, know, when you're going to get, you're going to get supportive response for either. Event, um, from Virtual Coffee in general, but you're in the accountabilibuddies session. Um, yeah, you can definitely find what you need there. What looking around.

Bekah:

Theory. They're just like something, there's some noise happening in my room, on the other side of the room, but we don't have animals and none children are in here. So like my talker, I was convinced that there's a ghost in our because a splash his closet one night and then there was all this water on the floor. Okay. But it didn't drip from it, from anywhere there wasn't a glass or anything. I like literally, I was like, I wonder if it was a pregnant mouse and it's water broke. And then I was like, that's too much water for pregnant mouse. I think anyway,

Meg:

Your 12 year old came up with a pregnant. mouse

Bekah:

no, that was me. I came up with a pregnant mouse. He thought it was a ghost. So,

Meg:

I thought he thought it was the ghost of a pregnant mouse.

Bekah:

Well, that's even better. But we didn't find any babies either.

Meg:

Um, yeah, let's let's um, Not touch that one for now. Oh, what if you open the door of the closet and Gritty with staring out at you?

Bekah:

That would be super freaky

Meg:

right?

Bekah:

What if the ghost of Gritty with the ghost of the pregnant mouse?

Meg:

What Gritty's still alive. He can

Bekah:

I think the mouse would probably not be pregnant anymore if her water broke. So the ghost of the once pregnant mouse held by real life Gritty, told you I'm not responsible. At this time of night.

Meg:

Can I just mention that we're mentioning Gritty the eighth time. Because it was a request from Party Tom for this episode and Party Tom gets what Party Tom wants.

Dan:

That's right.

Bekah:

right.

Dan:

So Gritty. We may, I forget if he said this on the recording or not, but Meg asked on Slack, uh, for questions, you know, for her, for, for uh, for this podcast episode. And there was a lot of good questions, but lot of them were about Philly because Meg is from Philly. You know, Philly is pretty unique. Uh, you know, I don't know, and, and, and awesome, but, um,

Meg:

Great question.

Dan:

I, uh, I have, uh, and you know, I, we Meg and I have talked about this, but, um, I work with some people from Philly. Uh, the other side of Sprokets is, is based in Philly. And so I get a little bit of Philly culture just from that. And, um, on the favorite words that I've ever learned is, uh, the word jawn, and I'm sure I'm not saying it well, because I'm from Cleveland and not but can you, can you just, uh, Well, I suppose you'll spell it for our listeners. And then you just sort of define it and then maybe use it in a sentence or two? Uh, just as a, as a, native, you know, I always try to explain it to people, but it, it feels, you know, it's, it feels, it doesn't feel right. Me talking about it, you know? So can can uh, yeah. Can you lay out some, some Philly knowledge for us?

Meg:

Yes. Um, jawn spelled J A W N. It has nothing to do with sex work. That's the first thing that of hear that word. Um, uh, got in that reaction pretty much every time that word comes up. Uh, so jawn is just in place of a thing. It's a thing it can be used as like a noun or adjective or adverb maybe a verb. I'm not sure.

Dan:

I mean, that's, that's the things love the it is its utility. So you.

Bekah:

don't understand what it means though. Like I need more

Meg:

It's a thing. Like something.

Dan:

Can you just like, can you just use it? Yeah.

Meg:

Okay. Okay. For instance, today Nerando was ragging on Kirk for his hair being too long and say he need a haircut. Someone from Philly would say, "yo, cut that jawn"

Dan:

yeah, or a. All right, I'm going to try it out, but you tell me if it's wrong. It's, you know, uh, but like, all right, so today I was writing some react, you know, stuff, then I needed to save some states. So I used that useState jawn.

Meg:

Yeah,

Dan:

that all right Yeah. That's easy. I can do it. I have a little Philly. Yeah. As I was saying, I worked with some Philly dudes, I get a little exposure. That's right. A Meg knighted me I I translated a Philly, Philly, billboard. I only got one thing wrong.

Meg:

Yeah, like

Bekah:

it's a placeholder word.

Dan:

Yeah. It's a word that you

Bekah:

don't not like thingamabobber or whatchamacallit can. be a jawn.

Meg:

Yeah.

Dan:

right. If you're not from the forties.

Meg:

of thingamabobber. doodad, whatchamacallit a whozitwhatzit.

Bekah:

Alright, there we go. I get I've. Got it now. Thank you.

Dan:

That's awesome. Thank you for that. Thank you for kind of laying that down for us.

Bekah:

have now filly things. Um, and you are still in Philly and talked about other things that you've done past as you, you had an animal. What business, where watched animals. Okay. And Spanish degree? So how, how these past experiences play into what you're doing now?

Meg:

Um, that's a great question. They make for interesting stories. That's one. Um, for Spanish, it does come up in translation sometimes like working. And there's a lot of Spanish speakers in my area.

Bekah:

I mentioned to learning a different language when you're learning to code it, there's, it's similar, right? There's overlap in how you learn and retain that knowledge.

Meg:

Yeah, I, I pretty sure that I wrote a blog post about, yeah, there's, I've wrote blog posts about like learning Spanish and learning and how that was. Similar. Um, is my little things matter, blog posts.

Bekah:

see it.

Meg:

And like very small things like, Hey, I forgot a colon or whatever. Um, in coding, uh, makes stuff fail and in Spanish stressing the wrong syllable or like pronouncing like pronunciation?

Bekah:

story about Spanish and sleeping and married before?

Meg:

Uh, yeah. Cause, oh

Bekah:

No, it's tired.

Meg:

did. You did tell me. Um, but I think you should tell it again.

Bekah:

When I was 19, I went to language school in Costa Rica by myself, and then I had to take a taxi home or to the airport the cab driver. Okay. So though, there's, consado in Casada. What means tired? Right. And one means married. And so. I thought that he asked me if I was tired and I said a little bit, but he was really asking me if I was married. And so I told him little bit, then he asked me if he could hold my hand then I was afraid he was going to kill me. So I held his hand for. Right to the airport. So I highly recommend not telling anybody that you're a little bit married. Um, just, just go, go. You can be fully married or fully tired, but hold the hand of a taxi craft in Costa Rica.

Dan:

Yeah, a little bit seems like probably the absolute worst answer to that question.

Bekah:

Well, I thought I was tired, so.

Meg:

Can I ask you which one's, which.

Bekah:

I don't remember

Meg:

I'm going let not now, because I want you to make that same mistake again.

Bekah:

okay. Sorry. I've gotten us off on a tangent and again, oh, okay. I know what I wanted to ask. we both went to Flat Iron it's a full-stack bootcamp. And I know for me, I really enjoyed Ruby and Rails and I was like, I'm definitely. Going to be a developer, which I was not. I went to somebody hired me. I don't know why. then I worked on react projects, I thought was never going to happen. Um, you have stuck with Ruby. And how did, how did that, how did you. Stick with it. Did you feel that way or you want to stick with Ruby or you I find a job or, know, what, what, did you make that decision?

Meg:

I, I think, um, you never forget your first.

Bekah:

Um,

Meg:

Yeah, I really, I really fell in love with Ruby. Um, and. Flat Iron, the order that they taught us, which now is flip-flopped. Um, they did Ruby first and then Sinatra and, um, Rails frameworks, and then Java script would react and Redux frameworks. And I think that. I was able to, I took a longer time going through really Sinatra and Rails. So it allowed me to get like a really good appreciation for the language. And also a friend of mine from Flat Iron, Heather Miller she's down in DC. She invited me to this, um, conference called Ruby for Good. that's when I just started Rails both of us. And it was like the people there were so nice. Um, it was, I think three days, everyone was so nice and friendly. We're making we're were working on apps for social, good to do things for people. And I knew next to nothing, but. still like, oh, you can, you can totally can definitely be, you know, a contributing member of our team. And it, that made me really fall in love with the Ruby community. And I found that that's a very universal, um, mindset of the Ruby community. The people are very, very nice and welcoming and willing to teach. And similarly that's how the Philly tech community has been in my personal experience. Um, before the pandemic, I was networking a lot in person and found a lot of people, very welcoming and. Open like to, you know, a woman in tech and someone from like a non traditional path. And definitely colorful city, like in different, in ways of, um, diversity and it's. Blending, it's blending into the tech community heavily. And I think, um, that makes it very welcoming. And I saw just both of those in the Ruby community and Philly tech community. The issue was, um, there, there weren't, there wasn't a lot of Ruby on Rails in Philly at the time. Um, I was just like, oh, now, so I was ready to get a job doing anything. But then, um, once the pandemic happened, like a silver lining of that was remote work. Now the world is my oyster. I could get a Rails job anywhere just working from my desk at home. Um, So that definitely, that definitely helped with my job search, having like that focus on Rails jobs. Like this is what I love. This is what I want to do. And especially having like, like now I'm on the core team of Ruby for Good. And I enjoy, I really enjoy doing that and work that's. Meaningful and fulfilling. Um, and that it helps people. So that was like something that I really like to do as well. And I was targeting companies like that, that were Rails companies as well.

Dan:

So your position with Ruby for Good is a volunteer position. As I was pretty sure it is. So can you talk a little bit more like what you, what you all do as an organization? I think you, I think you talked a little bit about their conference, but, you know, you just explain Ruby for Good as a, you know, as a, as an organization and,

Meg:

Yeah. A Ruby for Good is a nonprofit and it's volunteer led. Um, Sean Marcia is the founder and, um, it's largely it's based in DC. So the membership is largely in DC. Um, but definitely expanding and basically it's uses something called skills-based volunteering, which is people in the tech community. They're specialized set of skills like Liam Neeson. Um, but they do good things to them. Um, they build software for other non-profits and, so that might be like a website or a sign up. Form or like an actual software system? Um, something that like are probably, I think is the oldest project and probably the biggest is called Human Essentials. Um, it was rebranded from Diaper Base and it had started out as. Uh, inventory management system for diaper banks, and it started like that. And then it grew because they are like, okay, this awesome. Now the diaper banks are receiving these products. They're giving the products to their partners like churches and. Food pantries and homeless shelters who then, uh, distribute the products to families. So they wanted a way to, for their partners to track, um, what was needed and who got stuff. So they made Partner Base to go along with Diaper Base. Then it's like, okay, well these items, aren't just diapers. They're also feminine care products, soaps, creams, um, like shampoos, things like that. So they kind of merged both of together and called it Human Essentials in, um, serving almost 200 banks right now, then there's also stuff like there's, uh, A lending library in Chicago, that it's a circulation system for like tools and other types of this lending library, um, CASA court appointed advocate Well, let me look it up real quick. I don't want to,

Dan:

Special advocate

Meg:

yeah. Court appointed special

Dan:

Fu there.

Meg:

Um, and that's just a system to track volunteer time. so it, it ranges for different needs and if it feels like. It's all open source contribution so people can get involved with just one project, do it like one or two pull requests and be done, or they can get involved heavily. And these projects have like weekly office hours and stakeholder meetings and things. And. Yeah, it's something that really spoke to me. And, um, I'm a very organized person by nature. Uh, since I used to work as an admin, so I told Sean, I was like, yeah, let me, uh, let me help out however I can. So he's like, yeah, let's see this. Come on.

Dan:

Yeah, I'm sure. Um, no, that's really great. It, it seems like really organization and that sort of I always wonder. Um, you make a product for another non-profit right. Does, um, Ruby for Good ended up maintaining that over time? Or is it like a sort of a handoff kind of thing or. This is just my curiosity. always been curious about it.

Meg:

Yeah. I think, I think it depends. Um,

Dan:

Yeah. I mean, suppose.

Meg:

there's many where maintain it and there's some that that's just kind of a one and done thing. Like some it's I need something that does a, B and C, and once it's done. They use it. They're like, oh, can you change this and that? Okay. And then they're like, awesome. Thank you so much. Now we don't have to go and buy this stuff and they can use their money, other stuff that they need, they don't need like updates and stuff like that. Cause it's not like, uh, these other nonprofits are full. Volunteers. Like they may have a few employees depending on the nonprofit, but the goal is to just spread help to other people. and especially don't have vast resources.

Dan:

Oh, that's that's cool. And, and so th they do a lot of their, um, projects. Sort of open-source to, right.

Meg:

Yeah. Yeah. Um,

Dan:

Is it all of them or is there, are there some, everything? Yeah. cool.

Meg:

you can just go on GitHub in and check it out.

Dan:

anybody who's listening can go contribute, right? I think that's so cool. That's such a cool organization.

Meg:

it makes, um, stuff like that, like really jazzed up about open source. Just, you know, how, when you. If you toss a rock into a calm water in the ripples, go out. It's, that's how I view open source. Like you can make a change on some code in that, and it spreads from there. Whoever forks that repository gets your change. Whoever uses. The software gets your change and it's spreads. However far, this piece of software goes in. You, you just don't know when you start, like, there's that badge. I get the Mars Rover badge, like so many people contributed to. That put a robot on Mars know until they got that badge. And it's like, you can say that like, oh yeah, you know, I read some code for the Mars Rover.

Bekah:

I love that. I was just talking to someone. Last week about HacktoberFest. And happens in October, but I'm like already getting super excited they did for Cause I dunno, it's like, it's great to part of Virtual Coffee and see people contributing. But, um, there's just, there are so many good projects out there that people can contribute to and figuring out, don't know the best way to put people in touch with them. Cause be overwhelming getting into open source, but like making that easily accessible. As, uh, a goal for this year, sure.

Meg:

Same, I'm trying to do that with the Ruby for Good website, trying to clean it. It's a, I have a 3000 line style sheet clean up before HacktoberFest kicks off. Also my HacktoberFest challenge from last year to Virtual Coffee went woefully unanswered..

Bekah:

What was your challenge?

Meg:

Dan remembers. Right?

Dan:

I'm blanking now.

Meg:

I said for, for every first time contributor to make a pull request in October, I would take a shot and I only took three shots. The whole month.

Dan:

Well, we,

Bekah:

you needed to take 70. Okay.

Dan:

yeah,

Bekah:

pace yourself.

Dan:

well, yeah, that, that happened because we were so burnt out October Fest that it took me like a month and a half to actually pull together any stats. And by that time I had, I had totally forgotten.

Bekah:

Yeah.

Dan:

we're just going to have to redo it.

Bekah:

that in

Dan:

lots of do a radio this year. Yeah. W we'll do a, Meg shot counter, you know, we'll, we'll it so that we won't, we won't forget. We have, um, I'll have to think of some, um, you know, stretch goals and stuff. Cause we also don't want, you know, well, we don't want you to die from too many shots, so. be fine.

Meg:

I just, I just might forget somethings like how to walk, you know?

Dan:

We'll you're nice and comfy on your couch first.

Meg:

exactly. I had a silly origin story for Kirk. if you had time.

Dan:

Yeah, absolutely.

Meg:

We talked about forgetting something. Uh, so in May, this thing called, um, Philly Tech Week. And this year it's going May six through May 14th and. It's put on by technically Philly. Um, of the events are going to be virtual. I believe. I, I think some may be in-person, but I think a lot will still be virtual, but this is a annual thing. I think it's the 12th year. This year, I'm not positive. Um, but in 2019, Uh, I applied for a scholarship to go to one of their keynote events and, and got the scholarship. And there was just like all day, all these presentations and it was, uh, I'm pretty sure it was at the Comcast Center because it's like one of the big tech hubs in Philly. A lot of people are reluctant about that. Being a big tech spot in Philly Gritty was there Gritty showed up in person. Yeah. and yeah, it was really cool. Got to like network and meet a whole bunch of people. And then there was a. After party thing to go out to a bar. And I networked with people at these tables and I was talking with this one group and the people just seem super nice. I think I put down my backpack on the table came set up and I was. Uh, I don't know, moving things around my backpack or something and saying, oh, sorry, I'll get out of here. And they're like, oh no, it's fine. And we just started chatting and I found them later at the happy hour. And it turned out that, uh, of their C level employees was visiting from the west coast he was. Buying us all drinks for happy hour. He's like, Hey, do you want to drink? Cause I was just hanging out, talking with them. And so I got like really roped up on this company's dime and went to the after parties after party. they had this awesome DJ. Um, and that was like Philly people. Now we can let loose because day's done and they're all dancing and having fun and stuff. And then I looked at my clock and it was like one 30 or something. And the last train had come and left.

Bekah:

no.

Meg:

I was just like, now,

Bekah:

Um,

Meg:

and it was. Really warm. So I just walked around Philly. And so I was like trying to make it until, um, the morning when the train station open. Uh, cause I didn't have enough money. It's taken Uber and there's this guy that some guy in a wheelchair scooter. It was coming down the street, yelling at me, just like, uh, I guess I'm going to have to like out the credit card and take the Uber, but it was a great night.

Bekah:

Oh, that is awesome. Um, man, it's been really great having you on the podcast finally. Um, before we go, are there any last fun Philly facts that you would like to share with our listeners?

Meg:

I would like to say. We have food. Um, if you're ever in town, I encourage you to go to the Redding Terminal Market. basically like weekdays are best. Uh, because the Mennonite people are there with like that good home cook, Pennsylvania, Dutch food. Um, and although we've mentioned Gritty, definitely more than eight times this podcast, also the Philly Phanatic, who is an amazing mascot. And I, I can't leave him out either. Um, yeah. Those are my fun Philly facts for all of you.

Bekah:

All right. Thanks Meg.

Dan:

Thanks Meg. Thank you for coming out. Thank you for listening to this episode of the Virtual Coffee Podcast. This episode was produced by Dan Ott and Bekah Hawrot Weigel. If you have questions or comments you can hit us up on Twitter at VirtualCoffeeIO, or email us at podcast@virtualcoffee.io. You can find the show notes, sign up for the newsletter, check out any of our other resources on our website VirtualCoffee.io. If you're interested in sponsoring virtual coffee you can find out more information on our website at VirtualCoffee.io/sponsorship. Please subscribe to our podcast and be sure to leave us a review. Thanks for listening and we'll see you next week!


The Virtual Coffee Podcast is produced by Dan Ott and Bekah Hawrot Weigel and edited by Andy Bonjour at GoodDay Communications.