illustration for Being Curious and Facilitating the Success of Others - with Stacey Mulcahy

episode 42

Being Curious and Facilitating the Success of Others - with Stacey Mulcahy

JavaScript fatigue is a topic that has been trending for a while now. It's easy to get overwhelmed with the constant influx of new technology, but it's also thrilling to learn the latest cool new thing! Stacey Mulcahy discusses how she embraces this deluge of technology by being a generalist, allowing her to make connections with more people than she would have if she specialized in one thing.

Stacy is a Maker, a kind of tech-based DIYer and inventor. Creativity is, of course, important for the DIY hacker, but it's essential for everyone else too. Creativity is creative problem solving, and it's something that you can train. If you aren't "working your creativity muscle," your creative skills are going to degrade. Try to push the envelope and find outlets where you can apply your creative skills!

Like a lot of people in the tech world, Joel has a box of Arduino stuff that is gathering dust somewhere. How do you get past that initial "hello world" LED blink project? Stacey recommends to immerse yourself, see what other makers are doing and find inspiration from them. Try to find something that you enjoy and find fun and see if you can do it with an Arduino.

Lastly, Stacey tells us her story of what caused her to begin teaching children technology, and how she got to where she is now. It's rewarding to celebrate people's successes and provide them with a space where they can fail safely. If there isn't a community meetup for something you enjoy in your area you have the complete ability to start one yourself and be the organizer. There are multiple platforms that help organize events. The key for your community to grow is to be consistent with it.


Stacy Mulcahy:

Transcript

Joel Hooks: Hi Stacy.

Stacey Mulcahy: Hi, how are you?

Joel Hooks: I'm doing pretty good. I'm really excited to talk to you because, when you do a lot of interesting things and I think we have a lot of crossover in terms of our interest in education and constant learning and that kind of thing. But I wanted to ask you first about the questionable life choices you've been making recently because this is something we also share. I noticed you got a new designer puppy.

Stacey Mulcahy: Oh my God! Honestly, I don't know if a dog can turn you around and make you think about yourself in the way that my dog has, but I was like, I have so much allowed to give. It's so disgusting. So she's not a bit of a long time, like two years. And I remember even Mario, don't do it. Don't get a dog. You can't travel. And I'm like, I know. But I went and I finally kind of pulled the trigger and, it's been like, week of chewing redirections. Best way to describe it. But yeah, I'm this person I didn't know I could be, which is kind of a really awesome and also very scary.

Joel Hooks: Is it your first puppy?

Stacey Mulcahy: As a kid we had one, and I was very young, so I vaguely remember my mom yelling at it and putting Tabasco on the furniture, But like I said, I did so much research. I'm such a nerd that way because I was just like, I don't want to screw anything up.

Joel Hooks: I mean, I did the same thing, this friend of mine, Ryan Florence posted on Twitter, "hey, we got this cute little puppy. It's a mini golden doodle."

Stacey Mulcahy: So cute.

Joel Hooks: It's just ridiculous. So cute. And I'm like, I'm going to get one. And then three weeks before we take delivery of our puppy, he posts on Twitter what an awful mistake he's made and how this is the worst decision he's ever made in his entire life. And I was like, I've had, we've had dogs and, like you, when I decide to get a dog, literally every five star puppy raising book on Amazon arrived two days later, and he signed up for puppy classes and all that fun stuff. But then at the same time,

Stacey Mulcahy: Well, I haven't done that. I'm very fortunate, like this last week. I mean my job doesn't really afford me to work from home, just because I am so public facing with everyone and I run a space and everything else. But this last week everyone's been so good. They're all like, no girl, you go home, you know like, "don't get a puppy sitter." You being home with your puppy for the first week. And then now this is the second week and I'm like, I'm traveling to speak at a conference at the end of the week. And I'm like, I don't really have any major reason that absolutely requires me to be in the office. Everyone's like, you stay home girl, you post those pictures for us. I'm so thankful that my local kind of direct team is so supportive, but it is kind of gross. But your puppy looks so cute. They're so smart.

Joel Hooks: Yeah, and I have a house of, like my little 11 year old daughter has taken to the puppy and she was like, "Oh I'll take care of it." So we took her up on that, and I don't know that she fully was aware of what she was getting into, but she's done a really great job like bleary eyed seven in the morning when then she has to wake up so it doesn't destroy his Kennel.

Stacey Mulcahy: There's always that thing I'm like, so I'm going to put you in this little broom and I read all of a crate training, and how I should feel okay about it. And I do, I mean, she's really taken to it and she's good, but she sleeps through the night and everything bag. I'm totally like, I'm up at 5:00 AM, 6:00 AM like, "come on girl, let's go back. You must be dying." I don't know. Like I said, I'm this person I didn't really know I could be. Maybe I knew I could be. It just didn't want anyone to know I could be, I don't know.

Joel Hooks: Right, right, didn't want rumors to get out.

Stacey Mulcahy: Well, you don't want to show any vulnerabilities, right?

Joel Hooks: Laughter Got to keep the facade up.

Stacey Mulcahy: Laughter Oh my God.

Joel Hooks: So puppies technology, everything's always changing. We're in a constant state of learning and this is something I know about you that you keep on it, right? We share the, another trait where we're learning and we're growing and we're constantly keeping up with technology. And I was wondering, how you came about that philosophy, or if it just kind of comes naturally to you to just kind of embrace the change of our digital age.

Stacey Mulcahy: I don't know. I mean, there's two sides to this coin, right? I have my moments where I get super overwhelmed, especially lately with social media because I just see all the amazing things people are doing. They get a lot of like, I'm not pushing hard enough. I'm not doing things hard enough. And so I struggle with that part of it. But I think for me, it's like just curiosity. And I'm also like, I don't know if I should admit this and maybe have a little this a yourself, but I'm a little like, nope, I can do it. I'm very independent. I was brought up that way, And so I don't need someone to help me. I don't need someone to show me. I can figure it out and that's good and bad. I realized that trait.

Stacey Mulcahy: But for me that's where it comes to. Technology is really good because, I'm just super curious about all the things. And to be frank in the last maybe couple of years, I haven't been able to dive really deep on a single technology, but I kind of liked that. I kind of liked that I've embraced the fact that my tendencies to be more of a generalist, and to pick up the things that are happening. And so. I know a little bit about react and I know a little bit about angular, like I did enough to get dangerous and, but I also know python and I know some machine learning and, I love that because it allows me to actually connect with people in a variety of ways.

Stacey Mulcahy: So I don't know, for me it's just kind of, if people are saying, well this is the best thing. I want to go look at it and kind of decide for myself if I think it's the best thing instead of, who this is the best practice. And I think that's kind of always been where I've come from. I don't know. What drives you? What makes you feel like you should change? Why you so interested in all the things and moving forward and constantly learning.

Joel Hooks: Umm I think this is my interview Stacy. Laughing No I'm just kidding.

Stacey Mulcahy: Laughing I realize that, I was like, "Ohhh she's putting on the hat".

Joel Hooks: No, no. Is like for me, I have this constant desperate need to know everything before I die. Since a very young age, I've always had the feeling of eminent looming mortality and, I feel like I want to learn and learn and constantly never stop doing that. I could never pull a single lever every day, day in and day out and, and be satisfied. And I intentionally took a technology break. I decided not to, I was learning a programming language a year and doing that kind of cycle and decided I wanted to do things like, marketing and copywriting and philosophy and psychology and like taking it to those skills as well as the technology stuff, which means I'm a little behind some of the curves too and kind of like deep dive, deep dove into react specifically so I could do my job.

Joel Hooks: Also, I've kind of stepped back from, because there's so many cool things and I'm not a zealot. Like I don't like to see technology. Like this is the technology. I know that's not true. Five years from now, that's not going to be true. We both were flashed. Developers, we know it's not going to be true.

Stacey Mulcahy: crosstalk 00:07:04 It's like Oh my God, Why did you say that? I'm just kidding. I totally embrace that history because the funny thing is, I've been reflecting a lot on it. I'm helping some interns work on a VR project and the VR project's not like an app where it has screens. It's experimental and it's got a lot of things that it needs to accomplish, and it's an experience and I kind of feel like, wow, like I am prepared for this moment. Because I've been, the beauty of where we came from, at least where we met in the industry is that like, we got to touch so many aspects of creating an experience. I just, I really embrace that. So anytime I see anyone kind of like, we shouldn't be doing this, me, I'm kind of like, eh...

Joel Hooks: I mean, to me it's like if there's a constant thrill and new technology and I see people moaning or, like woefully moaning about fatigue or whatever and like technology moves too fast and there's this constant, stressful feeling, which is almost like the Internet and social media is pushing that stress more than the technology. crosstalk 00:08:08.

Stacey Mulcahy: it's so bad. I actually kind of reduced how much stuff I've put out there and definitely reduced how much I've consumed just because it's so easy to wake up and just be like, oh all these cool things and like what am I going to have the time to play with it? And it's just so easy to overwhelm yourself. So I kind of gave up with keeping up with the Jonases, like you talked about a learning like occur keeping up on the curve and I kind of go with that because I'm, I guess if anything else, I'm now confident that I can pick up anything. If I need to do it I can pick it up. And so I kind of enjoy that aspect of, I don't need to know all the things, what's actually important to me now, what am I curious about? What do I enjoy?

Stacey Mulcahy: And then obviously, I mean, a girl's got to get paid, you could align it back to work, whatever that may mean, but, gone from you are the days of spending weeks to pick up something. It's just like if I can't pick it up in a day, I don't know, maybe I put it to the side. I think.

Joel Hooks: Yeah, I didn't mistake like exploratory, right? It takes to be an expert in anything takes a significant amount of time, but you can tell if this is something you even want to do or if it's going to suit your purpose. And that's like a knowledge and experience.

Stacey Mulcahy: Yeah, totally. I think that's it for anything else. I feel way more comfortable doing that kind of thing to be like, man, you can go ahead and dabble in that. I don't think that's for me kind of thing. So that's kind of Nice to be at that position.

Joel Hooks: How do you feel about the label maker?

Stacey Mulcahy: It's weird. I go in between back and forth. I mean, I think we're all makers at the end of the day, right? I don't know. I'm okay with it. I just, a lot of times when people, when you say maker, they're like, oh, she's in the woodshop or there's a glue-gun. And then there was no, I struggle with that. Even my perception at work a little bit like, oh, she's a good maker, she knows all these tools, blah blah blah. Oh she knows how to code, right? It's going to be clear that's not a gender thing. That's it. Just like, oh, and software and hardware and this like it's, again, I'm embracing generalism at its best. So I think maker is just another title, just like some people say creative.

Joel Hooks: Yeah, almost like an inventor kind of comes in there as well. I kind of like that term better. I think everybody's capable of it. Not everybody does it. And it's not something that you get just out of the box, right? It's something you have to work for and creativity isn't it? You know what I mean? It's like a skill versus, like some natural endowment that we are granted when we're born.

Stacey Mulcahy: Working with engineers. I realized that the whole creativity thing is they feel like it's not for them, right? Like I'm not creative, I'm an engineer. And it's like as soon as you can figure out a way for them to kind of circle around that and to explore in a different way, and for them to enjoy it and have a little bit of fun with it, whatever that may mean. For me it's always around humor of some sort. But if you can get that, then people start to see that it's not like a skill. Creative programmer like those, they're not the same thing. Creative problem solving. There's creative, just coming up with different approaches, different ways to solve things, different ways to look at things. And it's so funny cause when people realize that they do have that and it's actually just something you need to exercise.

Stacey Mulcahy: I really believe that, that if you're not giving yourself the opportunity to invent, like I love, they use the word inventor, but if you're not giving yourself those opportunities and, if you're not allowing yourself to explore without an end point in sight a little bit, if you're not allowing yourself to make mistakes, then you're not exercising creativity at the end of the day. So you're not, never going to have that. And so for me, that's, as a developer who worked in an agency for years, I was never the creative one, but yet we all were. And it's funny now people label me the creative one now that I'm at an agency land, so you know it's all about exercising it. And for me it's a muscle. The more you can kind of exercise, the better it gets personally.

Joel Hooks: And it atrophies too. Right? If you stop being creative, and you creative a week out of the year, it's really difficult. But that's me actually. Like I spend the summer in the mountains with Josh and I go into the whole thing and I'm, I haven't been creative, I haven't been creative, I haven't been creative and I'm stuck. But then, once you start doing it and you get it rolling, it kind of comes back.

Stacey Mulcahy: Yeah. It's like a bike, right? You're like, oh I got to do this, and then, oh, what about this? And then it's just that moment of like, it's almost like self pleasure where you're like, oh, I did that. That's cool. crosstalk 00:12:23 I can't believe I did this. And then you're just like, now you've kind of created your own momentum around it. I love that feeling and I wish that feeling for everyone.

Joel Hooks: Is there a power in being a little bit weird?

Stacey Mulcahy: Yeah, totally. Oh my God. I mean, seriously.

Joel Hooks: Is that related to the creativity. I think in some ways it is.

Stacey Mulcahy: Yeah. I mean, I do, I think that for some people when they're labeled a Weirdo or, whatever it may be, I think creative would probably go alongside of it, right? Because it's a person who, I think if you're being weird, it just means that you like, whatever weird, the definition of weird is. Because that's a whole another story. But I mean if you're just doing something that someone doesn't expect you to do, let's just put it that way, then you were kind of like confident in what you're doing and embracing it. Right. And so we're talking a lot of people, it's like, when people say stay weird to me, it's more like, stay confident, stay good with who you are and just kind of embrace it. So, I mean, bring me all the weirdos.

Joel Hooks: And to me being weird is like being yourself. I think everybody's different. And obviously we all have to have filters and boundaries, right? We live in a public space, but at the same time like being yourself and doing unexpected things and people aren't, that isn't the norm and is out of the ordinary. I'm using the finger quotes weird. But at the same time, that's what makes it great. Like to me is the people, when they have that freedom to do that.

Stacey Mulcahy: Oh yeah. I mean when you meet someone who's like an onion and you're just peeling away all the layers, it's just so fascinating to me. So I think people need to understand is that other people feed off of that. Like I know for me, if I meet someone who's really embraced it and just doing what it would do in their thing, whatever that may be, and they're passionate about it, that's infectious to me. I want to be around them, I want to listen to them, I want to try to sponge some of that stuff off and then I'm kind of an introvert, believe it or not, and I want to go away. And then I want to figure out how to funnel it for myself. And so there's a lot of beauty in embracing who you are and that weird or creative kind of side I think. And especially not just for you but for others too.

Joel Hooks: Yeah. So I have this problem with this box of Arduino products, LEDs, and I want know what do you have? I know I'm not unique in that there's a lot of these boxes scattered around the country and the world, and I'm wondering what's the advice, what do you tell people to get past the beginner kit? Like the tutorial in terms of coming up with some ideas. That's something that does, is there any advice take to get folk?

Stacey Mulcahy: It's so painful because, it's like we call it LED blinkies like the hello world, right? I don't know. I think it depends on where you're coming from. If you're a software developer of any sort or a designer who's around code or any of that kind of stuff, I always say, don't go buy a regular Arduino, go buy something that's Wifi connected, because you're going to add a little bit of novelty that you understand to your world. Right? So automation, creating a some stupid thing that lights up based on acts, those kinds of things are extremely satisfying. And extremely easy, a little bit of software and a little bit of hardware goes a long way, but, there's so many people who just buy kits and they collect dust and I think that like ... kind of immersing yourself in, how to get inspired with a lot of those things.

Stacey Mulcahy: And so looking at what other people have built and done and trying to solve a problem or, are you just making something useless for fun? If it's someone younger, I'm always just, I kind of focused around humor and pranks because they're really rewarding. They're pretty funny and they're pretty easy to kind of like set up. So a book that when you open it up sensors lights and it plays off a really loud sound or something like that. So I always kind of, try to figure what the person's actually interested in. I don't think there's a one size fits all for any of this stuff because really, there's no difference between scaffolding an app and never putting anything in it and doing the LED Hello world thing, unless you've kind of got an idea or an application for it.

Stacey Mulcahy: But there's so many places that you can look in. There's so many amazing makers who are starting to really share their stuff a lot more than they ever did. Last year, I think it was last year with everyone doing all the custom PCBs, very limited form factor. You can't do a whole, we can do quite a bit. But like for the basics, you're not doing a whole lot, but the things that they are doing and how they were just like augmenting like Defcon badges and stuff, so much more inspiration that's so much more visible.

Stacey Mulcahy: I would say that there's ways to get a lot more ideas than before. But I didn't answer your question probably because, I kind of feel like it's, for me when people ask me that question at work, I'll be like, what's your apartment like, what do you do? What are you interested in? Like what do you find, and then I'll kind of be like, hey, here's a few things to get you inspired.

Joel Hooks: I think the pranks answer was actually a pretty good one. So that's what I pulled out. I love what you said, but like to me the idea of wait, I could do cool pranks with these Arduinos. I have sensors, it's like taking the box of sensors and I'm just kind of figure it out how you can make somebody laugh or, you can give them a little tiny fright or something with these things is kind of fun actually.

Stacey Mulcahy: You tell 14 year olds that, that they can go and build something that will automatically turn off the TV. Like a TV be gone. They just like what? And you're like, "yeah, just IRR," and you break down and then they're like, and then they go do it. And it's just so fascinating. So then you going to find the right motivation, from a person, but I don't know. I like pranks. I mean, I don't like what they've done to me, but I like pranks.

Joel Hooks: That's their fun sometimes. But I agree, being the pranker is better than being the prankee.

Stacey Mulcahy: Sure, all right. crosstalk 00:18:07. We need like matching T-shirts, pranker prankee.

Joel Hooks: So you mentioned teaching kids this stuff and I know you spend time mentoring middle school kids and probably a variety of others. And I'm wondering, how did you get into that and how does that work and what's the response been from the kids themselves?

Stacey Mulcahy: So I'm fortunate to have a job that's really flexible, and I can figure out ways to do things that I like along with the things that need to get done. I usually like those things as well. So, for me, for working at a big corporation, Microsoft, obviously education is a focus for a lot of groups. And so I kind of have the ability to do that a little bit as part of my job. But I guess if you kind of roll it back, years ago I went to a conference, this story a had always makes me cry. I hate it. So anyways, years ago I went to a conference and as a conference be created, typically go to conferences and, you have a speaking slot and you're stressed out about your speaking slot, and then you have to do all the extrovert stuff they force you to do.

Stacey Mulcahy: And so you got to do all that. And usually, you don't have a lot of time for anything else and you're hiding in your room because you need to recollect yourself. I went to one conference in Halifax and this, the group, the conference was really great, and the organizers is really awesome. They asked me to attend this women's night and I was like, No, I don't really want to do like a women's networking thing. That's a whole another story. But, and they're like, well we're going to have high school students there. I was like, I'm in. I'll go. So they asked, instead of it being networking, we did little like teaching sessions and so I taught Arduino, and I had this young woman who was about 15 and her name was Amanda. And, so she sat at my table, we started chatting and she was going to attend the conference, which I thought was also awesome.

Stacey Mulcahy: I was like, oh, a 15 year old attending a conference. This was unheard of. And this was about three years ago, and I was like, this conference really has it together. They really bring their community together. And so we're talking, and she's big into games, childhood games or parents met online playing games. She could talk really, really articulately about game level design and what made some feel good and bad and like cheery it as a whole space. So I just asked her the question like, have you ever made a game? And she was like, no. And I was like, this is insane to me. I'm here for two and a half days. If you have any free time and you want me to teach you how to make a game and unity, and I can teach you a little bit of illustrator, and we'll go through the basics.

Stacey Mulcahy: We can make like a flappy bird clone. It's up to you, but I'm here, so you need to figure out how to find me, and you need to figure out how to do it. And she did.

Joel Hooks: Awesome.

Stacey Mulcahy: So over two days at the conference, where everyone gets coffee, people are checking in, all sorts of stuff. She basically finished the game. I would say at the end of it, it was working, and she had it like, physics going and she did her own graphics. I think she even did a few sound effects, which was kind of awesome. But the cool thing that happened out of that is that one of the business owners in Halifax who ran a fairly, kind of big tech company there, he hired her as an intern in the summer. And I thought that's what it's about.

Stacey Mulcahy: For me that was the most amazing part because, you do a lot of things right, like you volunteer your time or someone says, "oh, thank you for writing that book." But like when you actually see the door open in front of you, and someone walked through it, like that becomes, "Ooh, sorry." That becomes a moment that kind of like changes who you are. And I tear up every time I tell this story because, I truly believe I was a bit of a jerk before that, for whatever reason. And I truly believe that, that experience changed who I was.

Stacey Mulcahy: And so, after that I was in New York, I was like, okay, you know what, I'm going to do an experiment, because experiments to me sound like less of a commitment. It's an experiment. So I'm going to teach kids who's a really great group in New York, who they kind of, they have all the Indie game developer community called play crafting. Dan Butchko is who runs it.

Stacey Mulcahy: And so I said to him, you know what? I want to teach kids on the weekends and I'll do it every Saturday and I mean, can you help me engage your community to help me? So can we get different teachers and whatever. So we did that. Probably it was one or two Saturdays a month, maybe just one a month. But we did it for almost a year, I think. And I did in various cities. Anytime I traveled, I would just like spin something up and I'll come teach for a couple of hours. And it was always kids between the age of about, eight to, I don't know, 16. I would teach whatever, whatever I needed. So sometimes it was, we're doing something in processing. Sometimes it's, gave me her or unity or whatever. And I think over the year we ended up probably around 4,000 kids, I think.

Stacey Mulcahy: And I love that with the help of the Indie game community in New York for sure, we would sell tickets, just so that we had seats because people like to come to things that are free and then not show up. And so, and it's just, you're just taking a spot. So we'd sell those tickets for next to nothing, and we would provide kind of like diversity tickets too. So for underrepresented and kind of looked around and figured out how to get those out. And then, any of the money that we made, we just ended up donating. So we went to two organizations. I think one was girls who code, and the other one was, most are, I believe are most, sorry, it's an organization in New York City. So, I did that for a year and then I got burned out. Because it was a lot. Because it was a lot.

Joel Hooks: It a lot of work though.

Stacey Mulcahy: Yeah It was a lot. But it was like, I mean, I still love it. And so now, like I have school visits that come in and I kind of have them more structured and, I do, I really do enjoy it. I like being in front of kids. I like curating the space, and like for me, all the ages are good, but there's something really amazing about a seven year old. And there's also something equally amazing about 14, 15 year old. You're just like, these are building blocks, let's find the building blocks and put them together. And so we did do a few things at work. I have like a class that comes in every month and I do work closely with a couple of school boards here. And, this year I've been trying to work more on, in depth relationships with a couple of kids and not always the ones that are super promising.

Stacey Mulcahy: I'm kind of more interested in the people who don't think it's for them, or don't feel that it could be for them. And so we've done a little bit of that. And then, we've taken at different directions at work and an example is we, this is kind of cool, well I love this story, but we have a guy that we know quite well and he works at a local school board with, at risk, indigenous, young men. So it's a youth club that they have and they do all sorts of things. And, his wife works at Microsoft and she connected us and I said, I'd love to have them in. Here's, at risk men between 14 to 17, let's bring him in. And so I was like, let's build an escape room for the employees.

Stacey Mulcahy: And so that's our, do we know all the way that's like, that's being creative, that's designing, that's all ... Everything you can imagine. And so we had them for a series of a couple of weeks. We had a couple employees supporting and they came in and they helped us build out an escape room. But the cool thing that I thought was, we kind of threw the idea out there and we said, hey, what about making it themed around your culture and heritage? Because in Vancouver, for us sitting on the land, that doesn't belong to us, it's very important. It's very important. We honor those things. And so you could ... We thought this is a really great learning and sharing moment for them. And so they totally embraced it and, was looking up appropriate artwork. They enlisted like a chief to come and do a voice over.

Stacey Mulcahy: They really did a great job. And so, for me those are the kinds of things that, when they come and they see people using their escape room and they see like the things they created and how much people enjoy it, I think sometimes if you don't have that connection for someone that, what you've done and versus like how it's received, that people can't push forward because they don't understand that what they're putting out there has value. And so, that was a great, great experience.

Joel Hooks: That's amazing. So direct to, right, like their ability to do the work for one thing and then like see people that really actually enjoyed it. Right? It's not just an idea, it's a reality and then it's in, we made this, my people love it and that's been in the booster hands out there and just really, I think like leveling somebody up in a way that otherwise, would they even ever have that opportunity. That's wonderful.

Stacey Mulcahy: I mean, I was thankful that I was given the opportunity to kind of engage that way. But I was also thankful that I got to work with one of our employees. Her name is Jennifer Reardon. And she was awesome, because she was really passionate about it. Her passion kept me driving it forward and, it's important that you find those connections, I think. No matter what you're doing, because as you spend time, especially your own time doing things, whether it's side projects or giving back or whatever you want to do, it's really easy to get burnt out. And so you need to reenergize from other people and you need to reenergize from a bunch of places I think.

Joel Hooks: Yeah. And it's really, I mean, essentially, you build a community space, right? Like a creative community space that people can use and grow in and like access to a space like that. And even creating one, I don't think a lot of people would even know where to start.

Stacey Mulcahy: I didn't. But that's why I love the word experiment cause you just try things in ... I think if you're looking at community, even if we look at you know, your egghead community. You need to understand who are your people and what do they care about and what are they interested in? And like, what do they bring to the table? How can you meet them there, where they are at? And so for me, I think that the favorite part of my job is, I get to meet so many people and I get to, I am just so fascinated by something that someone tells me every single day because it's just such, so rewarding to be like, "oh you work on this and this is what you do." And, help them celebrate their successes, and then provide them a space where they can feel safely is also important. So I'm pretty fortunate.

Joel Hooks: That's awesome. Do you have any advice for folks? Just if, when you're starting a community, and I know you've touched on this, but, I think it's something that more people could do and in a grassroots capacity, like how do you start to doing that? And like locally, after you've had some experience doing this, if you were going to offer up some advice in that regard.

Stacey Mulcahy: Number one is I think that, if you're a person in a town and you're like, you want to learn python, let's say, and there's no python groups, just start your own right. And put it out there for anyone like, first of all you just gotta be okay to be vulnerable, but you also gotta be okay to be the organizer. Because at the end of the day, most people want to do the things they just aren't sure how to organize it and they're not maybe sure how to be that person to push it forward.

Stacey Mulcahy: And so a great way I think to start is start small and, hey I really want to start doing X and here's where we're going to do it and be consistent. So I think when it comes to community, consistency is really key. If people always know that X is going to happen, once a month at this place or you know that whatever, like that kind of consistency that you bring to the table, that's how you're going to get more and more people interested or that's how you're going to find the people who are invested to stay there.

Stacey Mulcahy: So I always, for me, it's about consistency and it's also about knowing the audience and just that, like how do they want to contribute? Like what makes them excited. And so, whenever I talk to like maker spaces, like schools, they're always like, how do I use a 3D printer? And I'm like, can we take a step back and just talk about what are all the skills that everyone has, whether it's kids, parents, whatever, that they bring to the table. Do a survey and understand what actually people have before you start making plans on it. And so I think community is kind of similar. Sometimes you just have to put it out there. And if only two people come the first time, that's okay. It's two more than just yourself. And so just being consistent and just constantly putting it out there.

Joel Hooks: I think I heard you say get doing.

Stacey Mulcahy: Yeah, probably. Well there's this too. I learned to get it done when I was in Atlanta and then I also now often say get doing, so it's just like, just stop talking about it and just do it. And the funny thing is a lot of this organizational stuff, isn't that bad. There's so many platforms and stuff available, but like, I mean it's really just a matter of, I'm going to a coffee shop who wants to join me? I used to do that in New York, I'm going to coffee shop, I'm going to be here at this time. Anyone who wants to join me, can join me. And then I was always like, it's just a smart thing to do. But I met so many interesting people that way.

Joel Hooks: I know New york is good for that.

Stacey Mulcahy: Everyone's like, "Yeah I'm in." Sure. Who are you? But my fashion designer, I'm not like a fashion designer who's just like, happened to catch my tweet on Twitter. I don't know how. So things like that.

Joel Hooks: That a good point.

Stacey Mulcahy: You've going to put yourself out there.

Joel Hooks: I've had weird Twitter connections like that too, which is amazing. And why I love the platform and it's way too weird and overwhelming for it seems like most normal folks. But I still love it.

Stacey Mulcahy: What's your weirdest connection?

Joel Hooks: I Don't know. It was just like, I'll be the guy at the conference standing in the corner on my phone and someone's like, "hey man, you want to hang out?" And then we become friends and still talk afterwards. Like stuff like that, it's just interesting. I made lifelong friends across Twitter. The decade I've been-

Stacey Mulcahy: Oh me too.

Joel Hooks: It's like my favorite, but I can see why people are overwhelmed and confused and hate its guts too.

Stacey Mulcahy: Why the hate, love relationship? Because like I feel like it's always my feeds. Like I need to change up my feed because I swear this past year, it's always about how the world is so horrible to women or how like some crazy controversy in tech or whatever. And it's like I understand all that stuff exists and stuff. Like that's been happening for a while. Like can I just see more puppies, or like I, so I always feel like I just, I need a break when I feel that way a little bit. But I'm with you. Some of my longest friends are or Twitter.

Joel Hooks: My top tip for Twitter is turning retweets off. Aggressively. It makes it way better. There was a, Julia Evans made a little program that would do it automatically, but last time I checked it was broken. But that was great. You can go through and just turn everybody's off and like it cleaned the entire thing up. But it's a bonsai tree. It's a constant battle against Twitter's, constant need to like try to monetize and, like make money versus us just wanting to communicate and have a sense of togetherness, which don't often have the same path to two different goals at all.

Stacey Mulcahy: I do love it though. I'm not going to lie it's still my nearest and dearest. So like I said, I have some friends I've met from conferences that I never would have met if it wasn't for Twitter. And I have a lot of good friendships that helps me keep in touch. So, it's good.

Joel Hooks: Stacey, it was great catching up with you and chatting today. Thank you.

Stacey Mulcahy: Thank you. You hear me sniffle because I'm still like, I cry. This is no good. I have a cold cold heart! Thanks so much.

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