Congrats! We’re excited to meet you :)
Thanks! I’m excited too, and made a huge list of things I want to work on, probably enough to fill a year. But I also want to go with the flow and not plan too much :)
We definitely need a similar place in western Europe…
Oh yes, definitely. I bet a ton of people would be interested in signing up for something like that.
Go to your local hacking space?
I have a bit of trouble to understand the point of going through 3 application rounds to take time off, not get paid and meet other people taking time off and not getting paid.
Sounds a bit like doing Erasmus…
People have been doing write-ups about the benefits if you’re wondering about them. The mains ones I’m seeing across the write-ups are:
A break from mentally-taxing work to only do the work they want. People tend to do one or more fun projects there instead of those they’re usually forced to by work. It’s also common to do both concentrated learning and building activities.
Improved focus since they’ve left environments with a lot of distractions. Obviously, they might need a gameplan for email, phone notifications, etc. Based on prior data, I’ll also add their focus at RC might improve by the mental and financial commitment they made by going there. Many who might get distracted doing random stuff on the Internet at home will try harder to complete their project to avoid walking away with nothing. Double true if they lost pay like you indicated. That makes the trip more like an investment.
A crowd of people to learn from or help. They usually like listening to interesting projects others are doing there. Face-to-face provides a different experience than just Googling summaries on their Githubs or something. Regardless, I speculate that these connections with others can be a mental break from or boost for the focused projects people are doing at RC. Kind of a pause for them to let stuff process with extroverts benefting directly having people to talk to on top of that.
You might get a job. RC is run by recruiters. People with not-so-great employment doing 1-3 might have some job skills or portfolio additions to show off. That they keep funding it is either some serious charity or the fact that they’re getting enough people jobs to keep funding it. Probably a mix of both. So, there could be job-seekers visiting who would rather not be doing 20-30 sessions of whiteboard coding in front of non-coders assessing their skill. RC might be a better experience.
Of course, this assessment is based on just a handful of posts I’ve read written by people who visited. Anyone who visited or works there feel free to correct anything that seems off.
I would say these are all pretty spot on! I keep meaning to write a “Why RC?” page for our website that clearly and directly answers the question of why you might want to come, but for now you can get a pretty good idea by reading our about page and the things linked from it under “Further Reading”
I think the only thing missing from is that RC is about more than just the time you spend at the retreat—you’re also joining a tight-knit community of peers dedicated to teaching and learning from each other. The value of this is tremedous, but hard to capture in words. If any other RC alums want to jump in here and try to explain it I think that would be great :)
On point 4—all of RC’s operations, including our living expense grants for people underrepresented in programming, are funded by our recruiting revenue! You can read more about the career benefits of RC on our page about this and in our manual.
I’m one of many alums. Here are a couple thoughts on my experience, which I found very positive and better than regular unemployment:
I learned a lot about myself and improved a lot as a learner at RC - much more so, I think, than I would have if I had just been unemployed for a few months on my own.
I am not as involved in the alum community as I’d like to be but it sure seems fun. It’s nice to feel like you share a connection with some pretty interesting and accomplished people. It’s a diverse crew and I like seeing what different people are thinking and learning about. I also like that, collectively, the community knows a lot and will help you with your problems if you need them.
Sounds like a hacker space to me. My city has two, and if I hop onto a train I can get to another 5 in less than an hour.
The whole concept of having application rounds asking someone for permission to spend your own, free, unpaid time on the things you want to do … that sounds very foreign to me, maybe it’s just some concept that’s more widely understood in the US.
If grown-up people are unable to make an independent, autonomous decision on how to spend their time, this looks like a parenting/education failure to me.
It is not a hacker space, any more than a blank wall beneath a bridge where you can spray paint is an artist’s colony.
It’s a focused retreat for programmers to gather in one space for a period of time with other programmers, who are all there, as @jamesjporter says, to teach and learn from each other about how to be a better programmer, including theory, hardware, new models and techniques, etc.
I don’t know what else you’re misunderstanding about it, but I suggest you withhold public judgement until you learn more.
The social signal is different - “hacking on stuff” vs. “hacking on stuff, as a result of passing 3 application rounds”. Beyond that, the application filter presumably also has some sort of effect on who’s there, compared to regular “open” hacking spaces.
Holy crap dude, congratulations!
I am delighted for you! I really enjoy following your projects. You’ve been communicating about your upcoming work and goals really well, and then delivering on those promises. It’s been making me feel like setting up a blog and writing about it to structure my projects.
Go have fun this summer! I’ll be excitedly waiting your posts!
Thanks a lot! Yes you should definitely write about your projects :-) It takes some pushing to get started, but after a dozen or more posts the ball starts rolling downhill. At least, that was my experience. I sometimes feel I spend too much time writing vs. coding, but the effort is almost always rewarded (i.e. people reading what I wrote).