LindzonPalooza and learning programming languages
Brad Feld a few years ago:
I spent this weekend at LindzonPalooza. Once a year Howard Lindzon gets together a bunch of his friends at the intersection of financing, tech, media, and entrepreneurship, we descend on The Del in Coronada, and have an awesome 48 hours together. Many interesting and stimulating things were said, but one I remember was from Peter Pham over dinner. It was a simple line, “why do we teach languages in junior high and high school but not a computer language?” that had profound meaning to me.
I'm a huge fan of that idea. Teaching programming is incredibly useful for anyone, especially people who aren't going to end up as programmers.
We need to make sure we don't do it as a way to punish people who are more right-brained than left-brained, but as a way to really strengthen logical and creative thinking. But, boy, would it be useful.
Ever since seeing Scott McCloud's cartoon Understanding Comics, I've been wanting to see an "Understanding Comics" for learning the basics of making software. It was part of Philip Greenspun's genius that he can make programming accessible to people.
When I worked at ArsDigita, we would routinely teach the problem set from his 6.916 MIT course to non-programmers as a way to educate people ... and recruit the best talent from the classes to work for the company. He attracted some amazing people. Been wanting to copy that recruiting strategy ever since. But I digress...