Ricardo Sanchez
Coder, Photographer, Youtuber, Blogger

A day in Grand Central Terminal and Top of the Rock

My family and I enjoy road trips very much. This summer we started our road trip in Washington, DC, then drove to Brooklyn, NYC, Niagara Falls, Toronto Canada, and then back to NYC where we flew back home to Austin, TX.

This post is a photo essay about one of my favorite days in New York City.

Grand Central Station

We started the day as we always do, looking for what to do and where to go. As much as we plan to schedule, must of our decisions about places to visit and things to do we do on the spot.

Grand Central Station Continue Reading

A weekend of code, ideas, and diversity

This past weekend I attended the 2016 Diversity Hackathon organized by Women Who Code Austin. This event was a 3-day hackathon and a celebration of diversity. This type of event sparks my curiosity and creativity in a very particular way. There are always constraints of time, resources, equipment and space. And yet, somehow people at these events create interesting applications. It is very exciting and motivating to be part of a hackathon.

Photo: 2016 Diversity Hackathon

ATX Diversity Hackathon 2016

 

These events usually start with a networking meeting where hackathon participants have an opportunity to talk about their ideas, listen to other people’s ideas and to form new teams. The networking is also a good ice-breaker, and it helps participants feel a bit more relaxed and comfortable, knowing they’ll be working surrounded by strangers for up to three days.

Many people participate in hackathons as an opportunity to try a new programming language or framework. Others are looking to start a startup and see a hackathon as the perfect place to create a prototype of their app and perhaps even find people who can join them in their efforts. For example, I met a group of individuals who had just completed a computer programming boot camp in Austin, TX. They signed up for this hackathon to force themselves to write an application using the newly acquired knowledge and skills. One of them created a chat application using Angular, FireBase, and Bootstrap while the other group ended up creating something using Heroku, React, and MongoDB.

When I first heard of this hackathon, I noticed they were looking for mentors, and so I signed up as one. But after the second day, I didn’t have much to do, and so I decided to create a little app of my own. My goal wasn’t to use a new programming language or framework. Instead, I wanted to see what I could do with the Stack Exchange API. After brainstorming for a bit, I decided to visualize user data from StackOverflow.com on a map using the Google Maps API. The result was a fun application that lets you see where developers are in the world and what countries, states, and cities have the biggest concentration of them. I called my project, Hacker’s Map.

In the last day of the hackathon, there was a bit of chaos as the deadline to stop writing code was approaching. We had until 2:00 PM to write code and by 2:30 PM we had to send an email with a link to the app’s code repository, the app name, description, tech stack used, and some screen shots of the application. By 3:00 PM teams started demoing their project to all attendees, including a group of judges who was voting for the top 4 applications.

Everyone had a chance to explain what their app did. Each team had only a few minutes to present, so you needed to get to the point and try to show and describe your app as much as possible in just two minutes. It feels great to do a presentation under this pressure. There is something about it that I enjoy.

All in all, it was a great weekend. Three days of code, ideas, and diversity. I enjoyed mentoring, meeting people, writing code under pressure, eating sandwiches and drinking tons of coffee. I am already looking forward to the next hackathon.

If you are a new developer and are trying to get more experience under your belt, hackathons are a perfect place for this. Also, if you are an experienced developer but haven’t had a chance to participate in a hackathon, I urge you to sign up for one as soon as possible. You can take part as a hacker or a mentor. Either way, you’ll get the benefit of being surrounded by intelligent people, wanting to create something from scratch, under pressure, and with a very tight deadline. It is great, trust me. I am already looking for the next hackathon.

Many thanks to Women Who Code Austin, Capital Factory for hosting it, and everyone else involved in making this such a great event.

How to Monetize your Blog with Google AdSense

google adsenseHow to monetize your blog? When you’ve had a blog for a while with plenty of content and visitors, one of the options you have it to monetize it is displaying ads.

You care about your site and your content, and you should care about the ads you choose to show in your website.

Google AdSense offers relevant ads and it gives you control over the look and the position of these ads.

In this article, we’ll show you how to use AdSense to monetize your blog. Continue Reading

How to remove the date from your WordPress blog posts

In this blog post, I will show you how to remove the date from your WordPress blog posts without losing traffic. WordPress is the most popular blogging platform out there, it is widely used not just for blogs but also for full featured websites by professionals and businesses. One of the reasons of its popularity is that you can get a simple blog started within minutes. There are a multitude of free plugins and themes available to you to help you create and launch your blog in a short amount of time.

One of the most common mistakes people new to WordPress do when starting a blog is to leave the default permalink option. The default permalink option often includes a post id or the date and name of a post. While the date and name of post isn’t the worst option, it is also not the best one if you care about search engine optimization (SEO). Continue Reading

Photography, beyond the hobby

One World Trade Center

It is a passion and a potential opportunity for income. Photography is something that I, like most people have always been interested in. It all started with snapshots and eventually evolved to more elaborate shots. The person who started it all was my wife. She has been documenting our lives with photographs for many years. My sons and daughter are also my inspiration as they have the talent and creativity that I can just dream of.

Despite that I never had any formal education around photography, it didn’t take me long to learn and understand some of the basic things like good lighting and composition. This has giving me the opportunity to appreciate photography even more and has motivated me to keep learning. Continue Reading

What is your dream job?

dream job

Have you asked yourself this question? what’s your dream job? To be honest I am not sure if I can answer this question. My dream job is really a list of things I am actually doing presently and other things I wish I could do as well.

I am curious to know what your dream job is so I created a page where you can answer this question:

http://startupinterns.co/whatisyourdreamjob

So tell me, what is your dream job?

After collecting enough answers I’ll be sending the aggregated results to the email address you use when answering the question in this page.

A new marketplace for Interns and Startups

portfolio-2016-12-65Summer is already here and internship opportunities out there still abound. There are many job sites listing opportunities as well as job fair and hiring events organized by large size companies. Yet, internships and regular job opportunities at startup companies are difficult to find. There are smaller events such as meetups where students and startups can find each other and maybe start a relationship. These type of events might work, but they are hard to scale and don’t reach as many people as an online marketplace can. Therefore, after doing some research and testing the idea using a Google form, I decided to write some code and deploy this website. It is a new marketplace for interns and startups. Continue Reading

Optimistic for tomorrow

journeyThere are some of us who are very optimistic about the future, and some of us who aren’t. The difference is clear – pessimistic people believe the best days are a thing of the past and anything new is not as good as it was. Optimistic people see the future as an opportunity to be and to do better, even if every day that passes means we are one day closer to the end.

Are you optimistic or pessimistic? Being optimistic about the future means you don’t only adapt to change but you embrace it. You believe there is always a chance to make it better. It also means you are confident (or naive) enough to think you and the people around you are capable of improving the present to live an improved future. Continue Reading

Experiment, fail and spread your ideas

experimentswithpurposeFirst of all, stop being a people pleaser. When you try to please people around you, it makes it hard to try experiments, to take risks, and to embrace change.

Failing isn’t popular, and it is scary for many people. Some people are OK with failing fewer times, as if there is a right number of times to fail. The more you fail the more you learn. If you aren’t failing often, you aren’t taking enough risks and not trying enough experiments.

Fear is the biggest blocker of change. It is the main reason people don’t experiment enough. There is fear of failing and being ridiculed. We have been thought all of our lives that failing is what irresponsible people do. By experimenting and embracing failure, you are already ahead of most people. After enough failures you’ll learn what most people don’t and eventually, you’ll find the successes that most people won’t.

Experiment, fail, and do it all with purpose. The best way to experiment is when you do it with purpose and when you measure the results. An experiment cannot be successful if you fail and then ignore what didn’t work. A successful experiment has to prove something, then you find out what worked and what didn’t and start again.

Experiment, connect, disturb, inspire, and keep learning. That’s the only way you can truly learn and spread your ideas.

Characteristics of Leaders

IMG_0012What is leadership? what does it mean to be a good leader? It doesn’t mean you get to boss people around. It doesn’t mean that you make all the decisions. It also doesn’t mean that you are the person with all the answers. Wit  share some characteristics of great leaders as I see them around me and the community.

A good leader is humble, it is an enabler, a good listener, an organizer, a connector and a coach. Leaders are not experts. They get experts together and enable them to apply their expertise. Leaders don’t tell people what to do, instead they listen and ask many questions.

If you want to be a leader you need to be ready to check your ego at the door and be humble. You also need to be able to make informed decisions and empower people to do the same. You don’t have to be the smarter person in the room, you just need to be able to identify those who are. Continue Reading