Ricardo Sanchez
Coder, Photographer, Youtuber, Blogger

Notes

Sponsoring and promoting women and minorities in tech

The other day I saw the following tweet from Lara Hogan and it inspired me to do something about it.

The first thing that came to mind was what is the difference between mentoring and sponsoring, then I read the article, and while its focus is about women being over-mentored instead of sponsored, the article painted a clear picture about the differences between the two.

In short, the idea is that while women and other underrepresented minorities are being mentored more than ever, the number of them being sponsored is still low. Sponsoring within the context of helping them get a job, get a raise, a promotion, funding, etc.

This article and the tweet made me think about ways that I could help sponsor women and other underrepresented minorities to get their foot into tech and succeed in it.

Many years ago I was sponsored by a small business owner in Minnesota who believed in me. At that time I was a young Hispanic man who had just graduated from a technical school, didn’t have any professional experience, and couldn’t even speak English clearly (I am still working on it). This person knew that I didn’t have the experience but he saw something in me, he trusted me and took me under his wing. The way he sponsored me was by hiring me to take care of his small office local area network (LAN), maintaining the computers in it, and taking me with him to see his clients where I learned about the business, sales process, and how the business worked. Within a year, I was writing software, meeting with clients to explain the technical side of the projects, and helping with hiring and other tasks.

By the time I left this job to move to Texas (Minnesota winters are long and harsh), I had developed a few web applications, a couple of desktop apps, and an automated process which helped increase the revenue of this business and it also created new revenue streams and offerings to new and existing clients. I acquired experience and self-confidence. It was a win-win.

Today, while I am not in a position to hire or promote someone, I can help others get more exposure and self-confidence. As an organizer of a meetup group and a techie, I can sponsor underrepresented minorities by promoting them, their businesses, and their ideas with the rest of the Austin tech community.

I think we can all agree that diversity in tech (and everywhere) is not only beneficial for the people in these minority groups of which I am part of, but it is also beneficial for the company and people who work around them. A company who embraces diversity and inclusion in the workplace will have the advantage of having access to a variety of viewpoints, increased adaptability, and new perspectives and ideas.

There are already many organizations and programs to help bring underrepresented minorities to a level where they can compete for a job or start a business. However, there is still a lot of work to do to help them get to the finish line, or near it. Once people gain the skills and are ready to start a business or apply for a job, we can still do something to help them get a job, a promotion, a meeting with an investor, etc.

I can help by providing a framework and a platform for underrepresented minorities to expose themselves, their experience, their ideas, and their businesses. There is also a new list on Github that I created today where people can add themselves, a short bio, and a link to their website, business, etc. The goal is exposure and promotion.

This will at the very least increase their exposure and help them create those connections that are indispensable in any industry to succeed.

This is what I can do today.

Adios 2016 and welcome 2017

2016 was a very particular year; it was full of changes, experiences, learnings, and also frustrations and disappointments.

2016 is the year I realized my kids were getting older; my daughter started her senior year of high school (and began to send college applications!), one of my sons started high school, and our youngest moved up to 4th grade. Anyone with kids finishing and starting high school will understand about all the happiness this brings as well as the many, many, many challenges.

2016 was the first year I took a trip with my two older kids, just the three of us. It was fun. We went to San Francisco, and while it rained every day, we had an amazing time together.

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Introducing RethinkHub

It’s been a while since I launched a whole new project, the last one was Startup Interns, and that was about a year ago, and the project is doing pretty well. Today I would like to announce Rethink Hub, a subscription service that provides fully managed websites for small business and entrepreneurs.

Rethink Hub is going to be the fastest way to get a WordPress site up and running without having to worry about settings, configuration, plugins, security, etc. The best way to explain that is with a little tour.

Step one. Visit Rethinkhub.com and select a plan.

Step two. Tell us the location of your current site.

Step three. Visit a demo site showcasing your existing content (we’ll create this site).

Step four. Provide feedback, approve. That’s all!

We will take care of your website so you can take care of your business. See some of the services included in every plan: 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

3 Key steps to learn anything

Get Started:

  • Be curious
    • You want to learn about photography, coding, or how to play an instrument. You are curious about something and therefore you want to learn it. Being curious is indispensable to learn anything. If you force yourself to learn something or you feel pressured to do it, you’ll have a hard time learning. Remember school…?
  • Start doing
    • Start doing. Don’t worry about not having the right item or place to start doing and learn. For example, if you want to learn about photography and don’t have a good camera, then start with your phone. If you want to learn to play guitar start with a cheap guitar, don’t convince yourself you need to have the right equipment to make it happen. Start doing something rather than waiting for the right moment or equipment to do it.
  • Stay motivated
    • After you start doing and become better at it, it might be time for you to get some equipment, like a better camera for example. Once you start seeing some results and you outgrow your initial setup, place or equipment, then it isn’t a bad idea to invest a little more on it. Keep yourself inspired and don’t stop doing.

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Ingest Good Books and Avoid Junk Media

The majority of us know the benefit of eating well and avoiding junk food. And yet, we go on and consume junk media instead of ingesting healthy information such as books. Why?

Bad habits and easy-to-digest nuggets of junk information are to blame. We are a society that enjoys instant gratification and quick access to interesting news. We consume information that entertain us and not inform us or educate us about much of anything. Continue Reading

Creativity is You

If you let the fear of the unknown stop you from even starting, you won’t start

Creativity is YOU. It is not an activity but what you bring to it when you give yourself permission to make mistakes and not be afraid of it.

Creativity is on everything. When you don’t feel like being creative or think there is no room for creativity with the task at hand think again. Creativity is not something you learn or something you can turn on and off. Creativity is something that happens when you start doing something. To trigger creativity you might want to try things without thinking too much about the end result. Also, having some sort of limitations and/or restrictions usually triggers some creativity. Continue Reading

Summer is here

The summer is here and for those of us who have kids, it can be a time of fun and travel. At the same time summer can be frustrating and stressful for your kids if they are not busy doing something. It does not mean you need to have their entire summer planned up, but it helps if you can find them things to do while they are home and not in a camp or a family vacation. In this post, I write about an activity I found for my kids that I think is worth sharing. Continue Reading