Guy teaches homeless man to code, gets dumped on by Internet
Computer programmers are used to experimenting with ideas – but what happens when your experiment turns out to be a real, live person? One New York programmer is trying to "fix" a homeless person, down on his luck.
The Internet wasn't happy about it. A variety of pieces sprang up, calling him arrogant to presume that he could know this person's history, or plan on saving him by teaching him to code, without even knowing his name.
"What will the man choose? Money, or the opportunity to be some startup guy's insane vanity project?” asked Valleywag. “Stay tuned (for more social myopia)! We'll have to wait for the next update, which I hope won't occur because surely Patrick will realize this is degrading and horrible.”
“Leo is a genius particularly concerned with environment issues. As I sat there becoming increasing stunned, he rattled off import/export prices on food, the importance of solar and green energy, and his approval for 'efficient public transportation initiatives [referring to NY’s new Citibike]'", said McConlogue in an update. "He is smart, logical, and articulate. Most importantly, he is serious.”
And now, Leo has a Facebook page, too, which you can follow here. The next blog post over on Medium will come directly from Leo, and McConlogue is organizing a Meetup meeting to discuss some of the press feedback and explore more options for Leo, including a potential Kickstarter project for a temporary home.
It's easy to point the finger at people trying to do something constructive and criticize. I can think of lots of roadblocks here. Leo might have trouble finding basic food and shelter, let alone having time or comfort to learn coding. The project could end up offering temporary support and then leaving him out in the cold after his month is up. Lots of negative things could happen. But lots of good things could come out of this, too.
People may not agree with McConlogue’s approach. They might think him condescending, and question the wording in his blog. But at the end of the day, he's doing something, and he is giving a homeless person with no online voice the chance to reach out and connect online. I find it hard to pick fault with that, and I'm really not sure I want to. I'll be staying tuned to see what happens next.
Danny Bradbury, MSN Tech & Gadgets