Code Like A Girl: Reflections of Year Two and What’s Next
Two years ago I started the Code Like A Girl publication. I wanted to create a place that would be a force in changing the world's perceptions of women in technology. I had been attempting to do this as an individual for a long time and wanted to make a bigger impact than my voice alone could make. To achieve this, I would try amplifying the voices of as many women and male allies as possible.
I wanted a place where women could go to feel at home. To feel empowered, motivated, and supported. I wanted a place where men could go to get real, tangible ideas on how they could help. I wanted a place where parents and teachers could go to get ideas on how to get their girls interested in tech, so we could create a new larger generation of women in technology.
In reflection, this is what we have created and that makes my heart happy. However, halfway through this year, I got it in my head that I had to grow Code Like A Girl so that one day it could also become my livelihood. I started to focus more and more on how to increase readers and started looking for opportunities that might lead to profitable ideas. While some truly awesome things came out of that, Code Like A Girl started to feel less like my passion project and more of what I had to do. It became an overwhelming amount of work with very little of it giving me joy.
So when in the week of December 11th we had an article that polarized our readers, with some finding value in it and some being very offended by it, I started to question why I was doing this anymore. It isn’t a fun thing to be attacked on Twitter or disappoint many of your readers. It really made me think about what I want out of Code Like A Girl and what the goals of Code Like A Girl are.
I had many discussions with friends and family who had some very keen insight. My best friend reminded me that I dictate my involvement in Code Like A Girl, and not the other way around. That it doesn’t have to be my startup and can just be my passion, my hobby, my cause. Just because others may think the next logical step is to make it bigger and better, does not mean that is my next step.
My father reminded me that I must be careful with my mental health. That if I push myself too far, too hard, and for too long I will entirely burn myself out, which could lead to serious consequences.
My amazing husband reminded me that we do things because we get value out of them. We do them because we can make a living at it, or we do it because it fills our soul, or both. If Code Like A Girl was doing neither, then it wasn’t worth it. He offered 100% support of me continuing with Code Like A Girl if that is what I wanted: as either my everything or my hobby. He was even prepared for us to live on his salary alone for a number of years if I wanted to try and make a living with Code Like A Girl.
Here is the what I believe the crux of the issue is.
My original goals for Code Like A Girl are in direct conflict with building a sustainable perhaps even profitable company.
The things I want to do with it and the things you need to do to make money are on the opposite sides of the spectrum, when you try to have them meet in the middle you get an organization that isn’t fully meeting either of those goals.
So what is the result?
I am no longer going to try and make Code Like A Girl a thing I can live on, that isn’t what it needs to be to achieve its goals. I also love my job as Director of R&D at Arctic Wolf Networks. I love the people I work with, what we are doing for small enterprise companies, how we work, the technology that we are building, and that I get to work in cybersecurity. I don’t want to stop doing it and it provides a comfortable income for my family.
I don’t want to quit working on Code Like A Girl, it feeds my soul. I want to keep pushing to change perceptions of Women In Technology. I want it to create positive change, foster discussion, help women in tech find and own their careers, help parents and teachers inspire their girls to choose careers in technology, and help male allies understand the issues, build their skills, and offer their support.
So for the next year, I will stop worrying about pageviews, the number of followers we have on Medium or our social media platforms, or how Code Like A Girl can be profitable.
We will focus on doing the things we believe will help us achieve our goals. Supporting our writers, providing helpful thought provoking content, fostering and supporting our community, and ensuring we are making enough money to cover our operational costs (thanks so much to those of you who support us on Patreon, this makes a huge difference to us and allows us to focus on our work.)
If you believe in my mission, and believe Code Like A Girl could also feed your soul, I’d love your help and support. Here are a few ways you can get involved.
- Support us on Patreon,
- Submit your stories,
- Amplify our voices,
- Volunteer as an editor*, reviewer, or translator,
- Volunteer as the French Regional editor*,
Finally, I want to thank everyone that has been part of the Code Like A Girl story so far. The community you have helped create feeds my soul in a way I never thought possible. I truly hope it is doing the same thing for you. We are in this together. We are going to change the world together.
*To become an editor please leave a private note on this article with your email address and I will reach out to you directly.