An Intro to Ruby at Startup Weekend

I had no idea that my coding journey would begin at Startup Weekend Miami almost three years ago.

Not expecting more than a few days of tech discussions by entrepreneurs gracious enough to share war stories, I was surprised that I would be joining a team of strangers and we would be building a MVP for review Sunday evening.

(In fact, it wasn’t until the next day, Saturday, around 11 am, that I learned that MVP stood for minimum viable product.)

Led by a former PayPal product manager, our team built FlyBy, a communications app for business travelers. Using geolocation, the app would fill the time gap by giving business travelers the opportunity to meet and network with fellow travelers who were also using the app. A login via LinkedIn would solve registration headaches.

My role was marketing and customer strategy. I’d like to think that my suggestion that we also go B2B and sell enterprise licenses helped us win.

Here is a screenshot of the Twitter page I created: FlyBy on Twitter

But the lead developer opened up a whole new world for me. Talking a mile a minute, he discussed the technologies to build the prototype. (We went for iOS, though business travelers at the time were still known to be loyal to Blackberry.)

He also mentioned other languages, platforms, and technologies, including JavaScript (I heard of that one.), Python, Ruby, and Ruby on Rails.

‘Ruby on what?’ I asked.

Then everyone started talking about the new bootcamps which started earlier that year. Dev Boot Camp, Hack Reactor. People were quitting their jobs to move across the country and learn programming. People were creating applications, building companies. Learning. Helping others learn. A revolution was taking place – and I needed to be a part of it.

With my PR career having made a surprise turn just 3 months earlier, this was just the type of change I needed. I made a decision that Saturday afternoon: I was going to become a developer.

This blog will cover parts of my journey – the thrills, discoveries and surprises – and of course, what I’m learning. I have a feeling I’ll be learning for a long time.

On that Sunday evening of Startup Weekend Miami, we all gathered for a ‘class picture.’ Here I am, in the front row, wearing the bright orange polo shirt: StartupWeekend