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Jen Looper and Diana Rodriguez join us on the Eat Sleep Code podcast to talk about how they built up the successful developer community, Vue Vixens.

On this episode of Eat Sleep Code, Jen Looper and Diana Rodriguez discuss Vue Vixens, an organization of people who identify as women and who want to learn Vue.js to make websites and mobile apps. Jen and Diana share their story of creating and building a successful developer community and growing Vue Vixens into a worldwide organization.

You can listen to the entire show and catch past episodes on SoundCloud. Or just click below.

Jen Looper

looperj_portrait

Jen Looper is a Google Developer Expert and a Senior Developer Advocate at Progress with over 15 years of experience as a web and mobile developer. Based in Boston, Jen specializes in creating cross-platform mobile apps. She's a multilingual multiculturalist with a passion for hardware hacking, mobile apps, machine learning and discovering new things every day. Jen is a mom of two college-aged girls and loves helping women achieve their full potential. www.jenlooper.com/

Diana Rodriguez

diana

Diana Rodriguez is a Full Stack Developer & DevOps based in Buenos Aires. With over 15 years of experience and a strong background in backend and infrastructure, Diana likes to bring together the best of both worlds. She's a regular participant of local meetups such as Vuenos Aires, WorkshopJS, etc and has mentored in JavaScript101 and Nardoz. With some upcoming speaking opportunities in some international events, she's super enthusiastic about everything to encourage people to start a career in development and a fan of female devs and devops. In her spare time she likes to play videogames and taekwondo.

Show Notes

Show Transcripts

If you prefer reading to listening, we've got a complete transcript for you as well. Dig in below:

[music]

 

00:15 Ed Charbeneau: This episode and every episode is brought to you by Progress, the makers of Telerik.net and Kendo UI JavaScript components and controls, helping you easily build modern, high-performance web, mobile, desktop apps and even chatbots. If you enjoy the show, please check us out telerik.com and see what we have to offer.

 

[music]

 

00:40 EC: Hello, and welcome to Eat Sleep Code, the official Telerik podcast. I'm your host, Ed Charbeneau and with me today is Diana and Jen of Vue Vixens. How are you doing, ladies?

 

00:53 Jen Looper: Hi everybody, this is Jen and I'm really happy to be here today.

 

00:58 Diana Rodriguez: Hi, this is Diana. I'm also really happy to be here, too. Cheers.

 

01:04 EC: And you both run a group. Is it a group, an organization? You can fill us in but you guys both run Vue Vixens, can you tell us a little bit about what that is?

 

01:17 JL: Sure, so I don't know if your users are familiar with some organizations out there such as ngGirls or Django Girls or Rails Bridge, but there's a sort of a pattern that we've seen that a lot of language-specific communities tend to also organize groups for women to join in the fun basically, to sort of encourage learning amongst women developers. And we were inspired to create this organization of Vue Vixens, specifically after I participated in ngGirls, and I was at Angular, ng-europe actually in Paris. I was one of the mentors and I helped lead the workshop and it just struck me that we really need something like this for Vue. We also need it for React, but I'm not as familiar with that community. So yeah, we just created this organization and it's taken off like wildfire actually. So I'm yeah, I'm the founder, and we have many other people involved.

 

02:17 EC: Sounds really interesting, and we'll get into a lot of the details on that in a moment. Before we do, Jen, tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do in software development.

 

02:28 JL: Sure, yeah. My name is Jen Looper and I am a developer advocate at Progress. I'm actually Ed's colleague, full disclosure. [chuckle] We work in the same company in the same department, and my concentration is a little bit more on the mobile side so I work with NativeScript and with mobile technologies. A little bit with web, a little bit with Kendo so that we sort of handled these products. But I've been a developer for 18 years in other companies, and just recently moved, over the last maybe four years, into developer advocacy. So a little bit different role but also always dealing with software and always dealing with developer communities.

 

03:06 EC: And Diana, how about yourself?

 

03:09 DR: I am DevOps/Asari/Full Stack Developer. Well, I have over 15 years of experience. By the way, my name is Diana Rodriguez and well I came to know Vue, thanks to one of my good friends and mentor Matty Blair from Argentina. And now I'm part of Vue Vixens, and I'm the Regional Director for Latin America, and this is super exciting.

 

[chuckle]

 

03:48 JL: Yeah, we should mention that Diana is based in Argentina and I'm based in Boston.

 

03:53 EC: And yeah, I've seen a lot of positive tweets and just kind of things happening around Vue Vixens, so I thought it'd be great to have you all on the show to talk about some of those good things that are happening and watching this organization take off has been really refreshing, so thank you both for making time to be on the show today, to kinda clue us in to what's going on.

 

04:20 JL: Oh, thank you, it's really fun. Yeah, it's been a really wild ride and an extraordinary experience. I like to launch things, I like to create things and build things but I've never actually seen this kind of success. [chuckle] It's taken me by surprise that it's been so nicely received, and I have to give a shout out to Progress for being so kind of deeply invested in the success of this project. They've given me free rein and they've given me a little bit of budget, and I really do appreciate that.

 

04:51 EC: That's one of the reasons I actually work for the company is, and wanted to work for the company is, they have a good outlook in the community, and they like to invest in the community and they genuinely like to support the community.

 

05:06 JL: For sure.

 

05:07 EC: That's what attracted me to the role.

 

05:09 JL: Yeah.

 

05:10 EC: So let's give listeners a little bit of a quick overview of what exactly is Vue in case they haven't heard of it.

 

05:19 JL: Right. So Vue or Vue.js, as it's known, is basically a framework for front-end development. So instead writing Vanilla JS, Vanilla JavaScript, you can go ahead and use a framework such as Vue, and it helps you get your websites and your mobile apps up and running relatively quickly and painlessly. There are a bunch of front-end frameworks, there's... The big three at this point are kinda Angular, React and Vue. Vue is the kind of baby up and coming, adorable stepchild [chuckle] of these frameworks. And just to sort of give a large idea of the differences between them. I would say Angular is a quite opinionated framework, it has... It gives very strong guidelines and ideas of how you can start developing front... Your front end, and also how you should be handling some of the back end as well, before you connect to your database. It's great for the enterprise, it's beloved by many folks who also are favorable to Google because it's a Google product. The team within Google is working on Angular so it has a little bit different feel than some of these other frameworks. It's a little bit more opinionated, a little bit more heavy-handed. React is the kind of the rock star, I guess, of front-end development. I don't know, Diana, if you agree with this. [chuckle]

 

06:48 DR: I totally agree with it, yeah.

 

[laughter]

 

06:51 JL: Yeah, and I'm not... I've never done much with React. What I understand is that web developers and people who have been dealing with HTML and CSS particularly, are attracted to Angular but functional developers might be interested in the way React sort of all fits together. And then Vue come across as... One person described Vue.js as if Angular and React got together and had a baby, that would be Vue.

 

[laughter]

 

07:20 JL: Inappropriate, but it's kind of in between. It has its roots actually from within Angular 1 and prior to 2 when everything changed, because the guy who created Vue, Evan, Evan You, he has ties to Google and he was working in the Google Creative Labs, I believe, when Angular 1 was kind of big. And he took a lot of ideas from Angular 1 and kind of brought them into Vue. You can kind of... So people who really enjoyed Angular 1, like me, [chuckle] might feel comfortable with some of the syntax of Vue. And at the same time, it is built as a responsive framework, so it doesn't have the kind of DOM manipulation protocol that jQuery has. So for those functional developers who are very interested in a lightweight, fast, not so opinionated framework, but don't wanna deal with React, might be interested in jumping into Vue development. It's very quick to take up and learn. It's really great for beginners, because it's got a pretty flat learning curve, and the docs are actually some of the best in the business, so that's a great kind of entry point for those who want to get into one in mobile development.

 

08:42 DR: I totally agree with Jen.

 

08:43 EC: So how do you...

 

08:44 DR: Sorry for butting in. [chuckle] It's definitely true. And I may add that one of the things that actually made me get into Vue is this unobtrusive reactivity system. So just a fact that you can handle models as a plain JavaScript object. It made it easy for me and coming from back end and SysAdmin / DevOps background, I really wasn't willing to deal with a steep learning curve because, as we are now on the go, we need to sort of get in check and just getting worked on. So Vue was especially friendly for me, and it's just very intuitive, as Jen said. That's something I wanna do out from this side of... The dark side of development.

 

[chuckle]

 

09:52 EC: Yeah that was exactly what I was gonna ask, Diana, was what kind of brought you to Vue and why did you adopt that as your framework of choice? But you answered that, [chuckle] pre-cognitively.

 

[chuckle]

 

10:09 JL: Vue also has a terrific community built around it. It's a really friendly, friendly place and there's a lot of people building things very, very quickly to make it even better, you know, new... Well, Vue press is a good example actually. Evan launched this, but it keeps getting better. It's a way to create docs written in Vue, so that you can go ahead and very quickly launch a really nice quality and good looking set of docs. There's some kind of nice ecosystem, is building up around this new, new child. [chuckle]

 

10:43 EC: So I haven't had hands-on with Vue yet. I've kind of read about it and been to some sessions on it to kinda understand the basics of it, but what I like about it, at least from what I've seen, is that it has similarities to jQuery in the respect that it's simple and easy to get started with. You can go as simple as just adding a CDN to your page or a JavaScript file to your page and that's it. You don't need a complex build pipeline to get going.

 

11:17 JL: Mm-hmm. And another good thing about it is its... Because it's called the kind of progressive framework, you can drop bits and pieces of Vue apps into your current app. So everything kind of plays well together, that we saw a terrific case study in Paris by L'Oréal. They have a... As you can imagine, a tremendous web presence and it's all localized and heavily customized for their regions, and they're basically dropping bit by bit Vue elements into this website. Eventually to perhaps be entirely done in Vue, but as a way to maintain your code and go forward, it has this nice ability to just pop in where it's wanted.

 

11:58 DR: So what was kind of the inspiration or the turning point where you said, "Alright, we're gonna start a group around this." You said it was inspired by ngGirls, was that correct?

 

12:10 JL: Mm-hmm. Yep, that's right.

 

12:11 EC: And then... But what was that moment, you were like, "We have to do this for Vue"?

 

12:16 JL: Yeah, that's an interesting question. I'm trying to think of that tah-dah moment. I guess...

 

12:22 EC: Maybe it was a little more organic? I don't know.

 

12:24 JL: Yeah, I remember talking to Sarah Drasner after I got back from Paris, from ng-Girls. Sarah Drasner is one of these luminaries. And I was just thinking, "You know, I just got done with ng-Girls, we really need this for Vue." It seems to me, this is like an iron that's waiting to be struck. And I didn't wanna call it Vue girls, I'm not a huge fan of this girl's business. [chuckle] That ship has sailed in my case.

 

[laughter]

 

12:51 JL: We just wanted to alter Vue a little bit more trans-friendly. So I was trying to figure out a name, and she said, "Well, there must be an alliteration here." And I was like, "Aha-ha-ha. It's gotta be Vixens." It just kind of took off from there. I launched it on stage at the Vue, Amsterdam, this huge conference in this monster theater in last... I guess it was last February. So we've only been around for like a half a year, but I was just shocked at the... That was kind of me floating a balloon and seeing who's interested, but then I started getting all these Tweets and all this love from the community saying, "Yes, this is something that needs to happen." So I guess that was the push to just get moving, and then right after that, I found Natalia who is my CTO at this point. She's... Without Natalia, I could never have done this, because she started helping with the writing of the workshops, and it's really great to find someone where you can just kind of give an idea and then, shazam, it's just done. It's just an amazing experience for me. So we got really, really lucky with our choices. With the people who came forward and volunteered.

 

13:56 EC: And Diana, how did you find out about it or get involved?

 

14:01 DR: Well, I attended a Vue meetup in Buenos Aires, it's called "VuenosAires". In Spanish Vue, is pronounced "Vu-we". No one does it but that's literally how it sounds.

 

[chuckle]

 

14:15 DR: So I went to the meet up at it was amazing. I was worried because we were only three girls in there and I was like "Okay, we need more women here, because this is amazing, and I wanna spread the love" And then Ignacio Anaya, one of the organizers, said to me, "Hey, I just came across this Twitter account called Vue Vixens, why don't you get in touch with them?" And that night... And it was funny, 'cause you know how meet-ups roll and I had a few many beers and I still [chuckle] took my phone and decided, "Okay, I'm gonna do this even though I'm a bit tipsy." I sent a DM to Jen and she was about to board a plane at the time, and she was really nice to me. She just said "Look... " Because I said, "Well, I'd like to start a chapter in Argentina. I see what you're doing and I wanna be part of it." And it was awesome. She just said, "Yeah. I need to board this plane, but we will talk."

 

15:18 DR: For me, it was love at first sight. I have to say that it's been amazing. I never thought this would become what it is. I've had all the support I needed to kick-start it here in Argentina, not only from Vue Vixens and Jen directly, but also from the community. 'Cause we were all interested in making it happen and it's something new, it's something fresh. The women and those who had identify with women and those who collaborate with our community are awesome people and there's this happy atmosphere. And the most important part of it is that we feel safe. It's great to have people to come to, to talk to and well, I know it's been great so far. [chuckle]

 

16:16 JL: It has... Full disclosure, again, I just got back from Argentina, so there's tremendous amount of virtual hugs going on behind the scene.

 

[laughter]

 

16:24 DR: Totally.

 

16:25 JL: 'Cause yeah, 'cause Diana's awesome, and her community is unbelievably great. The amount of energy and passion and excitement in Argentina is a big eye opener and I'm very excited to continue our collaborations 'cause they're awesome, awesome.

 

16:44 EC: That sounds like you have a great team together. Is there anybody else that is instrumental in helping you with Vue Vixens?

 

16:51 JL: Yeah. We are, as we scale very, very quickly, we are always on the prowl for new regional directors in the style of Diana. Diana's the first. And we now have Sara Vieira who is based in Portugal. Although I think she's moving to Berlin. So she has become our European regional director and she's... If somebody's in Europe says, "Hey, I wanna throw an event," then she's the one that you would contact. So that's how we're scaling up. And she is a luminary in the React community, so we're very excited to steal her away.

 

[laughter]

 

17:25 JL: Into the Vue landscape.

 

[laughter]

 

17:27 DR: You know what?

 

17:28 JL: So yeah.

 

17:29 DR: What I like about this is that it actually scaled so quickly that we need regional directors to take care of local communities and people asking for our presence, or wanting to be part of it, and it's crazy. Just in a couple of days, Jen and I are going to speak to people in Mexico on the line. We're gonna speak online to people in Mexico City willing to start a... To have some Vixen love in Mexico City and we're moving on to other places in South America as well, like Uruguay, Brazil, Chile. It's amazing. It's a privilege to be part of this and it's a privilege to have Jen right there next to me.

 

18:29 JL: That's wonderful. [laughter] Yeah, it's been great just to watch the growth. And especially when you can reach communities kind of organically and directly like that, then they're so much more engaged, I think. But we've watched this happen with ng-Girls as well. Like, at this point, ngGirls, I think they did a meet-up in... They did an event in Pakistan. That's astonishing. And it was like, I don't know how many, it's like, huge. It's just... There's a tremendous desire and demand for these kind of events and all we have to do is give the keys to the community and then the community goes and runs with it.

 

19:06 EC: Now, the community that you're talking about, I know you're talking about more broadly in that term, but as far as the Vue Vixens community, do you have an idea or a sense of how many people that entails?

 

19:21 JL: Good question. So I just closed Slack. Let me see if I can open that. [chuckle] So I know we've got 1300 Twitter followers. Diana, do you see a number on Slack? A hundred and something? On Slack.

 

19:33 DR: Yes, it's over 169 directly. The people that we've spoken to directly.

 

19:41 JL: Okay.

 

19:43 DR: I actually have the stats in front of me.

 

19:47 JL: Oh yeah.

 

[chuckle]

 

19:51 DR: But yeah. So directly, we have reached to 163 women, over 10 mentors in various locations, including online masterclasses and upcoming events. We've had women participate from various age ranges from 13 to 78 in Argentina only.

 

20:18 EC: Oh amazing.

 

20:19 JL: Which is incredible. Yeah, we had this lovely grandma, which is amazing.

 

20:22 DR: Oh yes, we had a grandmother. We had a 13 year old kid there, just learning with us. And I think that's what we want to promote. And of course, in Argentina we have now over 250 followers, we started small. Just to give you an idea of how things escalated quickly. We were supposed to have a meet-up, just a regular meet-up and a small skulk, and it ended up becoming a full day mini-conference. And we had two sessions and we had to do it this way, because everybody wanted to collaborate. Even the luminaries of the local communities in Argentina wanted to be part of it and even being mentors. So we got a lot of requests from speakers who wanted to participate, and it was difficult to pick from all of them. But now I know that for future events, we will always have people ready to come and help us, which is... It's awesome. And now they expect Vue Vixen's days every two or three months, which is...

 

21:36 JL: Tah-dah!

 

[laughter]

 

21:37 DR: I was... Yeah, so our mailbox and Twitter DM and Slack and my own private messages, we're exploding after the event and we're super pumped, we're super, super pumped.

 

21:53 JL: Yeah, yeah. So she's referring to the Twitter account, Vue Vixens AR. So that's the Argentina Vue Vixens. Basically, as you scale, we'll give you... I'll create a little logo with the flag and then you can just run with it. And then, yeah. I just counted, we've got 140 on Slack users. So yeah, it's... And then what we... Just also to give you the terminology, when we do an event, we call it a skulk. Because foxes form groups and that's a skulk.

 

22:21 EC: Ahh.

 

[laughter]

 

22:23 JL: That's a group of, like a gaggle of geese, we have a skulk of foxes as we were. I just like the word skulk as well, it sounds very savage.

 

[laughter]

 

22:33 JL: But yeah, so yeah and we've had... I don't... Diana, can you tell from the stats, how many skulks we've actually had, I think, maybe 8 or 10?

 

22:41 DR: Yep. I'm looking right now and we've had... Yes, 10 events until now. And the rest of the year is crazy packed. And for sure, we're still booking all the way to next year. Right Jen?

 

23:00 JL: Yeah, we started booking into next year. But yeah, you can always go to our website, vuevixens.org, and take a look at the upcoming events, which are all listed on the home page. So, New York, Spain, London, Vancouver, Atlanta, Bulgaria, Canada and Germany, are all set.

 

23:15 EC: Yeah, this is exciting stuff. So you all have hundreds in each group. It sounds like worldwide, these groups are meeting all over the place and you're spreading knowledge and mentorship all over the world.

 

23:33 JL: Yeah, yeah. It's exciting, especially the places where communities are just starting to form. So we saw this happen in New Orleans. We had our first... The first US Vue conference was in New Orleans. And you can see kind of people just starting and coalescing. We'll see the same thing I think, in Atlanta. I'm real curious to see how that's gonna go. That'll be for Connect.Tech conference. So we'll gather people and everybody can be a mentor, the events are for women, but we are happy to have help from every one.

 

24:07 EC: Excellent. And what kind of materials are you all covering in the workshops? Do you do just beginner stuff? Do you have different advanced courses? How do the workshops and sessions usually run?

 

24:21 JL: Yeah, so we have... One thing that I noticed in the ngGirls curriculums, they basically, for over a whole day they build a to-do app in Angular. And I kind of wanted to do something a little bit different 'cause I found that I was totally embarrassed but I got horribly lost [chuckle] right after lunch, and I was like, "What am I doing?" So, I was supposed to be a mentor and I got horribly lost. So what I thought is... In our workshops, we will create modular workshops so that if you get lost, you can throw everything away and start fresh. So our workshops are delivered in chapter format, six chapters over a day, five of them on web technologies and you build a pet shop app, and then you make a companion app for your companion, of course, on mobile. So we have a little NativeScript chapter at the end. That's for a full day event, or you can do... We have what we call minis, so you can just do for an hour, sit with your friends and build a tiny mobile app or a teeny website, and learn one thing.

 

25:22 JL: The content is basically getting started from zero to somewhere in Vue. And definitely a lot of people are just learning about NativeScript through this initiative. So the NativeScript playground is extremely helpful with just getting folks started. And we also use CodeSandbox, which is an in-browser editor, and it works great for Vue, so people don't have to bother with too many installations, you can just start coding immediately. So, yeah, beginner-friendly, web and mobile delivered in modular format, and it's all open-source. You can go to website and click on workshops, and everything's right there.

 

26:00 EC: So you can work on these if you're just at work with some spare time, you wanna do a lunch-and-learn or if you're at an event and...

 

26:07 JL: Yeah, definitely and we do... In New Orleans we had a breakfast, so we just built a mobile app, built mini workshop number one over the course of breakfast, and we just had a blast. So that was the proof of concept for me that minis work really well. If you wanna do a half day we do... Let's see, we do... There's a mini web and then we put a mini mobile. So we do mini two and then mini one, and that's basically covers a half day. That's what we did in Argentina. And by the end of it, you've got a full web and mobile app and it looks great, it's exciting.

 

26:40 DR: One of the things I like about our content, and this is something I addressed in our presentation in Argentina, was that it is so well put together, so well-explained. There's so much heart into it, and you go through it, and the cool thing is that in the course of the workshop, you will get a result. So there's nothing more motivating for anyone starting or it doesn't matter how far you're in this path, that to have immediate results when you're learning something new. So you go home and you have an app, and then that sort of makes you wanna share it with your peers and also gives you a good starting point to start figuring out how to build other things, because you already understood basic concepts. And this is something I totally dig about our content.

 

27:42 JL: Definitely, definitely. We also have a workshop on Photon. So this is a little IoT workshop, you know how we love our IoT. [chuckle] So there's a mini workshop through that you can build a rainbow unicorn app that lights up IoT devices, very exciting. [chuckle] And we were given developer kits by our partners at Particle IO and they've been really generous 'cause those things are 30 bucks a pop. So, I was really happy that they partnered with us and we built a little content around them and then we can share knowledge about both Photons and NativeScript in a workshop. I'm gonna do this in New York City at the end of the month, so that's another little cool mini that you can do.

 

28:25 EC: Very cool. In regards to Vue Vixens, have you all had any challenges that you've overcome that you'd like to share with listeners?

 

28:37 JL: Diana, go ahead, did you have...

 

[laughter]

 

28:42 DR: Okay, let's put it this way. I personally had a few challenges with some men who didn't particularly understand what we are about and what our mission is. And most of them came with some hate messages and a little bit of trolling trying to depict us as exclusive. And this is something I'd like to be very clear with. We're not a pink coral, definitely. If things were great, if there was equality to men and women in general, not only in the tech world, we wouldn't exist. We probably would be Vue Vixens for everyone, and it's cool, right? But we do target an underrepresented minority because it does exist, and we focus our efforts on uplifting and bringing these women and those who identify as such, to learn, to have fun, to be confident, and what they do to have a safe environment to grow and then become part of the global ecosystem.

 

30:14 DR: Personally, this is my own personal view, I don't feel like I'm offending anyone with this, we're just trying to get more women in tech and overcome those barriers. I had a lot of people say some difficult things to me, and I still stand my ground and my position on saying that definitely we're not wiling to single out anyone, but at this moment there is a vulnerable sector of technology that is not being taken care of and that's where we're focusing our efforts, and there's no shame on it. So I guess that's one of my biggest challenges, and I think Jen has gone through that too.

 

31:11 JL: Yeah, I mean I've had... I've been called some naughty names in the comments of the articles we've written when we were launching. There's a lot of miscomprehension, a lot of anger, and I'm kind of at the point where I kind of don't respond, because I don't think I wanna get into an argument that I can't win. So all we can do is show our success and take care of our people. And we're taking care of beginners, but we're also, and this is a little unique to our organization, probably because I've been in the business for so long, that I wanna also take care of the mid-career women who get really discouraged. So there's a pipeline problem in tech for women but there's also an attrition problem. And I wanna be as well as safe space for people who are just getting burnt out. I wanna make sure that they feel comfortable with our group but also that they might wanna build their career and I can help... We can help them get on stage if they wanna become a conference speaker, if they wanna rehearse slides with us, they're gonna like elevate themselves, and help us help them to elevate themselves. That's another focus that I wanna make sure to take care of. So we're not gonna be beloved by everyone, but I think within our group we're doing some serious, serious good so that's what's important to me.

 

32:33 EC: Yeah, it's a shame that there's folks out there like that. I can't really relate to the anger and the outlash part of it. I mean I'm open for having an intelligent discussion on why you decided to form the group the way you did and target the audience you targeted, but to be hateful and mean and just come at you on email or Twitter with hateful messages, there's just no room for that. I, for one am excited for you, your whole team, and everybody involved that you have an outlet like this. Just looking at the numbers, there's obviously diversity problem in the industry, and I don't know how those things are from country to country, worldwide, how those things vary, I'm sure there's cases where it's better and even much, much worse than the US, but here in the US, there's definitely a problem. So having you all put together an outlet to help fix that situation. I can't relate to anybody being angry with that. That kind of surprises... It doesn't surprise me, but it's a shame that people are still of that mindset, and I think that's the part that surprises me, is how angry and vile they can get. I've seen some of these things before, and I'm sorry you guys have to experience that. It's a real shame. You're trying to do something good and you have to deal with a backlash from it.

 

34:17 JL: Yeah, it's been... But for the most part people are really supportive, look at Progress. They're totally all in with both feet, so much love coming from a lot of different quarters. So I think to focus on the positives is really important.

 

34:32 DR: Totally, totally, I have to say that yeah, it's been overpowering. I never thought it was gonna get this big so quickly, and it's funny 'cause we're at the end of our event.

 

[laughter]

 

34:51 DR: So we're looking at these women, okay, it was crazy I mean there are no words to describe it. Jen and I are looking at each other, then we look at these women, and then we start laughing, and then all of a sudden we're hugging each other, crying, tears of joy...

 

[laughter]

 

35:11 DR: Because the way people received Jen in Argentina, we had her in a very tight schedule and I'm grateful for the effort she made coming down here and going through lots of talking to people, and even speaking at a coding school. People look up to her and being part of this is amazing, seeing how the women responded to her content, at some point Jen and I were running this workshop together and we were like, "They're just going through content like email, like a hungry person going through I don't know... A big platter of food"

 

36:03 JL: Argentinian steak.

 

[chuckle]

 

36:05 DR: Seriously, it was amazing. I can't help getting emotional and I think I'm the most emotional or at least the one that expresses it the most of our team.

 

[chuckle]

 

36:18 DR: I'm always crying and saying, "Oh God... Girls. This is so cool."

 

[chuckle]

 

36:25 DR: Seriously, there are no words to express the overpowering feeling, the demonstrations of love and support we've gotten from the communities, from men and women. And I have to say, "Yeah, thank you Progress for what you're doing. Thank you for the swag as well."

 

[chuckle]

 

36:50 JL: I took a very heavy suitcase and I came back very light. So I was pretty happy. [chuckle]

 

36:55 EC: There you go.

 

36:57 JL: That was fun.

 

36:57 EC: On the flip side of having some challenges out there, are there any real big success stories other than the obvious... The growth of the Vue Vixens? Are there somebody that you've helped you get into the industry or find a job or anything like that?

 

37:15 JL: I think there's a lot of successes. I think, that people are making good connections on our Slack channel, and I think that some people's careers are gonna blow up, I don't wanna name names 'cause I don't wanna raise expectations for it.

 

37:29 EC: Absolutely.

 

37:30 JL: I know for sure that one of our very awesome ladies is gonna... Her career is gonna take off like no tomorrow, and I just hope she remembers us when she's so famous.

 

[chuckle]

 

37:39 EC: That's awesome. That's the rewarding part of doing these type of things, is you get to see people really take off and either make a career for themselves, or it helps them better their living situation, or whatever it is that they set out to improve themselves upon.

 

37:58 JL: Yes.

 

38:00 EC: So, I'm sure that you'll keep this thing going. I know you have a lot of events coming up later this year, as you mentioned. Other than specific events, what is the bigger picture? What's the future for Vue Vixens? Do you have plans? Official plans or do you... Do you have hopes and dreams for it? Share some of those things.

 

38:23 JL: Yeah, the biggest challenge right now for me is, I'm going through the [chuckle] really dreadful paperwork of getting us classified as a 501C3 private foundation. So it's like, you have a choice, you can be a public charity, a private foundation or something in between that I can't remember the name of it. [chuckle] But it's like... And again, thank God, progress legal is walking me through this step by step, and I had a long meeting. Yeah, it 'cause I don't think I... There's no way I could do this by myself. This is really weird. So [chuckle] I'm almost done with some of that paper work, but then I'll pass it back to them and they'll help us with it. But it's really... It's a very interesting process as you go through it and makes you... Kinda forces you to make some decisions about exactly what you're suggesting.

 

39:07 JL: Because one of the things about becoming a private foundation is that we're gonna have a pot of money, we need to decide what to do with it and how to go about dispersing it. And we're gonna... We've always wanted to offer diversity scholarships ever since New Orleans, when I realized, "Yes, you can give a ticket to a diversity candidate." But what if they can't afford to get to the conference? 'Cause New Orleans is really expensive.

 

39:31 EC: Oh, okay.

 

39:32 JL: So I wanna give a couple of mini grants, just a little offset, just to take the edge off. Kinda like a hurricane. [chuckle] Just maybe a hundred dollars here and there. So, if we have that pot of money, that would be awesome to disperse, and we need to do it formally with as little tax ramifications as possible. So when it comes to dispersing of grants, that's something I'm really passionate about. I really wanna make this happen and we need to make sure we do it right, otherwise it's gonna be problematic [chuckle] in March or April, whenever tax day is. That's a big push right now. We are... So, yeah, we're basically perfecting our workshops, trying to engage with as many events as we can.

 

40:18 JL: So that, if you're having a conference and there's a Vue track, maybe we can help by throwing an awesome skulk for you. Maybe we can help with your diversity offerings and arrange scholarships, and then maybe... Regions where there aren't so many conferences, we can do something different. So, just kinda keep nimble and keep our head above water in terms of scale, that's the goal. [chuckle]

 

40:43 DR: Yeah, and if there's anyone out there who would like to participate, we are totally out there. We're on Twitter, it's @vuevixens and @vuevixensAR for Argentina, and Latin America, or just in general, Spanish-speaking. We have people who speak too many different languages, and so, we are willing to get more people on board. In the case of Argentina, obviously we didn't have any conferences to help with diversity offerings, but we did an event. It is proven that it can be done anywhere else, definitely. [chuckle] I'm super positive and pumped, and I have a lot of enthusiasm. So yeah, we're here to make a difference. We're here, so... We're willing to take on whatever comes our way in terms of helping out and, yeah I mean... There you go Jen. [chuckle]

 

42:00 JL: Awesome. Yeah, for sure. Very specifically, if there's anyone in North America who can lend us a hand, I'd be really appreciative 'cause right now it's kind of all of us doing ad hoc, any lovely Canadians out there? I know you're out there.

 

42:13 EC: And in addition to help in that respect, what about help financially? Do you take donations or sponsorships? I know Progress is a sponsor. Are you looking for more or accepting more?

 

42:29 JL: So that's a very interesting question. And it was heavily impacted by our filing for private foundation because it's kind of like the Oracle foundation, it's associated with Oracle. This will be associated with Progress, which means that I'm gonna be probably closing the Patreon down. We had a Patreon that was relatively successful, but I'm gonna use all that money for scholarships in London. So that's gonna be cleaned out [chuckle] and I have a tiny t-shirt shop, and people can always grab a print... It's like an ad hoc printing threadless shirt if they would like to support us. But those are just nickel and dime, bits and pieces here and there. So being a private foundation will get our finances a much more solid footing so we can scale better. So I'm not really asking for donations. And in fact, I can't accept them once we get our filing finished, unless they're based in Massachusetts 'cause we're filing in Massachusetts. It's just crazy complicated and it's kinda not worth fuzzing with. So what I would love to see is people who can help us with our content. If you take a look, we just had a PR today on our workshop, a little change to the mobile workshop by someone who just went through it on their own and said, "Oh, this is an improvement that you should pop in." So I did, and that's super, 'cause that gives us validation.

 

43:44 JL: Helping with organizing events, of course, is really great. Boots on the ground, local hosts, a great example is in Argentina, we had Stencil, which was the host for the event that gave the office, they got us all a really great WiFi and organized food, and they were there... I couldn't believe how amazing the staff was just supporting, supporting, supporting. So that kind of local host, it was just... This is something money can't buy.

 

44:14 DR: We even had to take washing dishes while we're doing our tech talk. So it was amazing.

 

[chuckle]

 

44:22 JL: It was the cutest thing ever. This is like I think it... Isn't the CTO? What's the...

 

44:25 DR: Oh, Gabo, Gabriel. He's the tech lead.

 

44:29 JL: Yeah, he's awesome. So the technical lead at Stencils washing our dishes and we're chit chatting and doing workshops. Something like, "Oh boy."

 

44:40 EC: Nice. So if people do wanna help out, where is the best place for them to get in touch?

 

44:45 JL: Yeah, So hop on Twitter if that's easier for you, @vuevixens or hop on our Slack room. So if you go to our website, vuevixens.org, just scroll to the bottom and you can pop right into our Slack room. We have a real nice atmosphere, and we'll create a channel for you if you like to organize locally. We have folks from Nigeria, even have done that.

 

45:12 EC: And if you wanna attend an event...

 

45:15 JL: Yes. So if we're organizing an event, if something's already organized, we always put those on the homepage and you can just click, you can join as a mentor or join as a attendee. And they're always free. All of our events are always free and we're grateful for any help, and we're always grateful for students who start as students, and then hop on Slack and they get better and better and improve their skills. It's really nice. We have a code help channel in Vue Vixens that people are using to kind of rubber-duck. I was on it the other day 'cause I was completely lost and thank God, Natalia was there.

 

[chuckle]

 

45:50 EC: So for pretty much anything Vue Vixens related, you can go to vuevixens.org. Now, how about yourselves, individually? Where can we find you?

 

46:00 JL: Yeah, you can always find me on Twitter @Jenlooper.

 

46:05 DR: I have a phony name in Spanish. It's cotufa82. So it's actually, popcorn in Venezuelan slang 'cause I am from Venezuela, despite this amazing exotic British accent. So it's C-O-T-U-F-A 82, cotufa82. And yeah, I have also some crazy nicknames for my internet accounts. This one being the best of them all.

 

[chuckle]

 

46:41 JL: Yes.

 

46:41 EC: Well, I wanna congratulate you all on what you're doing. I think it's fantastic. Any time that we have a chance to increase diversity in our industry, I'm gonna applaud that. I think it helps gain perspective on what we do as an industry and how we produce things, and it's not just men and women, it's other things as well, race and everything else, having those different points of view helps us all. So I definitely wanna commend you on putting this all together, and helping that initiative. So congratulations and I wish you the best.

 

47:21 JL: Thank You.

 

47:21 DR: Thank you.

 

[music]

 

47:35 EC: Thanks again for listening to Eat Sleep Code. If you enjoyed the show, please give us a like or a share from iTunes or SoundCloud and visit us at Telerik.com.


Ed Charbeneau is a Developer Advocate for Telerik
About the Author

Ed Charbeneau

Ed Charbeneau is a web enthusiast, speaker, writer, design admirer, and Developer Advocate for Telerik. He has designed and developed web based applications for business, manufacturing, systems integration as well as customer facing websites. Ed enjoys geeking out to cool new tech, brainstorming about future technology, and admiring great design. Ed's latest projects can be found on GitHub.

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