People don’t come to HackerNest for free beer, but there’s a line-up at the bar just the same. People come to talk jobs, gossip with their friends, and meet gatekeepers who can unlock their next career moves. If you have an internet technology job in Toronto, then HackerNest TO is full of career-catalyst heroes and it helps to have a big heart yourself and some credits coding for charity. From behind the bar, I got to meet the most talkative technologists while serving them drinks.
The 29th January 2018 HackerNest held at WeWork 240 Richmond St W in Toronto was a Tech Social; that’s what their MeetUp group calls this type of pay-what-you-can / get free beer occasion. They define Tech Socials as being …down-to-earth, agenda-free community events where talented, enthusiastic tech nerds gather to socialize, wax technological, and meet future co-founders, employees, funders and friends.
In this respect, HackerNest is the organizer and not the name of the event. HackerNest is an international non-profit organization that produces social events around technology and that includes hackathons. These popular gatherings and other events are never done for the programmers’ profit, but rather they work to advance a humane cause and hopefully positively affect the economic prosperity of whole regions, population groups or niche communities. When hundreds of hackers get together and put their minds to something, they’re a force to be reckoned with…Is it legal? This is the first question people usually ask. And the answer is yes of course. These well paid professionals are not banding together in a conspiracy to loot the government, or tarnish Canadian corporations, but rather they’re building an alliance of like-minded, progressive-thinking co-ops. These organizations and their members unite around positive projects. The people who attend and especially those who volunteer and donate their time are all bricks in the wall of change, and HackerNest is mortar that holds them together and gives their assembly some shape.
The place was so jammed full of people by nine pm, administrators from the host co-working space were counting heads, hoping they had not already crossed over some arbitrary capacity rating as per the fire code. With such attendance here you’d never know there was a bad snowstorm happening outside, and all of Toronto was buried under two inches of snow. Some of the out-of-town sponsors didn’t show up because of the highways, but clearly the weather didn’t stop over two hundred and fifty more centrally located young urban professionals from attending. Was it the free beer?
The sponsors who did make it there set up more spacious booths and had the crowd all to themselves. Visitors who found Hover domain registry in the center of the room got free dress socks, and the opportunity to register a free web domain. Hover makes it easy to buy, manage and use domain names and email addresses. With smart, usable tools, step-by-step tutorials and a warm, knowledgeable staff, they’ve grown to become the domain registrar and email solution provider of choice for many tech savvy startups which means they must be good cause these people could buy from anyone.
HackerNest is also a good way for businesses to find talented employees.
Jamie Cuthbert the President of AutoServe1, automotive garage software came to HackerNest looking for programmers and other smart web professionals who might join and grow with his company as it campaigns across North America. Jamie had printed business cards special for the occasion with the words Full Stack Dev Careers in all-caps across the front, and below that Apply at autoserve1.com/hackernest which is excellent messaging in a room full of young professionals with short attention spans.
Even more remarkable is how he tailored his speech to be relevant to these young people, most of whom do not own cars, and have never truly experienced the mysteries of an automotive garage. He began by describing the agony of a root canal, which we can all relate to, and then applied this malaise to the murky world of automotive repair. In this way he illustrated how clear and concise reports sent directly to vehicle owner’s smart phones by Autoserve1 software is the remedy for this painful problem.
Jamie spoke about how their company is hard at work making transparency in the automotive sector and helping mechanics and garage owners build trust with their customers. His software lets mechanics email customers price estimates with pictures of their car’s issues appearing beside itemized lists of repairs right on the invoice; consumers then immediately understand the work and the costs involved. People in the room who wanted to be part of this helpful solution were encouraged to apply to him directly and you still can..
I heartily recommend volunteering at HackerNest if you work in tech industry, and Good News there’s a push on for volunteers right now. In my opinion, this is the number one recommended way to connect with people and make ground-level friends in-the-scene.
Its a little misleading though to suggest I was there strictly as a volunteer while working the bar, because in truth I was being paid as both a promoter and recruiter. Yes, full disclosure, I was there in disguise, hiding in plain sight resourcing web developers for Full Stack and explaining to people what it means to be an IT solutions provider and not simply an IT staff provider. And having been and volunteered at HackerNest three times now, I can honestly say I don’t know a better place to connect with information technologists while building a custom IT solutions agency brand.
Every Hackernest Tech Social has its own transcending moments, and each one is remarkable for different reasons. This event might be remembered forever because of how Anthony Diiorio one of the founders of Ethereum appeared suddenly from crowd and made a rousing speech that empowered people to be their own bankers and use tech advances to beat the system. Today, and for the first time in our human evolution the proletariat workers of our society can, non-violently and by exercising market choice, overthrow the bourgeoisie banker class and break their debt cycle. By using new phone apps and cryptocurrencies Canadian workers can now escape the endless fees and arbitrary interest rates imposed by these old world institutions on their finances.
Hoorah! The black t-shirted executives from Jaxx cryptocurrency wallet cheered on their leader as he stood on a chair and preached revolution. Jaxx bills itself as the best wallet for Bitcoin, Ethereum, and dozens of other cryptocurrencies; there are now more than fifty five different block chain tokens available in Jaxx.
Anthony Diiorio easily demonstrated why he’s considered one of the foremost thought-leaders in the field of decentralized technologies; the words just dripped from his mouth and made me wonder if he’s said them every hour, every day, for the last nine months. Born and raised in Toronto, Diiorio is the former Chief Digital Officer of the TMX Group and Toronto Stock Exchange, founder and CEO of Decentral, a software development company focused on blockchain technologies. Later he tweeted the picture above of himself and his team from @diiorioanthony
Sharon Collins from Northeastern University was also at the party, representing faculty and administrators from their Toronto campus. They are serious about helping folks become better ‘fits’ in the modern workplace; the design programs in accordance with the hardest to fill, or most-in-demand tech vocations at job centers.
Sharon spoke about the schools’ three online Master of Science programs, 1) project management; 2) information assurance and 3) cyber security. These programs were made special to fast-track careers in these high growth areas.
The HackerNesters themselves were also among the exhibitors; their leaders were present proudly promoting their next big event, Fishhackathon Toronto. I’ll probably be there, serving up free drinks, putting the social in Tech Socials.