#NoCode means removing the barriers to outsiders in tech

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Photo by Joshua Reddekopp on Unsplash

Growing up, I taught myself how to code in C++by modding and building add-ons for Wolfenstein 3D. It became my entire world, and I would spend hours sifting through code, working out what made it tick, borrowing books from the library and following along to build my grasp of it all.

I didn’t become a developer for one simple reason; I didn’t have one singular passion. I wanted to do and build and make so many things. I was a budding designer as well as a would-be programmer, I was playing drums, guitar and screaming in a series of hardcore punk bands, I was painting skateboards on commission for my friends, and I was spending hours every day writing, blogging and communicating. …


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Photo by LinkedIn Sales Navigator on Unsplash

The consequences of being an alcoholic were tough.

I lost clients. I lost friends. I almost lost my business.

I had to fight my way back from that, battling for every inch of ground, to be where I am today.

But I don’t regret those consequences.

Consequences are a fucking gift. The consequences of failure, the consequences of your mistakes, the consequences of every choice you make. They’re a gift and they are a chance to grow.

They’re ripples that emanate from the actions we take, and the words we say, and the words we hold inside, ripples that reach out across a vast ocean, becoming waves that hold a magnificent power to change, erode and reshape even the hardest stone. …


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Photo by Product School on Unsplash

Ram Dass once said that the quieter we become, the more we can hear.

And lately, we’ve all had to be so much quieter than we ever have before.

What is there left, when we can no longer fill the spaces in between with white noise to drown out the signals we don’t want to hear?

It’s a time of uncomfortable questions, and often more uncomfortable answers. It’s a time when things that have lain dormant are re-awakened, and we start to reach further within ourselves to find the source of those crashing waves that keep us up late at night when the rest of the world is asleep and the silence has become an overwhelming riptide. …


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Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

I know the old saying. Forgive and forget. It’s a notion I’ve struggled with for years. The forgiving part is hard enough. Forgiving some of the people I’ve known, for some of the things they’ve done, has always felt like a bridge too far, in the hurt and raw vulnerability. Forgiving myself for who and where and what I’ve been has never been easy, either

But to forget has always felt wrong. It’s always felt like an inappropriate response. And lately, I’ve started to realise just why that is. When we forgive, we accept what has been done, we let go, and we learn to live with it. When we forget, we erase. We erase what has been done, to us or by us, and we remove the opportunity to learn from it and grow. …


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Photo by Blake Connally on Unsplash

You’re scrolling through a company website and you come across the all-too-familiar feeling that you’ve read this content somewhere before. You aren’t even absorbing any of the words as you scroll down the homepage. The words start to amalgamate into one big blob of value-less nothingness, spelling the letters to the words Groundhog Day into your subconscious mind. Smoke and mirrors. Fluff.

At this point, you’re exhausted by the scrolling, the information overload, the constant skimming through and sieving for something real. But where, you ask yourself, is the value in all of this?

When I set out to create Studio Self, I knew I was going to create a PR agency like no other in the country. In fact, being a transgender woman, I knew I would be one of only five trans women in the entire universe who runs a creative agency. …


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Photo by Med Badr Chemmaoui on Unsplash

I wonder if we put too much pressure on ourselves to always be moving forward. This year in particular, it feels as though we’re struggling through, barely keeping our heads above water, while a voice keeps on whispering, you are not doing what you should do to grow…

But there’s victory in survival. Simply surviving 2020 is enough hard work and enough of a goal for all of us. Getting through this year — scratched and bruised and surely a little damaged but still in one piece — is a win worth celebrating.

Strength isn’t tested by periods of ease, achievement, joy and light. Those times are wonderful and they ought to be marked and treasured and remembered. But they don’t test us, and they don’t show us who we truly are. …


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Photo by John Baker on Unsplash

I know you’re bone tired right now. Don’t ask me how, I just know.

It’s an ache and a stiffness in every bone, and a fog that obscures every complete thought.

I know you’re so tired that you want to curl up into a ball and pull the blankets over yourself and cry.

I don’t have an answer to that.

But I want you to know something all the same. I want you to know that you’re tired because you’re doing your best and giving it your all, and you deserve to be so damn proud of yourself.

You’re tired because you’ve given so much, and what you’ve given doesn’t go unnoticed. What you’ve given has meaning, and we love that you are still here. …


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Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

I failed, recently. I failed in a startup that I loved and wanted to succeed in. I failed, and we failed, and it hurt. Of course it did. That’s only natural. But in the face of it, I had a choice. I could choose to let my ego bruise and blister and hold onto that failure until it turned into ugly resentment — or I could choose to let go of my ego and just accept that sometimes s**t doesn’t work out.

Today, when I saw the team had a win, I reached out to them and gave them my best wishes and congratulations, and guess what? It didn’t hurt me one bit. And I got to tell some people who have worked hard that I’m proud of them. …


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Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

I think we’re all too focused on getting instant wins. We’re too focused on breaking out. We expect every single piece of content we make to spread like wildfire, and we get fucking discouraged when that doesn’t happen. But it’s such a nonsensical way to think about what we do. As makers, as writers, as creatives, we can’t be chasing flash in the pan, overnight success.

That’s the kind of short term approach that never pays off. There is no way to predict that kind of viral success, and anyone who thinks they can reach for it in any kind of repeatable format is going to be wrong. …


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Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

You could make something right now. If you wanted to stop reading, grab a sheet of butcher’s paper and brainstorm ideas, you could probably come up with half a dozen ideas for apps, books or products. Ideas aren’t the hard part, after all — just ask Tom Haverford.

You could build a Wordpress site and start harassing your friends to test the concept. You could start writing op-ed pieces on Medium and put “Founder” or “Author” in your Twitter bio within 48 hours. …

About

Joan Westenberg

Chaotic good. Award winning creative director & writer, ft. in Wired, The AFR, SF Chronicle, Junkee. founder tinyspells.xyz / thisisstudioself.com ✨ She/Her.

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