What if you are a girl who has ‘way too many children’s books’? What if at the same time you shown interest in making website and coding? Regularly, those two interest fated not to blend together. Yet, Linda Liukas has the gift to combine playfulness in children’s book and translate it into the world of coding.
Linda co-founded Rails Girls, a global initiative to get more women into the subject of programming. She won Ruby Hero Prize in 2013 and named the Digital Champion of Finland by EU commissioner. Most importantly, Linda Liukas is the author of Hello Ruby, a children’s picture book that makes the world of technology more whimsical, fun and approachable to kids around the globe.
Described by a Youtube comment as ‘the adult version of a kid’, Linda began her coding journey at tender age of 13. Her story was kinda weird. Everything began when she had this teenage crush to someone way older than her, not an actor. She was obsessed with the then vice president of the United States, Mr Al Gore. Come on Linda!.
To express all of her longing, Linda built a website for Mr Al Gore in Finnish, the first and the last of its kind. At the time where Facebook or Tumblr or WordPress were non existence, Linda need taught herself to code.
After all about Al Gore thingy was over, Linda took a chance to study at Stanford University for a year. There, she found Ruby, a computer programming language created in 1993 by Yukihiro Matsumoto. Linda felt the language was deeply ‘humane’. Since then, she developed interest in Ruby.
On the other side of herself, Linda had always wanted to become a story-teller. When she was a girl, Linda used to make an imaginative world, where she wake up in Moomin Valley, and in the afternoon she would roam Tatooine, and at night sleep in Narnia. There is also poetry and philosophy of Bertrand Russel that Linda loves. Then there is the creativity.
Every time she ran into a problem in programming, Linda would imagine how a six-years old explain that problem. Drawings! Children would use pictures to communicate. She started to illustrate Ruby as a cartoon and put it on Tumblr. People start noticing her story and encouraged her to turn it into a children’s book. Linda then successfully raised the fund to self-publish Hello Ruby: Adventures in coding through Kickstarter.
Afterward, Linda saw the intersection between creativity and technology, between philosophy, poetry, and coding. She found the profession she loves. In her own words, “We as humans are not binary. We are not one thing or other thing. We contain multitudes. Humans are capable of becoming many things at the same time.”
Linda also mentioned that she never anticipated all of these 10 years ago. “Now, it is easy to connect the dots and see that it is exactly what am I supposed to be doing,” she told.
Connecting the dots.
Like Steve Jobs said, ” You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. You have to trust somehow the dots will connect in the future. You have to trust in something gut, destiny. karma, life or whatever.”
I call that ‘something’, the universe.
This writing is also an example of people who answer the universe. In the previous examples of Ingvar Kamprad and The Minimalists . We are looking at people who listen to the universe when a turn-point event occured in their life. Ingvar Kamprad, when he faced boycott in Sweden and moved his production to Poland. The Minimalists, when both of them are stuck on consumption-based lifestyle and were drowned on debt.
Meanwhile, Linda Liukas had always have all these elements the universe trying to communicate with her since she was a girl. She was always on the path. In order to answer the universe, she needs to twist and tweak certain points in her life and connect it all together to form the whole story.
Linda Liukas answered the universe.
You can check Linda’s book here Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding
Linda Liukas’ Personal Website
Linda’s TED speakers Profile
Hello Ruby Official Website
Most of Linda’s personal journey is documented in her Tumblr
On empowering women in programming, Linda’s Rail girls Project
She also writes on Medium
My personal favorite of Linda’s Talk
Oh one more thing, we both love Muji
Picture: Credit to Rails Girls Facebook Page