Since I published Makers All’s flagship report last May, I’ve been talking with people in the tech world and the community organizing world about what in the report worked for them and what didn’t. And I have been running several small pilot projects to start testing out some of the ideas in the report.

I’ve also been struggling to deal with the loss of my mom. My mom died a few months before the report came out. I had many wonderful years with her, and after a long fight with cancer she was in bad enough shape that it was time for her to leave us. And I’m in my mid-50s, a point in your life when it’s common to start losing your parents. But I had no idea how brutal losing a parent can be no matter how old you are or what shape they are in.

It’s taken me a while to right myself and figure out where it makes sense to go next. But I feel like I finally have clarity.

For the next phase of Makers All, I’m going to focus on two areas, one that focuses on the nuts & bolts of tech, one that focuses on the big picture:

  • I’m going to use the burgeoning – and awkwardly named – field of machine learning intelligibility to test out and rethink Makers All’s Smoothing the Learning Curve. Given the rise of “Auto ML,” where tech companies are taking their very first steps towards making machine learning more accessible to staff who aren’t data scientists, as well as the beginning efforts to combat bias in AI/ML, I think there’s room to do some work that’s useful for ML and that could have an impact on other areas of emerging tech.
  • I’m going to change up Makers All’s work on making emerging tech jobs accessible to marginalized communities so that it fits with some other big economic changes we need to wrap our heads around, especially green jobs and the Green New Deal. By getting “democratizing tech” out of its silo, I think there’s an opportunity to have a much bigger and deeper impact – and make truly democratizing tech much easier to pull off.

In future posts, I’ll give a quick overview of why these two new projects and what I hope to accomplish.