In July, Baltimore tech entrepreneur Lance Lucas got local headlines and national media with his laptops-for-guns exchange event.
(The story also went viral with the pro-Second Amendment people, whose online trashing of Lucas’ “Stop Shooting, Start Coding” event accounted, as far as we can tell, for a huge spike in readership for our piece about it, as well as others.)
But Lucas is up to a lot more than that gun-focused project suggests, and now the technology news and information site Ars Technica has taken a lengthy look at Lucas, his big ideas and all that may stand in between them.
Bringing wireless to poor communities. Increasing tech ed in the schools. As CEO of the non-profit Digit All Systems, Lucas “wants to give members of the city’s most disadvantaged communities the technology and life skills needed to join the state’s booming IT economy.”
But so do plenty of people.
As author Sean Gallagher explains, Lucas’ practical-minded approach for reaching that goal is at odds with those in the local tech community who disagree with his emphasis on tech certification programs.
He’s teaching them to be “tech butlers,” declares one local tech non-profit person, who tells Gallagher that Lucas would do better to aim higher and “teach them to program.”
Others, like this commenter on Gallagher’s piece published last night, disagree:
“Tell them I said to take their snobbery and f___ off!”
The article is lengthy, but that’s in part because it’s also a primer on hotly-debated issues in technology education that are highly relevant to cities such as Baltimore. It’s also a bit of a warts-and-all profile of the charismatic, fast-talking Lucas.
Even more interesting, Gallagher talks about the gap between the city’s burgeoning tech community and its old political and government class and suggests that someone (Lucas?) needs to bridge it.