Interview with Lyndsey Scott, a Victoria's Secret model who codes software in her free time.
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Software!
Kyle Russell explains:
As much as we try to fight it, most people have a very stereotypical image come to mind when they think of coders and software entrepreneurs: pale, unshaven, twenty-something males.
Lyndsey Scott is none of those things. Though passionate about acting, she majored in computer science in college and then went on to become a model for brands such as Victoria's Secret, Gucci, and Prada.
Despite her success on the runway, Lyndsey never lost her passion for coding. While she chose not to take the traditional route with a software engineering job at a firm in Manhattan or the Silicon Valley, she continued to work on apps in her free time, with projects ranging from an app that lets you learn about and fund youth education in Africa to an app that lets actors and models create professional-looking portfolios with the ease that only an iPad app can deliver.
We first learned about Lyndsey and her surprising workload from her profile on Stack Overflow, a site that lets programmers ask questions about their code and get helpful responses from other members of the community with expertise on specific topics.
She's something of a celebrity on the site: users gain reputation points for providing helpful answers and the site keeps track of the number of views each profile attracts. To date, she's gained over 1,000 reputation points and her profile has been viewed over 38,000 times.
Read Kyle's interview with Lyndsey Scott:
My favorite part of the interview:
What's your current development machine? Do you have a special work setup?
Just my MacBook Air for now. I'm definitely considering an upgrade though because, although it's a great device and easily portable, I keep running out of space.
There's been a bit of controversy lately with a particular VC claiming that it's tough to get girls into coding and computers. Do you think that's true? What do you think needs to be done to get more young women into computer science?
Ha, yes, I'm aware of the controversy. I read through his interview and although I think people are definitely reaching by calling him "sexist." Thirteen-year-old girls can easily become interested in computers and technology as long as they're given the opportunity.
I know I personally became interested in programming when I was 13 or younger as soon as I realized I had a TI-89 calculator capable of being programmed and a book full of documentation. I think, in general, many young people would love to better understand what goes into making the technology they use on a regular basis, but too few of them are given the opportunity.
Just last month though, students around the world were in fact given an opportunity with the release of Code.org's Hour Of Code and over 20 million of them tried programming for the first time within weeks. And please pass along this message for me to this “particular VC”: Most of them were girls!
It's clear she sees writing software code as a hobby, because this is her main job:
She just loves to write apps. That's cool.
I'm not sure what she means by "too few young people are given the opportunity to understand what goes into making the technology they use on a regular basis" -- that computer classes aren't offered to enough teenagers in America?
Every young American gets their hands on a smartphone and/or tablet as soon as they can these days. Certainly that can translate to more interest in technology.
Still, Lyndsey makes a good point: she programs on a Mac Air.
People cannot program on smartphones and tablets, and that is a limitation.
The first person to come up with a decent way to program FROM smartphones and tablets is going to change the world.
Pando picked up her story, too:
She recently answered the Quora question of what it was like to go from unattractive to attractive:
In the post, she says:
[I]t’s been a rather jarring experience having people see and treat me the way they suddenly do now. I was bullied and often friendless throughout puberty because people automatically judged me…The difference between then and now though is that back then, they wouldn’t give me the chance to show them that I was kinda cool, and now they readily give me a chance…and are then often disappointed that I’m kind of a nerd. ;)
Lyndsey’s articulately crafted answer got 3,576 up votes and went viral, garnering her coverage from Slate.